Good Question: What Toys Will Be Hot For The Holidays?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s not even October, but it’s the most wonderful time of the year for toy manufacturers and retailers.

Already, Toys R Us has released its “Fabulous 15” list of top toys for the 2011 holidays. So, how do they decide which of the dancing robots and remote controlled cars to highlight?

“We’re in the toy business 365 days a year,” said Bob Friedlab, Toys R Us corporate spokesman from headquarters in New Jersey.

According to Friedlab, “As soon as Christmas ends, the first thing toy buyers do in January is get on a plane and go to Hong Kong for the toys show.”

Over the first several months of the year, they “test toys, they track which are doing well, and they pick out a few hundred,” said Friedlab.

The list ends up with the CEO of the company, the head of U.S. operations and the toy buyers.

“We test in many ways, including testing with kids, we do advertising testing, making sure we understand which toys are the most popular,” he said.

The list-making is a marketing exercise as well. Some of the “Fabulous 15” are exclusives to Toys R Us, including Moshi Monsters and Air Swimmers, which is a 4-foot-long flying inflated fish.

“It’s really always about what the kids are looking for already,” said Friedlab, rather than coming up with a list that drives the hot toys.

Among the items on the Toys R Us list, LEGO Ninjago Lightning Dragon Battle, My Keepon, Fijit Friends, Playskool Poppin’ Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper, Nerf Vortex Vigilon and Air Hogs Hyperactives.

“I looked at the 15 toys on the list,” said Barry Kudrowitz, who teaches toy design in the Design School at the University of Minnesota. He came up with three trends in the list.

“The first thing is cute. Cute always sells,” said Kudrowitz. “My Keepon is on top of that list,” he said, comparing it to toys like Sing-A-Ma-Jigs, Zhu Zhu Pets and Squinkies.

“If it’s cute, we want to cherish it, hold it, own it. Look back at Cabbage Patch Kids, Pound Puppies,” he said.

The next factor is a theory in toy design “called M.A.Y.A. Most Advanced Yet Acceptable,” said Kudrowitz.

The idea is there’s advancement in an old friend. Let’s Rock! Elmo fits that standard, according to Kudrowitz. So does Nerf Vortex Vigilon, a Nerf toy that shoots soft discs instead of soft pellets. And Air Hogs Hyperactivess takes remote control cars to a new level, as they can go 20 mph.

“We like incremental innovation,” he said.

The third factor is about technology.

“The last factor is the tech wow! There’s always something you look and say ‘Oh my gosh, I have no idea how that works and I have to have it,’” said Friedlab, who said this year, it’s the Air Swimmers.

Kmart also released its top 15 list Tuesday.

“As a parent, you don’t know what your kids really want. Instead, you pick off the list, think ‘Oh, that must be hot’ and it’s the right price point,” said Kudrowitz.

Toys R Us’s Fabulous 15 toys:
1. Air Hogs Hyper Actives from Spin Master
2. Air Swimmers eXtreme from Animal Planet
3. Lalaloopsy Silly Hair dolls from MGA Entertainment
4. LeapPad Explorer from LeapFrog
5. Monster High Fearleading 3-Pack from Mattel
6. Moshi Monsters Moshling 3-Pack Mini-Figures from Spin Master
7. My Keepon from WOW! Stuff
8. NERF Vortex Vigilon from Hasbro
9. Ninjago Lightning Dragon Battle from LEGO Systems
10. Poppin’ Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper from Playskool
11. Power Wheels Dune Racer from Fisher-Price
12. Radica Fijit Friends from Mattel
13. Sesame Street Let’s Rock! Elmo from Hasbro
14. Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure from Activision
15. The Trash Pack Garbage Truck from Moose Toys

Toys R Us has other picks, broken down by age.

Kmart’s Fab 15 Toy List:
1. Let’s Rock Elmo
2. Fijit
3. I am T-Pain Microphone
4. Barbie Designable Hair Extensions and Doll
5. Lite Sprites Lite Wand, Prisma and Pod
6. Redakai Championship Battle Tin
7. FurReal Friends Cookie My Playful Pup
8. Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster
9. Mini Lalaloopsy Treehouse Playset
10. WWE Colossal Crashdown Arena
11. Transformers Mechtech Ultimate Optimus Prime
12. LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet
13. Lazer Stunt Chaser R/C Vehicle
14. Simon Flash
15. Dora Fiesta Favorites Kitchen

More from Jason DeRusha
Comments

One Comment

  1. Too Early says:

    Jason…. Dude…. Seriously???
    Holiday talk ALREADY??? Atleast let the corpse of summer get cold first.
    UGH!

