What are you in the mood for?

It may seem like a simple question, but for kids who struggle with emotional development, it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds. After roaming the aisles at this year’s North American International Toy Fair, I was pleased to find that the latest batch of toys are designed with feelings in mind. Whether a child struggles with developmental or emotional obstacles, there are toys created specifically to help them along the way.

Every kid deserves the chance to not only express themselves, but to be understood and to learn how to understand others. Check out the list below to discover some of our top picks from Toy Fair 2017:

Wonder Crew Buddies (PlayMonster)

Now, more than ever, dolls for girls and boys are finally a thing. The Wonder Crew Buddies have been spear-heading this movement for a while now, with a line of diverse dolls that every kid can relate to. Wonder Crew Buddies are designed to empower boys to connect, nurture, and build empathy through friendship, imagination, and adventure. Unlike some violent action figures or blasters, the dolls have soft details, non-intimidating features, and lovable characteristics. Inspired by boys but for everyone, Will, Marco, James, and Eric are ready to take on fun-filled adventures.

Hanazuki Moodgleam Wearable Band (Hasbro)
Hanazuki Full of Treasures marks Hasbro’s first animated digital series and centers around Hanazuki, a spirited moonflower who must save her moon from dark forces. The only way to harness her powers and save the universe is when she expresses her many moods. While kids follow along, they will tap into their own hidden feelings. The Moodgleam Wearable Band transforms colors to lets kids show and embrace their changing moods. Once a child chooses up to two Treasures that match his or her current mood, the band will change colors to reflect the Treasures that are on the band. The band has room to store up to five different Treasures so that kids can easily alternate depending on their mood. Take it one step further and connect the band to the app via Bluetooth for even more mood-changing activities.

Mood Match Game (Neat-Oh!)

Mood Match Game is an activity where kids draw tiles that feature different moods, and then use these emotional cues to find the character on the game board that matches the mood on the tile. From there, kids make a story to explain why the character feels that specific mood. Then, the next player draws a tile and adds to the story. Mood Match Game allows kids to understand emotions, put a narrative to the emotion, and practice memory skills as they build on each other’s story. If you look closely at the board, you’ll also find that it depicts all kinds of kids. Whether a kid uses a wheelchair, is on crutches, or simply wears glasses, there is a character on the board that he or she can relate to.

Q Wunder (EQtainment)

Every product from EQtainment aims to improve kids emotional intelligence through fun. Q—an adorable monkey dressed in green—is the line’s mascot. Through different games, books, and activities, Q helps kids to build self-awareness, empathy,  and problem-solving skills. The line also teaches kids to take responsibilities for their actions, and more. Q Wunder, an app that just launched this month and is the latest in the line of EQtainment products, acts as a kid-friendly, emotional intelligence curriculum. As little learners unlock Q’s world, they will learn life skills and how to take care of daily roles with customized content. There’s also a parent’s corner that provides tips and resources for mom and dad to use along the way.

Dreamland Fairy Kit (Dreamland Fairy)

Fairies are the perfect friends for kids to share their stories, secrets, and even their fears. The Dreamland Fairy Kit comes with a bedtime story about a fairy who ran out of stories. After kids read the story, they can decorate the fairy house with the included paints and paintbrushes so that they can leave messages for their fairy friend. Whether they tell the fairy their own creative stories, or send letters and pictures about what is really on their mind, parents can check on the fairy messages while their little one is sound asleep and communicate with them in a language their kids know and believe in.

Worry Plaque (The Irish Fairy Door Co.)

Some of the littlest of kids can actually be the biggest of worriers. Worse yet, for some little ones it’s a struggle to share what’s really on their mind. When kids use the Worry Plaque, from Irish Fairy Door Co., they will be able to leave all their worries with fairies in just one touch. Kids think of their worry, place their hands on the plaque, and then watch as it turns red. Once the fairies have heard the message, the plaque glows green to show that the worry has transferred to the fairies. Better yet, the energy of a worry is used to create wish-granting dust. Kids get to walk away worry-free and full of hope.

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.