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Toys”R”Us® today announced four top trends anticipated to influence toy sales in the coming months. From scouring trade shows and hit online videos to testing products in its network of 1,600 stores across 35 countries and jurisdictions, the company’s skilled merchandising team has spent the year analyzing emerging toy trends among kids in the United States and around the world.
“Using various methods of testing and tapping into the extensive knowledge of all our toy industry resources, the trends we’ve identified reflect the way today’s generation of kids is interacting with each other and the world around them, while also expressing a desire to explore their imagination,” said Karen Dodge, Senior Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys”R”Us, U.S. “Now that Christmas is mere months away, we’re excited to share our unique insights about the types of toys we believe will create big smiles on little faces and help ensure the thousands of moms and dads who shop with Toys”R”Us this season become holiday heroes as kids open their gifts on Christmas morning.”
By leveraging its position as a global, specialty toy retailer, and through a rigorous process that has been a year in the making, Toys”R”Us has identified the following 2011 top toy trends, as well as select items that exemplify each trend, all of which can be found in the company’s stores nationwide and online at Toysrus.com:
From iPads to 3D TVs, the ways in which people engage with each other and enjoy entertainment have forever changed. And it’s no secret that adults aren’t the only ones placing the latest technological devices on their holiday wish lists. On public buses, in doctors’ offices and during play dates, kids can be spotted tapping the screens and buttons of their parents’ gadgets. To ensure tech-savvy children still have opportunities to enjoy traditional, kid-friendly play patterns, below are select toys now available at Toys”R”Us that interact with apps and are sure to excite and delight kids of all ages:
- Disney-Pixar® Cars 2 Appmates™ from Spin Master™
Combining the excitement of Cars 2 and kids’ affinity for playing with their parents’ iPads, these too-cute, tiny toy cars are sure to be a child’s perfect playmate. Specially designed to transform any iPad into virtual raceways in Radiator Springs, World Grand Prix and more, each miniature Appmate car, based on kid-favorite Cars 2 characters, is automatically detected when placed on the surface of the iPad’s touch-sensitive screen after downloading a free “Cars 2 Appmates” app. From there, the physical toys jump into virtual adventure without the use of Bluetooth technology or any cabling. For even more fun, players can customize their cars with unique sounds, racing stripes and gear, while carrying out unique missions. No batteries required. Ages 4 years and up.
- iCade Arcade Cabinet for iPad™ from Ion Audio
Kids and kids at heart can flashback to the glory days of gaming with this iPad-interactive, arcade-style cabinet complete with joystick and buttons. Featuring an authentic retro design, users can challenge friends for high scores with this new app-cessory, which includes an iPad plug-in and cradle that offers a secure fit during the most intense gaming sessions, an ideal, vertical screen-viewing angle and wirelessly connects the system’s arcade controls to iPad. It’s game on after users download any iCade-compatible app, including the free Atari Greatest Hits app, which provides access to more than 100 Atari classics from Asteroids to Battlezone. 2 “AA” batteries are required (included). Ages 8 years and up.
- iMarker™ Digital Stylus + Crayola ColorStudio HD App from Griffin™
Coloring goes digital with this electronic drawing tool that transforms into Crayola crayons, markers, paint, colored pencils and more when interacting with an iPad. Featuring iconic colors from the Crayola 64 Box, young artists can discover their inner Picasso by interacting with “live” animated pages, complete with sound effects, music and hidden surprises when they download the complimentary ColorStudio HD app for iPad. 1 “AA” battery required (included). Ages 3 years and up.
- MY3D Viewer for iPhone/iPod touch from Hasbro®
To experience 3D and 360-degrees of entertainment on any iPhone or iPod touch, users can simply insert their mobile device into this app-cessory before holding it up to their eyes. After downloading the free MY3D Presents app, the 3D viewer will allow users to see content from a variety of specially formatted MY3D apps in a whole new way. All apps available for download in the App Store. Tilting and turning the iPhone or iPod touch will allow for interactive and immersive 3D experiences, including gaming and entertainment. No batteries required. Ages 8 years and up.
Quirky Stuffed Characters
While teddy bears have long made great gifts for babies, today’s toy market is filled with hip, trendy plush characters that are far from traditional. From koo koo birds that ignite with sounds to stuffed creatures featuring uniquely ugly looks, kids are clamoring for these quirky characters that are both cuddly and cool:
- Uglydoll™ Plush from Pretty Ugly, LLC.
