Spring and Summer Toys and Games Inspire the Imaginations of
May 13, 2011 | While the park, pool or Pacific
are sure to beckon kids of all ages during the warmer spring and summer
months, toy and game makers have tapped into some creative ways for kids
to have fun while keeping both minds and bodies engaged and active
across the seasons.
“Play is a great way to empower boys and girls by fostering
creative skills such as drawing, painting or building,” said Reyne
Rice, a toy trend specialist for the Toy Industry Association (TIA).
“Toys are the tools that will help kids keep their imaginations
engaged during play, especially during the breaks between school
The Arts and Crafts category is a boon to buyers because it takes on
so many forms, spans such a wide range of ages and remains steady as a
longtime staple in the toy industry. The category consistently draws
seven to eight percent of total U.S. domestic sales each year; in April
2011, the category scooped up roughly 12% of U.S. domestic sales during
the Easter holiday season.
From active outdoor favorites with exciting new twists to rainy day
indoor products, hundreds of new creativity-inspiring toy and game
options were spotted in New York City this past February as buyers from
nearly 6,000 unique retail outlets around the globe converged on the
American International Toy Fair, the largest toy trade show in the
Western hemisphere. Each of the examples shown below falls within
the “Design, Discover and Learn” trend
category that was identified at the show and is now proving to be a top
trend for 2011:
Outdoor Creative Play
during the sun-splashed days of summer, some of the newest selection of
outdoor toys and games are making a colorful mark on the
The Razor Graffiti Chalk Scooter (Razor) will
attract energetic boys and girls looking to make a statement in their
neighborhoods. The latest version of the classic Razor kick scooter, the
Chalk Scooter allows kids to turn the sidewalk into their personal
canvas, thanks to a three-pronged “chalk bar” attached to
the back. With a press of the foot, riders will leave a trail of color
and can create custom designs, all while staying fit and enjoying the
great outdoors. The scooter is perfect for kids ages 6 and up, comes in
three colors (clear/black, blue and purple) and includes a 6 pack of
non-toxic chalk sticks that easily wash away with the hose or in the
Crayola’s Washable Colored Bubbles are not
your ordinary bubbles – they’re an original alternative to
the beloved clear soap bubbles that kids have enjoyed for generations.
Colored Bubbles come in an array of vibrant hues and are best used in
grassy areas outdoors to limit messiness. When the bubbles pop, colorful
marks may appear on clothing, skin and surfaces but these are easily
washed away with some soap and water.
The Gazillion Bubble Football (Funrise) offers
another twist on classic bubble play, encouraging physical activity and
friendly competition. The Bubble Football is soft and has an easy grip,
but the added attachment is where the extra fun comes into play. Dip the
attachment into the Gazillion bubble solution and watch a stream of
bubbles float through the air when the ball is tossed to a friend.
The Rock Pets Paint Kit – Garden Frog (Alex
Toys) is the perfect way to brighten any garden and a wonderful backyard
painting activity. This fun acrylic/all-weather paint kit allows kids to
tap into their creative sides by decorating a rock “frog” to
display in the yard.
Thanks to Alex Toys’ Lemonade Stand kids can
showcase their entrepreneurial side with a little help from Mom and Dad.
This kit turns into a full-size wooden lemonade stand and cart –
complete with wheels, a yellow-striped awning, a chalkboard to display
menu items and all the necessary hardware and tools.
“Children will love the grown-up look and feel of this lemonade
stand and spending time working with friends and family members while
running their very own business,” said Rice. “It’s an
amazing confidence-booster that encourages learning through
Indoor Arts and Crafts
Packed with great
play-value and affordability, arts and crafts projects appeal to the
creative talents of tomorrow’s Andy Warhols and Vincent van
The Xoomy portable light box illustrating machine
(Ravensburger) helps kids and tweens master their drawing skills through
tracing. To draw a design, kids simply pick a pattern, place it on the
“zoom lamp” and adjust the zoom factor before tracing.
Completed designs can be filled in with colored pencils.
Bizu Crafts (Spin Master) is a fun kit for girls who
want to create bracelets, charms and necklaces… or cute little
animal figures. With a quick twist, a bracelet can transform into a cat,
or any of the 60 characters that are available. The different beads come
in range of colors and are interchangeable.
Hasbro’s Ji Ga Zo Puzzle has revolutionized
puzzle play – the 300 pieces in the set can be arranged to create
any image of a friend, family member or pet. Digital images are uploaded
using the included software which then determines the placement of each
piece and builds a unique icon map. Players will watch their own special
images come together as they arrange the pieces according to the
“Puzzles are such a great way to bring families together, and
the Ji Ga Zo Puzzle brings an added element of excitement to the table
for both parents and kids,” said Rice. “It offers great
play-value as an endless number of puzzle designs can come out of a
Color Blanks (Rose Art) are perfect for children of
any age who love to display their artistic creations and collect
figures. Creative types can turn the four-pack set of blank figurines
into miniature replicas of their family and friends by drawing on faces,
clothes, accessories and shoes. Finishing touches can be added in the
form of stickers, buttons, sequins or glitter.
Falling under the “Simply
Social” trend category that was also identified at Toy Fair 2011,
role play products integrate a pro-social play pattern, teach kids about
the world around them and showcase ‘everyday heroes’ such as
firefighters, teachers, moms and dads, and others that kids look up
Everyday Heroes Puzzles (Alex) are themed puzzles
that incorporate firefighters, medical providers and police officials;
Fisher Price’s Rescue Heroes action figures is a retro brand
recently re-introduced to teach kids about the types of heroes found in
their hometowns; and Barbie I Can Be Architect (Mattel) is the latest
doll from a Mattel line that encourages young girls that they “Can
Be” anything if they put their minds to it.
“Costumes are another great way for kids to act out their
ambitions, dreams and desires, as they are learning about who they want
to become,” said Rice. AeroMax, Rubies and Elope Costumes offer
high quality, low-priced hats, accessories, and dress-up clothes that
are available throughout the year; Disguise: Jakks Pacific Women Heroes
costumes, like the Barbie Caped Crusader, are particularly empowering
for young girls; and Hasbro’s Transformers Helmets come with
built-in 3-D goggles for kids to wear at home or in the movie
These are just a few
of the countless options on the market that will help young minds grow
and evolve. For more information, articles and videos on the most
cutting edge toys and games, visit ToyInfo.org year-round. To
attend the next Toy Fair, February 12-15, 2012, and see first-hand the
newest emerging toy trends for tots to teens, visit www.ToyFairNY.com.