Feb
22

Toy trends for 2012

Posted in toys
by Lorain County Moms

By Beth Whitehouse, Newsday

The biggest trend in toys for 2012 is the melding of online apps with physical toys, several toy experts said at the 109th annual American International Toy Fair Feb. 12-15 in Manhattan.

A toy car’s speed and direction are remote-controlled by an iPad app; plush and other toys are based on popular apps such as “Cut the Rope” and “Fruit Ninja”; collectible monster cards let users tap the iPad to beam them into an online game; an app enhances the play of the traditional “Life” board game by becoming the spinner and showing related videos.

“There is an abundance of physical toys using apps,” says Adrienne Appell, toy trend specialist for the Toy Industry Association, which owns and operates Toy Fair, where more than 1,000 companies gather to introduce toys that will debut in spring, summer or for the holidays.

The newfangled toys don’t make physical toys obsolete but give them a new twist, she says. Or they extend online play in the offline world. “If the kids love Annoying Orange, but the parents say it’s time to turn off the computer, that lets them continue the play experience in a more traditional kind of way,” Appell says.

Although Annoying Orange technically isn’t an app but rather a web show, Appell puts the new Annoying Orange line of toys in the same category of Web-inspired play.

Here are some examples of the trend, as well as seven additional toy trends for 2012:

Angry Birds Building Sets

From: K’nex

For ages: 5 and older

Suggested retail price: $10.99 to $29.99

Available: Fall

What it is: Angry Birds fans will be able to build obstacles from the app and knock them down with these construction toys. Sets will include the most popular Angry Birds characters, launchers and other recognizable elements from the game.

Appfinity

From: Spin Master

For ages: 8 and older

Suggested retail price: $19.99 for product, app free

Available: End of October

What it is: Choices include AppFishing, in which the smart device is inserted into the rod for a realistic fishing experience, with a simulated feel of catching a fish. AppDrive is a mini-steering wheel; in the middle of the wheel is a case to hold the smart device to give the feel of driving.

Fruit Ninjas

From: Jazwares

For ages: 6 and older

Suggested retail price: $9.99

Available: Spring

What it is: Each 5-inch plush fruit features splat sound effects, includes a Fruit Ninja bandanna and has a mouth that is slightly sliced. Choices include Green Apple, Strawberry and Pineapple plush. There’s even a Bomb. Other Fruit Ninja items include smaller plush and tablet covers.

AppGear

From: WowWee

For: ages 8 and older

Suggested retail price: $9.99 for product, app free

Available: April

What it is: A line of collectible toys that interacts with free downloadable apps. Six choices include Foam Fighters, ZombieBurbz, Alien Jailbreak and more. Foam Fighters, for instance, comes with two planes the size of paper airplanes that can be flown by themselves or attached to a smartphone device by an arm with a suction cup. The smart device scans the chosen plane into the app’s playing field for air battle.

Bobble Bots Moshi Monsters

From: Innovation First International

For ages: 3 to 12

Suggested retail price: $5.99 to $29.99

Available: Spring

What it is: Based on the online Moshling characters of Monstro City. The bobble-headed mini robotic pets use the same technology Innovation used for its HEXBUGS to help the Moshlings buzz around their environment. Launch will include 24 battery-operated monsters and a variety of replicas of their online world. Every product includes a code to unlock digital bonuses online.

Monsterology NUKO

From: Nukotoys

For ages: 6 and older

Suggested retail price: $1.99 per three-card pack; $3.99 for seven-pack; free downloadable app

Available: March

What it is: Collectible myth and monster cards can be played with on their own, but also added to an app for gameplay with 3-D figures. Each card has information about its subject, including unicorns, sea serpents and Cyclops based on the Ology book series. Tap the card to the screen of an iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone, and that monster appears in the game.

