While exploring Toy Fair it would have been impossible for me not to have fallen in love with some of the products available there. Here’s a run down on what I thought were the best of the best in educational and developmental toys in no particular order.
Cardboard Design www.cardboarddesign.com – Cathy Heneszy, President/ Creative Director has some amazing products for kids and adults alike. For kids check out the play houses, for adults check out the vases that change shape!
Hobby Bike www.hobby-bike.com – This is such a great idea! Research has shown that training wheels on bikes don’t actually help kids learn to ride that fast. It is better to give kids a bike that is low to the ground that they can push around with their feet. Hobby bikes not only do this, but they come with pedals and are fully adjustable to grow with your kid once they get coordinated enough to ride properly…not only that the bikes retail at $100 and come in a variety of colours.
Miniland Educational www.miniland.es – A large Spanish company just breaking in to the North American market. They have some great educational toys. We liked the lacing games where you sew clothes on dolls with a shoelace.
Grasshopper www.grasshopperpreschool.com – A new company that has designed a product that has some ethical similarities to Notch Hill. Their product helps preschoolers build the motor controls that they will need in order to learn to write. The president is a pediatric occupational therapist and has plenty of experience helping kids learn to control their hands. The product costs $200 retail and is beautifully presented.
Zillio www.zilliogames.com – A fun looking math tool for teaching tables.
Ultimate Spinner www.robbinstoy.com – I loved this wacky spinner game because it was so many games in one. At approx $50 retail it would keep your family entertained for several years.
Bridge Street Toys www.bridgestreettoys.com – If you have a kid who likes science then I whole heartedly recommend the hydrodynamics kits from this company. They come with the girder and panel kit to build a tower and a whole bunch of different valves to demonstrate all types of valves. The book that comes along with it is fascinating and takes kids from real life examples to understanding schematic drawings.
Crazy Forts www.everestwholesale.com – These are a fun modern take on the tents and forts we all built using our parent’s furniture as a kid. The kit comes with sticks and clamps which the kid can put together in a bunch of different ways. Then you add the blankets or sheets and a fort, spaceship, igloo or what ever is created. You can also buy lights that clip onto the frames to illuminate the insides of the structure.
And last but not least I loved Pencil Play Pals www.pencilplaypals.com – These harmless characters are a series of pencil toys and books written with much love and care. A simple toy but a lot of fun.