Toy Fair ’11: My Top 10 Picks

I found so much cool stuff at the Toy Fair here in New York recently. I’ll write longer posts about some of my favorite brands soon, but in the meantime here are my top toy picks. Not all are available for online purchase yet, but if they are I’ve provided links:

I fell hook, line and sinker for Gund’s new “Nuzzles”, cuddly plush animals that “hug you back” by snuggling right over your shoulder (and thus do double duty as a neck pillow on long car rides). I can’t tell you how many grown-ups I saw wanting to try these things out. Available in monkey, bear, horse, or dog for $17.99 at Table & Home.

Quite the opposite of cuddly, the creepy Hexbug “Larva” will be arriving in Fall 2011 to gross out parents and delight children of all ages (mine included, I’m sure).

I found the new “Glow in the Dark” Hexbug Nanos and habitats much more enticing. I think these are arriving in Fall 2011 as well. R. has already put in her request with me.

If you have a preschool-age daughter, there is a good chance you have gone through (or will soon go through) a Calico Critter stage. We sure did. I got to check out this fun new Calico Critters: Caravan Family Camper Set by International Playthings. It’s expensive ($69.99 at Think Fast Toys) but it’s literally packed to the ceiling with fun things to do.

Tumblekins by International Playthings is sort of a wooden version of Weebles. The chunky figures wobble and spin within the transportation vehicles but don’t fall out, making this a great new toy for toddlers.

I’ll be writing more soon about the wonderful world of Corolle Dolls. It is such a special brand to me since I had several Corolle dolls growing up (many of you probably did as well). This vanilla-scented, light-blue outfitted baby is one of the “younger” stage Corolle dolls–a newer version of a “Suce Pouce” for 2yrs+. It’s a sweet gift for a toddler girl or boy.

The workmanship on the Corolle dolls is truly extraordinary. Check out the hair and freckles on one of the new “Coquette Redhead”, one of the “Miss Corolle Dolls” (for ages 3 years and up). The clothing on these dolls is also quite outstanding (even including Liberty of London fabrics). More on that next time, too.

Now that my son is four-years-old, I’m always on the lookout for cool alternatives to the little die-cast cars that seem to mutiply exponentially in our apartment. I loved these European-made E-Racer Cars by Hape/Educo ($15 at Amazon.com, various colors). Each car is made from one single piece of harvested bamboo.

I’m a big fan of the Creativity for Kids arts & crafts sets, and checked out their new Recycled Cardboard Zoo ($29.99 at Amazon.com). Based on the success of the Recycled Cardboard Dollhouse Kit, this new 100-piece set includes everything from fuzzy animals to a fish-filled aquarium (plus, even the packaging is usable…the inside of the box folds out to become a printed play area). Kids can add their own accents, too (in the bottom picture, the lemonade stand is made from a recycled juice box!)

Right before the Toy Fair, I attended a blogger breakfast hosted by family-owned company Goldberger Toys. Among other products, they make the award-winning Seedlings Dolls which are eco-friendly and safe for newborns. Look at those sweet punim.

Last but not least, in the “gadget” category, I adored these

Stay tuned for more finds from the Toy Fair!

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