New year, new toys!
C'mon, adults, you know how it works: While you were checking off wish list items for the little ones over the holidays, the toy experts were busy creating and planning new ways to keep children entertained.
That's why it should be no surprise that thousands of play professionals came together recently at New York's Javits Center to show off what's coming your way next. Laurie Schacht, aka the Toy Insider Mom, met up with ABC News at the big event and offered up an early first look at some of the new toys, including prototypes, that will be available later this year.
"Classic play is always a trend," Schacht told ABC News. She highlighted three products in the classic play group that may be big hits this year. Among them, the new Vintage Disney Puppets from Folkmanis which will be available in winter 2017.
"It's great play for kids and for parents," Schacht said of the puppets, "great for storytelling, great for bedtime and great for imaginative play, which is so important to kids as they grow up."
Schacht also highlighted Cupcake Surprise Dolls from Sunny Days, which you'll start to see on store shelves now. A simple flip transforms the little cupcakes into mini dolls. Schacht also demonstrated the PJ Masks Rival Racers Track Playset from Just Play. Tap a "button" and the racer is on his way. The PJ Masks sets will all available this fall. Each of the toys target children ages 3 and up and encourages imaginative and creative play.
Arts and crafts
Schacht said when it comes to arts and crafts, "Kids love DIY, they love simple things. When you talk about kits, usually you're talking about things that are not expensive. So think all year," she said, "when you're thinking about what do you get for that kid's birthday party. An arts-and-crafts kit is always a perfect answer."
There are a host of new toys that will require more hands-on play. The 3D Cra-Z-Gels from Cra-Z-Art available this spring will give children the chance to use their painting skills to decorate stickers. The stickers come in kits with everything necessary to create unique artwork. The Drone Force from the Alpha Group U.S. is another hands-on toy coming this fall. It offers kids an opportunity to test their flying skills with an assortment of five drones, each with different features. There's also Meccano M.A.X. from Spin Master, also set to be released this fall. The robot learns to do more based on interaction with the child. The toys highlighted in this group are best for children 6 and up.
"We want to keep our kids active and busy," Schacht said as she highlighted a few toys that will encourage kids to get moving.
The 3-in-1 Activity Center Trampoline from Smart Trike, hitting store shelves now, may help little ones burn off some of that extra energy. The trampoline can be adjusted for use in different ways as the child grows. Schacht also highlighted the Bubble Ball from Zuru, which is already on store shelves. The child slips inside a giant inflatable ball with handles on the inside and then attempts to maneuver around. Schach talso included an all new add-on accessory for hoverboards called the Neon Kart. It comes from Yvolution and is set to be available this spring. It's essentially a seat that will attach to the hoverboard (sold separately) giving users new ways to maneuver the boards, especially those who may have difficulty standing on them.
To see all of these toys in action and for more detailed information about each of the products featured, be sure to watch the video above. Disney is the parent company of ABC News.