Wanted: Active Imaginations.
Once again, retro toys were a top trend at Toy Fair this year.
This trend started last year and has grown exponentially as more manufacturers realize the strength of this new market. This re-emergence of vintage or retro style toys is occurring in one of two ways.
Manufacturers are either making new versions of toys from years’ past or marketing new toys with a vintage look. The force behind this new trend is due to a new generation of parents and grandparents, who remember how much they enjoyed these kinds of toys when they were growing up. They are now purchasing them for their children and grandchildren to enjoy as well.
This has been particularly evident with the popularity of the Fisher-Price classics such as the Chatter Telephone, Pull-a-Tune Xylophone, and Music Box Record Player. Even the Spirograph and Tonka metal trucks are back.
Erector sets are also making a comeback. In addition to the classic ones, there were multiple new ones released this year—several were for a younger age group expanding this line further.
Also, other metal and tin toys have increased in popularity. One company, Schylling, offers quite a variety of tin tops, tea sets, kaleidoscopes, and music makers.
Another company even specializes in replicating the old fashioned pedal cars.
Another trend I’ve noticed is the rise in sales of wood toys. One company, Melissa and Doug, has excelled in making these types of toys. Two of the top sellers are the stacking train and pound-a-peg, but their peg puzzles and push toys also do well.
Classic block sets are also on the increase. These are great toys for increasing physical motor skills and encourage children to think creatively.
Unlike trends of past years, I think the focus on toys from yesteryear is good thing. Most are low-tech interactive toys that will engage the imagination and last for years.
There is also the added benefit of these familiar toys bringing kids, parents, and grandparents closer together:)