I just came back from the 109th annual American International Toy Fair held in New York City and I had a blast!

Around this time every year for the Bulk Glow Sticks Wholesale past few years, I’d be home feeling so exhausted having been responsible for putting together a huge booth at the show, standing around all day meeting with customers, publicists, vendors, sales reps, and attending after hour events and dinner meetings. And finally on the last day, dismantling the booth and packing up all the toys and everything that needed to go back to the office.

But this year was different. This time, I was on the other side attending the show rather than exhibiting, so I came home feeling more exhilarated. Although I always had the chance to walk the show at some point during the event, this year was a different experience for me. I was able to walk the show with fresh eyes and a different perspective…scouring the show for new and innovative products and hot new toys, and revisiting great brands that have lasted for years.

I realized how fulfilling it was to be a part of an industry that every year comes up with incredible products that not only offers children the opportunity for fun and play, but also has education value and promotes positive social, mental, physical, psychological skills that will last them a lifetime.

In this article, I thought I would share with you toys that were awarded by the Toy Industry Association, and trends that were unveiled by industry experts.

Every year, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) holds its annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) awards during Toy Fair. These were the winners.

Toy of the Year: LeapFrog Enterprises LeapPad Explorer
Activity Toy of the Year- LEGO NINJAGO Fire Temple by LEGO Systems
Boy Toy of the Year – Hot Wheels Wall Tracks by Mattel
Educational Toy of the Year – LeapPad Explorer by LeapFrog Enterprises
Game of the Year – Angry Birds Knock On Wood Game by Mattel
Girl Toy of the Year – Fijit FriendsTM Interactive Figures by Mattel / Radica
Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year – Elefun Busy Ball Popper by Hasbro / Playskool
Innovative Toy of the Year – Hot Wheels Wall Tracks by Mattel
Outdoor Toy of the Year – Rockboard Scooter – Mini by M.Y. Products
Preschool Toy of the Year – LeapPad Explorer by LeapFrog Enterprises
Property of the Year – Angry Birds by Rovio Entertainment Ltd. / Striker Entertainment
Specialty Toy of the Year – HEXBUG Nano Hive TM Habitat Set by Innovation First Labs

As far as trends, industry experts noted that there was a prevalence of big-ticket items this year as well as an influx of educational toys for infants and preschool children, indicating that consumers are willing to spend more post-recession.