I recently visited Melbourne Toy/Hobby& Licensing Fair at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Building (March 1st to 4th)
Not open to the general public this incredible gathering of importers, manufacturers, distributors, and license holders displaying products from over 180 exhibitors and houses wall-to-wall toys, toys, and more toys for both girls and boys of all ages.
Every year a panel of industry professionals vote on 24 different categories to choose the most outstanding toys of the year.
The Overall Product of the Year for 2020 was won by Even Toys and Games from Queensland. Their mentally taxing game The Genius Square could be described as a kind of completive (two-player) Tetris board game. I gave it a go and lost.
The winner of the 2020 Judges’ Choice Award was won by Lego Australia Pty Ltd from New South Wales for their Lego DOTS Bracelets. Utilising the famous Lego building block concept, this product is a miniature version allowing you to create items such as a pencil box and even a bracelet. This is sure to be a hot item with the fashion-conscious lovers of Lego.
The Speciality Product of the Year Award went to Artiwood Australia Pty Ltd from New South Wales for their Pastel Melody Mix. This funky little musical play centre is ideal for the day centre, kindergarten, primary school, or the musical minded home. Comprising of ten different percussion instruments, it is truly an eco-friendly product being made from Rubber Wood. This semi-soft wood is milled from the rubber trees in Thailand and Sri Lanka after they are ‘retired’ from their 30-year life of providing sap to produce rubber. An innovative way to ‘re-use’ a natural product.
With literally thousands of amazing products on show, it stands to reason that not all of them can be award winners. One such product is the adorable Squeakee from Moose Toys in Victoria. This voice and action activated toy balloon dog is the ideal pet. It makes no mess, loves affection, and never needs walking.
Another new product comes from Theatrix Magic Stuff in New South Wales. They have packaged 100 easy to learn magic tricks from the reality TV identity Apollo Jackson. Overflowing with many mind-bending street magic tricks performed by Apollo around the world, this is one product that is sure to disappear from, and keep reappearing on the retail shelves for a long time.
It is difficult to guess what will be the biggest seller during this year; all I know is that whatever it is, it will be chosen by minds a lot younger than mine.