Walking the seemingly endless aisles of New York Toy Fair at Manhattan’s Jacob Javitz Center is an annual thrill few attendees can deny. The recent 2019 fair, from February 16–19, delivered another year of exciting and innovative new toys, games, collectibles and products sure to make summer in the Hamptons even more fun for kids and adults alike.
It’s never easy to sift through the panoply of colorful offerings, but we’ve done our best to identify some real standouts, perfect for this unique region, or too cool not to mention. Let’s hope these selections get children away from their screens to enjoy some hands-on, active play.
Swimline Unicorn Rocker Pool Float (illustrated at top of page) and Remote Controlled Duck
The company responsible for the Hamptons’ swan pool float trend debuted some new designs at Toy Fair, including their Unicorn Rocker Pool Float, which puts the mythical creature atop an arching rainbow. What little girl wouldn’t want to ride this adorable float? We also loved the remote-controlled duck (see above), flamingo and swan! swimline.com
Ambosstoys Primo Ride-On Toy
Designed after classic Italian Vespa scooters, these stunningly crafted metal vehicles are a true example of a timeless toy. Who needs an engine, lights or annoying sound effects when kids can cruise on these luxurious, self-propelled beauties? Powder coated like a fine 1950s automobile and available in series of tasteful colors, the hand-welded, heirloom-quality Primo is a lovely object to behold. With white-wall tires and comfy faux-leather seats, they’d fit in at a $40 million Sagaponack mansion or the homes of those who work there. Visit ambosstoys.com for more info.
Bolaball 4 Connect in a Row Giant Board Game
OK, they can’t exactly say it, so we’ll say it for them: This is a giant-sized version of Connect 4. There’s something really great about being able to enjoy classic board games from childhood outside by the pool, on the beach, in the park or the backyard. For the one person who doesn’t know the game, two players (or teams) drop coins in from the top of the board, alternating turns trying to get four of one color in a row, horizontally, vertically or diagonally. It’s addictive, smart, and good wholesome fun. Find this and other wooden outdoor games at bolaball.com.
Called “the game that anyone can play almost anywhere,” Bottle-Bullseye gets in on the whole bottle-flipping craze. Essentially, you flip partially filled plastic water bottles and try to hit targets. It’s simple and easy to learn, but they’ve also developed various creative modes using the same principals as the original—physics and hand-eye coordination. You can buy the core game and various accessories at bottlebullseye.com.
Zip Line Fun
Anyone who’s zipped above the canopy in Costa Rica or traversed courses in places like Skytop Lodge in Pennsylvania can tell you that zip lines are fun. The aptly named Zip Line Fun brings this experience to kids in backyards, and we think it could take off. The trolley-and-pulley system uses galvanized aircraft cable, strong enough to hold a 225-pound adult. Attach between two trees or other supports and take the ride! ziplinefun.com
Hobby Engine Premium Label M1A2 Abrams Battle Tank
These may not be brand new to market, but Hobby Engine’s premium, remote controlled tank was just so cool we couldn’t leave it out. At 25 inches long, this huge, 1/16-scale tank if fully weathered, down to the mud splatter, appearing so real it could probably fool someone if photographed in the right setting. It has a 2.4 GHz frequency, electronic speed control, BB- and plastic bullet-firing cannon, light and sound action, functional suspension and full motion. This is a learning tool to discuss history and modern warfare, and a surefire way to get non-sporting kids outside. It’s also an incredible collectible any adult military buff would love. Find a full range of realistic tanks from various countries and eras at hobbyengine.com.hk.
Unit Bricks Mini Unit Beams
Forget Lego! Among the most innovative and interesting building toys—or toys, period—at Toy Fair, Unit Bricks puts adults and kids in the role of city builder with their sets featuring realistic plastic construction beams and wooden bricks. Whether you’re building the suspension bridge, Eiffel Tower or working crane, the tastefully packaged kits offer instructions with multiple builds, but also encourage open-ended play. There’s nothing on the market like this architecture-based toy, which is probably why university engineering and STEM education programs are purchasing it. unitbricks.com
Diamond Select Toys Westworld Action Figures
This action figure and collectibles company is constantly picking up new licenses for everything from Marvel Comics to Ghostbusters, The X-Files, Pulp Fiction, The Nightmare Before Christmas and dozens of others. They debuted their newest licenses, including Keanu Reeves’ John Wick and HBO’s Westworld, to gasps of joy at this year’s Toy Fair. The lifelike Series 1 figures include Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy, Ed Harris as The Man in Black and Anthony Hopkins as Westworld cofounder Dr. Robert Ford, who comes with his dog. Maybe having miniature versions of these characters will help us figure out what the heck is going on in this too-smart-for-everyone show! diamondselecttoys.com
Another heirloom-quality toy at the show, these buildable and modular wood and plastic cars offer imaginative play, creativity and collectability. Each vehicle includes multiple interchangeable components and sports a body made of European beech wood. The more cars kids collect, the more customizing they can do. This line seems to have real potential for future growth and it brings analog fun to an increasingly digital world. playmonster.com
Franklin Pop Rocket Pitching Machine
It’s certainly not a professional model, but this official MLB pitching machine looks like a blast for any budding whiffle ball all-star. Featuring five balls and a collapsible plastic bat—perfect for the batter on the go?—the machine serves up pitches safely as your young athlete learns to hit. The automatic feed also has a seven-second delay to give batters a chance to reset. Find this, as well as similar but more advanced pitching machines, at franklinsports.com.