I’ve spent this past week scouring the Toy Fair in New York City, checking out the newest toys set to hit shelves this year. Every year the toys get more innovative and jaw-dropping — and this year was no exception. Of course there were plenty of amazing eco-friendly, wooden, educational toys that I found (and I’ll share eventually!), but let’s start with the more outrageous, shall we?
These 15 toys are the ones that spark a simple “whoa.” Some are “Whoa, that’s kind of cool!”, while others are “Uh, whoa. Really?!” Take a look and tell us what you think of these outrageous toys that are sure to get buzz in 2012:
Crayola Digital Light Designer | Ages 6+ 1 of 15Although Crayola has tons of new releases set for 2012, this digital light designer is certainly their biggest. This 360-degree dome is designed for kids to create images (that can be animated!) and play games (like maze races and memory games) with LED lights. Kids can save up to 50 drawings, which can be edited and animated at any time.
Right now the dome sounds pretty loud (almost like a fan turned on extra-extra high), but I'm hoping Crayola works on making their prototype quieter — at least for parents' sakes.
Coming in September 2012, $49.99
Kid-Tough Portable DVR | Ages 3+ 2 of 15This is kind of cool, but also kind of ridiculous — mostly because it's $150 for a 3-year-old kid. Made to be durable for "drops and drool," as it was described to me, this portable DVR can be hooked up right to your TV, so you can record up to two hours of your kid's favorite TV shows. When we know parents are already passing back their iPhones for Netflix, will they shell out that kind of cash for a 3.5-inch portable DVR? Would you?
Coming in May 2-12, $149.99
Master Moves Mickey | Ages 2+ 3 of 15This year Mickey's trading in the samba for some sweet breakdancing moves — including a handstand! Ignoring the fact that their "hip" Mickey is rocking a sideways hat and '90s street gear, this dancing mouse is pretty darn entertaining (and impressive!). Even if your kids weren't drawn in by Mickey's ballroom skills last year, they'll probably be amazed by his new hip-hop moves.
Coming in August 2012, $69.99
Monopoly zAPPed | Ages 8+ 4 of 15If you didn't like the elimination of money and banking in last year's Monopoly edition, then your head might explode with this one. The newest Monopoly uses your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch as a banking unit, which does all the adding and subtracting for you (and for your kids, of course. Who needs math, anyway?). The technology does have its advantages, of course — especially through virtual mini games that pop up through the Chance and Community Chest cards.
Coming in June 2012
Lazer Tag Blaster | Ages 8+ 5 of 15Lazer Tag is back — but only with an app, of course. Kids can use iPhones or iPod Touches for a virtual-reality-like game of lazer tag, which can be played in single-player mode or with a group of kids. With a range of over 250 feet and a really high-tech looking interface (through a free app), it's pretty impressive.
Coming in August 2012, $39.99 - $69.99
The Game of LIFE zAPPed | Ages 8+ 6 of 15This certainly isn't the LIFE of our childhoods — especially because you need an iPad (and a free app) to play the game. The prices and activities have modernized too, with college or career requiring a $100,000 loan. As much as I hate needing to have an $800 grown-up tool as a necessary play piece, the cool thing about this is it keeps track of where you are in the game. And when you hit certain milestones (like graduation, for example), it plays funny clips from America's Funniest Videos!
Coming soon to Amazon.com and ToysRUs.com, $24.99 (+ an iPad)
NERF Super Soakers | Ages 6+ 7 of 15NERF is coming out with two new Super Soakers — the Lightning Storm and Electrostorm Water Blasters — that shoot up to a whopping 25 feet. The difference is that the Lightning Storm has a 35-ounce capacity clip (that can be used with other Super Soaker models), while the Electrostorm can hold up to 2.6 ounces with no pumping required.
Coming in Spring 2012, $9.99 - $24.99
G.I. Joe Battle-Kata Blaster | Ages 6+ 8 of 15G.I. Joe is about to make a big comeback with a new movie (featuring "The Rock" and Bruce Willis), so Hasbro created an entire G.I. Joe line for battle-hungry boys (or girls). If you've made peace with your little boy running around shooting things, how do you feel about them switching to blade mode? This 2-in-1 "battle combo" seems like an ordinary projectile-shooting gun — until a plastic blade pops out for more close-contact attacking. I don't know about you, but my mommy senses went off with that one.
Coming in summer 2012, $14.99
The Amazing Spider-Man R/C Speed Climbing Spider-Man | Ages 5+ 9 of 15Yes, this Spider Man actually climbs walls with vacuum technology. (Note: It kind of sounds like a vacuum.)
Coming in fall 2012, $34.99
Fijit Friends Yippits | Ages 6+ 10 of 15If you thought Mattel couldn't possibly improve on the tech-savvy Fijits Friends, meet the newest Yippits. Designed to interact with Fijits (even unlocking more secret content from their current Fijit friend) or stand on their own, these smaller, pet-like Yippits can bark, growl, dance, play games, and learn new tricks. Kids will go nuts for them.
Coming in June 2012, $37.99
Hot Wheels Apptivity | Ages 4+ 11 of 15Continuing with the iPad toy trend, the newest Hot Wheels cars are designed to be raced directly on an iPad. My heart slightly stopped when I saw the Mattel rep racing a car across the tablet's very expensive glossy screen, but they assured me that the cars are designed with anti-scratch technology to protect parents' very expensive purchase. When it comes to kids inevitably using their non-scratch-proof Hot Wheels on the iPad's race track … well, that's for you to figure out. (Although you might already have a screen protector on that bad boy if you're living with kids!)
Word is that this is the first of many iPad-compatible Mattel toys, with Monster High, WWE, and other Fisher-Price products soon to follow.
Coming in May 2012, $19.99
Razor FlashRider 360 Three-wheeler | Ages 6+ 12 of 15The newest Razor 360 bike (named one of Babble's Best Kids Bikes) now not only spins, but sparks.
Coming in spring 2012, $119.99
Barbie Photo Fashion Doll | Ages 6+ 13 of 15Barbie's new photo doll is sure to get a lot of buzz — although it probably won't be as controversial as last year's video Barbie. This one has a built-in digital camera that displays the image right on Barbie's shirt. Barbie can hold over 100 images (that can be uploaded to your computer, of course), allowing kids to start sharpening their photo-taking skills.
Coming in August 2012, $49.99
Furreal Friends Baby Butterscotch, My Magical Show Pony | Ages 4+ 14 of 15Furreal Friends have been around since I was little, but their newest Butterscotch horse is unlike anything I've ever seen. It nuzzles close to you, with animated facial expressions and a cuddly body, sensing where you're touching. I'm a grown woman, and it kind of melted my heart.
Coming in fall 2012, $119.99
Monster High Create-a-Monster Design Lab | Ages 6+ 15 of 15No matter how you feel about Monster High dolls, there's no denying their massive kid appeal. And starting this spring, girls can design their very own unique monster dolls — including custom skin stamping (like spider webs and stitching) and different features to choose from.
Coming in June 2012, $39.99
Stay tuned for more Toy Fair 2012 coverage!
Read more of Michelle’s writing at Early Mama.