Spielwarenmesse: Toy innovations 2018: Dolls, Soft Toys

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Messe-Neuheiten 2018: Puppen, Plüsch
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Toy innovations 2018: Dolls, Soft Toys

from Harald Hemmerlein

Innovations for the Spielwarenmesse® 2018 from the Dolls, Soft Toys product group: While children once had to rely on their sparkling imaginations to bring dolls and soft toys to life, nowadays fantastic technical features help achieve a similar effect. With the addition of more and more play features, these companions often encourage children to learn or actually learn themselves. Here is a small selection of the 2018 product innovations.

Spin Master: Luvabella
Grandi Giochi S.r.l.: Baby Lullaby
IMC Deutschland GmbH: Bloopies
Matell: Bee Keeper Playset
Bravo Giochi: Fairy Flowers
ITRP: Freiadolls, Hund Max
Rainbow Designs Ltd: Minnie Mouse Activity Toy
Tactic Games Qy: Lumo Stars
Fragehelden: Fragehelden
Vtech Electronics Europe GmbH: Kidi MonkiPops
Vtech Electronics Europe GmbH: Kidi MonkiPops

Dolls full of interactive play features

Sellers are vying with each other to offer the traditional play doll that looks and acts the most realistic. "Luvabella" from Canadian company Spin Master International S.ar.l. (Hall 12.0/D-10) comes with amazing true-to-life facial expressions and numerous interactive play features. She can learn more than one hundred words and phrases. Interactive accessories allow children to nurture her through numerous developmental stages. She makes chewing movements when fed with a spoon, for example, and responds to different flavour nuances. At the same time, she gradually picks up words and phrases frequently used in relation to food.

Italian vendor Grandi Giochi S.r.l (Hall 12.0/E-15-4) has also given its "Baby Lullaby" countless features. Depending on which part of her body is touched, Lullaby tells a short fairy tale, sings lullabies or records and plays the child’s voice. Her pyjamas light up in the dark.

There’s also room for dolls in the bath and pool. The "Bloopies" from IMC Deutschland GmbH (Hall 12.2/P-26) spray water from their mouths and snorkel. The six different dolls can also blow bubbles. The patterns on their bathing suits change in the water.

Dolls keeping it natural

Dress-up dolls are a major seller in this segment. At the very top of the heap is Barbie from Mattel (Hall 12.2/P-15). For years now, she has been offering girls all over the world role models intended to boost their self-confidence. This year, it’s the turn of Barbie the beekeeper. The "Beekeeper Playset" features Barbie dressed as a beekeeper plus all of the paraphernalia needed for realistic role play in this area: a beehive, gloves, a beekeeper’s hat and tools.

"Fairy Flowers", offered by Italian company Toys Garden S.r.l. under the Bravo Giochi brand (Hall 12.0/E-15-3), convert from a flower into a scented doll. The dolls are initially hidden in a flower pot. Their hats are blossoms which retain their fragrance when the doll "grows" out of the flower pot, just like the Mirabelle doll from the tale of the same name by Astrid Lindgren.

The dolls from Germany’s ITRP – Freiadolls (Hall 1/C-38) are made by hand. The manufacturer uses only hypoallergenic materials, even for the stuffing. These knitted dolls have no buttons sewn on or anything made of metal or plastic. Their noses, eyes and mouths are knitted on to ensure there is no risk of anything being swallowed.

Classic soft toys given a new twist with licences

The enormous effect of classic and current licences on the product range available is particularly striking in relation to soft toys. UK company Rainbow Designs Ltd (Hall 1/E-22) has brought out the "Minnie Mouse Activity Toy". This soft version of the famous mouse offers babies lots of stimuli for motor activities.

German company HEUNEC GmbH & Co. KG (Hall 12.2/P-14) has produced a plush version of a cult figure from a modern fairy tale: "The Little Prince" from French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry will celebrate his 75th birthday in 2018. He is also much loved by adults, and is a good example of how dolls and soft toys can sell well without being exclusively targeted at children. These products are especially popular as gifts with a high emotional factor for adults.

Soft toys interactively surpassing themselves

The opportunities offered by information technology are also reflected in the creations from soft toy designers. The imaginative "Lumo Stars" mythical creatures from Finnish company Tactic Games Qy (Hall 10.1/C-16, D-21) are inspired by the children’s book of the same name from Finnish author Kati Heljakka, whose stories are rooted in Scandinavian myths and imbibed with Scandinavia’s rich nature. Each of the colourful soft toys has its own QR code that can be scanned for a free adventure game with the Lumo Stars.

The "Fragenhelden" (German for "question heroes") from the German company of the same name (Hall 3A/D-04) aim to appeal to children and adults with their focus on learning goals. The teddies help children negotiate everyday life in a more caring, self-confident and largely independent manner. Children are encouraged to speak freely by "saying what we are asking ourselves" using buttons, which are currently available in 14 languages. With the Fragenhelden and their motivating buttons, children learn to question boundaries and biases. The buttons, also termed "analogue apps" by the vendor, help stimulate ideas by providing key words for creative stories, no batteries needed.

Vtech Electronics Europe GmbH is using LED effects for its "Kidi MonkiPops" (Hall 12.2/P-06). Curled up as a fluffy ball, the little baby monkey slumbers. A few quick moves and he becomes a large monkey. The colour of his face changes thanks to lots of LED effects. His mouth also moves when he sings and talks. The colourful monkey loves being thrown high in the air and responds with phrases and noises to different movements. Three games are activated by pulling his tail, with the hands of the MonkiPop acting as the controls. A voice recorder repeats words and phrases in three funny voice modes.

 

Author of this article:

Harald Hemmerlein

Mentioned product groups:

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