Toy makers are grappling with challenges on all fronts from children’s shift to gadgets like iPads to an overall lack of innovation in the industry. Toy makers are trying
to respond with playthings that work with apps or interact with gadgets like iPads, allowing more customization and creativity.
Jim Silver, editor in chief of TimetoPlayMag.com, a consumer website and the resource for the toy industry says this year’s lineup of hot toys looks promising.
“This year’s entirely a lot better,” said Silver. “I see much better products and many more hot items than we’ve seen in the last couple years.”
Brands such as Disney’s Frozen and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are trending this season, as well as the maker movement. Toy makers are finding clever ways to
make toys that can be created and customized by children, such as Mattel’s Monster High Monster Maker in which the child can design their own Monster High doll
via the toy’s app.
“What’s really fun about it is it’s got all the great components, body parts, there for a child to assemble in any which way they want,” said Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Mattel. “They can customize the expression on the face, the body art, and really create their own personality through this particular monster.”
Wearable technology for kids is also another hot trend this season. Smart watches such as LeapFrog’s Leap Band and VTech’s Kiddizoom Smartwatch mirror the
adult smart watch trend in electronic gadgetry.
While the Leap Band aims to be an activity tracker and educational tool for children to monitor nutrition and physical activity, the Kiddizoom Smartwatch aims to be more entertainment oriented.
“It feels more like an adult tech watch,” says VTech marketing head Jennifer Eiselein. “It’s got camera, video, games. So it’s a lot more entertainment, with some learning activities as well with games.”
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