By Susan Davis
OK, I’ll admit it, I’m sick of the latest and greatest computer, cell phone, video games, War Games… whatever. So I walked around Toy Fair in New York City recently searching out some fun things for kids that didn’t
include any of the above, and I found some old fashioned goodies.
BUBBLES, BUBBLES AND MORE BUBBLES
I found bubble makers in all shapes and sizes (oh, all right, some needed batteries)…
THE BUBBLE THING
This might be my favorite show bubble thing, and that is actually its name, “THE BUBBLE THING.” It’s the simplest thing in the world; it looks like a belt on a stick… you swish it around a bucket of bubble solution and with a few tries you can create humongous bubbles, 10 or 20 feet long. My guess is that their Big Bubble Mix works best, but you can also make your own. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGQL5lx-mwE
GLOW FUSION BUBBLES
Imperial Toy’s Super Miracle Bubbles now have a new additive for glow in the dark bubbles that light up outdoor play with a fantastic orange glow. It adds a little oomph to plain old bubble solution and will, for sure, liven up a nighttime blast in the backyard!
NO SPILL BUBBLE CONTAINERS
Well, duh! Why on earth didn’t someone figure this out long ago? Drop it… knock it over… turn it upside down… Little Kids Inc. No-Spill®! bubble toys, buckets and tumblers eliminate bubble spills and keep liquid inside for more bubble fun! Motorized bubble machines are fun too. http://littlekidsinc.com/
REALLY, REALLY BIG BUILDING BLOCKS
You and /or your kids can build a castle, or a fort, or anything else your imagination can conjure. https://www.platports.com/
A PAPER MENAGERIE
‘Couplicoles’ are three dimensional, colorful paper toys, the name coming from the French for ‘cut’ (couper), ‘fold’ (plier) and paste (coller). Like Japanese origami and scale models, Jouets Hartia Toys’ delightful collection of paper animals, insects, birds and other characters are both educational and fun to build. They come with complete instructions including how to make a mobile out of your creations. Great for a stuck-at-home rainy day. www.hartiatoys.com.
Those plain old helmets are so last year. Now your kids (or you, depending on how mature you are) can be a lion or a bear or a princess or a jester… or any number of fun things… thanks to these enchanting helmet covers for skiers, snowboarders, inline skaters, bicyclists – just about any sport for which helmets are worn. www.crazeeheads.com
These are not your grandfather’s kites. There are hundreds of cool kites and accessories ranging from entry-level single-line kites for children and families to highly sophisticated flying wonders for the kite enthusiasts. http://www.premierkites.com/index.shtml
WARM AND FUZZY (AND GREAT SMELLING!) PETS
What could be better for a kid (or anyone for that matter) than a cuddly stuffed animal? How about a cuddly stuffed animal that you can heat in the microwave to keep under the covers to keep your little one warm and snug all winter long? A minute in the microwave heats up the natural wheat insert and the calming aroma of lavender and chamomile will see them soundly to sleep. http://us.aromahome.com/
KOOSH BALL LAUNCHERS
Little adventurers will enjoy galactic-size fun with colorful galaxy themed KOOSH ball launchers that encourage kids to use their imagination and get moving. My favorite is the SOLAR RECON ball launcher that lets kids guard the galaxy with glow-in-the-dark blasting power and awesome sounds and lights. From the makers of Nerf and sized for little hands. Available soon from Hasbro.
BABY, HOW CUTE!
The Stand-Up Ballcano encourages and rewards baby’s physical development of pulling up, standing and cruising. Babies can fill up the center with the six colorful balls. As they bat at the roller ball on top or bat the silly character in the middle, it will activate a great eruption that spills balls down the three legs of play. What fun! There is lots of fun action, colorful lights and energetic music to encourage baby to keep filling up the center over and over again. Overt handles make it easy for baby to stand up and reach the center. Available in June from Fisher-Price.
MICRO DRIFTERS CARS…
These collectible cars can race, drift, swarm and even self-correct themselves to always face in a forward direction when played with on a track set. Sold in trios, fans will want to collect all 18 of their favorite Cars vehicles.
…AND A TRACK TO RIDE THEM ON
This motorized set provides a variety of driving surfaces that replicate the CARS films’ famous race scenes so kids can keep the on-screen fun at home. In the end there can only be one winner, and with the flip of a small lever, kids can see who places first, second and third. Track comes with one Micro Drifters™ vehicle. Cars and Track available in June from Mattel.