Friday, March 17, 2017

For Babies and Toddlers - My Favorites at Toy Fair

Toy Fair New York events span a week and there are toys suitable for infants through adults on display and being demonstrated. I had fun, saw thousands of toys, took a thousand photos and completely wore myself out. There is way too much to put in one blog post so I am writing a series of articles.  This is the third in the series featuring some of my favorites just for babies and toddlers.  Other blog posts about Toy Fair NY will include:

These are the “Highlights from a Grandmother’s point of view” so none of these toys work with appsapps.  There are some great toys with apps but I tend to the more simple straightforward toys.  The pictures are all my own from the displays I saw – no stock photos here – just the real thing.  For some of the items not out yet, this may be a prototype and the final may differ a little. 

Most of the toys at Toy Fair are for pre-school age and up to adult.  This is my first year writing a post just for babies and toddlers. There are three little ones in this group in my family so I guess I was looking at this category with them in mind.  Here are some of my favorites.

Beginning with newborns... 
Winky Lamb Baby Rattle by GUND

These super soft lambs with embroidered facial details (safe for babies) that are also rattles will make you want to cuddle up in a crib with them. At 4 1/2 inches, they are small enough for the youngest baby.  What a sweet Easter or Passover gift for a baby or toddler this would make.

Baby Papaya Bunny by eeboo

If your tastes goes more to the bright colors, this bright bunny by eeboo is an excellent choice.  There are beans in the bottom creating a crinkly sound. The stitched features and the soft velour make this an excellent choice for a the youngest baby also.  Another nice Easter gift for a baby.  At 7 ½ inches long, this is also sized right for a baby.

NogginStik Developmental Light-up Rattle by SmartNoggin

The NogginStik Developmental Light-up Rattle is described as an educational tool that helps promote visual tracking, auditory orientation, grasping, reaching and language skills.  The light up feature is unusual for a baby’s rattle.  Babies will follow the light. The textured midsection is easy and fun to grab onto.  And babies will like the soft rattle sounds.  The founder of this young company worked for years as an early intervention therapist and  teacher before starting SmartNoggin. This rattle is a winner of the prestigious Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum award.

Once Babies are ready for tummy time and sitting up here are a couple of suggestions….

Sensory Shapes and Balls by Edushape

I really liked this set because it is so much more than just balls.  The various shapes, textures and sounds when you shake them, will provide both fun and development opportunities for babies.  Look for this set in specialty stores. Recommend for babies ages 6 months+.

Press 'N Go Monster Truck by Fisher-Price

This cute little car rolls away when you press the top - but not too far. You can play with this with a baby without crawling across the room yourself to retrieve it. I can picture lots of giggling babies with this one.  Available if bright pink and green Spring colors. 

And for toddlers…..

My First Carousel by LEGO

Kids start on LEGOs early these days my friends.  And there is a lot more than the basic building blocks.  There are many themed sets.  The My First Carousel is the first DUPLO set to feature gears.  This is definitely a fun first DUPLO set.

Mod Blocks by HABA

Toddlers love to build and revel in their new found ability. These colorful blocks with different shapes and decorations provide the opportunity for endless designs.  The blocks are sized so that toddlers can easily pick them.  This may turn out to be one of those toys with a long life also.  I can see them used for more elaborate building projects with other building sets to create truly imaginative designs.

Trolls Branch and Suki Hug ‘N Plush Dolls by Dreamworks

These 12 inch trolls plush by Dreamworks will find homes with families who love trolls – and I know there are a lot of you.  If there were toddlers in my house I would be getting one of these (I may anyway).  These are actually on the market beginning March 22nd but you can pre-order today and be one of the first to have one.

Play-Doh Shape and Learn

We usually think of Play-Doh as a pre-school play item not a toddler one.  But Play-Doh has a new line called “Shape and Learn” designed for 2 year olds.  The tools are all bigger and easy to use. There are activity guides included in each set. This is a good adult and child work together set.  Grandparents – that means you too.  The sets include Colors and Shapes, Numbers and Counting, Shape a Story and Letters and Language.

Bunny Bedtime game by Peaceable Kingdom

I do plan to have a separate post about games but I wanted to include this one here.  For the first time this year I saw games designed for two year olds.  This is one of my favorites and it would be an excellent grandparent gift.  How do you play?  It's time for bed, Bunny! Players roll a chunky die and move Bunny on the game path. Along the way, players help Bunny make choices about her bedtime routine. Which bath toy will she play with? Which pajamas will she wear?  I just love this game idea.

Well don’t delay in checking these out.  Before you know it you will be in the pre-school toy market and that is a whole different thing.  If the items are on Amazon, you can just click below to see the Amazon listing.

