NEW YORK — From drawing robots to stuffed spaceships, the latest in cutting-edge (and just plain cool) toys were on display here at the 109th American International Toy Fair, which concluded today (Feb. 15).
SPACE.com was at the Jacob Javits Center, scouring Toy Fair for innovative and fun products to honor with the inaugural SPACE.com Space Age Toy Awards. We selected five finalists, and one winner, in each of five categories: Cosmic Space, Little Scientists, High-Tech Toys, Retro Future and Do-it-Yourself Science.
Here's a rundown of the trophy-winners and finalists:
Cosmic Space: Future Planet, from Playmobil
This new line of figures, vehicles and habitats lets kids (and kids at heart) build their own planetary colonies. The storyline has the good astronauts (called "E-Rangers") harvesting energy crystals to power their technology, while the evil Dark Rangers try to steal them. A home base harbors a pod for growing plastic crops, and a fan at the top is powered by a solar panel.
Finalists: Uncle Milton's Earth in My Room; Stellanova's Magnetic Levitating Planet Mars; Celestial Buddies' Plush Planetary Pals; Aeromax's Junior Space Explorer Inflatable Space Shuttle
Little Scientists: Geomag GLOW Moon Explorer, from Reeves International
These magnetic rods and metal balls can fit together to build all manner of shapes and structures. New this year is a set of glow-in-the-dark pieces that come with wheels and instructions to build a moon rover.
Finalists: Baker-Taylor's Weather Lab; International Playthings' Dog School/Kitty College; Educational Insights' Far Out! Solar System Mapping Tool; Be Amazing Toys' My First Super Science Kit
High-Tech Toys: SketRobo, from Tosy Robotics JSC
This futuristic-looking robot comes pre-loaded with the ability to draw out incredible sketches of unicorns, trees and even Spider-Man. Soon the company plans to release a version that can take photos and draw what it sees.
Finalists: Nano Magnetics' Mega Nanodots; Wide Ideas' Vibe It; Oregon Scientific's Meep! Tablet; Regal Elite's Force Flyer
Retro Future: "Star Wars" Science Force Glove, from Uncle Milton
Jedis in training can harness the Force, using the force of magnetism with this new "Star Wars"-themed glove. The toy allows wearers to pull and push a magnetic disk toward and away from their hands using magnetic attraction and repulsion. [10 Real Alien Worlds That Resemble 'Star Wars' Planets]
Finalists: ThinkGeek's Plush U.S.S. Enterprise; Underground Toys' Doctor Who TARDIS Smart Safe; Klutz's "Star Wars" Folded Flyers; ThinkGeek's Joystick-It Arcade Stick for iPad
Do-It-Yourself Science: New Space Age Crystal Growing Kit, from Kristal Educational
This kit lets you grow bona-fide clusters of sparkling crystals in bright colors, and assemble the circuits for an LED display base to stand them on. The set also explains why astronauts study crystal growth in the microgravity of space.
Finalists: Toysmith's 4M Green Rocket; the Young Scientists Club's Magic School Bus Slime & Polymer Lab; OWI's Salt Water Fuel Cell Giant Arachnoid Kit; Thames and Kosmos' Space Exploration Experiments