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Fair Play: 2016 TIA “Toy of the Year” Winners

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The Toy Industry Association timeline delineates 100 years of service to the trade.

This week The Toy Industry Association, Inc. (TIA) celebrated it’s 113th annual trade event, once again bringing together creators, vendors, buyers and press outlets to North American International Toy Fair.
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Toying with Success: 2015 Toy of the Year Winners

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The Toy Industry Association‘s 112th North American International Toy Fair 2015 (#NYTF15) got it’s official start with a ribbon cutting event at New York City’s Jacob Javits Center on Saturday February 14, but it launched with advance festivities at the Association’s annual Toy of the Year Awards ceremony the evening before. I’m glad to see several that caught our eye this season took top honors.

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Spin Master’s Zoomer Dino wins TOTY Best Boy Toy of 2015.


Spin Master’s Zoomer Dino, the remote controlled “Boomer,” was voted Best Boy Toy. Its sleek design caught my eye when I first encountered it at the Big Toy Book 2014 Holiday of PLAY event.

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Hasbro’s Rebelle Dolphina Bow SuperSoaker


Co-editor Adriana “Andy” Melendez (Sylverwhisper) was particularly fond of Hasbro’s Nerf Rebelle archery sets, allowing young ladies to channel their inner Katniss Everdeen in backyard Hunger Games or rival Marvel Avenger Hawkeye for his accuracy. One of the Rebelle line, the super soaker Dolphina Water Bow, took Best Outdoor Toy honors.
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Crayola Paint Maker Kit takes 2015 Activity Toy of the Year Award.


The Crayola Paint Maker won Activity Toy of the Year division. It’s a toy we gifted to my niece this year. Crayola’s complete line of classic to digital creative sets is impressive. I still covet my childhood box of 64 crayons, replete with sharpener but I’m looking forward to reporting on Crayola’s other products, including their interesting camera obscura style drawing apparatus.
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Elsa is Everywhere…
It would seem that Princess Elsa is celebrating her TOTY award by putting NYC in a deep freeze for the next several days. The ubiquitous franchise Disney’s Frozen deservedly won for Property of the Year.

The Complete List…
The Toy Industry Association’s press release offers the complete rundown of winners with an explanation of their voting process.

“TOTY Award winners were selected with the input of consumers (on ToyAwards.org), retailers (mass and specialty), media and members of the toy industry. The five ballots were weighted and used to determine the category winners, with the exception of the “People’s Choice” award, which was selected exclusively by consumers.”

Recognizing an outstanding toy that inspires creative play through various forms of activity, the Activity Toy of the Year was presented to Crayola Paint Maker (Crayola)

Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for boys of any age, the Boy Toy of the Year was presented to ZOOMER DINO™ (Spin Master)

Recognizing an app-cessory or other physical toy that interacts with a smartphone, tablet or gaming device, the
e-Connected Toy of the Year was presented to LEGO® FUSION (LEGO Systems, Inc.)

Recognizing an outstanding toy that helps children develop special skills and knowledge through play, the
Educational Toy of the Year was presented to LEGO® Technic (LEGO Systems, Inc.)

Recognizing an outstanding children’s board, card, CD-ROM or electronic game, the Game of the Year was presented to Simon Swipe™ (Hasbro, Inc.)

Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for girls of any age, the Girl Toy of the Year was presented to Shopkins™ Small Mart Playset (Moose Toys)

Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for infants and toddlers up to 36 months, the Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year was presented to Go! Go! Smart Animals™ Zoo Explorers Playset™ (VTech®)

Recognizing an outstanding toy that combines innovation and play value, the Innovative Toy of the Year was presented to MiP ™ (WowWee)

Recognizing an outstanding toy that is designed for outdoor play, the Outdoor Toy of the Year was presented to Nerf Rebelle Dolphina Bow (Hasbro, Inc.)

Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for preschool-aged children (ages 3-5), the Preschool Toy of the Year was presented to LEGO® Juniors (LEGO Systems, Inc.)

Recognizing a property that has had the greatest success spreading its brand throughout the industry, the
Property of the Year was presented to Disney’s Frozen (The Walt Disney Company)

Recognizing an outstanding toy that is distributed primarily through specialty toy retailers, the
Specialty Toy of the Year was presented to Gravity Maze™ (ThinkFun, Inc.)

