It seems like jingle bells just finished ringing, but at the International Toy Fair this week in New York City, buyers were already scoping out next year’s holiday must-haves.
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The trade show, which was held from February 16-19 at NYC’s Javits Center, attracted more than 1,100 vendors from across the globe. And while it may seem difficult to predict which toys will make a splash ten months down the road, Toy Fair trend expert Adrienne Appell says certain categories are already standing out.
Here are Appell’s toy-trend predictions for this year:
No. 1: STEAM toys.
Appell says toys that combine fun with educational benefits will be a hit this year. The “STEAM” category includes science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics toys, which Appell suggests will be popular with both educators and parents alike (not to mention kids).
Looking within the STEAM category, Appell says there’s a new interest in engineering and technology toys aimed at young girls.
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“We are seeing a lot of toys aimed at girls that encourage them to build and create,” says Appell. One such company at the Toy Fair that has grabbed headlines recently is GoldieBlox. The Calif.-based startup won Intuit’s Small Business Big Game competition and received a commercial that aired during this year’s Super Bowl.
No. 2: Blockbuster movie and comic book characters.
From dolls and action figures to themed play sets, colorful characters were all over the Toy Fair.
“Doc McStuffins is huge this year … Spider Man 2, Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the list goes on and on. All of those are going to translate into some really fun toys for kids,” says Appell.
No. 3: Traditional, “back-to-basics” toys.
Nostalgic parents will be happy to know that classic toys are making a comeback. FOXBusiness.com spotted games like Mancala, Chinese checkers and backgammon in the aisles – not to mention perennial favorite LEGO.
“Parents are really comfortable for the most part with their kids using technology, but there’s that time when mom wants that device off, that screen time done and that’s why there are traditional toys as well to balance out that day,” says Appell.