5 Trendsetting Toys from Toy Fair 2014

Last week, Team Little Pim gathered at the Javits Center in New York City for four days of pure joy at Toy Fair 2014. Imagine a football field full of the latest toys from classic companies as well as some exciting newcomers. Now try to wrap your head around the fact that the Javits Center holds roughly 10 times the square footage of a football field. In other words, there were a LOT of toys to play with. An emerging theme at this year’s Toy Fair was customizable toys: toys that kids could build and change themselves. As you might imagine, many of these toys had a digital component, but some of them were simply classic toys with a twist. Here are five of our favorites:

1. Potatoyz – It was only a matter of time before your kids would be able to design and order their own toys online, but who would have thought that it would be as simple as pressing “Print?” Potatoyz begin as little blob-like avatars in the Potatoyz app, where kids can add colors, patterns, facial features, and custom drawings. Within the app, the Potatoyz can play in a variety of different environments, and if your kids really fall in love with their custom characters, they can order a figurine to be 3D printed and shipped straight to your door!

2. DIWire – While 3D printers have yet to become a common household appliance, wire printers are just about to hit the market. A fellow Kickstarter success, DIWire can bend metal wire into complex, detailed sculptures that you design on your computer. It's especially cool for older kids looking to expand their toy horizons. Check out this video of DIWire in action at Toy Fair.

3. Tiggly -- Little kids love to play with iPads, but finding interactive games that teach at the same time they entertain is always a challenge, especially if you're looking for a physical element that allows them to look up from their digital realms. This fun  game is just the ticket: it lets kids play with shapes that they hold in their hands that combine with an iPad app where they learn and explore new concepts. We also love how portable it is; perfect for long car rides and other travel.

4. Stuffies – Who needs another stuffed animal? You can hardly get your kids to clean up all their toys as it is! Stuffies aren’t your typical stuffed animal, though. With up to seven hidden zip pockets, they provide a place for your kiddos to hide their favorite toys. Kids have a special spot to keep their things, while you have secretly won the clutter battle!

5. Ugly Doll – They might be less functional than Stuffies, but we don’t really care. Just look at that face. The latest “bad hair day” Ugly Doll sports a tuft of sculpt-able hair that your kids can style and restyle according to their mood. It’s a simple, but effective update of the classic troll doll. It’s also 100% less creepy than the classic troll doll (okay, maybe 99%).

A visual tour of Toy Fair 2012

We had a great time at Toy Fair this year, where Little Pim was exhibiting with hundreds of other toy companies.  So what's new this year? Take a tour through Toy Fair 2012, with our photo and video tour of the exhibition floor!

If you follow my blog, you'll know I was at CES last month checking out cool new tech toys.  I've been noticing a more toys that integrate your iPad or iPod touch into physical play.

Here's one that's a bit like space invaders, if you remember that.


These are the Heart to Heart dolls. Kind of like the American Girl Dolls, except they're from all over the world and age a little younger. We love the idea of introducing kids to different cultures and countries, what a cool new line!


Lego has just launched a new line of "girl-friendly" pink and white legos. They are doing a big marketing push to get more girls to play with legos, which seems to involve just making everything pink! Above is a gal made of legos, and her little dog too...


Walking my ladybug! These balloons have little legs and were a big hit this year.  Also available in giraffe, elephant and puppy.


Little Pim-ers at our booth!


Dolls after my own heart! They're made by Corrolle, a French company that has made its way to the US.


My boys have spent hours making marble mazes but I was never able to crack the code (my towers would fall over as soon as I dropped the marble!).  This new version from Mind Ware is so much easier to use that even I can use it, without asking any help from my four year old tower builder!

No Toy Fair would be complete without a huge lego creation for photo ops.  Here's the Hulk snaring another victim.


Toy Fair 2011: From Bubbles to Blocks to Floating Fish!

