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Toy Trends in 2012, Play with Me

February 15, 2012 by Editor in Play with 0 Comments

Young or old, get ready to learn the top new trends this year when it comes to the art of playing. The 109th Annual American International Toy Fair is taking place this week in New York City at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The trend experts scoured through 100,000+ products to determine the latest trends that will wow, connect and teach children of all ages (even “big” children).

This year there is an increase in high-ticket items, as well as a resurgence in educational toys for tots. Adrienne Appell, the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) in-house trend expert says, “Toymakers continue to innovate at the speed of light to keep up with trends in other areas – from pop culture to technology – because they know that kids want to be a part of the mix and mimic what’s happening in the world around them.”

How does the toy industry determine what direction to go when innovating?  “The toy industry draws upon economic and birth rate data to determine price points and product lines, which accounts for the prevalence this year of big-ticket items and toys for infants and pre-school children,” says Appell.

Check out the six top toy trends for 2012:

Glow exhibit at American International Toy Fair

  • Generation App- There is an abundance of toys that work with smart devices and apps. Toymakers are using this technology to enhance classic play patterns. Companies are now creating traditional toys that interact with popular devices, tying in educational or active components for a well-rounded playing experience.
  • Glowing Wild – Things no longer go bump in the night, they glow. You will see shelves lined with glow-in-the-dark toys this year, from outdoor toys to more creative arts and crafts products. These types of toys add another dimension to a child’s playtime. Of course, they are just as fun to play with in the day time as well.
  • Little Learners – Educational toys for children of all ages in this category build cognitive and developmental skills beginning at a very early age, transforming little ones into well-rounded, lifelong learners. They also provide a wide range of play options to choose from, allowing them to explore their interests and talents and develop these skills as they grow older.
  • Many Ways to Play – Toys in this category engage kids on multiple levels by including products that combine multiple play patterns (active play, role play, game play, etc.) and customizable toys (playthings become a unique reflection of a child’s individuality).

Musical exhibit at American International Toy Fair

  • Save ‘N’ Splurge – There has been a growing trend in high-price purchases, kind of like a purchasing trade-off. You save up your money and buy something that costs a little bit more but lasts a little bit longer. These are the “wow” items. People are holding out more for these types of toys rather than going for the low-to-mid range toy. So — expect to see more high-end, higher priced toys this year.
  • Young Maestros – Musical toys are on the rise this year for all ages. Everything from instruments, toys and games that teach children how to play them, to games that help kids practice their singing and dance moves. This trend is driven largely by pop culture such as TV shows like The Voice, American Idol and Glee.

With a wide array of ways to play it will be hard not to find something for the children in your life — or the kid in you. From techno toys, to ones that evolve and grow with you and glow in the dark … you are bound to find something that is music to your ears and money out of your wallet — even if you do have to save a little more before you splurge.


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