Highlights from Toy Fair 2010

Judging by the toys featured at the American International Toy Fair, the industry isn’t ready just yet to place huge bets on an economic recovery. Toymakers are sticking with many of the trends that worked last year and are keeping prices low. One big theme is toys that take advantage of the falling prices of tech components.

Games the whole family can play, especially those that encourage kids to get up on their feet and get moving, are also very popular. As are products that spark the imagination, including arts and crafts, cooking kits and construction
products.  Scroll down to see some of the coolest products from the show

King Zhu

Manufacturer: Cepia
Price: Under $10 to $29.99
Available: July 2010

Last year’s runaway holiday hit, the Zhu Zhu pet, is back and this time these hamsters mean business. The company is rolling out two “Kung Zhu” Ninja Warriors and a military-themed “Special Forces” line to bring older boys into the brand. Hamsters in the new line wear battle armor and can fight in an arena or in vehicle-to-vehicle combat. The company also is expanding its more traditional product beyond hamsters.



Manufacturer: Mattel’s (MAT) Fisher-Price
Price: $79.99
Available: July 2010

The iXL handheld strives to be the iPhone for the pre-school set. The portable device  contains six applications, including an interactive story book, a game player, and a photo album. It is PC- and Mac-compatible with an SD card slot for expanded memory. Although additional software isn’t needed for play, there will be other software titles available for $24.99 each.  Mattel CEO Robert Eckert said it’s his personal pick as the hottest toy for the 2010 holiday season.

Rubik Slide

Manufacturer: TechnoSource
Price: $17.99
Available: Fall 2010

One way toy makers are playing it safe is to develop new versions of favorite brands. With the Rubik’s Cube celebrating its 30th anniversary, TechnoSource is coming out with Rubik’s Slide. The product has the tactile experience of the original cube, but offers more than 10,000 puzzles and two types of play. 

Manufacturer: Hasbro’s (HAS) Playskool
Price: $29.99
Available: Fall 2010

As for the preschool set, sometimes the best way to a parent’s heart is to remind them of the toys they played with as a child.  Hasbro’s Playskool is reviving its Weebles brand in their original egg shape. And, yes, that means the Weebles (pictured here) can wobble, but not fall down. Alphie, an educational toy from the ‘80s, also is back. This time around the toy robot is more lifelike, with a LCD screen that is able to depict facial expressions. Alphie will cost $39.99, and like the Weebles, it will be available in the fall.

Big Foot The Monster // Stinky the Garbage Truck

Manufacturer: Fisher-Price
Price: Bigfoot – $99.99
Stinky – $59.99
Available: Summer

One clear trend is that toys continue to pack more and more technology into them to provide kids with more interactive play. Bigfoot, which can entertain preschoolers with more than 80 actions and phrases, will be supported with a marketing campaign that includes tracking Big Foot sightings at zoos around the country. Matchbox’s Stinky the Garbarge Truck is a follow-up to the popular Rocky the Robot Truck from last holiday season. Just like a regular garbage truck, Stinky can drive around, but this guy has a personality. He talks, tells jokes, eats cars, and sings. But don’t worry, he doesn’t actually smell.

Vectron Wave

Manufacturer: Spin Master’s Air Hogs

Price: $24.99
Spring 2010
Spin Master has become legendary for the capabilities they pack into remote control toys. Their latest, the Vectron Wave, is operated without a controller. Just wave your hand and sensors detect the motion. Spin Master also showed off tiny R/C motorcycles. And stayed tuned, Spin Master promises it has a few more tricks up its sleeve for the christmas 2010 holiday season.

Spy Net

Manufacturer: Jakks Pacific (JAKK)
Price: Between $54.99 to $24.99
Available: Fall

Big sisters of the world take heed: Jakks Pacific is rolling out a line of spy gear that will help bridge the gap between pretending and actually conducting some serious spy work. The line includes a Video Spy Watch for $54.99 and a Pen Audio Bug for $24.99. Not only do these items include miniature video and audio recorders, they have USB ports so the content they collect can be loaded to a SpyNet Web site to help aspiring spies build a case against their suspect. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!


