This weekend marks the 112th annual North American Toy Fair (Feb. 14-17). For three days, New York becomes the biggest marketplace for playthings in the Northern Hemisphere - and where the next Toy of the Year will be discovered.
We've all had toys that have changed our lives. For parents of young kids, last year was all about toys stemming from a certain Disney hit.
Rainbow Loom (2013)
This plastic loom turns rubber bands into bracelets and, apparently, classrooms into showcases for the raging loom-bracelet fad. No wonder it was the Toy Fair’s 2014 Toy of the Year.
LeapPad Explorer (2012)
The Toy Fair’s 2012 Toy of the Year, this iPad-like device can capture movies and take pictures.
The Toy Fair’s 2011 toys of the year, these little plush dolls sing different notes when their stomachs are pressed.
Zhu Zhu Pets (2010)
A sales craze saw these $9 purring critters sell for as much as $60. They took the Toy of the Year Award at the North American Toy Fair.
Bakugan Battle Brawlers (2009)
The 2009 Toy Fair Toy of the Year combined three favorite elements for boys: action figures, board games and trading card games.
TMX Elmo (2008)
TMX Elmo, which had debuted a couple of years earlier, meant an Elmo that rolled around on the floor as he was tickled.
XBox 360 (2005)
The new XBox Live service let gamers compete against each other across a network.
What kind of robot is designed to be hacked? A popular one, that’s what.
PlayStation 2 (2002)
This game console dominated the early 2000s.
Bratz Dolls (2001)
The bobble-headed successors to Barbie weren’t universally popular - they were slammed by some groups for their sexualized clothes - but they sold like crazy and took the 2001 Toy of the Year award as well.
This tablet computer was aimed squarely at kids and was likened to a talking book.
Razor Scooters (1999)
Kick scooters had been around for more than 100 years, but a Japanese foldable scooter took the world by storm.
The Furbish language caught the world by storm via these hamster-like furry robots.
Beanie Babies (1997)
Tiny stuffed animals as collectibles? That was the idea, and for Ty Inc., it worked, all through the mid-1990s.
Tickle Me Elmo (1996)
After the toy sold out during the Thanksgiving season, parents went into a frenzy trying to track this little guy down for Christmas. Rosie O’Donnell’s on-air plug for the toy didn't help calm things, either.
A world inspired by “pocket monsters,” the franchise included a card game, a TV show and a video game series so popular that it has sold more than 245 million units.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989)
You just had to be there.
The system sold 7 million units during its breakout year.
Cabbage Patch Kids (1985)
These squeezable “adopted” baby dolls were such a hit that parents made homemade versions for their kids when the real things proved too expensive or hard to find. New versions are still popular with kids.
Robots in disguise, profits super-sized. They’re just as popular now as they were in the mid-1980s.
My Little Pony (1983)
No little girl could resist ponies, especially these, with their bright colors and brushable manes.
Rubik’s Cube (1980)
It looks complicated, but true fans could solve this puzzle cube in seconds.
The home version of the hit arcade game was considered an instant success after its release in Sears stores.
Etch A Sketch (1960s)
Introduced around 1960, this mechanical drawing toy let kids draw all they wanted, without the mess.
It’s hard to imagine an America without the leggy plastic idealized female.
Hula Hoops (1958)
During the toy’s heyday, early maker Carlon Products Corp. was manufacturing more than 50,000 hula hoops per day.
A staple of American childhood since the post-World War II years, these interlocking bricks are as popular as ever, thanks to iterations like Lego Friends, the Toy Fair’s 2013 Toy of the Year.