Toys, toys and more toys! The ToyFair 2014 at NYC’s Jacob K. Javits Center lived up to the hype as a true toy mecca — I had long heard about the Toy Industry Association’s legendary trade show, which is now in its 111th year. They don’t allow anyone under 18 inside, and I’m not sure that even I should have been allowed inside. Looking at all of the toys was too much fun! And a bit overwhelming, with 1,150 toy companies displaying their hottest items. Here are my picks for the top toys for travel — try bringing these easily transportable toys along on your next family vacation.
My favorite find at the Toy Fair was also the simplest: PlayTape by InRoadToys (pictured at top). We’ve been bringing little cars, trains and trucks everywhere with us for the past year-and-a-half, and I don’t see my three-year-old son breaking this habit anytime soon. (It’s amazing how seeing a miniature vehicle can cheer up a toddler boy!) But with PlayTape (retailing for $7.99) we can have even more fun. This temporary road is as easy to remove as it is to put down, so you can apply it to hotel and apartment rental floors, restaurant tables and airplane trays without having to worry.
You know how some cultures wear Evil Eye pendants to ward off malevolent spirits? Well maybe carrying around these cute Giant Microbes by Drew Oliver would help your family avoid falling prey to E. Coli, the Common Cold or an Amoeba on your travels. These cuddly germs retail for $9.95 each. If you’re taking a cruise then you might want to invest in a sweet little Norovirus guy (not pictured) — I jest, I jest!
Magnetic fishing games are certainly not a new concept, but I loved how stylish this latest edition is from the French company Djeco. It would be easy to take on a trip, and it retails for approximately $25-$30. One of the most interesting things about the Toy Fair is that there are a lot of foreign toy companies there who are looking for US distributors, as well as importers looking for retail stores. There were a lot of beautifully designed toys from France, Germany and Japan.
All too often, we break out the iPad when we want to occupy our kids when we travel. Wouldn’t it be better to offer art supplies instead? As much as I love The Piggy Story‘s stylish little animal purses that come with crayons and paper, I must admit that the Create & Carry Art Tote is much more practical and chalkboard surface would be especially fun. Both types of kits retails for under $20.
Memory games are a true classic, but Tree Hopper Toys’ Match Stacks look so fresh you’d think the concept was invented last year when they won Creative Child Magazine’s 2013 Game of the year award. Made in the USA and retailing for $19.95, these 16 wooden disc sets come in a resusable tube that’s perfect to pack. There are lots of different sets available, so choose the theme that matches your vacation: Camping Trip, Sea Things, On the Farm and more. But you can’t go wrong with the Transportation theme when you’re traveling…
What toys do you like to bring when you travel?