Toys”R”Us recently announced the top four toy trends expected to influence kids’ wish lists and gift-givers’ purchasing decisions for the 2010 holiday shopping season. Representative of the trends are toys that epitomize collectible cuteness, some of the best international playthings making their U.S. debut, the ascent to 18-inch dolls and a resurgence in the popularity of trains. This year’s toy trends were identified after year-long observations of the latest innovative toy introductions at the company’s stores in 34 countries and jurisdictions and an extensive review of data gathered by the Toys”R”Us team of global merchants.  

“As the world’s leading global specialty toy retailer, Toys”R”Us has unique insights into the types of toys that are capturing kids’ interests. It’s no surprise that the trends we’ve identified are also reflective of some of this season’s hottest toys, such as Squinkies, Disney Princess & Me dolls and Tomica trains,” said Karen Dodge, Senior Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys”R”Us, Inc.   “Understanding what makes a toy magical to a child and will have them saying, ‘WOW,’ on Christmas morning is the first step for parents and gift-givers as they prepare for the holiday shopping season.”

While trends that made their mark in years past, such as music and nostalgia, continue to inspire new, innovative products from Justin Bieber dolls and the gLee Karaoke Machine, to Creepy Crawlers, following are the four toy-buying trends identified by Toys”R”Us for the 2010 holiday season that are capturing kids’ and parents’ imaginations alike, as well as select toys that exemplify each trend.

Cute, Cool, Collectible

Whether offering an adorable, endearing appeal or a “cool” factor that makes children want to share with friends, collectibles that come in various styles and characters are driving kid crazes and are sure to top holiday wish lists. The buzz surrounding toys that offer a magical combination of cute, cool and collectible and spur a “gotta have ’em all” excitement kicked off with the popularity of Zhu Zhu Pets hamsters in 2009 and the Silly Bandz craze this summer. The trend has continued, as kids seek toys they can collect and swap with peers. The following toys are some of the best representatives of the Cute, Cool, Collectible trend:  Squinkies, Sing-a-ma-jigs, Zoobles!, ZhuZhu Pets Hamsters, and Calico Critters.

It’s a Toy, Toy, Toy, Toy World!

No matter where children live, their interests often transcend geography. And through the growth of social media and YouTube, today’s kids are able to share those interests instantaneously with their counterparts on other continents, inspiring global excitement. The Toys”R”Us team of global merchants works year-round to identify products that are most popular among children all over the world. Below are just some of the playthings that have captured kids’ imaginations abroad that are now available in the U.S. at all Toys”R”Us stores nationwide:  Die-Cast Licensed Cars, Cicciobello Doll, Ladybug Smart Trike, and Dave the Funky Shoulder Monkey.

Dolls Ascending to New Heights

Dolls featuring 18-inch frames, and with captivating stories to tell, have been earning the affection of little girls seeking to bring home a new “friend.” Much of the appeal behind these larger-scale dolls can be attributed to the way children are able to relate to the backgrounds and characteristics each of them possesses. From dolls that are royal and regal, to others that travel the world, each represents a type of young lady that little girls “dream” to become, and with whom they can create and share adventures of their own. Following are just a few of the doll collections that are ascending to new heights this season:  Disney Princess & Me dolls, Journey Girls, Best Friends Club, Ink. Dolls, and Classic Doll Collection.

Trains on Track to Make a Comeback

Trains have been a mainstay plaything for generations of kids and kids at heart, but this year, they’re experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Spanning various levels of intricacy, many of the train sets available for the 2010 holiday season are already chugging off store shelves. Even Warren Buffett bought himself a brand-new train set – actually, three. The industrialist investor recently snapped up multiple U.S. rail systems for $4 billion. For young train enthusiasts, below is a selection of train sets that can be found at Toys”R”Us for a much more affordable price tag:  Road and Rails Train Set, Chuggington Roundhouse Playset, Geotrax Transportation System Christmas in Toy Town RC Set, Thomas & Friends Thomas’ Mountain Adventure and Tomica Hypercity Mega Station Set.

[Source:  “Toys “R”Us Announces 2010 Holiday Toy Trends.”  Toys”R”Us company release.  7 Oct. 2010.  Web.  15 Oct. 2010.]