New York Toy Fair – Charming Tech Toy Surprises

Now having the opportunity to digest all that I’ve seen at Toy Fair, it was truly a great year for the show. So much innovation. Lots of fantastic ideas. This industry has to constantly recreate itself, looking for that fresh new plaything that will steal the hearts and minds of kids and parents. This blog entry will be my last of four posts regarding what I saw at the show. As promised, here are a handful of technology toy products with learning in mind that grabbed my attention. While these toys may not make front page news, they all have a magical quality about them.

Aerobotic Butterfly by Super Creation
Remote controlled butterfly photoIf I could take just one toy home that I saw at Toy Fair, it would be this one. (Remember, I spent three days at the show and saw LOTS of new products). In a tiny little booth, way in the back of the Javits Center, far off the beaten path, I discovered this gem. It’s a remote controlled butterfly that actually flies. While this product is not positioned as a learning product, I see all kinds of home and classroom discussions opportunities about the history of flight, butterflies, metamorphosis, technology and more. At the time of this blog post, the company’s website has not been built, but for those interested in learning more you can email inquiries to: info (at) supercreation (dot) com (dot) hk. Click here to see a video of the product in action.

Braincandy DVDs by Braincandy
Braincandy characters and DVD photoBraincandy is a young company specializing in making DVD and audio CD products for very young children. Currently they have two DVD products available that help children learn about themselves through their flagship title that focuses on the five senses; a second is all about sight. Sample video clips seen from Braincandy’s website. With very high production values, and with fantastic and charming puppet creations, this company’s work is very original, striking, and appealing for both young children and their caregivers. More DVD and CD titles are expected to ship throughout 2007.

Solar powered robots by OWI
Solar powered frog photo OWI is a technology toy company that specializes in offering small robotic science kits. This year they unveiled a number of new solar powered critters. To assemble, simply snap together all of the electronic parts. No soldering is required. Then you can watch them move when a light source is made available to power their motors. While you cannot currently purchase these items through the OWI website, I’ve provided links here to another distributor where you can purchase the four robots demonstrated at the show; a frog, grasshopper, crab, and inch worm.

Giggles – Computer Funtime for Baby by Leveractive
Giggles animals photoLeveractive has succeeded in creating two very engaging and very playful CD-ROM titles specifically for babies (and their parents). Two different titles, one called Shapes, the other My Animal Friends, allow babies to hit any key on a computer keyboard to bring up many fun animations, music and sound effects. The developers have made sure that there’s no way a baby can accidentally hit key combinations or the Escape key to cause havoc at the desktop level. Each title contains 14 charming activities. The content is very age appropriate and also offers English and Spanish set-up options right on the same CD.

In my next post I’ll explore recently findings released by NPD regarding kids, leisure time activity, and screened content.

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