Spielwarenmesse: How inflatable toys promote sports & role play

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15. March 2017 / Market

How inflatable toys promote sports & role play

from Maria Costa /  Show comments

On many occasions, play related to sports involves large products that require a lot of space. Even parents that really value these options find themselves in trouble as they cannot afford to lose so much space for so long. For them, inflatable products are a great solution, and the good news is that toy companies have begun to see the value of them, too. 

It is true that there have been inflatable products that promote sports for all ages in the past, although they have mainly been for the summer and the swimming pool. A good example of this is the new product by BestWay H2OGO! Touch Down Splash, a fun way to play American football while getting splashed.

For older kids and adults, Wicked Vision presented Socker Bopper Body Bubble Ball at the last Spielwarenmesse. Stepping inside the inflatable ball allows the football players to collide into each other safely in a fun, unique game.

Wicked Vision: Socker Bopper Body Bubble Ball
Wicked Vision: Socker Bopper Body Bubble Ball

A recent addition to the market that I have found are some interesting inflatable sports toys to play indoors. For instance, Little Tikes launched the Dino Bouncer and the LeBron James Family Foundation Dream Big Indoor Dunk Bouncer. Two bouncy inflatables for kids aged 2 to 6, one even allows kids to play basketball inside the home.

Dino Bouncer by Little Tikes

Role-play & Inflatables

Innovation can be achieved in all sorts of toys and games by transforming them into inflatable play things, role-playing toys included. That is the case with a great set of inflatable toys by Pops'up World. The company has developed beautifully made giant inflatable playhouses and vehicles featuring a Princes Castle, a Construction site, a Space Station or a Rescue Center. BestWay, under the Little Tikes brand, also distributes an inflatable train and an inflatable helicopter.

Costumes are also becoming more fun and innovative by adding some inflatable parts. It is worth having a look at Buyseason, a company whose costumes are surprising like the Blaze & the Monster Truck, a truck with inflatable wheels, as well as licensed options such as Despicable Me: Stuart Minion Inflatable Kids Costume, or the Super Mario Bros. Boys Mario Riding Yoshi Halloween Costume.

Technologies & Inflatables

Technological toys can also become more innovative by adding inflatable options. A few years ago, Air Swimmers surprised us with their inflatable fish, a toy that flies and can be controlled by RC. At the last Spielwarenmesse, Bladeztoys also presented RC inflatable toys, in this case featuring popular licenses such as Star Wars, Minions, Peppa Pig, Thomas & Friends, etc. 

Star Wars RC toys by Bladeztoys
Bladeztoys: Darth Vader
Star Wars RC toys by Bladeztoys
Bladeztoys: RC BB8

The importance of inflatable toys became obvious when, in 2014, Disney Research developed and presented a computational tool for designing inflatable characters and structures. This software enables non-experts to create any inflatable structure they want. 

Designing Inflatable Structures by Disney Research

Inflatable toys are an important source for creating toys in all sorts of categories, from toys related to sports, to playhouses, board games, dolls, ride-ons, and so on. I only mentioned a few examples of both indoor and outdoor toys, but there are a lot of opportunities that haven’t yet been capitalized on. Think about your product, and how it can be transformed into a new, different and unique inflatable toy.


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Author of this article:

Maria Costa, AIJU

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