Top Ten Toy Trends for 2014

Recently I browsed more than 280 stands at the exciting Toy Fair 2014 and have made my mind up on which current toys trends are expected for this year.

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1. Value for money. Low cost toys were very popular in 2013 and the trend will continue this year in response to the economic climate that prefers the sale of products that offer added value at lower prices such as collectable cards and little toys sold in sealed bags that kids can exchange in the playground. The best value for money cards are still sold by Topps (football, Disney, etc). The best collectable toys are by Moshi Monsters (new series 9 characters have just come out), Lego characters (some also linked to the Lego Movie soon released in cinema as well as making new Superheroes mini figures range), Playmobil.

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2. Tech toys. Inevitably technology plays a big role in the world of toys this year. For example, Lego is now combining iPad apps with the traditional construction toys and I predict that the best new toy able to do it is the Ultra Agents part of the Hero Factory. It blew me away! My 7 year old son would absolutely love this. The boundaries between the digital world and traditional toys are increasingly blurred. The Lego range Technic is probably the most stunning including a new Cargo Plane that converts into an Hovercraft that have all the real noises. This is for children age 10+ and the price range is £100+ – Not cheap but certainly great fun for both daddies and kiddies as well as long lasting type of tech-retro toy. Images are no available due to the secrecy Lego keeps around toys to be launched later in the year.

Another innovative tech toy is the Playmobil Police Car that has a spy camera attached to it. The video camera is real and produces footage in high quality.

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3. Creative play. Toys that enhance creativity and encourage children to develop manual skills are always my favourite ones. It was a pleasure to be present when celebrity art expert and star of BBC’s Bargain Hunt, Timothy Wonnacott, unveiled a 5ft by 5ft mosaic masterpiece at the fair. The recreation of Andy Warhol’s iconic Marilyn Monroe portrait was commissioned by Galt Toys in the bid to raise money for the Toy Trust. Creator Ed Chapman, one of the UK’s finest contemporary artists, constructed the art piece using products from the Galt Art Jar, Fun Buttons, Cotton Reels and Mosaic Masterpieces kits, as well as a variety of paints, crayons, pens and craft kits from Galt. The piece took over 100 hours to create.
Ed has previously made headlines for recreating portraits of famous figures, such as John Lennon, David Beckham and Barrack Obama, using everyday materials from coins and sugar cubes to vinyl records.

He said: “Art and craft kits are perfect to inspire youngsters into creating their own masterpieces and I hope this portrait encourages the next generation of child artists!”

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4. Retro-mania. The toys and heroes from our my Seventies’ childhood are back and I guess the reason for it is that they are often associated with positive feelings. Parents enjoy passing these pleasant experiences on to our children by just buying retro looking toys. I guess we will see lots of toys from the 70s, 80s and 90s (the new retro era) undergoing a revival.

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5. Mobile gadgets. Mobile phones and iPads will dominate the market in 2014 and there will be lots of new products aimed at embellishing our favourite gadgets. The one that caught my imagination were the Mobile Pants, underwear for mobile phones. Really quirky and unusual they are really going to spice up your devices. I loved meeting the Japanese inventor of the mobile pants at Bandai. Fun!

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6. Making and selling. Kids love making things and sharing or sell them to their friends at school or in the playground. The return to these manual activities, which require time and skills, is pocket money earned from baking or home made bracelets. Grossman makes really the best kits for bracelets fans. We will soon try them out and report back on the experiment! And boys enjoy this as much as girls these days. This used to be a very girly activity but kits are now devised for boys and girls alike.

7. Role playing.
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Playing with dolls these days has become even more enjoyable thanks to new toys and accessories that ensure kids can play with their dolls while playing with each other. The new dolls in town that enable role playing while developing creative skills are called Locksies by Harumika (you probably remember Harumika mannequins with which kids can create dresses with no sewing involved). Locksies are the cute dolls replacing the plain and headless manniquins and have a little hole on the back allowing the placements of fabrics to create dresses, shirts, skirts etc. As a mum myself, I prefer this type of creative toys.

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Following the successful launch of Barbie & Me role-play toys last year in partnership with Mattel, the new 2014 fun role-play toys with accessories will enable girls to involve their Barbie doll in the same role-play experience – a totally new way to play with Barbie. The range is designed around two universally popular role-play themes of food preparation and glam-up. New for 2014 is the Barbie & Me Colour Change Glam Bag – Have you ever wished you could magically change the colour of your handbag to perfectly match your outfit? Well now you can!!!! For the Barbie doll there’s a mini matching clutch bag! Very cute.

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8. Dolls. In 2014 we will see more dolls being influenced by the media world. The globalization of television has meant that kids watch the same shows and like the same characters as their parents. For examples X-Factor inspired dolls were presented at the show by new boy band Union Jack.

Nevertheless the monsterish trend that has been going on for years now will continue to grow in 2014 and we will see more Monster High dolls being launched as well as new Bratzillaz and other toy brands will create new monsterish looking dolls too. Watch this space as we will report on new launches.

The LEGO® Movie- The Essential Guide   Publishing- 10th February, 2014              Price- £9.99 legomovielores

9. Mini figures. Mini figures will continue to be expanded. Both Lego and Playmobil will bring out miniaturised characters and living spaces to create little worlds around them. Kids enjoy toys that are portable and mobile. Lego will also bring the mini figures from the new Lego Movie alive alongside a book The LEGO® Movie: The Essential Guide (out on 10th February 2014 by DK) to illustrate them including a special behind the scene spread with details on how the main characters were developed.

10. Seasonal Calendars. 2014 will witness the invasion of kids’ calendars filled with surprise toys. They are not cheap ranging between £20 and £40 but they provide daily treats during seasonal festivities. The Lego Advent Calendar is now a classic one followed this year by a Lego Friends calendar. My favourite and probably most original though is the newly launched Playmobil Easter Calendar (RRP £9.99) – also best value for money. Here it is with the Playmobil Great little toys for half term activities.

Playmobil is celebrating its 40th anniversary and is the brand to watch. Personally being a girl from the Seventies it is still one of my favourite brands and brings back lots of lovely memories. It is almost a retro brand 🙂

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Playmobil Easter Calendar

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