Last week the Ellie Sparkles team were busy visiting the annual London Toy Fair in search of the top trends for 2018.
We went. We saw. We played. And now the results are in!
1. S.T.E.M TOYS
Getting kids interested in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is a hot topic right now, as it’s frequently reported that our future workers will lack the skills required for jobs in these areas.
Cue, toy industry to the rescue!
This year, we were happy to see a multitude of inventive, creative and imaginative toys which seek to get kids interested in STEM subjects from a young age. From building your own coding robot, to making your own slime, the wide range of STEM toys available this year will be sure to help nurture your child’s critical thinking and creative skills, giving them the confidence needed to get a step ahead.
Our favourite was the ‘Crystals, Rocks and Minerals Kit’ from National Geographic; an earth science kit which lets kids discover and grow their own crystals!
Do you have a budding scientist in the family? Check out WildBrain’s Fun Science for Kids channel for a bunch of wacky experiments!
2. NOSTALGIC TOYS
In recent years there’s been a resurgence of vintage in almost all walks of life, and so it’s not surprising that this has now stretched to the toy scene. In a world of iPads and drones, it was nice to see lots of toys from a bygone era making a come back.
Think classic model cars, french knitting dolls, wooden animals, and even Sea Monkeys, all taking their place on toy shelves once again.
Our top pick had to be….the Tamagotchi! Yes, the classic 90s virtual pet is BACK and better than ever before.
3. PLAYING HOUSE
Children have always enjoyed imitating the grown ups at play. Traditionally, however, this has taken the form of the Wendy House, or teddy bears picnic..
Not this year.
2018 is evidently the ‘year of clean play’ as all of the big household brands, such as Dyson and Morphy Richards, are releasing toy ranges.
Child-sized vacuum cleaners, tiny kettles, mini-me LAWN MOWERS! We even saw a compact ironing board, available in pink or green. N’awww.
And do you know what?
We kind of like it.
Perhaps this new age of clean play toys will help install a message of personal responsibility in our littles. Besides, all brands that convince kids that ‘chores are fun’ are winners in our eyes!
Our favourite? The Cadson Henry Toy Cleaning Trolley…because we love the variety of items available!
4. THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE
If you know Ellie Sparkles, or her friends over on the Kiddyzuzaa channel, then you’ll know how much she looovveess surprise toys. What started off as the humble Kinder Egg, Happy Meal, and Pokemon card, has now turned into a trend that has taken the toy scene by storm.
From LOL Surprise Dolls, to Hatchables, to Smooshy Mushy Pets. Kids obviously can’t get enough of the surprise and delight factor. And neither can we!
Top pick? Mini Boos Collectables from TY. Small, hand painted figurines, concealed in tiny boxes. There are 13 to collect and are expected to be one of the fastest selling toys of the year.
5. OUR TOP PICK: MONEY MONSTERS
Although we all grew up with the good old piggy bank, we have to accept that our beloved piggys have unfortunately, gone (out of) the market.
Teaching kids fiscal responsibility is still an important lesson. Problem is, it’s often a ‘boring’ and unwanted conversation.
As the age of a cashless society draws closer and closer, it’s arguably more important than ever to teach kids about the value of money.
Luckily, we think Santander Bank and leading tech company, Thought Machine, may have the answer.
Introducing, Money Monsters.
The Money Monster is a digital money box that’s linked with a contactless cash card, which is controlled by parents.
How does it work? Well, when parents put money into the Money Monster using an app, kids will see their little monster’s eyes light up with the amount, and who it’s from. Tilt your monster to the side, and your new balance shows up on the little screen. Tip it the other way, and it shows how much you’ve spent that month. Pretty cool, huh?
The payment card, that’s enclosed nicely in the little monster’s removable backpack, can be topped up, frozen, and reviewed on the Money Monster app, that’s monitored and controlled by mum or dad. Fun saving, smart giving, and safe spending. We can’t wait to get ours later this year!