2017 Toy Fair Trends

Every year at about this time, every toy, game, collectible, and indoor- or outdoor plaything goes on display at New York Toy Fair. And, as usual, your Parents@Play team fearlessly braved the frigid weather (although, this year it was practically balmy) to bring you a glimpse into this year’s up-and-coming trends.

Play with Your Food

play with foodFrom dolls to teddy bears that look like cupcakes to real food decorating kits to jewelry, it’s all about food. Capitalizing on the success of toys like Shopkins, and TV shows like “MasterChef Junior” and “Man vs. Child,” kids are now allowed—and even encouraged—to play with their food. You can make your own foodie toys and designs to wear, or just snuggle up at night with your favorite muffin. Some are scented, others not so much.

DIY Crafts

DIY blanketsEverybody wants to be a Pinterest star, and the kids are getting in on it too, with a bevvy of DIY kits that help them learn to make bath bombs, weave on looms, sew, make jewelry, and more. These are not the art projects that we had as kids, the ones mom would wear just because she loved you or would display just because you made it. These look like they leapt straight from Martha Stewart’s brain. But they’re easy enough for kids to do. Trust us: we tried a few, and if we can handle it, any nine-year old can.

A Tale of Tails

Tail - with donutEverything gets a tail: dolls, food, your sleeping bag, your tablet. And if it already has a tail (like, say, a cat) it’ll get a different one (usually a mermaid or shark tail). What cat wouldn’t love an ocean swim, right? Get yourself and the kiddos one—hey, who says people can’t have tails too?

Under the Sea

mermaids everywhereApparently life on land has gotten too complicated, so we’re taking it all under water. Mermaids and sea creatures big and small are everywhere and in every category of toy or plaything.


narwhalWhat happens when you combine our recent fixation on the ocean (see above) with our decades-old fixation on unicorns? Narwhals, of course. In case you don’t know, narwhals are pale-colored porpoises that swim in Arctic waters. The coolest thing about them, besides the water they swim in, is the ivory tusk (actually an overgrown tooth). Alas, what makes it awesome also makes it hunted. Pale shades aside, you’ll be seeing narwhals in a rainbow of colors and toy options.

VR Everything

VR everythingNearly every toy brand, big and small, has a VR (virtual reality) option. Typically, the app or game is free when you by the headset. Experience dinosaurs, race cars, underwater swimming (perhaps with a narwhal or a mermaid), and more. Some drones (see below) come with a VR headset so you can see what your drone is doing in real time, as if you were in the cockpit. Cool.


diversity in dollsDiversity is in, no question. Today’s dolls and characters—even those made by major brands—now have different skin tones, facial features, hair textures, and even disabilities. Some (very few) also have dolls of different weights and chest sizes.

When You Gotta Go…

toiletsEveryone and everything has to go—even Minions. From the largest, most mass-produced brands to the smallest and newest to the market, potty humor is everywhere. Again. There’s even a game where the loser is sprayed with (pretend) toilet water. Just be sure to wash your hands afterward.


dronesThe quantity and quality of drones this year is astounding, and most now feature an on-board camera that streams video straight to your smartphone. Some are so advanced that we wonder how long your local news helicopter will be necessary. From indestructible drones young pilots can’t possibly break to sleek models that teens and adults will love racing, there’s a drone for everyone and at every price point.