OK, so Christmas has been and gone and you’ve probably spent a fair bit of cash and filled a few cupboards with toys, right?
But the world of toys stops for no man, woman or child as this week London hosts the annual 3-day Toy Fair, where toy makers get together to showcase their latest creations to press, retailers and the public.
The MFM team gave a little sigh of nostalgia when we spotted a giant Care Bear walking around the humungous fair.
And we were really pleased to see some lovely retro toys, too: Fuzzy Felt (including My Little Pony Fuzzy Felt – OMG ??) some Rubik’s re-inventions in easy animal shapes for little ones, Tiny Tears (awwww) and a revamp of the Girl’s World styling head, because we soooo wanted one of these when we were little!
Then there were the seriously hi-tech toys – like Arakno, a super-interactive spider which makes sounds, has different moods, scales the wall along its string, has glowy eyes and even acts as a motion sensor alarm.
We were also interested in the VR headsets, which allow you to wander around Jurassic Park shooing away that not-so-friendly virtual Tyrannosaurus Rex (until it stomps on your head, that is).
Everything has an app, right?
Yep – even bedtime stories and colouring books. We’re delighted to see that colouring books are still around (proof that kids aren’t surgically attached to their tablets the whole time – hurrah ?) but intrigued to note that plenty of them now have an app so your little one can watch their doodles come to life.
We also saw books which, when read with an app, bought the characters on the page ‘to life’ so you could move them around.
And here we were a bit split. While some of us thought these were really cool (and know our kids would love them), others gave a bit of an eye roll.
Probably because we know the point of books at bedtime is to get your little one sleepy and an app like this would just keep them awake – and, let’s face it, you’d take an hour to turn every page.
One of the purposes of a colouring book is that you don’t need to give your little one your phone because they have a colouring book – but now there’s a fancy app that makes their butterfly fly/dog wag its tail – they’ll want both ?
The good news
One thing’s for sure, what we did see at the Toy Fair was variety. Yes, there were the computerised gizmos that did a trillion different things, but we also saw flower presses, beautiful wooden shopping carts and old-style classic family board games.
Then there were old favourites like Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear and Barbie given surprising new twists, and sand pits filled with sand (albeit kinetic) – because kids will always love sand and Barbies, right?
The one thing we did come away with is that… whatever your little one likes in the toy stakes, we’re pretty sure you’ll be able to find it somewhere ?