Toy manufacturers are already preparing for the next time Santa revs up his sleigh. About 1,200 companies participated in the 105th annual North American International Toy Fair in New York to introduce toys that will debut this year.
Here are some of the highlights:
Crayola is putting a new spin on drawing — this sidewalk chalk, when viewed through the included plastic glasses, makes a drawing jump out in three dimensions, as if floating in the air. Five sticks of two-sided chalk — a total of 10 colors — and a pair of 3-D glasses for $4.99. On shelves now.
These robots can be controlled by Bluetooth cell phone technology, computer or voice, depending on the model. Different models include a video surveillance device, iPod compatibility, and/or picture-taking capability. One has a video camera in its head, so users can watch on the computer screen what the wandering robot might be seeing. Prices range from $149 to $299. Out in September.
The preschool TV show debuted last August on Nick Jr. and stars five colorful monsters (pictured): Brobee, Foofa, Muno, Plex and Toodee. Spin Master developed plush versions of the characters called Silly Balls that sing and wiggle wildly like jumping beans. The balls cost $5.99. In stores this August.
This year is the 10th anniversary of Cranium, the game company that launched its products at Starbucks. The company will launch a family edition of Cranium, which skews younger so parents and children as young as 8 can compete. Teams draw, sculpt, act out charades. Look for it this fall for $19.99.
The Ugly Betty doll has braces and glasses and long black hair, just like the "Ugly Betty" TV character. The Madame Alexander Doll Co. has created the antithesis of the oh-so-perfect Barbie. Cloth version is $44.95; vinyl version $69.95. Out in June.