Toy Fest West 2018, which took place in Las Vegas March 11-13, displayed aisles and aisles of interesting and fun products for kids of all ages. Here are some of the items I found especially noteworthy.
The Doll of the Year (TOTY) is the Wonder Crew. This line of boy dolls was created especially for boys, to provide them with a “buddy” they could take with them and play with. These little superhero guys come dressed in their Wonder Crew outfits with capes and masks. Plus, there is a cape and mask included in the box for their human friends. Other outfits are available for an additional price. These little guys are available in a variety of ethnicities so there is a little Wonder Crew Hero for everyone.
With their flexible roll-up pianos and drums, Mukikim has some great products to help kids and adults with their music skills. The rainbow colored keyboard has a colored songbook in which the keys correspond to a color of note in the music, which provides a good learning tool. There are two sizes of black and white keyboards, too. Plus, there are several roll-up drums that have authentic sounding drums and cymbals. With the drumsticks and headphones, this is a fun way to beat out frustrations and also practice drumming. Making music has never been so much fun – and portable! They’re great for novices and professionals.
Also from Mukikim is the Brain Train, which I think is a wonderful product. It has interlocking pieces and when put together in the correct configuration, the train is then allowed to travel around the track.
Chantilly Lane has an adorable line of singing, talking and musical animals for all occasions. These plush animals move and sing and make a great gift. Whether you want a special birthday bear, a get-well bear or a cute musical Frankenstein for Halloween, there’s something for everyone. They have a talking and walking dog as well as plenty of other items. Holidays will be more musical with their Christmas and Chanukah animals singing around the house.
Piqipi showed off their soft interactive books at Toy Fest. These books, for both boys and girls, come with accessories that work with the books, making them not only cute to look at but also helpful with creativity and development. With buttons, zippers, and other items to add to the stories, these fabric books are perfect for taking in the car. They’re colorful, entertaining and provide interactive skills at the same time.
Tangle Creations has a cool line of light-up balls. There is even a light-up throwing disc and baseball bat. Select the size, style and color of the ball you want and you’re set for a fun game. Throwing balls in the dark is an experience most people don’t have, but with the Nightball collection, you’re in for some fun. As a note, all the balls are regulation size and weight.
Wireless Express showed off their fun microphones that were a big hit at the show. Their Sing-along Pro and Party-to-Go mics connect via Bluetooth. They are a fun way to liven up any party with karaoke or just to give a speech. The Party-to-Go has a colorful light that shines like a disco ball. Party-to-Go comes in pink, black, and gold, and the Sing-along Pro comes in pink, black, gold, and rose gold. Also from Wireless Express were their dancing Rockin Hound speakers that connect to your musical device via Bluetooth. When the music plays, these fellows dance their hearts out. They recharge with a USB connection. All of their products were hits at the show.
Wrap n Snaps are the way to show individuality. These colorful wristbands have buttons that snap right on. There is a wide selection of buttons for every mood. There are buttons with animals, princess-related items, pirates, sports and emoji faces. They’re cute and show off the wearer’s personality. Plus, they can be used for incentives in school or elsewhere, giving a button for a job well done.
From Helio, kids will enjoy the nightlights that project images on the ceiling. These are not only functional lights, but also educational as well. Each light comes with five interchangeable discs and more are available to purchase, so while a child is drifting off to sleep or just winding down from the day, they can view pirates, geography, animals, shapes, presidents, astronomy, math and more. The lamps come in a variety of colors.
BC Mini has a variety of Totoro items, from the popular Japanese Studio Ghibli. Totoro, introduced in the film “My Neighbor Totoro,” has become the logo of the studio. Fans of this little – or big – guy have their choice of Totoro products. What caught my eye were the desks lamps. There are two varieties and each portrays Totoro in a different position. The first has him holding a leaf. His tummy glows with a white light and the leaf also lights up. The second has him holding an umbrella. The umbrella lights up and Totoro’s tummy glows with a yellow light. Both lamps measure 12 inches tall, and are easy to turn on and off. Plus, they have a USB cord which plugs into your laptop, computer, or other USB plug. The company has a variety of other products as well, however the Totoro desk lamps are unique.
