2013 has been a much better year in toyland. We’re finally emerging from the effects of the economic downturn of the last several years when the industry played it safe in terms of what they were willing to bring to market. Many of our favorite toys were downsized to get to a magic price point (which keeps rising by the way). And, If there was a toy that was doing well before the recession, chances are there would be countless iterations of the same toy or concept. As a reviewer, this was more than depressing.
This year we were greeted by a new generation of toy inventors. This new band of smart (many from MIT and Stanford) merry toy makers are seeking to change the industry and how we engage kids in play. This makes us extremely happy. Not everything will work or be a big hit, but it shows a renewed interest and brain trust that can only benefit our kids in the long run. We’re also delighted with the explosion of new construction toys – everything from robotics, marble mazes (both wood and plastic), sets geared to engaging girls, to toys that you build and then demolish. Games and crafts continue to be a strong category and remains a great way to get everyone to disconnect from their technology for 30 minutes.
Tomorrow I’ll be on the Today Show to share just a few of our award winners. Trust me it’s so hard to talk only about 8 products when we have so many favorites!
As always, we thank our network of family testers all over the country. Without their feedback our list wouldn’t be the same. We love hearing from kids and their folks about what works and equally important- what doesn’t deliver.
As we now enter holiday toy season, we’ll be posting lots of videos and features about products we think you should know about.
So be sure to visit our website www.toyportfolio.com for daily features.