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American International Toy Fair 2013 Coverage Begins

The 110th Annual American International Toy Fair…
Setting foot into the Toy Industry Association’s Annual Toy Fair in New York City has always been a head spinning experience. There are so many visual enticements to report on. This year is no different in it’s “where do I look first” excitement. Fortunately during our last few expeditions Ken Pierce of the PiercingMetal webzine and I have been able to hone a sense of the collectibles readers are clamoring to see. You can expect lots of photos and information in the days, weeks, and months to come from us both.

What It Is…
Toy Fair is a gigantic industry-only event that encompasses the entire span of the Jacob Javits Convention Center on two floors. It’s where and when toy manufacturers from all over the world unveil their newest products and book the sales for the year-end holiday season. It’s center stage for all things fun, but it’s also serious bottomline business. That said, I’d like to thank the vendors who took time out of their schedules to offer a look at their merchandise for your enjoyment. In many cases – where permitted – you will be getting an insider’s view of prototypes for proposed products or license/tie-in items yet to be approved. I hope you enjoy the upcoming posts.

Toy of the Year Awards Go To…

  • Recognizing an outstanding toy that inspires creative play through various forms of activity, the Activity Toy of the Year was presented to LEGO® Friends(The LEGO Group)
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for boys of any age, the Boy Toy of the Year was presented to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shellraiser (Playmates Toys)
  • Recognizing an app-cessory or other physical toy that interacts with a smartphone, tablet or gaming device the e-Connected Toy of the Year was presented to Skylanders Giants™ (Activision Publishing, Inc.)
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy that helps children develop special skills and knowledge through play, the Educational Toy of the Year was presented to LeapPad2™ (LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.)
  • Recognizing an outstanding children’s board, card, CD-ROM or electronic game, the Game of the Year was presented to Perplexus Epic™ (PlaSmart Inc.)
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for girls of any age, the Girl Toy of the Year was presented to LEGO® Friends (The LEGO Group)
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for infants and toddlers up to 36 months, the Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year was presented to Tranquil Turtle™ (Cloud b)
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy that combines innovation and play value, the Innovative Toy of the Year was presented to Digital Light Designer (Crayola)
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy that is designed for outdoor play, the Outdoor Toy of the Year was presented to The Original Big Wheel™ (Kids Only, Inc., a division of JAKKS Pacific, Inc.)
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for preschool-aged children (ages 3-5) the Preschool Toy of the Year was presented to Doc McStuffins “Time For Your Check-Up” Doll (Just Play)
  • Recognizing a property that has had the greatest success spreading its brand throughout the industry, Property of the Year was presented to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon)
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy that is distributed primarily through specialty toy retailers, the Specialty Toy of the Year was presented to LEGO® Architecture (The LEGO Group)

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Next Hex & Motion Moshi’s: Innovation First @ NY Toy Fair 2012

Hexbug Nano Hive Habitat - Awarded Specialty Toy of the Year

VooDoo Bugs, Slight Reprise…
Toy Fair 2012 was a great opportunity to become familiar with lots of new products scheduled for roll-out over the next year but it was also fun to visit with the representatives of some of last year’s favorites and see their newest product spins. That was certainly the case with the folks at Innovation First who welcomed Ken Pierce and I into their booth for a peak at the latest updates to the Hexbugs universe.

Updates include more modular base plates, allowing for Hexbugs exit/entrance from varied positions of your choice. The plates also have a series of slides and whirly-gigs that make watching the jittery robotic insects even more fun. Clip an optional hook to the back of your Hexbug and watch it slide down guide wire equipped elevations.

Pack Up Your Hexbugs in Your Old Kitbag…
I was really happy to see Innovation First Labs take top honors with a Specialty Toy of the Year Award for their Hexbugs Hive Habitat Set. This portable version of the Habitat product neatly folds up into a molded handle carrying case to easily tote your Nanos wherever you go. Like the rest of the line everything is expandable once you reach your destination.

This Means War…
On the horizon are Hexbug Warriors, an extrapolation of last year’s “battle bridge” concept. Warriors can be outfitted with snap on weaponry ranging from buzz-saw blades to drill noses. Open sided concave platforms make for the arena ground and the toys push and nudge each other until one falls to the level below.

Mesmerizing Moshlings
For younger gamers and Mom’s who just can’t stand the sight of bug-like crawlers skittering around the living room floor First Innovations has introduced a series of tiny Bobble Bots. These shaky noggin creatures are based on online “virtual pets” Moshi Monsters, each with their own cool personality. Like Hexbug Nanos, they have a modular environment to traverse with little houses and shops, trees, shrubs, and lamp posts that can be turned into a complete village. Swing away doors allow the critters to bop in and out of the buildings, and their erratic perambulations are mesmerizing.