Parents can keep track of their baby’s growth monthly with the baby’s first year blanket from Lulujo. Place your baby on the blanket along with the appropriate card that tells the age. Take a photo every month and at the end of the year you will have a memorable collection of your baby as he/she has grown through his or her first twelve months.
Mindscope has a fun product – cars and tracks that light up and glow. Kids can connect a variety of their flexible tracks and collect different cars. These bright neo tracks light up in the dark. Batteries are not included but are easy to insert. This is a fun new way to experience racing cars, day or night. The tracks can be expanded with plenty of options for a child (suggested age 3 and up) to create new and exciting configurations.
Viking Toys has a wonderful variety of plastic vehicles that are safe for kids. No toxic chemicals are used in the creation of the toys, and the items are made for ages 1 and up. I especially like the chubbies line of vehicles. They are sturdy, easy to clean and can even go in the dishwasher. I did test this claim and yes, the little chubbie airplane came out of the dishwasher clean, working just like it did when it went in, with no discoloration or chips. To me, this is the best part of these products, especially during cold and flu season. There are several chubbies in different sizes, all with working parts and designed with either primary or pastel colors. These vehicles are great for traveling, giving as gifts or just playing with around the house – inside and out.
Lee Publications showed off their magnetic paper dolls at Toy Fest, offering a new take on the paper doll. The dolls come in a variety of characters, and each tin contains two dolls. There are plenty of outfits to attach to the dolls so kids can use their creativity and fashion sense to make new designs and stories. Being magnetic is safer for everyone – no more paper cuts.
I grew up with Yo-Yos, and Duncan is still thriving with a variety of Yo-Yos for every skill level. If you’re beginning to learn how to master this skill or are a pro at it already, there’s a Duncan Yo-Yo for you. And they range in price as well as materials, from wood to metal to plastic and in almost every color you can imagine. This is a fun activity for families to do together.
Top Trumps showed off their Match games. They come in a variety of subjects, including Harry Potter, Despicable Me and Super Mario. They are fun for all ages and besides being entertaining to play, they require a bit of problem solving as the players must match the same picture on the blocks in a row before the opponent knocks it out of the way. I enjoyed playing it and I know others will, too.
The Manhattan Toy Company presented their Stella dolls, which are soft and cuddly. They are made for ages one and up and have a variety of additional clothes as well as accessories to add as the child ages. This is a doll that will be with your child throughout the years. I will go so far as to say Baby Stella and Wee Baby Stella (as well as Wee Baby Fella) will be a childhood friend for life.
Another product I found useful is the stick-on switch lights from Leading Edge. These switches can be stuck on anywhere at any height so a child can reach the nightlight. It can also be set on the nightstand so during the night, a child can switch it on and take it down the hall to the bathroom. It’s handy and easy to use.
Kids love books and Elly Lu has some fun children’s story books with corresponding toy animals that can be purchased separately. This is a way for kids to recreate the stories or create their own stories with the characters using their imaginations.
Instead of building blocks that fall down, now there are colorful magnetic cubes. These are fabulous and can be stacked in a variety of figurations with small, three-block sets for the very young. These Magicubes are designed for ages 18 months and older. They are colorful and inspire coordination and imagination. I wish I had these when I was a kid.
I found the Rody from Gymnic a great product. It’s a blow-up animal kids can sit on. That in and of itself is nothing new, but they have accessories that can be purchased to go along with the Rody. There is a Rocking base the animal clicks into to turn it into a rocking horse, and there is a Speedy base that has wheels to turn it into a rolling rider. So this little fellow adjusts to whatever your child wants to do. Plus, they’re brightly colored and squishable so they aren’t hard plastic.
We’re living in a time when tablets are being used regularly by kids, so Cuddle Case invented a plush case for iPads and other tablets. There are handles for easy carrying and via the Velcro, the case can be adjusted to stand up. They come in blue and pink.
The Allwalls Playsets are also a clever creation. These “buildings” unfold into various properties. There is a fort, cabin, a dentist office, a house, a barn, an auto repair shop, a fashion boutique and a schoolhouse. They open up and unfold to form whichever building you have so a child can play inside. Then, when playtime is over, you simply fold them back up and they fit easily on a shelf. These are designed for creativity and imagination, while at the same time helping parents because they fold up into a nice slim package.
These are just some of the interesting products that caught my eye at this year’s Toy Fest West.