Page 3.14

Richard Simmons at the NYC Toy Fair

An estimated 14,000 buyers from 7,000 retailers will descend on New York City this weekend to attend The American International Toy Fair. Thirteen hundred exhibitors–Richard Simmons among them–will be present to pedal their wares.

Electronics are an increasingly dominant presence at this event. According to market research firm NPD Group, U.S. toy sales in 2006 crept up to $22.3 billion from $22.2 billion, driven by 22 percent growth in the youth electronics category.

But don’t bemoan the sedentary millenium childhood just yet. Piggy-backing on the runaway success of the Nintendo Wii, some toy makers are trying to engage youngsters in a new breed of active gaming. The Smart Cycle, for example, is a pint-sized spin bike for preschoolers that attaches to a video console:

Let’s hear it for uprooting those young spuds, before they plant themselves permanently on the sofa.