I spent 3 days last week at the Toy Fair in London meeting with toy companies and getting to have a good nosy around at all of the new toys coming out this year. After looking at thousands upon thousands of toys, I think these are my top toys for this year.
Cra-Z-Loom is a new way to make funky jewellery by weaving elastic bands on a loom. Whilst we were at the show there was a young girl making bracelets with this and it looked so much fun. The Shimmer and Sparkle set is new in the UK for this year and is a great way for kids to make funky jewellery. Not only has Cra-Z-Loom brought us this new fun approach to making jewellery but there is also an online community element to the toy where kids can share designs and tips.
Each kit comes with 100s of rubber bands which can be used to create up to 24 bracelets so you get plenty of play for your money. Plus you can get refill packs including Cra-Z-Loom Neon bright refill pack which includes 900 brightly coloured bands for making colourful bracelets. I know this would go down a storm with my 7 year old daughter and her friends.
Cra-Z-Loom retails for around £14.99 and can be found in Argos and ToysRUs.
9. Freezeez Ice Cream Maker
The amazing Ice Cream Maker that you don’t need to freeze! The ice-cream is frozen by the chemical reaction between the ice, salt and water against the outside of the cone. Once you’ve added your ice, salt and water to the outer cup you put your cream and sauce into the cone, pop on the lid and shake, shake, shake! Three minutes of shaking and you have delicious ice-cream ready to eat.
I love this idea because it can be made in just a few minutes rather than having to freeze it. We tried some of the ice-cream at the toy fair and it was yummy.
8. Mr Maker Make-It-In-A-Minute Board Game
The fab new Mr Maker Board Game is a cross between a board game and an arts and crafts session – as you would expect. The aim of the game is go around the board, picking up a card that matches the colour you landed on. The card will either have you making, painting or acting something for your fellow players to guess.
The board game will be launched later this year and sure to be a hit with pre-schoolers and primary school kids alike. It will retail at £24.99.
This ace new construction range from Triqo mixes the iconic tough, flexible and easy to snap together Triqo design with modeling to bring you a great new range. Triqo are presenting 15, brightly coloured sets which will each make three to five models varying from dinosaurs to cars and construction vehicles.
I can see this going down a storm in our house, both with following the instructions and making the models and then letting their imaginations go wild.
The gorgeous robotic dog, Zoomer, is back and this year he is bringing some friends along too! The best robotic dog I’ve played with, Zoomer is exactly what you want a robot toy dog to be and the new Zoomer out this autumn knows twice as many tricks! RRP £79.99
5. MineCraft toys
Mine Craft is huge this year and is branching into toys, models and figurines to collect and play with. I saw a huge range of Mine Craft toys at the Toy Fair from cardboard models to recreate MineCraft scenes with to toy swords and these really lovely key rings. They come in blind bags (as in, you don’t know which one you are going to get until you open it) and there are a bunch of characters to collect including this ace creeper.
There is no way I’m giving this up so the kids can play with it. It’s mine, I tell you! Mine!
4. Kurio Phone
For the longest time I was very wary and about the whole idea of kids having phones – I mean, seriously, what do they need a phone for? Who are they going to call? But as mine get older and are gaining more independence I can really see how having a phone would be a great advantage. And lets face it, phones aren’t just phones anyway these days – I probably spend more time playing games, browsing the web and tweeting on mine that I do calling or texting anyone.
But, this also opens up a whole host of other safety worries regarding the internet and apps. But I think Kurio have nailed all the safety aspects with this attractive smart phone.
The Kurio phone has excellent parental controls including who can contact them, who they can call, which websites they can visit and apps they can use. It also has a brilliant emergency call feature where they can call 999 with just 3 clicks of their phone or, if unable to make a call but think they are in danger, contact their parents with their gps coordinates and SOS notification by repeatedly pressing the power button. There is a tracking device, a geofencing feature, a low battery notification for the parents as well as some brilliant theft features: in the event of theft it is possible to trigger an alarm or take a photo at a distance of the thief, erase all pictures and data remotely and finally block the phone completely.
3. Magic Chalk Spray
Magic Spray is a genius idea that is huge all over Europe but is only just being launched in the UK this year. It is basically chalk in a spray tin. You can spray it on, wipe it off and begin again. it’s great for games of hopscotch, marking out lines for sports pitches in the back garden or just creating pretty pictures.
2. PL-UG Den Kit
Another simple yet brilliant idea is this new Den Set that has just launched in the UK. The Den Kit contains grips, hooks, suckers and clamps for helping your little ones erect dens in any room of the house. We always struggled a bit with dens with the sheets always slipping, or the books we were weighting them down with tumbling off. No sooner had a good game got under way than the den needed to be rebuilt.
And now there’s no need to worry about it. It doesn’t take away the fun or creativity of den building but simply allows kids to build their den where before there was nothing to hang sheets off. We love the sucker idea making windows perfect sheet holders and the hooks and clamps should attach to most chairs, tables and book shelves.
There are three sets released in the range:The Den Kit which includes includes several den building fasteners; The Canopy Den Kit which includes a sheet and several fasteners; The Ultimate Den Kit which includes fasteners, sheet and poles.
1. Toy-Fi Teddy
This gorgeous little bear was my favourite toy of the whole toy fair and a brilliant toy for kids whose parents are away on business a lot, work late or for kids who don’t see one parent or even grandparents much. Toy-Fi Teddy allows parents/grandparents and kids to stay in touch via the teddy.
Parents can download an app which allows them to send voice recordings to the bear which the kids can listen to and even send messages back. My kids spend their time split between us in the UK and their father who lives in Lapland and Toy-Fi teddy would be a wonderful way of sending little messages, good night kisses etc between each other when it’s not always possible or convenient to skype or facetime.