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New toys, trends highlighted at TTPM Spring Showcase

Over 25 leading toy manufacturers and family entertainment companies were on hand Thursday (May 1) for the TTPM Spring Showcase in New York, during which the Time To Play Mag consumer website, which publishes reviews, videos, and live price updates for toys, baby gear, kids electronics, sporting goods and pet toys, predicted upcoming summer toy trends—and an improved outlook for summer toy sales.

The TTPM Spring Showcase in New York.
Jim Bessman

“Summer 2014 is promising for the toy industry,” said TTPM CEO/editor-in-chief Jim Silver. “Blockbuster movies drive significant consumer interest, and we expect this year’s strong summer movie lineup will grow sales $500 million compared to the same time period in 2013.”

Silver noted that last year only Despicable Me 2 and Disney’s Planes stood out in the toy business, but added that after lackluster spring sales in 2013, this year's “combination of popular movies and favorable weather is key for manufacturers and retailers to increase revenue during spring and summer.”

Buttressing Silver’s optimism was the 2014 TTPM Summer Play List, a round-up of the top toys chosen by TTPM editors as the most fun and engaging items for children and their families this season. These were broken down into three categories: Breakout Hits, Outdoor Play and Movie Toys.

In the Breakout Hits category, TTPM content director Chris Byrne cited the obvious Frozen and Minecraft entertainment properties, the latter having made the jump from digital to real world play. Besides Disney Frozen dolls and dresses, and Minecraft Series 2 Steve with Diamond Armor and Articulated Animal Mobs toys, Byrne pointed to other recently released and forthcoming toy lines to break out, and displayed Lord Business’ Evil Lair from The Lego Movie; the Paw Patrol On a Roll Marshall from the much anticipated toys from the hit animated series; and the new The Happy’s collection of toy pets from the makers of Zhu Zhu pets.

In Outdoor Play, new bubbles, water blasters, chalk and scooters were showcased, including the Razor Power Rider 360 and Razor Jr. Kuties scooters; Crayola’s washable Sidewalk Chalk Grab N Go Games; Power Wheels Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Kawasaki KFX and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Combat-A-Bubbles toys; Imperial Bubble Fantasia; Zing X6 Zoom Rocket and Nerf Super Soaker Tri Strike Crossbow.

Movie Toys centered on the four key movie properties TTPM expects to increase toy sales this summer: Transformers: Age of Extinction (Optimus Prime and Grimlock figures), Disney Planes: Fire and Rescue (Fire Blastin’ Dusty Crophopper), Godzilla (Giant-Size and Atomic Roar figures) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Mega Blaster Web Shooter with Glove and Spider-Man figure).

"Over the past several seasons, we’ve seen a boom in classic toys—particularly in summer,” said Byrne. “When kids aren’t studying, they are outdoors and more able to engage in self-directed play [and] naturally gravitate to time-tested classics like bubbles, chalk, ride-ons, water blasters and much more. Savvy toymakers have continued to innovate in these basic categories, provide diverse and imagination-rich products for kids and outstanding value for families.”

Also at the Summer Play List presentation, Silver announced that TTPM is now the official name of the website, which was previously called TimeToPlay.com. Additionally, he revealed that the Shop for Kids by TTPM app has been optimized for iPad, providing access to the extensive TTPM database of thousands of in-depth expert reviews on the latest toys, baby gear, pet toys, sporting goods, children’s books, video games and apps, as well as sales notifications.

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