  2. Kathy says:

    I can contribute something to think about here. First, the toy manufacturers are like the rest of industry who hoards profit and creates gimmick to get your last holiday dollar, or during these fearful times, the money you hope to earn.

    Parents are particularily vulnerable buyers for too many reasons, none of which are really healthy approaches as a substitute to not being there in ways that really do matter. Kids need positive and involved attention. They need to be noticed and acknowledged in ways that seem less evident to others, but are true signals to the child who wants the security of knowing that their adult is in tune and aware of their growth on every level, to include emotional need. The need for outside stimuli becomes less relevant when the internal is moving along as it should.

    Kids do need the opportunity to act out fantasy and develop motor skills through play. Imagination is key to healthy growth, and we all understand how important motor skill is throughout our lives. The early development for both tools is critical to a normal existing over the years to come.

    Toys are the mechanism or instruments that kids utilize to make the progress. You don’t spoil a child by providing a challenge in greater display at Christmas Time, but as industry has it… THE HOT feeds only their deeper pocket and negates what the child needs by tenfold.

    LEGOS DO MUCH TO STIMULATE IMAGINATION AND DEVELOP MOTOR SKILLS AT EVERY LEVEL.

    ART PROJECT MATERIALS, PLAYDOUGH, CLAY, CRAYONS, CHALK, COLORING BOOKS BY NUMBER, EASELS, VIEW MASTERS, BOOKS, ETCH-A-SKETCH, LINCOLN LOGS, WAFFLES (LG. FOAM CONNECTING SHAPES), TOY INSTRUMENTS LIKE HORNS, DRUMS, PIANO, ORGAN AND XYLOPHONE WILL DEVELOP STRONGER MATH SKILLS AT HIGH LEVELS WITH EARLY INSPIRATION. WE ALL WALK TO A BEAT, WHETHER WE ARE AWARE OF IT OR NOT. INSTRUMENTS STIMULATE A FURTHER DEVELOPMENT, AND THUS, MATH AND THE ABILITY TO THINK BECOMES QUICK AND NATURAL.

    MY POINT… IT ISN’T ABOUT WHAT THE TOY CAN DO FOR YOU AS A PARENT (KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES’), IT’S ABOUT WHAT THE TOY CAN DO FOR YOUR CHILD.

    MOST TOYS IN THE LAST TWO DECADES ARE NOTHING MORE THAN A FLASH OF LIGHT WITH A STIRRING OBNOXIOUS NOISE. THEY DO NOTHING TO PROMOTE LEARNING, SELF ACCOMPLISHMENT OR DEVELOPED IMAGINATION. THE TOY MARKET CREATES SOMETHING OF COLOR WHICH HAS NO UTILITY.

    YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE UTILITY FACTOR. NOT A COMPUTER TYPE MECHANISM, BUT THE SIMPLE TOYS PRODUCED OVER GENERATIONS WHICH MOVE IN THE DIRECTION OF HELPING YOUR CHILD BE WHOLE.

    I CANNOT EMPHASIZE THE VALUE ENOUGH. IF YOU WANT TO BE A GOOD PARENT, AND ALL OF US DO… THEN HELP YOUR CHILD TO FEEL SECURE WITHIN THEMSELF, AND ALLOW THEM TO DEVELOP TO THEIR OPTIMUM LEVEL DURING THIS ONE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY IN LIFE. THE EFFORT BRINGS ENDLESS REWARD THROUGHOUT THEIR LIFE AND YOURS.

    REMEMBER, DEVELOPMENT IS NOT STRONGLY RELIANT ON EXTERNAL FACTORS OTHER THAN SOCIAL EXCHANGE WHICH IS IN NO WAY STRENGTHENED BY FALSE NOTION OR A FOLLOWING OF OTHERS, WHO ARE TOO OFTEN GOING THE WRONG WAY.

    IT TOOK ME AWHILE AND SOME MATURITY TO REALIZE THE GIFT AND RESPONSIBILITY IT IS TO BE A PARENT. LOVE IS THE EASY PART, BUT ALLOWING YOURSELF TO BECOME A CHILD WITH THEM TAKES A LITTLE PRACTICE AND PERMISSION. THEY DON’T HAVE ADULT SKILLS, SO TO SHARE IT’S NECESSARY TO BE THERE ON A LEVEL THEY UNDERSTAND. BABY TALK IS GOOD. THEY KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN BEFORE THEY CAN DETERMINE THE MEANING IN WORDS.

    HAVE A BETTER CHRISTMAS THAN THE ONE PRESENTED BY TOY MAKERS!

  3. Barrier with wooden Base says:

    Pretty part of content. I simply stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to claim that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing for your feeds or even I fulfillment you access consistently fast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From WCCO | CBS Minnesota

The Leaderboard
Good Question

Listen Live