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.
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.