We’re back to work, slaving away at the computers after an awesome Toy Fair 2013. We lugged a solid six bags of catalogs, press kits, candy, and swag back to the office after touring the massive trade show. With four levels of toys, books, and games, it took us all four days to explore and pick through the largest selection of children’s products we’ve ever seen. There’s so much awesome stuff to feature, it’s going to take at least six months to get it all on the site. However, have no fear, we came up with a list of the top five things that really stood out.
1. Chinese Cubes
The first reaction we had walking up to this booth was, “Oh no, not another construction block.” However, we were in for a pleasant surprise. We were walked through a demonstration of these cool cubes that use Augmented Reality, a.k.a. AR technology (a fancy way of using webcams to interact with objects in the real world), to teach your child 200 Chinese characters. With this knowledge they’ll be able to learn how to speak, write, and translate over 30,000 phrases.
Check out this video for a demonstration. We dare you not to dance to the music.
2. Attacknids – Next Generation
We thought Attacknids were cool when we covered them in 2012, but now we they’ve reached a whole new plateau: giant, remote controlled, battling spider-bots! They shoot soft projectiles from swiveling turrets, and come with destructible armor. Weapons include a ball launcher, dart shooter, and disc blaster that are completely customizable with your battle bot. We got a chance to try these out and were thoroughly impressed. The object is simple: hit the other bot. What complicates matters are the projectiles raining down on your own Attacknid. You can’t buy them yet, but we’ll feature them on the site as soon as they become available. Meanwhile, check out the interview below for a sneak peek.
Hexbugs are some of the coolest, simplest machines on the hi-tech toy market today, and their most recent product lines are pretty exciting: Hexbug Warriors and the Hexbug Aquabots. The Warriors are basically miniature, customizable battlebots that duke it out on a special concave track. The bots use sensors that act like pressure points to keep track of the “damage” done to one another. When they’ve sustained enough damage from running into one another they’ll shut off. You can purchase them now, exclusively at Target.
Next up we have the Aquabots (not to be confused with the Aquabats), which are due out later this year. These are the first robotic swimming fish that are small enough to fit in your child’s goldfish bowl. They resemble little sharks with a movable tail, and one of the coolest features is that they can sense when they are in and out of water. Real fish can sense this too, but the Aquabots won’t stink after two days on the bedroom floor.
4. Glow Crazy Pattern Painter
Has your little monster ever captured lightning bugs and then proceeded to smear them on things to make it glow? Well, Techno Source has finally put an end to the senseless genocide of fireflies. Introducing Glow Crazy Pattern Painter, the safest way to draw on all sorts of things without using any ink. Due out later this year, this plastic paint brush is going to be on every kid’s wish list. Using the accompanying “glow banner,” your children will be able to virtually paint their walls with a LED light that makes the surface glow before gradually fading away. Seriously, this thing is rad. The Painter contains 50 patterns that you simply change by pressing the button.
5. Ubooly (iPad&iPad Mini)
First there was Teddy Ruxpin, next came the annoying Furbies; well ladies and gentlemen, good news, the automated toy business just stepped up to the next level with Ubooly. Available for purchase this summer, this super-cute furball works with your iPad or iPad Mini to create a life-like creature straight from an 80’s fantasy movie. The creature uses fairly sophisticated voice recognition software to interact and play games with your children. An iOS app that provides hours of content is included. As tech-savvy as this little guy is, one of the best features is his rotund, plush body; that costly Apple product will remain safe and sound inside Ubooly. We look forward to getting our hands on one and featuring it in the months ahead.
*Editor’s note: Do not get it wet, it will not multiply. However, you may feed it after midnight.
This is just a very small sample of the other cool products we saw. Not to mention the ones we’re not supposed to talk about yet. However, we wanted to list a few more things that really peaked our interest.
The Presidential Game– Take the U.S. election, combine that with Risk, and you get this awesome board game geared towards ages 10 and up. It’s a great way to teach middle schoolers about the electoral college.
Serpent Stones– A wonderful board/card game that gets your kids ready for the bigger, more complex tabletop games on the market. Serpent Stones is fun for adults as well, but this is really a great primer for the tikes before they move on to Magic the Gathering. It’s available later this year, so keep checking back to see when it goes on sale.
My First Garden– Imagine a sturdy metal sandbox that is the perfect height for your child’s first garden (hence the name). The small, easy to assemble plant bed is great for you urban dwellers. These innovative Aussies were kind enough to give us one, which is in the office now; we’ll be trying them out for our own urban garden soon, and will let you know how it goes. No, we are not starting a new side business growing illegal crops. Shame on you.
Logik Street– Last, but certainly not least, we played a game for the younger ones from the creators of Dixit that is absolutely perfect for teaching Boolean logic concepts. You want your child to grow up and major in computer science, then you need to watch for this. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait to when it is released this summer. Don’t worry, we’ll let you know when they go to retail.