It’s Toy Time!!

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Photo by Anthony Cain

Photo by Anthony Cain

Every year toy manufacturers from all over the globe get together to unveil the newest and coolest playthings during  the American International Toy Fair held in New York City. It’s that time of the year, and as I sit here writing this, the fair is well underway. Although it’s not open to the public, SpanglishBaby got a sneak peak at the hottest bilingual toys that will be released this year. First, let me warn you: there’s not that many, but apparently it’s more than in recent years…

Fortunately, though, trends have been changing in the last few years and as Fisher Price told SpanglishBaby–at least on their part–they will continue to design and develop bilingual toys in the future.

“In the last three years, we’ve seen an increase in consumer’s demand for bilingual toys,” said José Antonio Espinoza, Director of Fisher Price Brands Latin America. “Parents have realized that Spanish is here to stay and they want to make sure their kids are prepared for the future. We are aware of this change and will continue to expand this line of toys.”

And, now, for the list…Please keep in mind that we haven’t had a chance to “play” with any of these toys our selves. Basically, we just wanted to let you know about the new bilingual toys to be on the lookout for in the upcoming months.

New Bilingual Toys for 2009

  • If you have a daughter, I’m sure you’re familiar with Fisher Price’s “Little Mommy” line of dolls. They’re great for role-playing–little girls pretend to be mommies taking care of their babies. The newest addition to this line is The Baby Ah-choo doll whose eyes close when she makes sneezing sounds. The bilingual version of the doll alternates the phrases it says between English and Spanish. These include: “Mami, ayúdame a sonarme la nariz” and “Estoy congestionada”. My daughter, Vanessa, would probably like her–since she’s incredibly nurturing and it wouldn’t hurt for her to pick up additional vocabulary for when she has a cold herself. The Baby Ah-choo doll will be available in the Summer for a retail prices of $34.99. Recommended age: 2+.
  • Mattel has a couple of toys that sound worth checking out. The first one is Dance with Me Dora. The interactive doll–inspired by the upcoming TV movie “Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom” which will be out in the Fall–dances on her own or invites little girls to dance with her to, what I’m told will be, “tropical” rhythms. Dance with me Dora will be available in the Summer for a retail price of $49.99. Recommended age: 3+. The next toy is Diego’s Extreme Launch & Rescue Pack. If you’ve seen the TV show, you know this is where all of Diego’s tools go so he can be ready for his next rescue mission! It comes with binoculars, a walkie-talkie and three rescue flares. The toy features a lot of sound effects and bilingual phrases. The Extreme Launch & Rescue Pack will be available in the Fall for a retail price of $44.99. Recommended age: 3+.
  • For the older kids, Mattel has also unveiled a new more grownup Dora. Its official name has not been reveled yet, but they industry is referring to her as the “tweenage” Dora. This new doll promises to be a completely new playing experience for kids. Not only because of its appeal to older children, but because they will actually be able to connect the doll to the computer linking it with an interactive website! I’m dying to see this one, mostly because I’m curious to see what she looks like! The “tweenage” Dora will be available in the Fall for a retail price of $59.99. Recommended age: 5+.
  • Putumayo Kids latests CD/DVD is titled Sesame Street Playground and even though it includes only one song in Spanish (and another one is Portuguese), I figured I would list it because as they describe it, the CD/DVD is “A lively musical journey through Sesame Street productions around the world.” And, since we’re trying to promote the importance of our children learning about other cultures, why not? Sesame Street Playground CD/DVD is available now for a retail price of $14.98. Recommended ages: all.
  • A company called Handstand Kids has a series of children cookbooks including one of Mexican recipes. According to their website, these “books are the perfect recipe for kids to learn how to cook, while discovering the people, places and languages of a new country.” So this is another opportunity to bring up culture and traditions. I can’t wait until Vanessa is old enough to start cooking with me! The Handstand Cookbook series is available now for a retail price of $28.

I will be on the lookout for these toys when they become available. I just want to see what they’re really all about. In the meantime, I’m heading over to Putumayo Kids website to purchase their CD/DVD–I think Vanessa will love it since she is so into music. If you end up buying any of these toys in the coming months, we’d love to hear your comments!

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