I usually don’t stray too far from toys designed for us collector (read: older) types on this site. I love me some Marvel Legends, Street Fighters, Masterpiece Transformers, and whatever else currently holds my interest. However, if we’re being honest with ourselves, the collector market is just a small slice of the toy industry pie. Kids are king when it comes to toys. So it’s nice to have a show where the toys aren’t behind glass, but instead out in the open where the children can play with them freely.
Enter, Play Fair.
This weekend was the second annual Play Fair Convention to be held at the Javits Center in New York City. It’s also the first time that the show was independent of New York Toy Fair, which is usually in February. The convention was such a success that it will be returning November 3 and 4 of 2018! If you have young kids and the ability to get into New York City I highly suggest blocking a couple days off on your calendar for next year.
The show floor was populated with amazing booths from various companies including:
Toys R Us
My eight-year-old son was a HUGE fan of Hasbro’s Nerf tent, which allowed the kids and adults to enter an arena and fire Nerf guns at each other. I’m generally a curmudgeon that will avoid fun activities like this, but he guilted me into it. I can’t deny that I had a great time testing out those giant Nerf guns, and letting him pelt me with endless bullets.
Cartoon Network had a huge Ben 10 display that was set up like a game show, allowing kids to spin a wheel and win masks of characters from the show.
Before I get into the LEGO section, it’s worth mentioning that there was a GIANT PILE OF LEGOS just sitting there on the floor. Free for anyone to walk over, swim in, or make snow-angels!
LEGO had a whole mess of stations where kids could create whatever they want. There was also a glass case in the middle of the booth where the kids could showcase their completed work. We made cars. We raced them, broke them, and built them again. We saved Robby’s car in the showcase.
Finally we ended the night over at Learning Lab 360, who had a trailer full of Virtual Reality headsets that allowed the kids to play Minecraft in VR. It was nearly impossible to get him out of there. And when I finally did, he spent the entire night talking my ear off about how awesome it was. Thanks a bunch, Learning Lab 360, now the kid has a VR headset on his Christmas list.
Play Fair was a great time! We mostly stuck to the activities that my son was into, but being my first time there I had no idea there would also be a ton of things that my daughter would love. Next year, I definitely plan to bring the whole family in order to get a more complete experience. I attend a lot of toy and comic shows. Whenever I have to bring the kids along it’s very difficult to explain to them that they need to stay close and not touch things. Play Fair was the first one where he really got to let loose and just have a good time.
I’m really happy we gave it a try this year. He can’t wait to come back!