“But, how does that make you feel?”

Toys aren’t all fun and games–they help kids learn important life skills, including enhancing their emotional intelligence. At this year’s North American International Toy Fair, products that emotionally stimulate children were toying with the idea of mixing fun and feelings. For many children, and even adults, it’s not always easy when it comes time to express yourself to others. Needless to say, we are definitely ready to get in touch with our feelings with these awesome new toys and games.

Magnutto Junior Neat-Oh!

Junior Make a Mood (Neat-Oh! International, LLC)

One of Neat-Oh!’s most exciting new lines this year is Magnutto Junior, which helps children identify, express, understand, and react to feelings and emotions. With the help of more than 100 magnets, kids can create facial expressions to represent all kinds of moods on their Magnutto board. The set also includes multilingual activity cards with sample questions for role play to engage children in conversations about emotions.

Love2Learn Elmo

Love2Learn Elmo (Hasbro)

Hasbro’s line of interactive Elmo plush gets better every year. The latest Elmo is compatible with a mobile app, allowing for customization options like never before. Elmo can become kids biggest learning cheerleader as they explore, mature, and grow.  The beloved Sesame Street Muppet talks, laughs, sings, and remembers kids’ names, as well as details like their favorite colors and foods. Everyday tasks, such as potty training or the regular vegetable dinnertime battle, get much easier with Elmo around to constantly cheer and encourage kids in the right direction. Love2Learn Elmo will be available this fall for $69.99 and is sure to be a must-have gift this holiday season.

Feelings Notebook The Moodsters

The Moodsters Feelings Notebook and Feelings Crayon Set (JellyJam Entertainment, Inc.)

The Moodsters’ newest additions help kids express their feeling through art therapy. The pack includes five jumbo crayons, each representing a specific emotion, and a feeling notebook for kids to draw and illustrate whatever may be on their minds. 

My Backpack Pal

My Backpack Pal (Sassy Franks LLC)

Whether you’re a parent or a child, first-day jitters are unavoidable. Everyone can relate to the pit in their stomach and the rush of anxiety that comes with the first day of school, work, or any new experienceFor many kids, the moment when they give a final kiss goodbye to mom or dad is the cause of many sleepless nights. With My Backpack Pal, every child can go to school on the first day and know that they already have one friend on their side. The My Backpack Pal also has a tiny flap on his backpack where mom and dad can leave an endearing note to get their little one through the day, or children can leave a message to secretly confide in their little friend. Available for $29.99, My Backpack Pal comes in a box set that includes the pal and an interactive book, so that children can keep notes and records from their transition through grades 1 to 6.

Worry Eaters 2016

The Worry Eaters (The Haywire Group)

Haywire Group’s latest batch of Worry Eaters, including Wanda, Pomm, Frula, and Biff, is quirky and fun. Each Worry Eater is the perfect confidant for any child who struggles with anxiety and the ability to voice what’s on his or her mind. With the Worry Eater by their side, kids take a sigh of relief as they share their deepest thoughts with their stuffed animal friend. Kids can write or draw on a slip of paper, toss it in the Worry Eater’s Moth, zip it shut, and instantly feel a weight lift off of their shoulders.

Will Wonder Crew

Crewmate Doll (Wonder Crew)

Dolls aren’t just for girls, but when the toy industry targets a specific type of female audience, it gives boys the idea that they have to stick to toy guns and action figures, while girls have all the fun with dolls. Wonder Crew’s dolls are ready to change this. Inspired by boys but for everyone, Will is ready to take on different adventures. Whether he’s a saving the day as a superhero, cooking up fun as a chef, or getting ready to embark on a wild safari, Will is an average boy. He doesn’t have huge muscles or intimidating features, but instead features a realistic, soft body and lovable characteristics.

Princess Kitty Butterfly

Princess Kitty Butterfly Book (Hoot Company)

All parents want their child to be confident and feel as if the sky is the limit; unfortunately, it’s a lot easier said than done. Hoot Company’s sweet tale about a chubby kitty who dreams of becoming a butterfly teaches children that anything is possible if they believe in themselves. To ensure that the story leaves a lasting impression, the book also includes a make-your-own wings page, where kids can decorate their wings and write what they dream to be, to help them make goals for themselves, as well as encourage determination and self-perseverance.

About the author

Stephanie Grassullo

Stephanie Grassullo

Stephanie Grassullo is an associate editor at Adventure Publishing Group. In addition to handling toy and licensing news and updates for The Toy Book and The Licensing Book, Stephanie also writes toy reviews and commentaries for the Toy Insider. When she’s not binge-watching old episodes of Gossip Girl, Stephanie is always game for Boggle tournaments—she’s the titleholder Boggle champion in her family, and proud of it! Stephanie firmly believes that there is no awkward moment that can’t be remedied with the help of Bop It. To get to know her better, follow her on Twitter @steph_grass.