“So Retro!” Toys Bring Families Together in Reminiscent Fun

June 18, 2013 | It’s back-to-basics for many toymakers, who have recently introduced a slew of nostalgic, vintage, and classic playthings that bring kids, parents and grandparents together in multi-generational fun.

TIA experts classified the So Retro! trend into three separate (though at times overlapping) sub trends:

Nostalgic playthings encourage intergenerational play. Parents recognize these toys from their own childhood and want to share in the joy with their children. 

Vintage toys have retro styling and feature old-school touches, finishes and coloring. While the product itself may be new, the design gives it the appearance of something from early- to mid-20th century.

Classic toys and games such as Monopoly, Checkers, a ball, blocks, puzzles and more are tried-and-true staples in every household that kids will always love. 

“Retro toys are one of the biggest trends of 2013, thanks to the re-introduction of beloved characters, toys and games loved by generations past,” said Adrienne Appell, trend specialist at the Toy Industry Association (TIA). “Nostalgic playthings evoke feelings of excitement among adults, who in turn want to share their favorite childhood memories with their children. These toys are truly engaging for the entire family!”

Many of the toys listed here were scouted by TIA trend experts at the 110th American International Toy Fair this past February. The items on this list are just a sample of the many “So Retro!” toys and games that are expected to stay hot right through the Holiday 2013 shopping season:

  •  View-Master (The Good Stuff Company/Basic Fun)
    The iconic 70-year-old View-Master is being re-launched in Fall 2013 in partnership with Fisher-Price. New enhancements to the toy include a 50% brighter and larger image and new licenses, including Despicable Me 2, Star Wars, Ultimate Spider-Man, Hello Kitty, and Discovery Kids.

  • Puffalumps (The Good Stuff Company/Basic Fun)
    The popular plush line from 1986 is back! Cute, cuddly and lightweight Puffalumps come in a variety of colors and characters.

  • Slinky Dog (Poof Slinky)
    The Slinky Dog is an affordable, nostalgic activity toy that the whole family will enjoy playing together. The latest incarnation of the toy is based on the Slinky Dog character from the Toy Story trilogy.

  • Smurfette Collectibles (Goldie International)
    Kids of all ages who are eagerly anticipating the July 2013 release of the Smurfs 2 movie will have fun with the Smurfette Collectibles, which include an assortment of figures, die-cast vehicles and RC toys.

  • Fraggle Rock Plush (Manhattan Toy)
    In commemoration of Fraggle Rock’s 30th anniversary, a new plush line based on the beloved ’80s characters are now available for both old and new Fraggle Rock fans.
  • Pac-Man Collectible Figures (Bandai)
    Retro Pac-Man collectible figures are being re-launched this year. An assortment of 50 figures, including 10 that glow-in-the-dark, will be sold in blind packs.

  • Retro-Themed Pillow Pets (Pillow Pets)
    The popular Pillow Pets are now available with a vintage look and feel.  Tweens will want to collect each of the retro licenses – from Scooby Doo to Tweety and Sylvester.

  • Cabbage Patch Kid Dolls (JAKKS Pacific)
    The famous Cabbage Patch Kids are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. To commemorate this, JAKKS Pacific has released a fashion-forward line of the dolls with a contemporary look and interactive play features that will appeal to a new generation of Cabbage Patch Kids lovers.

These are just a few examples of the many nostalgic, vintage and classic playthings that are trending right now. For more information about toy trends and play, regularly check TIA’s ToyInfo.org website.

TIA members that would like their toys featured on ToyInfo.org are invited to consult the Editorial Calendar and submit product information to TIA’s Jackie Retzer.