Everyone remembers playing with toys as children. You might recall taking your Ninja Turtle figures outside and losing them in the sandbox or cutting your Barbie’s hair and then crying after it didn’t grow back. Man, childhood was pretty great. The toys on display at the 2017 New York Toy Fair, though, are way cooler than anything we had as kids.
Held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, New York Toy Fair showcases the year’s biggest toy trends. Since I’m a giant child masquerading as an adult, I took the chance to check out the latest toy tech on display at the big show. Most had some form of app integration. That means parents will have to give their smartphones and tablets to their kids more often — something I’m sure they’re incredibly excited about.
Mattel (MAT) easily had one of the largest booths at Toy Fair 2017. With displays ranging from Wonder Woman action figures to Pokemon Mega Construx, it’s jam-packed with everything kids will ask for this holiday season.
One of the downright coolest toys on display was a Batmobile from the upcoming “Justice League” movie that emits real smoke when you rev its engine. A camera in the cockpit gives you a view of the world from behind the wheel via an included smartphone app. Fire the Caped Crusader’s giant aircraft cannon and the app’s augmented reality feature will simulate a huge explosion in your living room without all the clean-up.
For kids who want a more active toy, Fisher-Price’s Think and Learn Smart Cycle and app lets them pedal on a stationary bike to move an in-app character’s carts. The faster you pedal, the faster the on-screen character moves. It’s great for helping kids learn to spell and letting them get out that extra pent-up energy on rainy days.
For parents of babies, there’s the Aristotle. A take on Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home, Aristotle lets you or your tot issue commands like play music or turn on the light, as well as ask questions like “Who was the 16th president of the United States?” An included camera lets you check in on your little one, while 256-bit encryption secures the device from hackers.
Perhaps most impressive is the Aristotle’s ability to detect when your baby is crying and instantly begin playing either lullabies or a personalized message.
Crayola also has a slew of tech-inspired ways for creative expression. The Color Wonder Light Up paint brush lets kids paint with transparent paint that only shows up on Crayola’s specially designed paper. There’s no real chance for a mess, but it’s a little sticky on your hands.
There’s also the Fashion Superstar kit that lets kids design their own clothes and capture them with an app to place them on their in-app models.
Meanwhile, Lionel, the classic model train company, is also bringing its trains into the 21st century with app controls for its mini locomotives. You can do everything from ring the train’s bells and change its speed to mute its audio and whipping it into reverse all via bluetooth.
All of the toys featured at Toy Fair 2017 will be on sale this holiday season. So prepare your wallets, because the kids in your life will undoubtedly be asking for at least some of these.
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Email Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.