Innovative Toys That Are Totally Low-Tech


Tech toys that make you feel cooler than Marty McFly were in abundance at the North American International Toy Fair this week, such as robots that imitate your movements and a Segway-like device that tracks your thoughts. But not all of the toys at the Jacob K. Javits Center were reminiscent of what Captain Kirk probably played with as a child. There were also some stellar construction sets, high-quality hand puppets, and wooden toys that make you say “wow.” Classic play is not dead, and not all quality toys require a microchip. Some of the most innovative new products for kids feature little to no tech at all. Here are our favorite low-tech new toys from Toy Fair:

Chuggington 1-2-3 Track System (TOMY)

The new 1-2-3 Track from @tomy_toy makes track building as easy as… well, 1-2-3! #tfny

A video posted by The Toy Insider (@thetoyinsider) on

Wooden train sets—nothing revolutionary, right? Been around for centuries? Wrong. Tomy’s Chuggington Wooden Railway line is getting a makeover this year, with the new 1-2-3 Track System that allows kids to flip and flop track pieces without ever taking them apart. The three-foot loop of pre-connected track is completely ready to play with right out of the box, with each track piece connected by hinges that flip, flex, and rotate 360 degrees. Kids don’t need to worry about track pieces coming apart, and the design allows kids as young as 2 years old to creatively design tracks with ease. The only question is: How has no one thought of this before?

K-FORCE: Build and Blast (K’NEX)


K’NEX is known for its high-speed buildable rollercoasters, but now kids can blast away the competition with buildable foam dart blasters with K-Force: Build and Blast. The line includes eight different kinds of blasters—including crossbows big and small—buildable targets, and blaster missile packs. The blasters are sturdy and will stand up against tough kids. All of the blasters shoot foam darts up to 75 feet in the air, and each set includes between 91 and 368 pieces. The K-Force line amazingly fuses STEM learning with the excitement of blaster play.

I Am Elemental Figures, Series 1: Courage (I Am Elemental)

I Am Elemental

Action figures have been marketed toward boys since G.I. Joe’s combat boots hit toy store shelves in 1964, but decades later, girls are still excluded—until now. I Am Elemental is a line of amazingly detailed 4-inch articulated figures designed to empower girls (but, boys can just as easily enjoy them, too). And no—these ladies are not sparkly princesses that turn into superheroes—on the contrary, they are strong and vibrant examples of superpowers personified. They have realistic waistlines, they are unique, and they make me feel like standing on top of the empire state building with rays of light exploding from my chest while I scream “FINALLY!!!!!!” (Because if I had a superpower, it would be healing, positive rays of light exploding from my chest, #IAMENTHUSIAM.)

Crayola Cling Maker (Crayola)


From crayons to markers to paint, Crayola has been allowing kids to create their own unique craft products for the last few years, resulting in unique utensils and extending the fun of coloring. This year, kids can make their own sticky little window clings using the included molds—but that’s not all. This new activity set also allows kids to mix their own gel colors and even create their own unique molds using clay and a smoother tool. The creativity possible with this kit is pretty endless. It’s the best of Crayola for the last three years all rolled up into one set.

Glow Show (Moose Toys)


What kid didn’t have glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to their bedroom ceiling growing up? However, if your house was like mine, it may have taken your parents a few days/weeks before they mustered the energy to grab a ladder and stick them all up there. Moose Toys is eliminating the frustration of indoor constellation making with the Glow Show Sticker Launcher. Kids choose their glow sticker, charge it up on the launcher with the built-in flashlight, pull back on the loader, and pull the trigger to launch the sticker right onto the ceiling. This simple and innovative new toy turns a pain-in-the-butt task for parents into a fun experience for kids. Literally genius.

Bunchems (Spin Master)


A girl can only have so many friendship bracelets and homemade scarves, amiright? Spin Master is set to launch a brand new kind of activity line this year called Bunchems. These tiny little spore-like plastic spheres easily cling together, allowing kids to create vibrant 3-D models, including an owl, a monkey, and a teddy bear. They are even flexible, so kids can move and pose their creations. The activity category is a highly competitive space with products that can sometimes feel a bit redundant—but this new line is entirely unique, fusing creative construction with arts and crafts.

All of these toys are perfect examples of why tech toys shouldn’t get all of the glory. There’s plenty of innovation to be had on the classic side of the toybox.

5 Responses to “Innovative Toys That Are Totally Low-Tech”

  1. Foam toys are too good for children’s because they do not harm them and children’s play with them very happily your toys are very good thank you for sharing pictures of these toys with us.

  2. upset parent

    Bunchems should be taken off the market immediately they are not a toy. Google Image ” Bunchems in hair” that is what happened to a slumber party of girls at my house ( I have photos but I cannot post them here there is no upload button ) So thanks to Bunchems I had very upset parents and crying girls this weekend. This is a terrible product that is not a toy , it’s a bunch of plastic thistles that will take over seven hours to get out of your hair. If you don’t believe me go to the store buy a box and put them in your own hair, sometimes it doesn’t matter until it happens to you. I’ve been emailing Spin Master and they are ignoring me.


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