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The best toys of 2016: our buyers’ picks from Toy Fair

Now that we’ve examined the hottest trends of this year’s Toy Fair, let’s get down to specifics: which products impressed our buying team? Most of these terrific toys will be appearing on our shelves over the course of the year, so keep an eye out!

 

Jill Hegstad, Head Buyer


Kano Computer Kit

Kids can make their very own computer with this kit for ages 8+.  The orange aesthetic is so cool and I think it’s great that kids can learn how to build the technology that they use so frequently in everyday life.  You can either just buy the computer and use it with any television, or also buy the screen kit and make your own.  The screen and keyboard slide together for easy transportation.

Read more here!

kano build your own computer kit toy fair

HaPe Wooden Railway
HaPe has done a great job of making a wooden railway set into so much more.  I loved that they integrated activities for toddlers into the set, like a xylophone bridge that trains can roll over to make a fun tune. The trains range from basic to very whimsical. It is available in various sized sets so you can start off as small or as large as your family would like!

hape wooden railway toy fair 2016

My First Bananagrams
Bananagrams has been a Magic Beans favorite and a family favorite for years. Coming this fall, My First Bananagrams will be available for younger kids.  With color coded tiles and all lowercase letters, your kids will be spelling in no time!

my first bananagrams toy fair 2016

Skip Hop Explore & More 3-Stage Activity Center
As a parent, I LOVE products that last for a while. Kids develop so quickly, and some toys end up shoved in a closet after maybe only a few weeks.  This toy will grow with your child as they progress from a baby to a toddler, starting out as a classic activity center for your baby, then transforming to suit their developmental stage. Another nifty detail: see the little color keyboard down at their feet? It’s there to draw baby’s attention and encourage them to improve their coordination by trying to press the keys with their toes. It’s brilliant.

skip hop baby activity center toy fair 2016

Hannah Bemelmans, Junior Assistant Buyer

Begin Again Farm Puzzle and Play Set
I am a fan of their wooden puzzles already but especially like that with this set that I spotted at Toy Fair, you can create a play scene with the puzzle pieces. It’s also an alphabet teaching tool – the first piece starts with A (apple tree) and the rest follow in ABC order left to right.

begin again farm puzzle toy fair 2016

Fat Brain Toys, Pop’emz Suction Craft
More innovation with suction cups from Fat Brain! Pop’ems are little brightly colored suction cups that you can suction to a surface to create different designs. They stick really well, but you can also easily wipe them away to start over. They were very satisfying to pop onto the glass that Fat Brain had set up at their Toy Fair booth – and very difficult to stop.

fat brain toy popemz toy fair 2016

Thames and Kosmos, Sewing Circuits
Sew your own light up patch! Literally sew a circuit with conductive thread between LED lights and batteries, with metal snaps that act as an on/off switch to make the patch light up. I like it because of the STEAM value (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) and the gender neutral design and concept.

Eeboo Pretend and Play Sets, Diner and World Traveler
Each pack is really detailed and has a lot to offer for pretend play. For instance, the world traveler set has pretend postage for pretend postcards and passport stamps for your pretend passport. The whole set has a cool, jet-set aesthetic.

eeboo world traveler playset toy fair 2016

Isaac Judd, COO

Helix 3 Puzzle from Imagability
Kind of like Perplexus: it’s also a self-contained problem-solving puzzle, but in this one, instead of navigating obstacles, you roll the ball through a maze.

helix 3 puzzle toy fair 2016

Discover with Dr. Cool Learn How to Pan for Gold Kit
Kids like finding gold! The activity booklet teaches you about the history of prospecting, and then you get to actually practice basic panning techniques.

pan for gold science kit toy fair 2016

Thames and Kosmos Hot Ice Crystals
One of the coolest science sets at Toy Fair! Pour a sodium acetate solution that instantly turns into solid white crystals that look like ice but release heat upon formation.

science kit hot ice crystals toy fair 2016

Educational Insights My First Telescope
A very sturdy beginner’s telescope with dual eye lenses that’s tough enough for ages 4 and up.

educational insights my first telescope toy fair 2016

Ravensburger Smartscope
This toy turns any phone camera into a microscope!

Brio World
These city products integrate with Brio train sets to create an even richer interactive play world.

 

Kendra Collins, Assistant Buyer

Fashion Angels, Zap Snapz
I thought that this was a innovative and fun new way to incorporate fashion activities with construction. It will be an project where the child will really have to plan out which size snap will fit where and what end result they would like to see. Once they are finished, they will have something that they are really proud of that they can show off.

Blue Orange Dr. Eureka Game 
Take your test tubes filled with “chemical” balls and change it around to mirror what the card displays, but with only using one hand. This game is for ages 3 and up. Fun problem-solving and motor skills practice, and great for getting kids excited about science!

blue orange dr. eureka toy fair 2016

Oyo Sports: New MLB Minifigures, Clubhouse and Gametime Sets 
This year at Toy Fair, Oyo revealed their Series 5 MLB figures that are now complete with headphones to get the players pumped up for the game. They also came out with a brand new product called a Clubhouse Set. This set comes with a Team Locker, Interview/Press Conference Set, and Manager. There are three different sets for each league; just use your team’s stickers to outfit the pieces. Also, you can collect multiple sets to connect the lockers together! They also updated the NFL Gametime Sets, which now come with kicker pieces, nets behind the goal post, and a movable camera man!

Djeco Paint Your Own Silk Scarf
Djeco has beautifully made products that have continued to stay exactly on trend. This set is a great activity for older girls, ages 7 and up. One can simply pin the fabric to the opened frame box to hold the scarf in place, and then, by just following the easy step-by-step instructions, children are able to paint in the pre-printed illustrations to end up with a beautifully hand painted silk scarf that they can be proud of and show off at school!

Other brands and products I really liked at Toy Fair:

buying guide - toys ages and stages

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