Playtime at the Trade Shows
The seasonal trade shows are in full swing, with trends and inspiration for buyers and designers alike. Junior has been keeping tabs on the shows and, in addition to the latest style and fashion trends, we've also been making notes on toys, too - from role play to crafts. In addition to our fashion round-up from Pitti Bimbini and Bubble London, we added Playtime Paris to the mix for our toy review.
Knits and Textiles
Knitting is still in style and it shows no sign of waning - either in fashion or with toys. While the likes of Mebi Baby wowed us with their knitted baby clothes at Bubble London, Attic (who also have lovely clothes) showed their super-sweet toy knits.
Attic Textiles - soft toys range. Sweet.
Baking and Cooking
Although there will always be those who simply refuse to join in, the home baking and cake decorating arena is big business for children - notably for parties and entertainment. London-based bakers BKD were the hosts of an Exhibitor's Decoration competition at Bubble London (won by the ever-creative Rachel Riley). The company hosts children's parties, bespoke events and also has a subscription Mini Bakers Club too (below).
Over at Playtime Paris we noticed another cute baking idea from Smoby Chef, who have created a fun biscuits set where you make biscuits, make a house with them and then enjoy eating them all.
Colouring and Crafting
Adults are finally realising what kindergarten teachers have know for years... Colouring and crafting is a calming activity and helps to develop creativity in everyone. The craze for colouring-in books has transcended generations and can be seen everywhere from tots to teenagers and thirty (a-hem) somethings too.
The Bubble London bookshop was awash with colouring books (below) many with a focus on nature and nature's colours. Over at Playtime Paris this was also true. We also spied some stackable non-toxic Playon Crayons from Studio skinky, which younger children will love.
Wellness and Mindfulness
With a focus on wellness and with the ongoing work of the the younger Royals, children's mental health and wellbeing is rightly making headlines.
In addition to educational toys, there's a clear move to activities to help children escape their formal education, with a focus on nature, free play and mindfulness - and downtime.
One particularly lovely example - and Junior favourite - is the Supehero Sleep Buddy from Scamp & Dude, which we saw live at Bubble London. This soft toy (shown below) has a pocket in the back for the owner to keep a photo of someone they want to keep close - whether that's while visiting relatives, or even at those first few weeks away at school.
Building and Papercraft
This trend has been on it's way for a while now and having seen two very cool new British brands at trade shows recently, we're convinced it's here to stay. The exciting new boards from Bildy and from Nook bring sustainable design and play together perfectly.
Bildy Megaboards come as a printed set with connectors - and are reversible too. So they an create a house, a car (below at Bubble London), or whatever they want - plus you can add a castle extension (but of course). There's also a new smaller set of boards in the pipeline for even more creative creating.
The idea behind Noook's circular boards (main image, article header) is that children are - and can be encouraged to be - supremely creative. Their boards are bendy and flex to build structures and shapes. Fun, flexible and of course supremely sustainable.