More than 100,000 toys flooded New York this week for the Toy Industry Association's annual Toy Fair. We scoped out the new products and here's what caught our eye.
Eco-friendly toy manufacturer Plan Toys has the right idea: Teach kids sustainable living directly through toys. The Green Dollhouse, made of recycled wood and non-toxic glue, comes with eco-friendly features, like a solar panel, wind turbine, and rain barrel for collecting rain, so kids start learning about renewable energy at a young age. It retails for $240 ($190 without furniture) and will be available in March.
Remember Duck Hunt on the original Nintendo? Well, here's a tangible version: charge a 3-D duck atop a water-gun-like pistol for 10 seconds before tossing it in the air and firing. Just three shots from the infrared gun and it's "dead." Interactive Toy Concepts' shooter ($30) hits toy stores in May.
Think inline skating meets skateboarding—and if your ankles aren't already quaking, hop on to a set of Orbitwheels. These large wheels rotate sideways around each foot (and the 1 to 2 hours it supposedly takes to master the custom move will guarantee some funny pics). The buckle-less, strapless, 5-pound sports gear retails for $120 and will be in stores this summer. For those who can't wait, they're available online now.
Smiley Central Studio
Young Internet-junkies can take the first step to self-branding with this free emoticon-builder by Techno Source and Mindspark Interactive Network. An accompanying line of plush dolls come with codes to unlock additional features like hair ribbons and sunglasses. As the animated smileys spread, each is tagged with the creator's name. The website will go live in June; dolls available this fall ($4.99-$9.99).