Toy industry plays up latest trends

NEW YORK — With Toy Fair happening now in New York City, the Toy Industry Association has revealed what it believes are the top toy trends for 2013. 

"Toy Fair '13 is showcasing a huge variety of toys and games that encourage hands-on play and engage everyone – from the youngest of children right through to tweens, teens, and even adults!" said Adrienne Appell, TIA trend expert.  "We are also seeing a more seamless integration of technology into playthings…this is a huge coup for the toy industry, which has managed to incorporate up-to-the-minute tech advances into their toys while still preserving traditional play patterns that kids love."

The TIA identified six trends: retro, pop culture, 360 degree play, enaging tweens and teens, 24/7 play and construction craze.

Toys falling in the retro category include classic games, toys and characters that kids, parents and grandparents can all enjoy. Pop culture toys are those inspired by popular cooking, DIY and other reality programming. Toys in the 360 degree play category include those that combine real and virtual worlds; products that allow users to 'change' or enhance the physical world as they play; and 3D playthings that create a more interactive experience. Engaging tweens and teens means understanding that older kids are still looking for ways to play beyond the computer or TV screen. Portable toys are what make up the 24/7 play category. Construction toys may be an old category, but new innovations keep it a popular year after year.