News and views from London’s Toy Fair 2023

I recently paid a mystery shopper’s type of visit to Toy Fair 2023 at Kensington Olympia. I have a bit of a cynical view of toys; they get given in vast quantities, entertain for half an hour, only to be abandoned in a drawer or cupboard soon after, and end up in charity shops. They are often of doubtful value for encouraging children with learning, creating, socialising or imagining. And the PLASTIC.

Having said that, the Toy Fair did have some good ideas worth mentioning.

Ages 4-6 outdoors

My Fairy Garden by Play Monsters has a series of fairy houses and plant-your-own LIVING fairy gardens which would make a lovely guerrilla planting project in your street, at the base of a tree which needs cheering up. Children have a fascination with fairy doors, and in addition to all the fun you would have setting up the installation, they provide a great excuse for neighbouring families to go for a walk to ‘see the fairy village’, talk about the houses, who lives there, whether they’re at home, when they come out, what they eat and so on.

        My Fairy Garden Enchanted Village Fairy Playset £10.50 @ Amazon / Argos

 

Ages 4-8 Indoors

I can’t imagine anything worse, but it’s got novelty value, and I think the child would be dining out on it for years to come… I had a feel and it’s like melting sorbet… Lots of colours, but I didn’t see brown!

 

Ages 6-12 indoors

A competitive Tetris-like challenge for two players, The Genius Square requires you to fit the Tetris pieces together around 7 blocked out squares, defined by the dice coordinates. The genius thing is that any combination of the dice produce a pattern of empty squares which is fill-able with the Tetris pieces. Even I got to the end and felt quite pleased with myself. The winner completes the puzzle first.

 

Ages 4-12 outdoors

Razor had a large choice of zippy wheeled objects for jazzing up the sometimes painful process of getting to school or round the shops, including scooters of all sizes, skateboards, tricycles and bikes. 

But the highlight had to be a costumed Pikachu bouncing past!

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