Within a minute of walking through the doors of the American International Toy Fair, I felt like a kid walking through Toys “R” Us. It’s the largest toy trade show in the Western hemisphere, held in New York City, and everything on display was fresh and exciting. Strolling down the countless rows of booths, I saw big companies like Lego rub floor space with small ones, with CEOs overflowing with enthusiasm over how they invented whole new categories of toys.
Augmented reality, blending digital and physical worlds, is among the most popular tech powering new toys this year, but I was struck at how much emphasis there still is on physical play, encouraging kids to unplug from the digital world. Virtual or not, the toys are all cutting-edge (electric motors let inventors do so many more interesting things that could never have been done with gas), and everything’s also made with far more eco-friendly materials than what we played with as kids. I searched for hours on end to find the toy fair’s best—here are 13 of my favorites from the show.