113th International North American Toy Fair 2016
More than 1,200 exhibitors were on hand at the 113th International North American Toy Fair. The increase of STEM and STEAM toys this year increased dramatically. Many toys now either have an educational purpose besides entertainment or include some of the latest technology such as Bluetooth, 3D printing, and robotics.
Nancy B’s Science Club Teaches the Scientific Process
Nancy B’s Science Club helps teach the scientific process to young kids. The line of kits, brought to you by Educational Insights, covers science areas such as forensics, soil analysis, insect discovery, and germ collecting. Each kit comes with a science journal to record your data and findings.
Learning Resources Help Kids Figure Out Coding
The Robot Mouse Coding Activity Set from Learning Resources helps children understand coding at the fundamental level. The mouse above can be programmed via the arrows on its back. The kid has to program the correct movements into the mouse to reach the piece of cheese. The toy includes flash cards so that a child can lay out the correct code sequence prior to programming.
LittleBits New Introductory Gizmos and Gadgets Toolbox
LittleBits has long been a player in the do-it-yourself field. Its electronic building blocks are great for creating inventions and tools. The introductory Gizmos and Gadgets toolbox helps ease young inventors into the world of DIY with enough accessories and materials for 12 out-of-the-box inventions. This is only further expanded by the LittleBits smartphone app that includes new invention ideas every week.
3D-Printed Toys by PieceMaker
PieceMaker brings 3D printing into the store by providing automated systems for creating custom on-demand toys at retail locations. Its recent partnership with Ford allows PieceMaker to 3D-print a toy Ford F-150 and a Ford Mustang for kids.
The Line of Danceable and Programmable Robots from UBTECH
The robots from UBTECH are programmable and multi-jointed. The Alpha 1S (shown dancing in midair with blue eyes) is a Bluetooth-connected robot with moves that can be programmed via a smartphone app. The Alpha 2 robots (shown in the background with red and blue hats) are assistance robots programmed via Wi-Fi. They can help kids take medicine, tutor them with homework, make phone calls, and provide weather and reminder updates. The Jimu robot (shown here as a penguin) is programmed by recording its current position into the app. Once you have recorded the positions, you can run a sequence of moves; no coding is required. This is technology that is prevalent in many robotic arms such as Universal Robots.
Actev Motors Introduces the Arrow Smart-Kart
Actev Motors introduced the Arrow Smart-Kart, its concept of a kid “smart car.” Marketed as a step up from power-wheel vehicles for young kids, the go-kart is programmed by adults via a smartphone app. The app allows the parent to determine the max speed, the allowable travel distance before the engine is stopped, and contains a kill switch for emergencies. The kart itself has two 250-watt power electric motors, produces a Wi-Fi signal for app communication, and features built-in sensors to avoid collisions.
Tech 4 Kids Displays the 3D-Printing Power of the ImagiPen
The ImagiPen by Tech 4 Kids allows children to create 3D-printed designs instantaneously. The pen has a UV light that hardens the gel while being dispensed from the pen. This allows the pen to create objects like ink on a paper. The cartridge material can be switched out for a variety of different colors.
Smart Lab’s MotorBlox Set Teaches Torque Principles
The MotorBlox set from Smart Lab includes a motorized car set or robot set. Both kits are Lego-compatible to increase playability, but the real beauty about the kits is the experiments and lesson plans. The instructions for both kits include lessons on gear ratios and describe how torque works in a motor. The back of the instructions also includes experiments for kids to try and learn about basic dynamic motor properties.
Smart Circuits Require Kids to Learn Electrical Wiring
Also from Smart Lab is the Smart Circuits kit, which includes a microprocessor that allows kids to build light and proximity sensors. Just like the MotorBlox set, it includes experiments to help further advanced education about electrical engineering.
Modular Robotics New Cubelet Box Set
We highlighted the learning power of both Cubelets and Moss robotic blocks from Modular Robotics last year. Both of these product lines have individual block pieces that allow kids to construct complicated robots in which each block has a specific function. At the show, Modular was introducing its new Cubelet starter kit.
Let the Tinkineers Show You How to Build A Roller Coaster
Tinkineer introduces its Marbleocity and the Tinkineer characters. The comic book shown above includes a cast of young characters who embark on different adventures while learning engineering principles. For example, one character encounters the designer of a roller coaster and learns the mechanical engineering principles that go into its design. The kits shown above are constructed out of laser-cut wooden pieces and assembled with glue. The larger kits are motorized and perform a Rube-Goldberg type of movement to highlight potential and kinetic energy principles.
Griddly Games Wants You to Just Add Learning to Your Fun
The set of “Just Add” products from Griddly Games teaches kids chemistry principles by adding everyday items to their box experiments. The “Just Add Glue” and “Just Add Milk” sets let kids create crystal formations and plastic objects. The “Just Add Sun” box has sun-reaction experiments and the box itself is a solar oven. A portion of the proceeds goes to a charity in Africa to help provide families with solar ovens.