Top Toys for 2020

Good things take time – time, taste, experience and curation. If you’ve spent any time in the chaos of a big-box store’s toy aisle recently, you’ll really appreciate that curation when you walk into Shenanigans– a boutique toy shopping experience where everything on the shelves is hand selected, quality, and guaranteed to please. Recently, Shenanigans owner (and former elementary school teacher) Amanda Stevens made a pilgrimage up to the Western Hemisphere’s Toy Mecca, and we were lucky enough to get a peek at her notes. 

The New York Toy Fair, founded in 1903, is the gold standard in toy trade shows. Open only to industry professionals (designers, sales, critics, and curators like Amanda) it’s the hotspot to debut new concepts, set trends, and get ahead of what’s going to be on every wishlist this Christmas, and what’s going to be on the shelves at Shenanigans in the next few weeks. 

Take it from a professional- here’s what’s going to be big this year. 

“STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts & Mathematics toys are hot.” Some of Amanda’s favorites include the Thames and Kosmos Mega Cyborg Hand (really works!), Solar Bots (build six different solar-powered robots) and Big Plus Plus blocks for younger kids. For the eco-conscious family, she gravitated towards a new toy line called “recycle me,” which creates “kits that include materials you use with everyday trash to ‘turn garbage into science, art, or a party.’” 

On color: Tie Dye is still king, and Unicorns are still enjoying the spotlight. Amanda spotted tie dye on everything from Pete The Cat to kickballs, and will be bringing new, brightly swirled items to Shenanigans. 

For sensory toys, Amanda says: “Schyllings Nee-Doh was definitely still best in show at Toy Fair.  This year’s varieties included: Teenie, new Cat-Nee-Doh, Swirl, Color Change, Shaggy, Crystal, Giant, and more!” Nee-doh, by the way, is an excellent toy for stressed-out adults (or college students facing exams) as well as kids exploring texture and tactile play. 

For the spring season, Amanda alighted on the new pterodactyl and dragon gliders from FireFox Toys as a top contender. These gliders get kids outside and active while feeding the imagination – and they’re really fun to throw. 

Next time you’re on West Main street, take a visit to Shenanigans- whether there’s a kid in your life or not, you’ll find something to spark your imagination.