Day 2 at the Toy Fair and it’s been grand! The weather’s been frightfully cold, but the Javits Center has been cozy and inviting with lots to see and experience. First up for today was Marbotics, a company from France, run by Marie Mérouze. It focuses on early literacy and numeracy by providing beautifully crafted wooden manipulatives that interact with the iPad. They are elegant, smart, and have an heirloom quality about them. There are three apps for numbers and three for letters. The apps get progressively more challenging and this a system that will grow with a child into their early school years. Based on a Montessori approach, these apps put the child in the drivers seat and in control of their learning.
Stikbots from Zing Global Ltd. are gender-neutral figures that can be placed into humanlike positions. Placing them in front of a green screen, they can be filmed or photo’ed in locales as far away as the outer reaches of the Milky Way or as close as the backyard. Using stop motion technology, they can dance, climb mountains, or fly through the air. This little app is busting with creative possibilities and opportunities for enhancing fine motor skills, organization, and language. They are sold in stores everywhere and are a bargain at any price. Stikbots have loads of fans, and the shared videos have created a community of budding artists.
A-Champs‘ was one of my personal favorites. A-Champs is run by CEO and founder Kilian Saekel and his wife, and is the “World’s First Off-Screen Game Console.” It is play based technology at its best. Basically, Rox are like rocks – that can be placed up, down and around, giving kids the chance to move about in a sequenced order. One by one the Rox sound-off when programmed by the master controller. The possibilities for facilitating visual motor skills are endless, and included is a strap that kids can place the Rox inside to attach them to a tree, shelf, or themselves. This is one tool designed for moving families and therapy clinics everywhere.
Flycatcher Inc.’s products were a smash hit! Demonstrating two different products focusing in on visual motor skills and addressed interests of kids everywhere. The coloring books allowed for interplay of scanned coloring pages with real life drawings. Barbie, Hot Wheels, and the transformers were just a few of the themes available. A cool feature included in the app was the ability to make a coloring paged out of any snapped picture. In addition, possibly the BEST children’s stylus I’ve ever seen is included with a book. In addition, to the Painting LULU Packs they have a new release for teaching girls to code via an innovative bracelet. The CharmBricks bracelet is totally customizable with a variety of charms that can placed in an individual “brick” and consequently program each brick with a unique functionality, such as blinking colors with different patterns lighting up LED’s in different colors and various patterning effects the child can choose from.
Moff is back and this time, they have collaborated with PBS to get kids rocking and rolling with a FAB new wearable band that interacts with the PBS Party App. Choose between four educational games that promote exercise and fun activities: from numerous creative counting options, recording your own sounds and use your imagination to move with them, burst as many Piñatas at the Party before the time runs out, or let loose to an all out dance session including a freestyle, hiphop, freeze dance, disco, hip-hop or even Zumba.
Prop in a Box was a the sleeper surprise of the Toy Fair, TWA would have neve discovered them on their own – they had a dedicated PR duo giving out invites in the form of a velvet heart pin and we heard they had an app. Well, this gender neutral dress up box combines the most imaginative and unusual categories to choose from: The Dinosaur & The Pirate, The Princess & the Chef, the Fisherman & the Astronaut, or the Doctor & The Farmer. Included in the box are all kinds of fun felt hats, props, and gear to get your story on! And did I mention the very cool backdrop combining both themes. This creative venture gives children the opportunity to dress up, act out and be the filmmakers of their own creation with the app included in the kit. The option to record their own experience lends itself to family participation making Prop in a Box fun for the whole family.