20 Cool, New Toys That Will Take Care of 'I'm Bored' Syndrome for Good

Adriana Velez | Feb 12, 2013 Big Kid

toy fair zoombieI just spent two consecutive mornings looking at toys at the International Toy Fair. Toys, toys, and more toys. SO MANY TOYS! Ehrmagerd, toyz. It was overwhelming and I can see why no one brought their kids. However, I had a job to do: Find the coolest new toys on the market and tell you all about them.

It was nearly impossible, but I narrowed it down to my top 20 favorites. Most of these are toys that ignite kids' imagination. So may you never hear the words "Mom, I'm bored!" again.

  • The fort builder


    Everest Toys

    Got a little fort builder on your hands? I do. My kid usually builds forts using furniture, but with Crazy Forts, you kids can build the frame for a fort using these giant Tinker Toy-like pieces. There's even a glow-in-the-dark set! You supply the blankets and sheets.

  • The warrior princess


    Adlib Toys

    Why should boys have all the swordplay fun? From what I've heard from friends with girls, there's just no getting away from the PINK obsession. But I've seen girls sword fight, just saying. Adlib Toys makes a few pink but fierce toy swords, like the Queen Rosa Sword. All of the company's swords are made of a soft foam material that won't bruise fingers.

  • The traveling artist


    The Piggy Story

    I love this "Artfolio" -- a carrying case for crayons with a little drawing pad. (It comes in a boy-friendly design, too.) Kids can carry this themselves onto a plane or car trip. The same company makes roll-up crayon cases and school supply cases as well as lunch boxes.

  • The crafter


    Kiss Naturals

    Kiss Naturals makes all sorts of fun DIY craft kits using 100 percent natural ingredients. I was especially taken with this "lava" lip gloss that works kind of like a lava lamp. So cool! They have individual kits and party packs for making soap, lip balm, lip gloss, bath fizzies, and perfume. SO. MUCH. GIRL. FUN.

  • The child with fears


    Fear Hunters

    Coming soon to the U.S. market are Fear Hunters, a line of comfort plushies developed with child therapists. There's a little character for different kinds of fears children have. The idea is that kids identify their fears, then identify with the character who bravely faces that fear. Zoombie here is not afraid of monsters. They come with story books for each character and with essential oil sprays, using aromatherapy to combat fears and trauma as well. Fear Hunters were originally created for children in crisis, but I think they'd appeal for any kids who are afraid of the dark or facing other challenges.

  • The glitter maniac


    You've probably noticed, glitter tattoos are all the rage right now. I see them at parties all the time. Well, you can do that yourself! Glimmer Body Art sells kits for individual use and for parties. And yes, there are boy-friendly designs so they aren't just for girls. (Although this girl sure does love them.)

  • The klutz



    Does your kid drop expensive smart devices all the time? (Do you?) I like these "bouncy" iPad cases by M-Edge. The soft surface gives your electronics extra protection, especially in the hands of children. They also make bouncy cases for smartphones and other devices.

  • The future designer


    Kid Robot

    My son loves all things Kid Robot, but Munny World is especially cool. These are vinyl figures you can design yourself using paint, markers, stickers, whatever you want (see the customization tips). I mean ... LOOK what people made! There are five different characters. During Munny World Month (May), they run a contest for the best designs. Munny figures come in different sizes, so you can try out a smaller size first if you want. They've also got a line of Marvel superhero stickers -- just in time for the new Iron Man movie coming out this summer.

  • Girls who Lego



    Okay, "girl" Legos: I know they're highly controversial. But apparently the Lego "Friends" line has been a huge hit. I like this new set, the adventurous Dolphin Cruiser -- very cool for either gender, actually. There's a wave runner, dolphins, and a state-of-the-art research vessel. I could have written an entire post just on all the fun stuff Lego is coming out this year (okay, I'm a little obsessed), like the new CHIMA series, bugged-out Galaxy Squad, a house with a working chandelier, Lone Ranger play sets, and a new Star Wars play set with Jabba the Hut and Max Rebo. Plus their robotics just got a lot easier for younger kids to program.

  • The toddler learning to make friends


    My Friend Huggles

    My Friend Huggles are life-sized soft dolls. In fact, they'll fit into a 2-year-old or 3-year-old's clothes, and they come with undies for modeling potty training. But more importantly, each doll represents a different value to help parents talk with kids about character: Kindness, gratitude, fairness, cheerfulness, generosity, and honesty. They won a Top Toy award from Creative Child Magazine. Oh -- and check out their Pinterest site!

  • The kid with super-generous grandparents


    My Real Toy

    My Real Toy is a plush toy created from your kid's drawing! You just upload your child's drawing (online, or in selected stores), and a couple days later, you get a quality, hand-made, 16-inch version of that drawing, come to life. It's such a cool idea! Only one thing -- it's kind of expensive, in the range of $150. So this is a very special gift. I think it's still worth it, but a cheaper alternative is My Beast Friends, where you can customize your own beast based on their designs.

  • The crayon chewer



    By now, most crayons are non-toxic, of course. But these beeswax eco-crayons are made with fruit, plant, and vegetable extracts for coloring. And they're molded from real rocks! Perfect for little toddler hands. Eco-Kids make all-natural dough with rosemary and vitamin E oils, and they made a natural egg dyeing kit, among other lovely things.

  • Kids with autism


    Oblo Spheres

    Oblo spheres are a 3-D spherical puzzle toy for everyone, but they're especially popular with autistic kids. The toy has won a few awards for design.

  • The Zen child


    Plan Toys

    I love all Plan Toys, especially for their sustainability practices and non-toxic materials (they're using plant-based paints now). I mean, there's a whole story just there. But this marble run toy is especially sweet for the little percussive sounds the marble makes as it tumbles down the wooden chutes. Wouldn't you love to spend a quiet afternoon by the fire while your child makes music with this thing? Okay, that scenario will last about five minutes. But still, you've got to love a toy that looks and sounds beautiful.

  • The global soul


    Pocket Disc

    The PocketDisc is a Frisbee-type toy you can fold up and carry in your pocket. But what makes these extra special is that they're hand-made by women in Guatemala (fair-trade). The new LunaDisc is made with LED lights!

  • The kid who needs a little friend


    Rita Ross started out making little dolls from fabric scraps while she was recovering from cancer. Now she's taken those originals as prototypes for Pocket People dolls. They do fit in your pocket, but Rita's idea is that there are all kind of different "pockets" of people, but "everyone matters." I was just taken by their personalities. There's something really sweet about them.

  • The budding fashion designer


    Is your kid dying to be on Project Runway? Well, they can get ready with these rad Project Runway activity kits. One kit comes with "textile" patterned paper you can cut out (using templates if you want) to create ensembles for your models. Stickers and bling included! Paper dolls were not this exciting when I was a little girl.

  • The yogi


    Upside Down Games

    Upside Down Games are games designed to teach kids about yoga -- along with fitness and nutrition. Pictured above is the Yogi Finders game, a board game that also gets kids moving into yoga asanas. As a parent who has done yoga, I love this, but I would also want to supervise kids playing because you can hurt yourself with certain poses if you're not careful with your positioning.

  • The young fossil hunter


    Dr. Cool

    Kids can dig out REAL fossils from these Mine for Fossils kits. Dr. Cool makes other dig kits with real artifacts, like gemstones, geodes, and shark teeth.

  • The kid who loves sock monkeys



    Okay, I just had to include this in my round-up because it made me laugh out loud. It's a school bus filled with sock monkeys! Squee!

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