This year, the toy box will be filled with products from both ends of the spectrum. From high-tech toys to classic and outdoor-based products, there is something for everyone’s interests – child or adult. Ultimately, the best toys are always the ones that challenge and foster development, all while maintaining an element of fun. And while the focus is on the child, well thought-out play will always involve components that naturally encourage parents to join the activities as well.
Here’s what’s coming up in 2017…
#1: TOYING WITH TECHNOLOGY
From drones to robotics to augmented reality and apps that integrate with physical toys, tech toys this year will teach kids important concepts (including coding, engineering, problem-solving and building) while providing a truly 360-degree interactive play experience. The profusion of technology and innovation this year will see us through rapid enhancement in classic play patterns, redefining the way we engage in play across a diverse category of toys and games.
#2: FAMILY PLAY
Millennial parents have grown nostalgic for their own childhood board games, puzzles and other traditional toys, and are seeking to share these unplugged experiences with their children. While technology soars on one hand, we have a growing number of toys that promote socialization, face-to-face interaction, and family bonding on the other. From classic card and board games to crafts and outdoor play, these activities help bridge the gap between generations, by helping families create lasting memories through play.
#3: THE AGE OF AESTHETICS
Elaborate flatlay concoctions, Instagram-worthy pieces and Pinterest-like designs; this year will see the age of social media aesthetics continue to blossom. Pieces under this trend help both child and parent craft better, decorate better, and build better; creating physical masterpieces that can be proudly shared with the social media community online.
#4: BRAIN BOOSTERS
Educational toys are ‘STEM-ming’ ahead, and toys that teach or reinforce Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) continue to be top contenders in the toy market. Parents and educators appreciate these toys because they help prep kids for school by building important spatial, reasoning, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Brain-boosting playthings that fall into this trend also encourage kids’ proficiency in subjects beyond STEM, such as language and history, and support children as they grow and gain new abilities.
From enhancing kids’ communication skills to improving their logic, the latest cohort of educational toys encourage kids to explore, experiment, design and discover … all while having fun! These include classic toys with an educational twist; infant/pre-school learning toys; science, art and engineering kits; educational board games that teach language and culture; as well as toys that encourage parental/educator involvement and teaching.
#5: COVETED COLLECTIBLES
Collecting has long been a favorite pastime for children, but in 2017, you can expect to see collectibles and coveted toys everywhere. Collecting is an art form for kids who are on the hunt for the perfect item to complete their set. For other kids, collecting is all about socialization – they love to share and trade characters, pets, cards and other minis with their friends – all while learning virtues of patience and perseverance.