If this year’s Toy Fair is any indication, the hot toys this year will be more affordable and maybe even (do we dare to dream it?!) quiet. Some consumers – and therefore manufacturers – are shying away electronic toys and are instead going with classics, standards, and often even avoiding battery-based toys.
Whether this no-battery change is due to penny-pinching or an environmental awareness shift is uncertain.
While electronic toys still placed in this years Toy Fair, some categories looked like we had stepped back thirty years. For instance, the “Girls Toy of the Year” was announced as Playmobile’s Girl’s Horse Farm. This new set is based on toys that were in production when I was a kid. They toy frees up girls imagination, with nary a blinkering light.
Why the change? Parents have been listening to Tickle-Me-Elmo & his giggling chair for so many years that the quiet noises surrounding an art easel or a puzzle can seem strange at first. The price tag on the popular items in recent years has often been overwhelming as well. According to reports, most vendors at Toy Fair this year kept the prices down so that they’d have more sales, and in order to do that they often left off the fancy technology.
All this technology can be fun while it lasts, but once something internal goes wrong, the toy is often tossed out with the garbage. However, When a hot new product in the toy industry doesn’t have a bit of technology it allows the child to engage that often under-exercised muscle: the imagination.
Is the trend in toys moving more toward simplicity and away from the overwhelmingly complex toys? Only time will tell if vintage toys are more than just a fad.
Now that the classic toys are back in the forefront in a marketing perspective it will be interesting to see just how the children react to the lack of tech-fancy gadgets. There is a generation of parents (and grandparents) now that are buying the nostalgia toys from their childhood, and introducing the children to some unplugged playtime. Toy trains, puzzles, and construction sets may soon fill the living room floors across the country.
Maybe we can all unplug enough to sit down and enjoy a classic board game with kids and friends from time to time as well. Not only would it make us take some time away from all the negative economic news, but also we might actually have some fun while we’re at it.