I am now officially a grumpy old man. My kids will ask for various toys and I say things like “What button do you press to make it fly? What is leveling up? I can’t control this crazy thing! This is supposed to be fun???” Toys have gone high tech, I think that stuffed animal that is staring at me now is more advanced than my first PC.
Sometimes high tech toys are great, but at other points you just want a simple toy that is flat out fun. Today we present you with 7 fun toys from Toy Fair 2011 that Moms and Dads will like playing with as much as their kids!
The Rules To Make the List
In order to make this list, the toy has to be out on the market right now. We saw a lot of fun looking toys that will be coming out for the 2011 Holiday season, but we can’t wait that long – we want to have fun now! In addition, we are not going to repeat on this list any of the toys that have already made other lists on Dad Does, so make sure to check out our other Toy Fair articles for some great toys…
Of course, the number one rule for making this list – the toy has to make you want to be a kid again!
#1. Girder and Panel Tekton Plaza from Bridge Street Toys
Girder and Panel building sets are back! Originally developed by Kenner Products back in the 1950’s, these building sets are now sold by Bridge Street Toys. Kids can build whatever they like with these kits – buildings, skyscrapers, bridges, etc. All the parts in all the sets are interchangeable and kids today will have as much fun as kids in the 50’s did playing with these sets.
Parents will love the fact that these sets actually teach real principles of architecture and engineering. Pieces are 1/87 (HO) scale of the real thing and kids put together play buildings in the same way real building are made – connecting girders and panels.
Bridge Street Toys makes a number of different kits in a range of prices from $25 and up.
UPDATE – Full Review Of The Girder and Panel Kits Is Now Here!
#2. Fortamajig Connectables by The Happy Kid Company
When family visits we often end up with a house full of kids, ranging in age from 1 – 13 years old. The one thing that everyone loves to do is build forts. This usually involves tying all the sheets in the house together and then taping them to walls, doors and sometimes other children.
We were super excited to see what looked like a much better way to build forts at Toy Fair 2011 – Connectables. These multi-colored panels have loops and tabs all over the sides, making it very easy to attach panels together and/or loop them onto the furniture. The panels felt very durable and they are also washable. Use them inside or outside and connect them with the Fortamajig panels that The Happy Kid Company makes – and best of all, reclaim your sheets!
Connectables from The Happy Kid Company come in 8 panel kits and sell for about $65
#3. Bubber Modeling Clay from WABA Fun
What is that strange stuff you see above? Why it is Bubber of course! Bubber is some really cool modeling clay that is super light and never dries out. You can shape it, cut it, mold it – leave it out for days on end and then just squish it back into a ball. As any Mom or Dad who has ever stepped on dried up Play Doh can tell you, a clay that never dries out is worth its weight in gold!
Check out some video we shot at Toy Fair – you can see how easy the Bubber is to work with –
Toss in the fact that Bubber is gluten-free, does not stick to clothes and never stains and you have a clay that is a winner with both kids and parents.
Bubber from WABA Fun sells for about $16 for 5 ounces.
#4. HandTrux Backhoe by Ten Ton Toys
I ask you – is there really anything more fun than digging in the sand? The HandTrux Backhoe turns a kid’s hands into sand, snow or mud digging machines! You put the HandTrux on your hands and the patented “handraulic” power-grip hidden inside each device makes digging up dirt, sand or snow a breeze.
Take a look at the HandTrux in action –
We saw a quick demo of these at the Toy Fair and can’t wait to test them out at the beach when the weather gets nicer. If they work as described, the sand may have finally met its match!
HandTrux from Ten Ton Toys sells for about $18
#5. Dyna Rides Nano Racer – World of Wheels No Battery Remote Control Car
You know what is fun? Playing with remote control cars. You know what is not fun? Playing with a remote control car that has dead batteries! The Dyna Rides from World of Wheels looks to solve this problem by coming up with a RC mini racer that does not require any batteries. You simply turn the crank about 20 times for 3 minutes of race time.
I got a quick demo at Toy Fair and it was impressive. You just plug the car into the controller and turn the crank 20 times. You then put the car down and drive it around (via IR remote) for about 3 minutes before you need to recharge. While these are not the most advanced RC cars, they did work and were even able to drive on the carpet in the booth. Each Dyna Rides comes with two interchangeable car bodies.
Dyna Rides from World of Wheels (Kid Galaxy) sell for about $25.
#6. Mindware Keva Contraptions
What happens when you combine building blocks with a marble maze? You get Contraptions by Keva Planks (Mindware). We had a great time playing with this at Toy Fair and judging from the various awards it has won, we are not the only ones to find this toy fun!
Keva Contraptions is a set of 200 wood planks, 2 balls that feel like ping pong balls and a manual that explains how to make various chutes, tunnels, funnels and ramps. The cool thing about this set is that it is not that easy to make the various contraptions. As a parent, I think this is great because kids really need to experiment and without even realizing it, learn about physics.
Keva Contraptions by Mindware sells for about $35
#7. Solitaire Chess for iPhone/iPad by ThinkFun
I used to own an iPad, until it was stolen… by my 6 year old son! I guess I could try to be a responsible Dad and teach him that playing electronics is not always good, but he is too busy playing iPad for me to talk to him. Now, I have a better idea – just get him to play some iPad games that will actually teach him something, like Solitaire Chess from ThinkFun.
Solitaire Chess is not a chess game you play against the computer. Solitaire Chess actually contains 400 challenges that have one simple goal – capture all the pieces on the board until there is only one left. Of course the game follows the movement rules of Chess, so as you do the challenges you are learning how to play chess.
Solitaire Chess is an example of using technology for good (as opposed to Monopoly Live, which uses technology for pure evil). ThinkFun makes Solitaire Chess as a real game as well, but the app just makes so much sense. As an app it is a great travel game and the fact that it is challenge based makes it a quick game you your kids can play when they have just a few minutes. I can’t help but think if I had this as a kid I might actually be decent at Chess, instead of just being really good at Space Invaders.
Solitaire Chess by ThinkFun is available on iTunes and maybe the most appealing aspect is the price – only $2.99!
These Are Previews… Not Reviews!
There you have it, Top 7 Toys That Will Make You Wish You Were A Kid Again from Toy Fair 2011. As our regular readers know, and no doubt tired of hearing, we never offer a full review and a rating until we have had a chance to test a product in a real world setting. You can read our post on Reviews and Previews to learn how Dad Does handles product reviews. We do hope to do full real world reviews on the products mentioned in this post in the coming weeks.