Annoying Orange ‘Talking Kitchen Crew Collectibles’ Line Expansion

From: The Bridge Direct

For ages: 4 and older

Suggested retail price: $9.99

Available: Spring

What it is: The novelty line that launched in December will be expanded in the spring and fall, including new characters such as Grapefruit, based on the wildly popular web series about an Orange that heckles other fruits and veggies. Each 2.5-inch figure says classic jokes and puns from the videos and is textured with fruitlike detail.

More toy trends

TV shows and movies

“TV licensing continues to be a huge part of the toy industry,” Appell says. As does movie licensing. New TV shows such as Disney’s “Doc McStuffins” and Nickelodeon’s “Monsuno” and “Winx Club” are getting corresponding toy lines, for instance.

Example: “Time for Your Check Up” Doc Doll with Lambie

From: Disney and Just Play Toys

For ages: 3 and older

Suggested retail price: $34.99

Available: August

What it is: Doc McStuffins is a new series coming this spring on Disney Jr. about a 6-year-old girl who runs a clinic to heal stuffed animals and other toys out of her back yard playhouse. Doll also comes with her lamb sidekick and her magic stethoscope.

Companies branch out

Several are departing from what they’re known for and delving into new categories. For instance, VTech, long known for its educational toys, is offering a more conventional toy called “Switch & Go Dinos,” dinosaurs that transform into a vehicles. Razor USA, known for its scooters, is offering a toy geared to girls called “Pony Royale,” a horse whose mane and tail hair can be styled.

Example: Switch & Go Dinos

From: VTech

For ages: 3 to 8

Suggested retail price: $15.99 TO $49.99

Available: Fall

What it is: This is a two-in-one play toy that transforms from a dinosaur into a vehicle and back. An LCD screen lets kids change the face of the dinosaur or driver. The toy is a departure for VTech, which usually is in a toy store’s education area.

Musical toys

Appell attributes the surge in musical toys to shows like “American Idol” and “The Voice.” “Musical toys have been around for a while, but we’re seeing so many of them,” she says.

Example: Symphony B

From: B. toys

For ages: 3 to 13

Suggested retail price: $60

Available: March

What it is: Fifteen songs and 13 instruments _ including clarinet, flute, tuba, cymbals, guitar and even sitar _ allow users to create their own music. Choose up to six instruments at a time to place into the orchestra pit and hear how the music changes depending on the choice.

Glow toys

Many games this year have glow-in-the-dark pieces or glowing components, from bubbles to dice, Appell says.

Example: Chupacabra: Survive the Night Game

From: The Haywire Group

For ages: 8 and older

Suggested retail price: $19.99

Available: June

What it is: The game, with glow-in-the-dark features, is based on the frightening creature from Latin American folklore. The name Chupacabra comes from the Spanish, based on the creature’s reported habit of sucking goats’ blood.

Anniversaries

Lots of toys are celebrating anniversaries this year — it’s the 25th for Where’s Waldo; the 15th for Build-a-Bear; the 75th of the first Dr. Seuss book. Corresponding toys are being released.

Example: Puff the Magic Dragon and Jackie Paper

From: Madame Alexander

For ages: All

Suggested retail price: $59.99

Available: Fall

What it is: A 16-inch Puff the Magic Dragon and 5-inch Jackie Paper cloth doll set. Puff first appeared in Peter, Paul and Mary’s 1962 hit song and later was illustrated in a children’s storybook from Sterling Publishers. This year is the song’s 50th anniversary.

Prices

“Manufacturers have stayed very conscientious about making toys fun and affordable for kids and their families. That’s definitely because of the economy,” Schacht says. A toy line might have a $100 play set, but it will also offer a $10 action figure. Consumers still will buy a more expensive toy they think offers a lot of value _ both Schacht and Appel predict the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be a hit, for instance.

Example: Secret Sewer Lair Playset

From: Playmates Toys

For ages: 4 and older

Suggested retail price: $99.99

Available: August

What it is: a three-level play set based on Nickelodeon’s resurrected but all-new CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, set to premiere in fall 2012. The heroes-in-a-half-shell line also includes a variety of action figures for $7.99 to $9.99.

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