I had heard of the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, but had never attended, simply because my husband and I hate battling crowds. Yep, we’re sort of pansies.
This year, though, I heard the ad for the Fair and knew I couldn’t miss it. I needed to go troll for well-designed toys for kids, and report back.
To my delight, I found that MJ Tam and Chicagonista had put together a Blogger’s breakfast and preview, which not only made us feel incredibly VIP, but allowed us unfettered access to the booths and toys before everyone came streaming in.
The coolest part was that I got to bring my whole family. Even the teens wanted to go. We made our early way down to Navy Pier and after registering, we headed over to another room where we ate a light breakfast and played with games by Bananagrams. We have the original Bananagrams game, and love it, but we didn’t know there were so many more.
We broke them open with abandon and spread tiles out and had at it. The pear game (Pairsinpears) kept Beckett busy for a long time, and it’s specifically for 3 and up. I’m a big fan of games for pre-readers that utilize the alphabet, and this one gives lots of options. Honestly, we didn’t even play an actual game, we just grouped the tiles into matching letters and then patterns. Then he kept himself occupied with them while we listened to the speakers.
This game will be fun to continue with as he begins to recognize letters more and then eventually read. And if you’re in my brain, you’ll want to roll paint over them and use them as stamps. Granted, the letters would be backward, but what the hey.
Moving on, we spent some quality time riding the Plasma Cars. There was a big open area with about 6 cars available, and gleeful children on them at al times. I’m thinking one of these might go on our Christmas list for Beckett for this year- he was delighted with the ride. Did you know that these things hold up to 220 lbs?! Sweet.
My last brand for this post (I’m simply going to have to cut this into 2 parts.) is Ogosport. I’m a total fan. They have really smart, well-designed toys- keeping kids active and thinking. My kids were loving the Ogodisk Set, but I fell hard for the OgoBild Hub sets. I’m gonna marry them.
They’re all these pieces that attach together to form creatures, but really anything you want to create with them. The coolest thing is that the connector pieces work with their OgoBild POD fort-making kit. Watch the video, because not only is it funny, it gives you a good look at the pieces.
Overall, I think the fair was a little heavy on the games, and I would have liked to have seen more toys, but really, how could you not have fun surrounded by hundreds of playthings and children enjoying them?
Look for part 2 of this post tomorrow! So many toys, so much to say.