Hot Trends in Tech Toys from Toy Fair 2014

Smart, creative, and just-plain-cool toys herald an exciting new era in kids' tech toys.
Jinny Gudmundsen Executive Editor, Video Games | Mom of two Categories: Learning with Technology
Executive Editor, Video Games | Mom of two
Hot Trends in Tech Toys from Toy Fair 2014

Nothing's worse than spending big bucks on the latest tech toy, only to have your kids entertain themselves with a cardboard box. For kids, what makes playtime exciting is the ability to create, customize, and imagine -- aspects that are often lacking in the stuff you find on the shelves. But that's changing.

New trends in tech toys emerging from the 111th American International Toy Fair promise to occupy kids' hands as well as their minds. Here are four especially exciting trends and the toys that exemplify them. (Many of the toys will be available later this year.)

Robots rule. Robots are kid magnets because they're cool, but many can get kids thinking, too.

 Check out these robot invaders:

  • The Moss Robot Construction System lets kids build their own robots by simply snapping together magnetic components and experimenting.
  • Ozobot, a miniature robot, combines elements of physical and digital gaming.
  • Sphero, a robot that looks like a ball, plays rolling games and comes with an app that teaches kids how to program instructions that Sphero will follow.

Enhanced play. Previous toy/tech combos seemed to represent neither category well. But new entries enhance the activities kids already love to do with technology that sparks their imaginations.

Enhanced-play toys include:

  • PowerUp Toys, which let you control paper airplanes with your smartphone by adding a tiny remote-control engine to your lean, mean, flying machine.
  • Hasbro's Simon Swipe, which uses touchscreen technology so players can swipe as well as tap to repeat patterns.
  • The Nerf TekStrike Storm Shield, which uses tracking technology to tally the hits of its special Smart Darts, either on an LCD display or via an app on your smartphone.
  • Crayola's My Virtual Fashion Show, which lets kids design clothes, photograph them, and use an app to create their own fashion shows.

STEM for girls. An imbalance of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is a call to action for some toy companies. Of course boys can play with these toys, too, but companies are actively marketing more STEM toys to girls.

 Hopping on this trend are:

Wearable tech. The new wave of wearable tech is getting smarter and more useful. From watches to shoe lights that you program with a remote control, kids can entertain themselves -- and others -- wherever they are.

Would your kids wear these?

  • Kidizoom Smart Watch from VTech teaches kids how to tell time and lets them play games and take photos and videos.
  • DrumPants is a wearable, on-the-go percussion instrument that lets you literally march to the beat of your own drum.
  • Light Kicks, an add-on LED light system for shoes, lets older kids light up the dance floor (or stay visible at night).

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About Jinny Gudmundsen

For more than a decade, Jinny has written a weekly syndicated column about children's tech that appears in more than 80 Gannett newspapers and on She is also the author of the For Dummies book called iPad... Read more
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Comments (3)

Teen, 14 years old written by Judypond

Hi, My name is Judy Pond this is such a really interesting post.I personally like Robot rule game.This is a really fun snap together toy robot rover that is great for youngsters.I had build some different projects with the pieces and once assembled. Switchedonkids have a wide range of Robots rule. Please go through it
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Parent of a 6 year old written by Lefty10

We are getting our new website going. and we are trying to get some exposure. We hope you will check out the site and maybe someday soon we will get on your top 10 list for how to make a paper airplane. Thanks Lefty