We were lucky enough to attend this fantastic event in Chicago at Navy Pier and OMG what an event! We were only able to go on Saturday but it was SO worth the trip! This is event has games, demos, toys, kids who invent games, and tons and tons of fun! Both of my kids loved it and my husband and I had as much fun playing new games as they did. I will try to tell you about as much as possible but if you get a chance to go next year you should definitely go.
My husband is a genius at finding discount hotel prices so we were able to stay at the Holiday Inn (NOT your typical Holiday Inn either!) just a few blocks from Navy Pier. The hotel was in a huge building and the lobby was on the 15th floor and our room on the 21st. The hotel restaurant was somewhere we should NOT have taken our kids…or any of us too but it was good. Kids eat free for guests so that was an awesome bonus.
My friend and her kids and another friend of ours all went with us so that made the travel expenses a little easier to handle and a lot more fun with more people. Driving up from Indianapolis with 4 adults and 4 kids was not something anyone was looking forward to but with the help of 3DS’s, tablets, leappads, music and nap times it wasn’t so bad. So in short the trip was fun and the hotel was awesome and close by. Now on to the fun parts.
My son and I got to attend the Blogger breakfast which was kind of neat. He ate a bagel and experienced his first donut holes so there was that bonus. My bonus was learning about the Fair and listening to some of the sponsors. Mayfair (who you should know from my Catan Jr review), Razor (who makes the Crazy Cart!), Hasbro (they make and talked about Bop It), and Spin Master (who make these awesome toys Tenkai Knights) all spoke and Mayfair even had Bob and Angus (their puppets) there!
Afterwards we were let into the hall before everyone else which was awesome! As soon as we entered there was a demonstration of a toy I had never heard of called Stick Storm. They had this elaborate set up of popsicle sticks basically and they were woven (sort of) with balloons and everything. All they did was let go of one stick and it set the whole thing off! Sticks were flying everywhere and it was the best kind of mess ever!
When that was over we all went our separate ways. We went to the Mayfair booth first but they weren’t setup yet so we checked out the Razor booth to see what a Crazy Cart was. Waiting in line is not our strongest quality. Either of us, but we managed for about 15 minutes or so. Then they asked how old he was and I was very nervous about him being too young to ride the thing. She said he was fine as long as I was aware of the age minimum being 8 and I said I was and filled out a waiver.
He LOVED that thing. He actually did ok too! By that I mean he didn’t fall off, hurt himself or just sit there not moving. I think the only negative was that I didn’t get to ride one but I will get over it…maybe. Next we went over to the Spin Master booth where they had Tenkai Knights to play with.If you haven’t heard of these yet you will soon enough. They are transforming knights that resemble legos but are all ONE piece that literally transform from a brick to a guy. They are also compatible with Legos!
We ended up at that booth a few times and for decent lengths too, but it was actually ok because I got to learn more about them and oh boy are they fun! Decently priced and sold in Toys R Us, Target and Walmart! Now my almost done Xmas list has a few new things added to it but at least now I know what to get a few other kids.
My husband, daughter and the rest of the group met up with us a couple hours after we went in and we only split up a few times. There were so many booths with toys and games and demos that I wasn’t sure we would get to see everything. It was a big hall but not so big that we couldn’t get around in one day. They had a side of the hall for toys, a side for games and demos and a side for vendors and sponsors and bounce houses. Yeah…we didn’t do those but we did check out the young inventor area.
There was a big section with games that kids created. Yes kids of all ages invented their own game and entered the Young Inventor Challenge to win and have their game officially made. I had NEVER heard of anywhere that did this so I was amazed and curious. We played a few of the kids games and my son LOVED that kids made them. He made a game at Gen Con using felt and pom poms and now he wants to do it again. We may just have to enter it in the Challenge next year!
They had a TON of booths and I am honestly not sure if I visited them all but we sure tried! Some of the booths I have known about and stopped by to see if they had anything new and some were completely new to me. I new about Blue Orange but got to see a new game Pengaloo (look for review soon), I had heard of Ravensburger before but discovered new games from them and knew Set Enterprises but HAD to stop to check out (and pick up) Quiddler Junior!
I know I have talked about Gen Con which is a convention for Gamers, but the Chicago Toy & Game Fair is an amazing convention for kids and their parents. It is the perfect event for families, kids and the young at heart. You can play games, try out toys, watch a guy blow the biggest bubble ever, go on an adventure in the Cardboard Jungle, mingle with Star Wars characters or just walk around and discover new toys and games. I know I discovered a LOT of new toys and games there! Here are just a few:
- Bananagrams – I have heard of their game before but didn’t know about PAIRSinPEARS and Fruitominoes which I cannot wait to play.
- Find It Games – I have seen these things everywhere but we got to try them at the Fair. LOVE it! Kids can even play which of course is what I look for the most.
- HL Games – They make WordWinder which is awesome but they also make a kids game called Beadecked.
- Pocket Fuzzies – This company makes stuffed endangered and somewhat unknown animals and gives them pockets to ride in and proceeds go to help endangered animals. SO cute!
- HABA – This company makes wooden stacking type toys for toddlers and kids. Perfection!
- Kapla – They make wooden blocks. These are all the same length and size so the child has to use their imagination. I LOVE this! My kids did too.
There are way too many wonderful things to tell you about without making this an insanely LONG post but I would HIGHLY recommend going to this event if you can. I cannot wait until next year!