NYIGF Celebrates Innovation and Art
August’s New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) was an opportunity for the best new children’s products to be recognized for their creativity. Every year, NYIGF shines a spotlight on the latest trends in children’s toys, novelties, clothing and books.
This year, the focus seemed to be on natural materials, particularly wood. Wooden toys are making a comeback after years of being upstaged by rubber, plastic, and other synthetics. Wood is non-toxic (when prepared in environmentally safe ways), long lasting, and visually appealing. It also offers versatile building possibilities for kids of all ages. Original art is also trending at the moment, and makes an appearance in books and other learning supplies that feature the work of professional artists.
Here are some of the innovative companies that caught The Giggle Guide’s™ attention at this year’s event: OOTS!, Tree by Kerri Lee, Black Eyed Guy, and Home Grown Books.
OOTS! Woodmobiel Builds on Creativity
The Woodmobiel is one of their best-selling items. This versatile building set allows children to create a number of different life-size toys out of wood, using real tools that are included in the set. The wood pieces are pre-drilled and come with instructions for building suggested items.
The starter kit allows for smaller and less complicated designs, while the standard package lets a young builder tackle bigger projects such as desks and tricycles. Once a child builds a chosen design, he or she can play with it for as long as desired and then disassemble it and make something entirely new out of the parts.
The Woodmobiel is one of many items that makes OOTS! a company to watch. Founders Arien Roefs and Godfried Kronings launched OOTS! in 2004. Their vision was to create toys that encourage children to create inspired designs and games out of simple, natural materials.
For more information, visit www.madebyoots.com
Tree® Branches Out with Baby Keepsakes
Founder and designer Kerri Lee runs her business out of an antique general store in Sullivan County, New York. This cozy location inspires whimsical versions of shadow boxes, clocks, music boxes, and wall art to decorate baby’s room. Bunnies, elephants, owls and other creatures abound in the collection, and calming pastel colors rule the day.
The pieces are made out of responsibly harvested wood and decorated with water-based non-toxic paints. The old-and-new aesthetic is apparent in nearly all the pieces. It’s a refreshing yet classic look that makes great baby shower gifts.
Find out all that’s sprouting at www.treebykerrilee.com
Black Eyed Guy Looks at Art Differently
The art is simple, using black, white and orange as the main colors. While the Black Eyed Guy characters are basically stick figures, they are drawn with enough flair to give them personality. The activity books are not your average color-inside-the-lines doodle pads; they encourage kids to explore art in many ways and expand their own creative abilities.
There’s been a move toward parents fostering art appreciation in even the youngest children, and what better way than to feature art on the products that children wear and use every day? While the old standard cookie cutter depictions of animals and other cuddly things will likely never go out of style, there’s also a place for more avant-garde and intriguing visuals.
To see for yourself, visit www.blackeyedguy.com
Home Grown Books Cultivates Art and Literacy
Kyla Ryman’s vision for Home Grown Books is to teach literacy without the tedium that accompanies some reading lessons. As a reading specialist from an artistic family, she wanted to give children access to books that build skills in innovative ways. She teamed up with business partner Sarah Rogenes, an artist and home-schooling mom, to make the company come to life.
The beginning reader book sets feature seven books for youngsters just getting the hang of basic words. Vivid illustrations, combined with simple text (two to six words per page), help build the foundation for a rich, pleasurable reading experience.
The illustrations in these books are so cool, mom and dad may even want to buy them to decorate the kids’ room or other areas of the house. That’s why Home Grown Books also offers fine art prints from the same artists that make their children’s books so special.
To see the full line of products visit www.homegrownbooks.org