We had a great time at Toy Fair last week. It was fun to reconnect with owners of some of the 800 book, toy and gift stores that carry Little Pim and make new friends and partners. Read on to see some of the cool new products we found this year. Little Pim’s Booth:

And our team (including our French distributor, Jean-Bernard Tanqueray, on left).

Why didn’t I think of this? Kids love silly hats and these new “Air Hedz” take the cake. Pirates, frogs and nurses… and great for water gun fights! Here I am as a pop star, complete with microphone.

Crocodile Creek has come out with new lightweight travel “pouch puzzles.” I especially like the World one, great for young global citizens!

Who doesn’t love bubbles? Who doesn’t hate the mess? Finally a bubble machine that doesn’t leak. In fact, it whirls and emits bubbles in a 360 degree spin. Wish I had this at my son’s third birthday party last week! Ours made a gooey spill that was a slip hazard, but the kids had a blast popping them so it was worth it.

Haba’s new “Animal Upon Animal” game is for kids four and up, and reinforces hand eye coordination, fine motor skills and just plain old silly fun of seeing cute wooden animals come tumbling down! Plus the game rules come in 6 languages! (English, Spanish, German, Dutch, Italian, French).

This new “Clock” from Zazoo Kids tells your toddler when it’s ok to get up … long before they know how to tell time! Invented by a mom, of course. It’s also nice that its 7" LCD screen turns into a digital picture frame once you get past that particularly unpleasant stage where your kids wake up before six am (I wish I could say we are past it in my house). You can program your own customized image for your child (it can even be his or her picture). I got one of these for my three year old.

A remote control fish swimming around the Toy Fair (actually a remote helium balloon). A great party trick!

Holiday Learning Toy Picks

If you are like me, holiday shopping starts right after the Halloween costumes go into storage – mainly because my kids start telling me what they want for Hannukah as soon as November 1st hits! This year I feel I have a lot of great things to choose from that will delight them, and make me feel like I am buying things that actually challenge and stimulate them. Here are a few of my faves (and not all of them have to do with language learning!): MAGNETIC BLOCKS

Tegu Blocks are the kind of invention that makes you think “why didn’t I come up with that?” Take a block and combine it with a magnet, and voilà! Embedded inside each block is a powerful magnet that allows you to build things that couldn’t be done with traditional blocks. To boot, Tegu blocks are made from eco-friendly wood native to Honduras, where they are manufactured.

You can get them in New York at Doodle Doo’s (11 Christopher) or on line at


My kids love GeoPuzzles, and are always excited about a new game or puzzle from this wonderful company. GeoPuzzles makes jigsaw puzzles with pieces shaped like individual countries, so children learn as they put the puzzle together. Invented by a dad, these great puzzles are made by a a family-run business. They make Geo Cards and Games too (like Geo Bingo – which is what it sounds like!).


My kids love doing art projects, and Alex Toys keeps coming out with cool new crafts to keep us busy on cold winter afternoons. This zoo kit lets kids paint bright colors on fun animal shapes and add silly accessories to create a zoo full of creative fun. The activity kit includes 6 cardboard punch-out animals, 12 poster paints, 6 crayon bright crayons, wiggly eyes, glue and easy instructions. Even better, my six year old and my almost three year old can both take part in this zoo-stravaganza. It’s tough to find activities for them to share, but big and little kids alike love zoo animals, so you can’t go wrong!


For one of those 8 nights or Hannukah or a stocking stuffer: You can’t go wrong with these adorable Tea brand t-shirts that announce your child’s membership in the global kids citizens club in four languages!

“for little citzens of the world” written in four languages on the shirt – comes in blue or pink


At Little Pim, we have just come out with an intro gift set to help you give the gift of language to little ones in your life – at a new little price! Our $29.95 intro gift set comes with the Little Pim Spanish DVD 1, Spanish Bop CD and plush panda, all in a see through vinyl tote that can later become a home for doll clothes, blocks or overnight at grandma’s supplies. A terrific value, and provides hours of play and learning.

Happy Shopping!