2008 Hot Toy New Trends

2008 Hot Toy New Trends

All toy companies are eager to grow sales in a stagnant $22 billion market, they want to know which toys are "hot" for the year. Invariably, the toy trends for the year are strongly influenced by movies being released that year. This year, there are some awesome icons vying for our attention - Indiana Jones, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Batman. Aside from these superheroes, the hot toy trends for 2008 also include dinosaurs, robots, musical toys and of course, web connected toys!

Aside from these, "Electronics and the Internet. That's what kids are obsessed about today," said Jim Silver, editor and co-publisher of Toy Wishes magazine. "They have an iPod, they are on Facebook and some are e-mailing by age five."

1. Web Connected Toys

IToysWe all know and love Webkinz, the pioneer of the "virtual toy" revolution. Webkinz is still doing very well and now has been joined by several other toy manufacturers. Russ's Shining Stars, TY Girlz, Barbie and now even TY's Beanie Babies. Aside from dolls and plush toys, there's a brand new preschool game which nicely incorporates play and technology. It's called Me2 from IToys. Also worth noting is Clickables, a wonderful line of toys from Technosource. Clickables integrates the virtual world of Disney Fairies with toys for girls. There are a lot of other web connected toys and dolls. My collegue, the Doll Collecting guide, has a great article up on the virtual doll trend.

2. Dinosaur Toys
Dinosaurs have been around for a while now, (remember the very recent Pleo?), but they certainly made their presence felt at the Toy Fair! Here is one dinosaur which was hard to miss - Kota the Triceratops from Playskool. This friendly creature is pretty tall at approximately 40 feet and is equipped with sensors, which when activated, make him move his head, tail and horns. Kids will enjoy sitting on this playful (and very pricey) creature. Another dino in the spotlight comes to use from Mattel. D-Rex, a remote controlled dinosaur with a lot of different sounds and realistic motions aims to fascinate kids this year.

3. Indiana Jones Toys

HasbroIndiana Jones is really something to look forward to this year. The movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is slated to be one of the hot movies of 2008. It's no wonder then, that Lego, Hasbro and the rest have jumped onto Indy's bandwagon! The plot of the movie isn't yet revealed fully. Still, Lego had some wonderful sets based on Indiana Jones. The Indiana Jones LEGO sets include Indiana Jones Temple Escape, Indiana Jones Race for the Stolen Treasure, Indiana Jones and the Lost Tomb and Indiana Jones Motorcycle Chase. Some of Hasbro's Indiana Jones offerings include Mr Potato Head: Taters of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones Sound FX Whip and of course Indiana Jones action figures.

4. Science and Nature Related Toys

Jakks PacificI noticed a large variety of Science Kits and nature themed toys at this year's Toy Fair. Elmers (the glue company) had some really cool science kits represented by Bill Nye, the science guy. Scientific Explorer had a lot of fun kits to offer where kids can experiment with fascinating stuff like bubbles, perfumes, volcanoes and more. The biggie in the science category is none other than EyeClops from Jakks Pacific, which has updated versions(read night vision and higher magnification) available. Also, Uncle Milton of the Ant Farm fame had some cool Indiana Jones based products to show.

5. Batman - The Dark Knight Toys

MattelThe new Batman movie, The Dark Knight is slated to be released later this year. Mattel has a host of Batman related toys and action figures up their sleeve. The Stealth Batmobile and the Wayne Tech Tri Fire Blaster are must haves. Apart from those two, there are a lot of pretend play options and Batman action figures from Mattel. Lego also has some great Batman themed construction sets for release this year.

6. Speed Racer Toys

MattelSpeed Racer is another big movie franchise on which Mattel has a great lineup of toys. I know that Hot Wheels has a Morph Mach 6 vehicle and an interactive helmet to offer as well as the Speed Racer Sky Jump Track Set among other toy vehicles. The movie should spark off a craze for racing and toy cars which is going to be huge. Lego also had some great Speed Racer kits on display at Toy Fair. Personally, I think this is THE franchise to watch out for.

7. Animated Toys/Robots

Fisher-PriceOk, so by now everyone must have heard of Elmo Live, right? Well, the animated toy trend seems to be very prevalent this year with Elmo Live, Hasbro's Biscuit, Playskool's Kota the Triceratops, Tomy's ISobot and more. While I'm on the topic, let me mention that I just previewed an adorable duckling from Hasbro's Furreal Friends line - it's too cute for words. Just like me, it seems like everyone enjoys seeing animated animals nowadays!

8. Iron Man Toys

HasbroHasbro has a fantastic line of action figures based on the Iron Man. This is another movie franchise for this year which is going to be popular with Marvel fans.

9. Green Toys

It's no wonder that everyone is focusing on healthy and safe play this year. The "green" theme is predominant with many toy firms promoting their eco-friendly products. One toy manufacturer which I really liked was Plan toys from Indonesia which had a wonderful lineup of natural wooden toys. There were some toys made out of recycled milk bottles from a company called Green Toys. They had tea sets, gardening sets and beach sand sets on display which looked very appealing. I also noticed the Kapla line of wooden construction planks which falls into the "green" category as well. 12. Classic Toys - Lots of Anniversaries!

10. The Incredible Hulk Toys

HasbroThe Hulk was at a lot of places at Toy Fair 2008. I specially loved the Kid Designs line of Hulk laptops and learning toys. Hasbro has a fantastic lineup of Hulk toys including the much awaited Hulk Smash Hands, a plush animated Hulk toy, conventional Hulk action figures, a Hulk power glow electronic mask, a Hulk dart blaster and much more. Looks like "green" is popular in more ways than one!

11. Musical Toys

KID Designs For the last couple of years, toys based on musical instruments have really grown in popularity. Remember Piano Wizard, Piano Made Easy, I Can Play Guitar, Guitar Hero and the other toys on similar lines? This, along with musical toys based on celebrities like Hannah Montana and hit TV shows like American Idol practically dominated the musical toy scene. This year, the trend continues with some more Hannah Montana toys, new DVD games based on American Idol (KIDDesigns has an awesome American Idol DVD game) and much more. Stay tuned. (pun not intended)

12. Keyboard for toddlers, Wallcrawler Spiderman

The portable DVD player is made to withstand a kid's abuse. It features a 3.2-inch color TFT screen, rechargeable batteries with a two-hour lifespan, an anti-skip buffer, grip handles and a stand for hands-free viewing. The player, which plays DVDs and CDs, comes with a battery charger and wall power unit, a video output jack, and a headphone jack.

13. Wall Crawler Spider-Man

"Wall Crawler Spider-Man" is a standout innovation from Hasbro. The remote-controlled Spider-Man toy, which incorporates vacuum-pump technology, actually crawls ups and down walls.

Last, but not the least, classic toys are very much in the forefront. This year, many classics were celebrating their anniversaries. Hasbro's My Little Pony celebrated their 25th anniversary with a lovely birthday party at the Hasbro showroom, complete with a cake cutting! Cabbage Patch Kids celebrates it's 25th anniversary as well. The LEGO brick celebrates its 50th anniversary with a commemorative gold brick. Other brands celebrating this year include Scholastic's Clifford, the big red dog, the Toy Company's Wham-O and Mary Meyer (who is turning 75 this year). We'll wind up with congratulating Hasbro's Mr Potato Head who is turning 80 this year. Way to go!

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