Category Archives: children’s play

Toy preview

It’s almost Christmas, at least in the toy world. For many years, I attended the annual International Toy Fair in NYC, where trends emerge that will land under your Christmas tree. Here’s a sneak peek at popular toy themes:

creative play, ie. sand, goop, dough, clay; basically, any open-ended mixture that’s a bit messy

food fun, with more emphasis on smells and scents (Remember scratch and sniff stickers?)

unboxing, which debuted several years ago, becomes more intimately part of your child’s play

STEM/STEAM (science, technology, engineering, math plus the arts for STEAM)

licensing driven by The Lion King, Aladdin, Toy Story 4, Avengers and Star Wars

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Let’s resolve to play

One of the best 2019 resolutions is summed up in two words: play more.

Research consistently shows that playing together results in happier families. More play even reduces stress.

Play more in 2019 and you’ll be happier, less stressed and probably enjoy a closer relationship with your child. Who wouldn’t want that next year?

600 Toy Outlets

Kroger is helping to fill the void left by the closing of Toys “R” Us through Geoffrey’s Toy Box in 600 Kroger stores.

Perhaps you’ve seen – or shopped- the designated area. Products vary by location, but include exclusive toys from familiar brands including Animal Zone, Imaginarium, Journey Girls and Edu Science.

Play with a purpose

The sounds, motion and flashing colors on this year’s holiday toys are intended to do more than engage your child.

Mere playthings are designed with a higher purpose: teaching foundational concepts that will turn into actual job skills someday.

Purposeful play has been a theme for several years, but it appears to be reaching a fever pitch this month.

Mom gamers

Moms who are gamers is a new initiative on the diversity front.

Networks that encourage women in the gaming industry to share their experiences are helping to even the playing field among parents.

Girls and boys who grow up as gamers might not understand that a concerted effort has been needed to insure gender diversity for their moms.

The big “t” in STEM

Holiday shoppers looking for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) toys will discover interactive playthings have shifted in a couple of ways.

As the STEM market has matured and competition has increased, prices have gone up. Buyers will spend more, because many view STEM products as more than a toy. Developing core skills is seen as an investment in a child’s future.

Second, there’s a stronger overlay of technology. Science and math are still primary. However, because many parents anticipate that future jobs will require some tech aptitude, look for a stronger emphasis on games and toys to enhance technological skills.

Fun and games

Playing together contributes to positive family life.

Researchers have documented that a family who plays is happier, feels more in touch with each other and is less stressed than those who don’t spend down-time together.

Perhaps this holiday weekend will offer opportunities for the fun and games that can raise the happiness quota for everyone.