Between 22nd – 24th January this year, the London Olympia was transformed into a toy paradise as the annual Toy Fair exhibition kicked off once again! With stands from almost every major toy company imaginable, it’s the place to be if you want to see toys, talk toys and most importantly of all… play with toys!
We went down to see what all the fuss was about. The first thing that you realise is that you’re in a place dedicated to the funnest, most colourful and exciting products you’ll have ever seen whilst at the same time being a place for SERIOUS business. Toy business. This is a place where exhibitors come to show off their upcoming products, not to the public at large, but to the people that might be stocking or distributing those toys over the next 12 months.
It was a great opportunity for us to finally meet in person some of the people that we usually only communicate with via email.
We saw great new toys from Vivid, makers of the Super Wubble Bubble Ball and Disney Emoji toys that we’ve enjoyed in 2018. This year they’re going to have a whole lot of new stuff including some great Squeezamals and Shimmeez!
We also saw new stuff from John Adams including welcome additions to the ever-growing range of Tetris tie-in games and toys with Tetris 3d, Tetris Quake and Tetris Speed!
Over at Spin Master things were really secretive but with good reason! If what we saw inside is anything to go by we’ll have some amazing toys to review this year. Don’t forget these are the people that brought you Boxer, Fugglers and Flush Force! We were also lucky enough to come away with their awesome Off The Hook playset!
This year, expect to see expansion upon existing popular ranges such as Hatchimals, Twisty Petz and Meccano plus exciting new ranges like the adorable Lollipets!
We also saw some great new upcoming toys from Interplay, the creators of our My Living World ant and worm farms, Fab Lab kits and My Fairy Garden playsets! There’s some really fun new additions coming to fairyland, including a new focus on growing your own pea shoots and mustard seeds! I also saw boy fairies introduced so this is firmly not a girls-only activity anymore!
There were also some great new party games, including one that reminded me of Buckaroo, called Orangutwang! Hopefully we’ll have chance to take a look at that later this year!
Trends UK had some great STEM toys on display. The Science Mad range includes a ‘Build Your Own Robotic Vacuum Cleaner’ set that lets you build your own Roomba-style robot, a ‘Circuit Lab’ for learning how circuits can be put together and my favourite, a ‘Pop Globe’ that has a cool AR interface that sees things pop out!
WowWee, creators of Untamed Raptors and What’s That Smell were there and we took a look at what they’ve got coming up this year. The Untamed range has really expanded and there are now a huge number of different species that will be clinging to your digits including dragons and skeletons!
Expect to see these all get the blind-bag treatment too as we see the release of the Untamed Mad Lab Minis. Each one is bio-engineered from Untamed DNA and contains a creature immersed in Geoslime, Biosand or Terraclay!
Despite a selection of amazing creatures, the finger-gripping show may be stolen in 2019 by the new Fingerling Narwhals! These adorable unicorns of the sea have a light up horn and when you pet them they flap their tails and blink their eyes!
We swung by the Cheatwell Games stand to say hi to our friends there and check out what new products are coming out this year. All our favourites were on show including Baffled and Polar Panic which was in our list of Five Great Games for Travel, Holidays and Camping. They’ve got some awesome new products that we’ll hopefully be trying out including the awesome Slam Dice!
While in a games mood we went to see Asmodee at their stand and had a go at Who Did It? (a game about allocating blame for a mystery poop), Dice Academy and Maki Stack!
We were also lucky enough to be given a tour of the Epoch Making Games stand and saw loads of the new Sylvanian Families sets. They are now becoming modular, letting you construct your own combination of sets to make your dream house/street/town! There are also some great new products coming from Aquabeads. We hope to be bringing you reviews of both really soon!
We checked out Gosh! Designs‘ stand. They have a great range of Marvel & DC products including HARLEY QUINN STUFF! That’s always going to be a winner over here. Looking forward to seeing what they come up with this year!
Lastly we checked out the big Character stand. Character make a huge range of toys, both unique IPs and tv tie-ins like Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol. They’re going all in on squishy, slimy fun with stuff like the ultra-soft Scrump Squish, Soft n Slo Squishies Designerz and our favourite, ORB Slimi Cafe. ORB Slimi Cafe is a mash-up of squishy, slime and dough technology to create fun, messy food items!
The overarching theme appears to be that blind-bags are still firmly IN, with many companies showcasing new ways to add that random surprise factor both in new, unique products and in extension to existing ranges. Hopefully we’ll have opportunity to review some of these over the next 12 months!
Another trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing up is SLIME! As well as the purely slime-oriented kits you’ll have seen so far, get ready to see slime ooze it’s way into other toys and playsets too. It reminds me of the ‘ooze’ we used to have when playing with the Ghostbusters firehouse as kids. It seems any way to introduce slime in new and exciting ways is being fiercely researched so get ready for a new wave of ickiness!
Overall we had a great time at Toy Fair. It was so useful to be able to put faces to names we’ve only seen via email and to build new relationships with awesome new companies too! Can’t wait to go back next year!
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