One of my favorite things to do each year is to walk the aisles of the New York Toy Fair. With more than 400,000 square feet of exhibitor space packed with hundreds of thousands of toys, what's not to love?
But the true importance of the New York Toy Fair is that it is where the year's toy trends begin to emerge, revealing what kids are going to be asking for in coming months. So, if you ever wanted to be the coolest dad, aunt or grandma around, consider this list a cheat sheet.
This year, connected toys continued to be major players, with inventors finding new ways to incorporate smart devices and apps into play. Products that encourage ultra-creative play were also prevalent, with toys going as far as a child's imagination will take them. And get ready for a new era of dolls -- this year's entries look real, act real and even have huge career aspirations. They are more than just dolls -- they can be an inspiration for your kids.
Just remember, prices are subject to change. And be sure not to break your budget buying every item on your child's wish list. High credit card balances can hurt your credit scores. (You can see how your credit card balances are impacting your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)
With that in mind, click ahead for a look at what items your kids are sure to be asking for in 2016.
Edwin the Duck $99
Using the companion app and a smart device, this cute, waterproof duck will guide kids through a series of endlessly entertaining games, movies and songs. He can also sing while floating (or being dunked) in the tub, sing your child to sleep, take their temperature and very soon will be able to help your child learn a new language. The toy is available now and designed for kids ages 6 months and up.
Zing’s Stikbot Studio Pro $19.99
This new version of Stikbot, a social media-sharing toy, includes a green screen and blue screen, so budding filmmakers can experiment with mind-blowing backdrops for their bot in the free Animation Studios app. They can even insert their own moving or still images and share their mind-blowing stop-motion movies with the Stikbot community. It's available now and designed for kids ages 4 and up.
Jimu Robot $199 and up
With this high-tech building kit, kids can make countless creatures and control their movements with the free app. Builders can also share their creations with the Jimu community and access building tutorials via the app. It will be available in the spring for kids ages 8 and up.
Skyrocket Toys Viper Hover Racer $99
For all you drone fans out there, the new Hover Racer is a blend of videogame play and drone racing. The drone flies 20 mph and can be controlled by the free app to race and battle up to three other drones. And thankfully, there's a mode for less coordinated flyers, though as you advance, so does the game play. It will be available in August and is for kids ages 12 and up.
Budsies $79 and up
Budsies was a competitor on Shark Tank and they are now delighting kids and adults worldwide with their custom-made stuffed toys. Each toy is based on a drawing that you provide. They also make Selfie Budsies, which are real people made into plush people based on a photo you provide. They're available now for all ages.
Props in a Box $74.99
Dress-up kits have been around for ages, but this special kit has smart character pairings, like fisherman and astronaut, felt costumes, props and beautiful backdrops. There is also a free movie-making app that will provide suggested scenarios for kids who need a little inspiration, and the tools to create mini-movies with sound effects, images and even credits. The movies can be easily shared. It's available now for kids ages 3 and over.
Want to see pictures of the toys and check out the other six that made our list? Head over to the full article on Credit.com.