Hexbug Creatures

Manufacturer: Innovation First
Price: Between $11.99 and $17.99
Available: Now

Hexbug offers several different lines of micro robotic creatures. These critters are not only cute, in a geeky kind of way. They have already built a strong following.  Fans sometimes take the original creature and customize them. Part of their appeal is that you can see their inner workings as they behave like the animals and insects they represent.

Pop Goes Froggio

Manufacturer: Hasbro
Price: $16.99
Available: Fall 2010

“Pop Goes Froggio” (pictured here) is just one of many games that are coming out this fall that try to get kids physically moving around. Others from Hasbro include a mat-less Twister Hoopla, and Bop-It Bounce, where the key is to bounce a foam ball as fast and as high as the game prompts you to do.

Lego board games

Manufacturer: Lego
Price:  Ranges $9.99 to $34.99
Available: Fall

In 2009, two of the biggest trends dominating the toy industry were the popularity of construction toys such as classic Lego building blocks, which saw sales rise more than 30 percent in the U.S., and a return to family-friendly board games. Both of these trends offer families cheap entertainment. This year, Lego brings the trends together with 10 games. For each, players construct the game board before play. While the concept is appealing, Lego will meet strong competition. Both Mega Brands and Hasbro also have brick-based games. Hasbro brings the idea to popular games such as Monopoly. Last year, Hasbro marketed a build-your-own version Candyland.

Bubble Talk

Manufacturer: TechnoSource
Price: $19.99
Available: Spring

Of course, there were plenty of games to be seen at Toy Fair. Many capitalized on movie licenses such as Pressman’s games tied into the upcoming movie  “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” But one game that is sure to make families laugh is  “Bubble Talk,”  which challenges playersto match the photos included in the game to prepared captions drawn from a card deck. The person with the funniest pairings wins.

Real Construction

Manufacturer: Jakks Pacific
Price: Varies
Available: Fall

This line of construction products allows kids a safe way to build whatever they can imagine. The line includes realistic looking hammers, saws and nails. Projects come with realistic-looking blueprints, or kids can design their own. There is a starter tool set to get kids going  as well as refill kits.


Manufacturer: Bandai
Price: $5.99 to $39.99
Available: Fall

Bandai is continuing to develop and extend its Harumika fashion line. New this year are mannequins with arms and legs that allow kids to create pants and other fashions. There also will be accessories such as handbags and even puppies to tote along.


Manufacturer: Bandai’s Chef Kids
Price: $24.99
Available: Fall

Bandai is expanding its presence in the activity aisle, with what will eventually be a line of cooking appliances for kids. The Chef Kids line kicks off with ChocoPot, which easily and safely melts chocolate.

Velcrokids Royal Tea Party Fantasty Playset

Manufacturer: Velcro Cos.
Price: $29.99
Available: March 2010

Technology in toys doesn’t always need to be about the latest chip or new developments in robotics. The maker of Velcro has used its technology to bring out a line of toys, including this playset. These toys are portable, durable and allow kids to create their own scenes and stories.  There also are playsets with a pirate and a castle theme.

Dance Star Mickey

Manufacturer: Fisher-Price
Price:  $69.99
Available: October 2010

It’s a moonwalking Mickey that is sure to be popular among his many fans. Dance Star Mickey talks and can groove to five different song styles including soul, disco, techno and a Latin beat.

My Take Along Princess Fantasy Chest

Manufacturer: Playmobil
Price: $49.99
Available: April

Take Alongs like this one seemed to be in abundance at Toy Fair, as parents look for on-the-go  toys. Playsets like these also provide parents with storage options. Playmobil, which designed this travel set, plans to expand its line-up with toys with African, dragon, fire station and schoolhouse themes.

Prime-8 and Penbo

Manufacturer: BossaNova
Price: Prime-8 – $79.99
Penbo- $59.99
Available: Fall 2010

Bossa Nova is a spinoff from the Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, so there’s a lot of technology packed into these toys. Prime-8 is a gorilla that responses to loud noises and has several different moods. Penbo, a Penguish-speaking penguin, is more nurturing, as seen by the way she interacts with her baby. She loves to play games including hide-and-seek.


Manufacturer: Fisher-Price
Price: $12.99               
Available: Fall 2010

These plush toys have three modes of play, including one where multiple Sing-a-ma-jigs harmonize with one another. With their low-price, different songs and personalities, these toys could be the next hot collectible.

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