The Annual American International Toy Fair, held this week at the Javitz Center in New York, is one of the leading indicators of what is going to be red hot at toy stores in the coming months.
So what will your children be begging for this year?
Laurie Schacht, founder of TheBigToyBook.com appeared on "The Early Show" with some of the biggest surprises from this year's show.
One of the best ways to tell what toys will be hot this year is to take a look at the major upcoming film releases. Whenever a big action movie, big sequel or hyped family movie comes out, hot merchandising is sure to follow. We picked three of our favorite movie themed toys this year:
IRON MAN 2 Remote Controlled Iron Man
This May, the new "Iron Man" movie comes out. And if the last movie is any indication, kids are going to eat it up. This action figure Iron Man is very cool, and is operated entirely by remote control. It shoots projectiles, it says phrases from the movie, it lights up and it walks, all by remote control. It easily navigates forward and has lots of electronic lights, movie sounds, and projectiles that shoot from the arms and shoulder rockets. (Available in the fall for ages 4+ $49.99.)
"TOY STORY 3" - Mr. Potatohead
Mr Potato Head is a highly detailed film replica which can be played with as eyes, eyebrows, ears, nose moustache, mouth arms and hat are all detachable. That's the Mr. Potato head you know in love, but this is also has talking, facial expression and voice activation. Press his hat for classic Mr. Potato Head banter with wacky facial movements. And he reacts to the sound of your voice, but careful -- loud noises activate his "pop off" action. (Available this fall, ages 4+, $49.99.)
"THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK" - The Star Wars All-Terrain Armored Transport (AT AT)
It's a huge replica of the machine used in Empire Strikes back. Large enough to hold up to 20 action figures (It's two feet high!) inside with LED lights, authentic movie phrases, projectile-firing cannons, a deployable speed bike, and even a retractable zip-line in its belly to recreate one of Luke Skywalker's signature scenes from the movie. Just attach an action figure to the string in back, press a button and it zips up to the main cabin. (Available in the fall for ages 4+ at $49.99.)
REMOTE CONTROL/MOVEMENT TOYS
Toys have come a long ways from your standard remote control operated car. In fact, we have machines that can be controlled with just your hands, no remote necessary. The other movement toy we have is a toy that has a camera embedded to take digital picture and record your voice. Technology has dictated a lot of the hottest toys throughout the year, and this year is going to be no exception.
THE VECTRON WAVE
The Vectron Wave from Air Hogs is a hand-sized UFO. It's a unique flying machine equipped with a state of the art level sensor, the Vectron senses objects below and automatically adjust its height to hover above them. So that means you can use your hand to guide the remote. Simply turn on the charging station and machine, place the UFO on a table and turn it on. It will rise and then be guided by your hand. (New for spring, 8+ at $24.99.)
SPY VIDEO TRAKR
This is a machine that operates like a remote controlled car, but it has a digital recorder on it. So, you can program it to go into your sisters room, catch her coming home after curfew on video while telling her with your pre-recorded voice, you are busted, then go to mom and dad's room and show them the evidence. Spy Video TRAKR is the first app-enabled, programmable, remote-controlled video vehicle. It digitally transmits color, video, audio and data and allows user to create, download and share custom program. (Available fall 2010, ages 8+ $120.)
MINI CRITTER TOYS
Last year, hamsters are all the rage. Mini critters are always great for parents. It's like getting your child a pet without the clean up. The new pet for this year? Try bugs.
HEX BUG NANO AND TRACK
Last year, it was hamsters, this year it may be bugs! These are tiny collectible, micro robotic creature that uses the physics of vibration to propel forward and explore its environment. Powered by a small motor and 12 fixed, angular legs, the critter navigates through the most complex mazes. It can even flip to its feet and zoom forward when turned on its back. When coming into contact with an object in its path, the energetic insect will switch directions and scurry away on a new path due to its persistent random behavior. You can buy starter sets, habitats and accessories. Full online component. (The Habitat set is out now; the starter set will be available in March. Prices from $11.99 to $49.99.)
NOTE: The prices given are suggested retail prices, which will go down somewhere between 10 to 30 percent at actual toy stores.