Monday, March 6, 2017

My Favorite Dolls at Toy Fair 2017

This is always my favorite blog post of the year. Even if you aren't in the market for a doll you will enjoy this post - guaranteed.  I think that there is something about dolls that Grandmas are drawn to – I certainly am.  There are literally hundreds of different dolls at Toy Fair and it isn’t easy to choose my favorites – but after much consideration I have identified these as the most noteworthy this year.  Some of these are from small companies and so you will only find them in specialty stores and online.  If you check the company websites you can usually find the closest store to you that carries them. Others are what's new in the biggest brands on earth.  I have included dolls for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers, older girls and adult collectors. Smile! Enjoy!!

This blog post is one in a series of highlights from Toy Fair 2017. Others include:

  • Grandma’s Highlights of Toy Fair(General – posted on 3/1/17)
  • Toys for Babies and Toddlers
  • Intriguing Building and Science Toys
  • Books and Plush Pairs
  • Games and Puzzles Galore
  • Toys with Characters in the Movies

The pictures are all my own from the displays I saw so they aren't perfect – no stock photos here – just the real thing.  For some of the items not out yet, this may be a prototype and the final may differ a little.  Please let me know in the comments which are your favorites.

Babibunny Night Light Grenadine by Corolle

Corolle is a French company that makes the most precious dolls ever.  They used to have a more extensive line, but now they are concentrating on dolls for babies and pre-school children.  I had trouble choosing which doll was my favorite but I chose this one because of it’s unique features.  This soft cuddly doll with the trademark light vanilla scent also is a 5 minute nightlight and plays eight gentle tunes.  You can take the battery pack out and throw little Grenadine in the wash.  I have seen lots of interesting nightlights at Toy Fair but this is the only one I’ve seen incorporated into a soft, cuddly doll.  This doll is part of the “mon doudou” (cuddly in French) line meant for babies from birth and up.

12 Inch Dolls by HABA

These soft 12 inch dolls by HABA are safe for  toddlers and they come in both boy and girl versions. The are all fabric stitched - not plastic -and features are stitched on expressive facial features. They  come in different colors so you can choose one your grandchild will identify with.  There are quite a number of dolls in this line and these are some of the new ones you will see in 2017.  The all come in cute colorful outfits.  HABA also has additional complete outfits to extend the imaginative play your grandchild will have with one of these dolls. You can see some of the available dolls at the HABA USA website here.

New York Doll Collection - City Girls Collection

New York Doll Collection City Girls

The New York Doll Collection features modern 18 inch dolls with a large collection of clothing, accessories and furniture sold separately to enhance play with the dolls.  There are five of these 18 inch “city girl” dolls – one for each New York City borough. They will be available in the Spring.

They are a very diverse group and the extra accessories are all high quality.  The extensive line of doll shoes were getting lots of attention at Toy Fair and I took this picture – because what woman doesn’t love shoes – even if they are a doll’s shoes.

Barbie – You Can Be Anything and Fashionista lines by Mattel

You Can Be Anything Barbies

2017 New Fashionista Barbies
Make no mistake about it Barbie dolls continue to be the most popular dolls with little girls and Mattel continues to innovate with this brand.  Last year they introduced the Fashionista line with dolls of different shapes, colors and even large medium and small statures.  They were very popular and will be introducing 24 new models this year.  Since every girl I know has a slew of Barbies, you can get a new one of these even if you bought one last year.

However, my favorite Barbie is the new one this year – “You can be anything” line.  The dolls are dressed in outfits representing various careers – both traditional and non-traditional. There are also playsets corresponding with the dolls.  Here again – buy more than one!

American Girl of the Year (2017) – Gabriela McBride by Mattel

Gabriela - 2017 American Girl Doll of the Year by Mattel
Gabriela is the first African-American American Girl of the year doll.  She is a beautiful doll and, of course, she has a complete line of accessories.  Her theme is “I am a dancer, artist and poet out to inspire real change.”  A nice platform to springboard play.

Beauty and the Beast by Hasbro and Madame Alexander
Beauty and the Beast Grand Romance by Hasbro

Hasbro’s duo is entitled Beauty and the Beast Grand Romance.  This is a set that will be enjoyed by children who loved the movie and collectors as well. It is available as of today at Amazon – you can be one of the first to get it! Priced under $50 for the set, it is meant to be played with. 

Belle by Madame Alexander

If you are a serious collector, you will have to wait for this Belle doll coming out later this year by Madame Alexander.  It is a beautiful doll, as well it should be – the price tag will be $220 – for serious collectors only.

There you have it - my favorite new dolls at Toy Fair.  Something for everyone - Enjoy.  Which are your favorites?  Any doll questions?  Please leave your comments. 

Other product review posts you may be interested in: 

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