From the creative minds of two love-struck artists, David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim, emerged Uglyverse, a universe where ugly means unique and special. What started as a drawing of a quirky, playful orange character known as Wage has turned into a whole new world of fun. After Sun-Min sewed Wage into a plush toy as a surprise gift for her then boyfriend, the couple soon pulled more characters from the Uglyverse to create the now iconic world of Uglydoll. Featuring unique shapes and silly expressions, these plush have special personalities. No batteries required. Ages birth and up. These items will be available at Toys“R”Us stores nationwide at the end of October.
- KooKoo Zoo 6-Inch KooKoo Birds from Jay at Play International
Kids are going koo koo for these 6-inch stuffed KooKoo Birds, available in various colors and styles. When squeezed, the quirky characters react with an alarming KooKoo Kall that elicits fun and laughter. Each has a unique KooKoo expression and long-winded names such as Hot-Pink, Fire-Plumed Bird of Paradise and Rainbow-Billed, Long-Tailed KooKoo. Plus, every KooKoo Bird comes with a listing of all birds in the assortment with pictures, serial numbers and names, so kids can collect the whole flock. No batteries required. Ages 5 years and up.
- Smurfs Plush from JAKKS Pacific®
Kids and collectors can choose from 8-inch, 11-inch and 21-inch stuffed versions of Smurfette, Papa Smurf and more fan-favorite Smurf characters that the world was able to reconnect with after the launch of The Smurf live-action film during the summer of 2011. Each plush character features the iconic blue hue, white accessories and classic faces they’re known for. No batteries required. Ages 4 years and up.
- 22-Inch Lion (Jackson) from Plushalicious®
Kids looking for a cuddle buddy that’s hip and cool can bring this 22-inch lion to any slumber party and show him off with pride. Featuring a psychedelic tie-dye print and a long, shaggy mane, this plush pal is incredibly cute and has tons of character. No batteries required. Ages 3 years and up.
- Annoying Orange Talking Fresh Squeezed Plush from The Bridge Direct
Serving up a delicious dose of “freshly squeezed comedy,” these 3.5-inch stuffed characters are capturing kids’ and fans’ imaginations following the highly popular web series, The Annoying Orange. Children and adults alike are sure to love the whole line of hilarious talking toys, each of which recite jokes and puns from the series. Available styles include Orange, Pear and Midget Apple. 3 “AG-13” alkaline button cell batteries required (included; non-replaceable). Ages 4 years and up. These items will be available at Toys“R”Us beginning in November.
In today’s world, kids are not satisfied with, nor are they limited to, experiencing their favorite characters, shows, movies and games through just one medium. Instead, children of all ages are looking for ways to transport the excitement and entertainment of their favorite virtual properties out of the digital realm and into the physical world, too. This year, a variety of playthings, from plush pals to construction sets, offer tangible extensions of some of the most popular video games, social networks and apps for kids. The following tech-inspired toys can be found on Toys”R”Us shelves nationwide:
- Angry Birds™ Knock on Wood Game from Mattel®
Kids can build structures and launch Angry Birds mini figures to score points as they destroy opponents’ towers and knock down their green pigs with this skill-and-action board game based on the best-selling Angry Birds app from Rovio. Complete with Angry Birds and green pigs mini figures, a slingshot-style launcher, structure pieces and mission cards, this game is sure to ignite players’ competitive nature. No batteries required. Ages 5 to 7 years.
- Mario Kart™ Wii Bowser’s™ Castle Ultimate Building Set™ from K’NEX
Gamers can recreate the complete multi-level Bowser’s Castle track from Mario Kart Wii with this Toys”R”Us exclusive set, featuring more than 650 pieces, that takes the experience of racing Mario and Luigi out of the video game and into the real world. Kids can connect the 26 pieces of double-wide track and then race Mario in his Standard Kart, alongside Luigi in his Wild Wing Kart. The set also includes four collectible items that can help or hinder racers – a mushroom, green turtle shell, banana peel and Bullet Bill. 4 “AAA” batteries required (not included). Ages 6 years and up.
- Need for Speed Porsche GT3 RS Construction Set from MEGA Brands
Kids can now construct their very own authentic Porsche model, straight from the Need for Speed video game franchise. Equipped with pieces authentic to the Porsche featured in the game, such as racing seats, functional doors, roll bar, high rear spoiler and real rubber tires, this set has everything a fan, collector or kid at heart will need to build and customize a highly detailed 1/14 scale Porsche GT3 RS. No batteries required. Ages 8 years and up.
