If your child is an animal fanatic, 2016 is going to be a great year for toys: we saw an amazing array of animals at Toy Fair this year. A few particular kinds of critters dominated the room – but let’s start by checking out what some of our favorite brands were up to.
For starters, Green Toys is introducing more animal figurines and more animal-centric playsets, starting with this super-cool farm:
They’re also releasing a fire station playset, with these two cute little firefighter kitties!
You’ll also be able to buy their animal figurines in Character Packs:
Playmobil also has an awesome new farm coming out, and that’s just one of their many terrific animal-themed playsets this year. The farm:
They’re also releasing a deluxe new zoo, with all of the pieces shown below – I’m particularly fond of the penguin enclosure:
One of the sold-separately sets with the zoo series is a sweet little petting zoo:
Even the Playmobil advent calendars are getting into the animal theme: this year, Santa is visiting the farm!
And even the Bride and Groom set come with doves:
Making your own animal pals is also a big theme this year. I’m really excited about the new Orb Factory Fuzzeez sets, which are truly unique among craft kits: they enable kids to make a truly snuggly and really attractive plush friend! The technique is a speedy version of wool felting – kids stuff wool bits into the mold, and then you dampen it and place it in the dryer. When it’s finished, the resulting plush toy is not only fuzzy and cute, but it’s also super durable! I know because I hugged and tugged on one myself.
As for trendy animals of the year: raccoons were hiding around every corner, and along with some adorable chubby bears, they appeared on the new Skip Hop playgym that got a huge response on our Instagram account this weekend:
I also love these sweet new raccoon Zoo Packs!
Dinosaurs were also everywhere:
Schleich has some really amazing new dinosaur sets coming out:
I wore this cutie from Manhattan Toy on my badge for the whole show:
Unicorns were also huge this year, in a million different forms, from the predictably lovely Schleich unicorns:
…to the weird faux-taxidermy unicorn heads I saw in a few different booths:
…to the adorable unicorn-costumed Pusheen at Gund:
To a… unicorn helicopter???
And there were a lot of genuinely weird, unusual beasts on display. Ever heard of a pangolin? For some reason, I was convinced that this Schleich pangolin was an echidna, but that’s apparently something else entirely. (Luckily a Facebook friend set me straight.)
Pangolins, it turns out, are anteaters, much like this guy:
And, have you ever heard of an okapi? Playmobil has a few.
There were also a few moose around, including these adorable baby toys from Janod:
…and this narwhal from Douglas Cuddle Toys was also super charming:
…as were these beautiful elephant bags, also from Douglas:
This chicken baby toy has hilarious enthusiasm:
Finally: the absolute most ubiquitous creature at Toy Fair 2016 was the fox! There were so many foxes that I started joking with vendors that I was playing a game of “Find the Fox” and taking pics of all of them. The trend started last year, but now it’s genuinely in full swing – a real fox invasion. And really, it’s no surprise, ‘cause those little guys are CUTE! Here are just a few of the many foxes I saw at the Fair. Enjoy!