What’s on your child’s Christmas list this year? It’s increasingly likely to be something that resembles or hooks-up to ‘grown-up’ technology, according to industry predictions. Are tech-inspired toys taking over?
The in-store decorations are going up, Santa grottos are being swiftly erected and the toy industry has unveiled its bestseller predictions for the year.
Parents, prepare yourselves – ‘pester power’ season is getting underway.
With 35% of all toys in the UK bought at this time of year, the Christmas toy industry is big business. And toy makers seem to be doing their best these days to appeal to little techno-heads out there.
Walking around the Dream Toys 2011 event last week, which showcased the year’s top finalists, it struck me how many toys came with a technological twist – we rounded-up some of the highlights in this video:
Handheld, touchscreen devices like the LeapFrog LeapPad and VTech Innotab were dubbed ‘iPads for kids’ – though not nearly as functional. Cars, spy glasses and watches came with in-built cameras so children can (slightly disconcertingly) record ‘undercover’ footage, upload it to a computer and edit into home films.
An all-in-one digital camera, camcorder and voice recorder that connects to your TV was aimed at kids aged 3+! Its predecessor, the Kidizoom camera, was the biggest toy seller of 2010.
The onset of kid gadgetry isn’t a new phenomenon; I remember gleefully unwrapping a Super Nintendo one Christmas. But its infiltration does seem to be happening younger.
Even techno tots don’t miss out these days – Fisher-Price has a toy suitable for six months+ that doubles up as a iPhone protector, so you can safely let your little one loose on games and apps. And kid-friendly iPad apps seem to be all the rage.
Oldies still the goodies?
Patrick Steen wrote about little Apple-ites and gaming fans here on Convo this time last year. Back then, Danny told us:
‘How times have changed! When I was a child, we had Beano annuals, colouring books and crayons for Christmas… A bike or some such if we were very lucky!’
But low-tech toys aren’t dead in the water – the two fastest growing toy categories of the year are building sets and dolls, according to the Toy Retailers Association.
Making it on to the alternative Kid’s Choice toy list was a sticker-making kit, cuddly ball-shaped creatures and creative craft set – all £20 and under. Even a board game version of Angry Birds featured, taking it from single phone to multi-player, real-life fun.
And while you couldn’t describe Doggie Doo as ‘traditional’, the bizarre game (involving kids ‘scooping the poop’ of a plastic dog) isn’t what I’d call technology-inspired.
So what’s on your child’s Christmas list this year – hi-tech electronics or back-to-basics games and toys?