- Moshi Monsters™ Moshling Mini-Figures 3-pack from Spin Master™
Since 2008, kids have been interacting with their own monsters online at MoshiMonsters.com, creating virtual rooms, playing games and adopting pets, called Moshlings, for their Moshi Monsters to care for. Now, the miniature Moshlings from the hit online community are ready to leave their virtual world and come home to fans nationwide with this Toys”R”Us exclusive line of plastic figurines. With more than 30 available, children can build their Moshling collection with three-packs that each showcase two Moshlings, while leaving one shrouded in mystery. For additional fun, kids can use an included secret code to retrieve one special item for their Moshi Monster online at MoshiMonsters.com. No batteries required. Ages 6 years and up.
- Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure™ from Activision®
Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure™ lets gamers bring their toys to life when they place their action figures on the “Portal of Power,” instantly teleporting characters into a video game world. Players can then complete adventures, collect surprises and more that will be retained when their character leaves the game world. Upon reentering Skylanders, each character retains in-game experiences and can transfer weapons, skills and more across platforms when playing on a Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC or Mac. This starter set comes with everything needed to complete the game, including the “Portal of Power;” Spyro, Gill Grunt and Trigger Happy playable action figures; the game and more. No batteries required. Rated “E10+.” This item will be available beginning October 16.
Gross is Good
While parents have been known to deter kids from rolling in the mud, picking through trash and eating anything that squirms or skitters, this season, children may be encouraged to enjoy friendly, foul fun – sans mess! Here are some examples of the icky, gruesome, funky toys that are as exciting as they are gross:
- The Trash Pack™ from Moose Toys
Tiny, squishy garbage-themed characters named after the icky, stinky delights found in the trash, such as Mucky Maggot, Rankenstein, Smelly Sock and more, are the newest in collectible crazes. With more than 100 hilariously disgusting – yet adorable – characters to collect, share and swap, kids are already clamoring to snap up their favorites. Trashies come in three colors and have unique features and molded edges that make them feel gross to the touch. No batteries required. Ages 5 years and up.
- Incredible Edibles Fright Factory from JAKKS Pacific
Kids will drool over this new laboratory set as they create disgustingly delicious goodies, such as gummy body parts, bio brains, gooey guts and fizzing alien blood, before daring family, friends and foes to eat these frightful creations. With various flavored mixes to choose from, including apple, strawberry and grape, kids won’t be able to pass up tasting their own icky treats. Additional molds and refills sold separately. No batteries required. Ages 6 to 10 years.
- Doctor Dreadful Zombie Drink Lab from Spin Master™
This ultra icky mad scientist lab includes a cup, faux syringe, brain molded beaker, zombie head gear base and three body parts molds for endless hours of mixing and making disgusting, yet delectable, drinks. Kids’ taste buds will be crawling when they create and taste the more than 40 possible, repulsively yummy treats, or use them to spook family and friends. No batteries required. Ages 5 years and up.
- Creepy Crawlers Bug Maker Creation Station from JAKKS Pacific
Kids can create a wide variety of creepy crawlers to scare off siblings and friends. From scary spiders, beetles, maggots and frogs, to lizards, sea creatures, zombies and more, the bug maker makes it easy to craft these creepy creations. Children will love to fill them with goo and smash them for the ultimate in gross play. Additional molds and refills sold separately. 4 “D” batteries required (not included). Ages 8 years and up.
About Toys”R”Us, Inc.
Toys”R”Us, Inc. is the world’s leading dedicated toy and juvenile products retailer, offering a differentiated shopping experience through its family of brands. Merchandise is sold in 875 Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, and in more than 520 international stores and over 200 licensed stores in 34 countries and jurisdictions. In addition, it exclusively operates the legendary FAO Schwarz brand and sells extraordinary toys in the brand’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. With its strong portfolio of e-commerce sites including Toysrus.com, Babiesrus.com, eToys.com and FAO.com, it provides shoppers with a broad online selection of distinctive toy and baby products. Headquartered in Wayne, NJ, Toys”R”Us, Inc. employs approximately 70,000 associates annually worldwide. The company is committed to serving its communities as a caring and reputable neighbor through programs dedicated to keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need.