The holiday shopping season wrapped up just over a month ago, but at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, there's already a sneak preview of the next one at the 111th American International Toy Fair. Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
Move over, elves, there's a new toy maker in town. More than a thousand of them, in fact, showing off their latest innovations at the 111th American International Toy Fair Sunday.
Inside the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, there were toys for all ages in all shapes and sizes, enough to fill seven football fields. Among the big trends this year, toys that interact with your smartphone or tablet, smartphone or tablet not included.
“You have toys that you can play offline with, but you can also connect to your iPad and respond to the surge in technology,” said Isabel Carrion, Toy Industry Association spokesperson.
“I like to talk to anyone about really anything,” says Wikibear.
Take Wikibear, a Bluetooth enabled conversational smart toy.
“It learns about you. It learns your likes, your dislikes. It knows if you were sick yesterday, if you told it, it will ask you the next day if you are feeling better,” said Alec Kessler, executive vice president of Commonwealth Toy & Novelty.
Not that all toys need to be high-tech. Retro toys are making a comeback -- sometimes with a twist, like the new light bright. And then there are trends that don't require batteries but run on imagination.
“I don't know if it's a trend because 20 years ago people were crafting, they were playing with glitter, they were coloring, things like that. I think it's one of those things, it’s a fundamental element of play that will stay around forever,” said Danielle Dallou, of Melissa and Doug.
Someday all the snow will be gone and when that day comes, there are lots of innovations for outdoor fun as well.
From slack lines that test your balance and work your core to the Y Flicker three-wheeled scooter that you propel with your hips, not your feet.
“The one you were on has special flex technology that actually allows you to really carve and drift and even do some cool 360s,” said Linda Krebbs of Yvolution.
Awards like "Toy of the Year" are given out before the four-day show begins, but the big question is, what will be the must-have item in December?
“The ultimate decision is made by the kids and we find out around the holidays,” said Adrienne Appell, a trends specialist for the Toy Industry Association.