Here’s a list of five trends Toys’R'Us sees affecting the industry this holiday season.
Trend #1: Hey! You’re A Rock Star!
Taking their roots from karaoke, and inspired by television hits such as American Idol and Disney’s High School Musical, the toys representative of this trend are perfect for novice musicians, wannabe performers and those who dream of being the next big rock star. The Little Superstar(TM) Sing-Along Stage(TM) from Fisher-Price(R) encourages babies to create tunes by pressing the drum, xylophone, trumpet or guitar buttons, and features a rattle microphone that activates lively songs, lights and music. Designed with beginning guitarists in mind, I Can Play Guitar(TM) from Fisher-Price(R) plugs directly into a TV and turns learning how to play a guitar into a fun videogame-like experience. The Power Tour(TM) Electric Guitar from Tiger Electronics(TM) is an authentic-sounding instrument featuring touch sensors instead of strings that show tweens the basics of playing guitar. Kids can pretend to live the rock star life with the Hannah Montana Concert Tour Bus from Play Along(R), which features eight play areas and plays two of Hannah’s signature songs. For budding artists, the 36″ Player Series Acoustic Guitar from First Act(TM) is a white, parlor-size, acoustic guitar that provides full, rich sound and easy playing for musicians of any experience level. Kids can jam like their favorite rock stars with the highly anticipated Guitar Hero(TM) III: Legends of Rock Game and Guitar Controller from Activision(R). This videogame challenges players to perform the guitar track of fast-paced songs by renowned artists including Guns N’ Roses, The Rolling Stones, Metallica, Beastie Boys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Kiss and more.
Trend #2: Pink Play
Tweens have spoken loud and clear in response to the question, “What’s your favorite color?” So, with young fashionistas in mind, Toys”R”Us worked with manufacturers to create an exclusive line of toys and games that shout “Pink Rules!” The following “Only at Toys”R”Us” items are sure to win the hearts of young girls: The Think Pink Game Collection created for Toys”R”Us by Hasbro(R) Games features a trio of favorite board games redesigned with pink pizzazz, including Monopoly(R): Boutique Edition, Jenga(R) GirlTalk(TM) Edition and Twister(R) Pink Edition. Not to be outdone by their older siblings, toddlers can enjoy pink play with a set of classic Fisher-Price(R) toys outfitted in pink including the Chatter Telephone, Corn Popper, Medical Kit, Lil’ Snoopy, Little People(R): Lil’ Movers School Bus and Little People(R): Lil’ Movers Airplane. Children who want to learn in colorful style can use the Pink Touch Tablet Notebook Computer(TM) from Vtech(R). This kid- sized learning toy looks like a real notebook computer and comes with a sleek, detachable touch-sensitive screen and educational games that track performance while adjusting skill levels to meet a child’s learning needs. Aspiring divas will have their friends pink with envy with Glitz & Glam from Totally Me! The dazzling make-up case comes complete with mirrors and features make-up in shades of pink and purple for eyes, lips and face. For cruising around town under pink power, the trendy Daisy Pocket Mod from Razor(R) features pink and pearl details, 12″ tires, storage under the seat and over 10 miles of smooth cruising capability at speeds up to 15 mph on a single charge.
Trend #3: Get Up! Get Active!
The introduction of the Wii(TM) from Nintendo last holiday season helped show both young and old alike that getting physical can be fun, and this innovative gaming system is expected to be one of the must-have gifts again this year. With its intuitive controls that challenge players to compete in games like tennis, baseball, bowling, boxing and more through physical motion, Wii started a revolution that has inspired several new toys designed to get kids active by making movement fun. Toddlers can get going with The Inchworm(R) from Radio Flyer, a timeless toy that lets children use a bounce- and-go motion to move themselves along. The SMART CYCLE(TM) Physical Learning Arcade System from Fisher-Price(R) combines an educational videogame system with a stationary bike, reinforcing exercise as kids pedal to control learning games on a TV screen. Nothing gets kids active like playing outside, and the Pine Ridge II Swing Set from Big Backyard offers many ways to turn a backyard into a playground, including a wave slide, sandbox, rock-climbing wall with cargo rope ladder, a monkey ladder, a two-passenger glider and two belt swings. And, kids who want to dance along with the music from their favorite TV special can get their groove on with the Disney’s High School Musical “Got the Moves” Dance Mat from Zizzle(R).
Trend #4: Internet Connectivity
Every year, the Internet is further incorporated into everyday tasks and is continually changing the way kids learn and are entertained. Parents often wonder whether or not their children are ready for exposure to the Internet, and many of this year’s new toys can help by offering kids safe online access. The Easy Link(TM) Internet Launch Pad from Fisher-Price(R) provides parents with a secure way to let curious tots surf the net. Parents simply connect the launch pad to a computer using the included USB cord, allowing young tikes to visit the game sections of preschool-appropriate websites when they plug their favorite character figures into the system. Kids can also step into the role of the Red Ranger with the Power Rangers Operation Overdrive(TM) Mega Mission Helmet from Bandai(R). Parents connect the helmet to a computer using the included USB cord and download Power Rangers missions for new adventures. Barbie Girls from Mattel(R) is a sleek and stylish device that serves as an MP3 player and fashion statement while allowing girls to unlock new pets, games, hangout spots and more when connected to http://www.barbiegirls.com/. Shining Stars from Russ Berrie & Co. brings plush pets into the digital age. Kids simply pick from one of 24 adorable characters and log onto the Shining Stars website (http://www.shiningstars.com/) to name an actual star and receive access to e-cards, online games and other activities. The U.B. Funkeys(TM) Starter Kit from Radica(R) unlocks a universe of fun and friends where players can explore virtual worlds when connected to the Internet through the U.B. hub.
Trend #5: Transforming and Robotic Toys
This summer’s biggest movie blockbuster, TRANSFORMERS(TM) helped everyone rediscover a love of robotics. From action figures that change forms to remote controlled toys, robots are popping up everywhere. Stepping straight out of the movie screen, TRANSFORMERS(TM) Ultimate BUMBLEBEE(TM) from Hasbro(R) comes to life with animatronic action, working headlights, battle sounds and music, including Devo’s “Whip It.” The V-Bot(TM) from Learning Curve(R) is a remote control car that automatically changes to a dancing robot with the push of a button. The latest in robotic pets for kids, MIO PUP from Tiger Electronics(TM) is an adorable pal that responds to children with lights, sounds and music. Its expressive and colorful “emoto-tronic” eyes feature 100 different symbols to communicate its feelings and moods. Older robot fans will love Roboquad(TM) from WowWee(TM) Robotics, an animated robot with advanced sensory awareness, 72 pre-programmed functions, four modes (direct control, autonomous, guard and sleep), and multi-colored flashing lights and techno sound effects. Robots can also take to the skies with the XPV(TM) R-A-D Robotic Air Defense(R) from JAKKS Pacific(R). This unique robot drives, talks and flies over 300 feet at up to 30 MPH with a twin turbo engine design.John Guilfoil, writer of PRrag, is the Editor of Blast Magazine and a former staff reporter for the Boston Globe.