Toy Fair 2010: 10 Cool New Toys for the Grade School Set

Filed under: Toys

For those who have never been to Toy Fair, the Toy Industry Association's annual New York trade show, try to imagine the biggest toy store on the planet.

Then imagine something much, much bigger. Now, fill it with toys from huge companies such as Hasbro, as well as items from hopeful entrepreneurs. There's a lot to see, but we spotted 10 cool new grade-schooler toys for you to look for in stores this year. Suggested retail prices and release dates are subject to change.

Pressman Toys

1. Pressman Toys Diary of a Wimpy Kid 200-piece Puzzles and Cheese Touch Game: The smash-hit graphic novels began life as a Web comic, spawned multiple New York Times bestsellers and now a live-action film based on the books will hit theaters on March 19. Pressman Toys will offer four puzzles featuring artwork from the books in March, and the Cheese Touch Game arrives in July. (If you don't know what the Cheese Touch is, read the book -- or ask your kids.) Puzzles: ages 8 and up, price $8, available March 2010; Touch Game: ages 7 and up, $24.99, available July 2010.

Techno Source

2. Techno Source Rubik's Slide: This updated version of the classic Cube is electronic, but keeps to the spirit of the original. Squares light up to show you the pattern that needs to be solved, then you twist the device to move the lights into place. Like the original that drove so many of us crazy, this is much more difficult than it sounds. With more than 10,000 puzzles, and pocket-sized for easy travel, it'll keep kids busy for hours. Side note: Prepare to feel old -- the original Rubik's Cube debuted 30 years ago at Toy Fair, according to company representatives. Hang on, what were we talking about? Oh right, toys. Sorry, you know how it is when you get older. Ages 8 and up, $17.99, available fall 2010.

Techno Source

3. Techno Source Bubble Talk: You know how much fun it is to make up photo captions? This is the board game version. Place a photo card in the middle, then each player slaps down his or her favorite caption card. A judge determines which caption is the funniest. Includes 150 pictures and 300 caption cards, and you can use your own family snapshots for extra fun. Ages 8 and up, $19.99, available summer 2010.

Bandai America

4. Bandai Ben 10 Ultimate Alien Force: Ben 10 was good, Ben 10 Alien Force was better and now we get Ben 10 Ultimate Alien Force. Ben used to have an Omnimatrix, now he has an Ultimatrix. Humungousaur? P'shaw. Check out ULTIMATE Humungousaur. Particularly nifty looking is the Alien Creation Chamber Laboratory, a new addition to the Alien Creation line that allows your kids to play out their "Island of Dr. Moreau" fantasies by making their own aliens. A company representative tells us there are 63 creatures, each with five pieces. Do the math -- this should keep them busy for awhile. Ages 6 and up, Alien Creation Chamber Laboratory ($49.99), Disc Alien Ultimatrix ($19.99), other prices vary, available fall 2010.

Bandai America

5. Bandai Harumika: You know how tough it can be to put clothes on a toy? Harumika solves that problem in such a simple way you'll wonder why nobody thought of it before. Take fabric, whether sold by Bandai or something you have in the house, wrap it around the dress dummy and push it into the hole in the back. Presto! Instant fashion designer. These clever fashion toys debuted in July of 2009 and Bandai is now expanding the line to include full-size mannequins, a purse and puppy collection (very cute) and, of course, clothes, clothes, clothes. Note: these aren't dolls, they are dress dummies and mannequins, so this is about the fashion, not the model. Ages 6 and up, Mannequin Collection ($16.99), Dress Form Refill Sets ($5.99), Puppy Collection ($7.99), available summer 2010.

Bandai America

6. Bandai Chef Kids: Easy-Bake Ovens are cute, but the food they make is gross. The new Chef Kids line is designed to use actual food and let kids cook on their own. The first toy in the line, the ChocoPot, melts actual chocolate, which kids then pour into molds and give to their friends. The battery-powered pot heats up enough to melt the chocolate, but not enough to be dangerous. (We hope.) An instructional DVD is included, and accessory kits with more molds and "gifting foils" are also available. Ages 6 and up, ChocoPot ($24.99), ChocoPot Accessory Kits ($5.99), available July 2010.

Wild Planet

7. Wild Planet Spy Video TRAKR: This item from the popular SpyGear line is too expensive to find its way under every Christmas tree and Hanukkah bush in the land, but it is by far the coolest thing we saw at Toy Fair. Described as the world's first "app-enabled R/C vehicle," this thing is a video camera on wheels. The remote has a video screen on it so you can see what it sees. It also can pick up and transmit audio; send it into your sister's room and have it tell her to clean up, or just freak out the dog. The best/nerdiest part of the package is that it is completely programmable and runs on open-source software. Kids can download apps that make the 'bot do various things -- yes, just like iPhone apps, only free. And these apps make a robot do stuff. Kids large and small can change the robots using a programming environment that offers different levels of control for users of all skill levels. Seeing this "toy" offers a vision of the future that is fascinating, frightening and fun. Ages 8 and up, $119.99, available October 2010.

Wild Planet

8. Wild Planet Lie Detector Kit: This kit measures the moisture on your fingers as you answer questions -- too much sweating and you're probably trying to pass off a fib as the truth. (The official term is "galvanic skin response sensor." Try saying that 10 times fast.) The kit includes chart paper to help budding Homeland Security agents track down the truth. Not quite as good as a portable polygraph, but much, much cheaper. Ages 6 and up, $14.99, available September 2010.

Battat

9. Battat You Hue Desk: The age range is listed as 2 to 10, which sounds bizarre at first. Here's the deal -- younger children can sit on the floor with their legs underneath the desk, while older kids (or grownups, as you can see in the photo) can put the You Hue Desk on their laps. Whether or not grownups do some coloring with the included markers is a decision you will need to make on your own. Part of Battat's new B. line of toys that feature recycled packaging and wonderfully creative design. Check out the B. toys Facebook page for more info. Ages 2 to 10, $30-$35, available spring 2010.

Mega Brands

10. MEGA Brands Iron Man 2 Tri-Armor Suitcase: The release of Marvel's movie "Iron Man 2" also means a pile of new Iron Man toys. This is a good place to start -- three different armors (Mark II, Mark III and War Machine -- check), all come with interchangeable parts and a case to carry them all. Ages 6 and up, $19.99, available spring 2010.

Related: Kids' Birthday Party Etiquette: Present Time

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