This week I’m in NYC attending Toy Fair, the country’s biggest toy and game showcase for media and toy industry types.
I couldn’t be more excited to feature some of this year’s “up and comers” of the fair on the Today show Monday morning.
While I will always love the likes of LEGO, Hasbro, Razor, Spin Master, and Mattel, there is something about the “little guys”, the new inventors or smaller companies trying to make it big in toyland, that I just can’t resist.
I have always been a sucker for the underdog, and breaking into the toy industry definitely tests the creativity, ingenuity, and stamina of new toy and game creators.
These new kids on the block have some of the most creative new product releases for 2014. Here’s a look at what I featured on my Today show segment!
Cute finger puppets that can operate any touchscreen, adding extra fun to touchscreen learning and play.
Colorful wooden blocks with thoughtfully designed characters that enable children to create thousands of combinations, which encourages creative thinking. With just one set of six blocks, a child can build more than 1,500 unique combinations. MixMates received more than $33,000 on Kickstarter to get the company started.
A brand new company bringing unparalleled creativity and innovation to the toy aisle and beyond. A stunning array of toy products including boys’ and girls’ roleplay, preschool toys, figures, playsets, stuffed animals, seasonal, novelty items, and more, which are debuting in 2014. Cartwheel Kids is created by three toy industry veterans.
Lottie Doll Collection from Arklu
New doll collection of six different seven-inch dolls that feature realistic body proportions and no makeup, jewelry, or high heels. Great for promoting a healthy body image for young girls.
A single AryaBall and bat is all you need. It consists of a soccer ball, football, baseball, bat, golf ball, and club all in one put together in a bag. It was created by a dad trying to get more green time from his kids instead of screen time. In addition, 5 percent of the proceeds from each purchase is donated to sports programs of local schools. AryaBall isn’t even available for sale yet. This company is launching in February at Toy Fair and on Kickstarter.
Can ’N Ball
Outdoor tossing game that is simple to use and easily portable. Essentially, it is a tennis ball-sized can and imitates the motion of a cannon to volley a small ball back and forth. The player who catches the most balls with their can wins. More challenging variations of the game include having to perform a silly task or catch the ball blindfolded.
A smaller game company producing high-quality family board games that families can play all the time.