Following the season's trendsetting toy shows -- New York, start-ups and the Toy Awards

Following the season's trendsetting toy shows -- New York, start-ups and the Toy Awards

The 58th Toy Fair (http://www.btha.co.uk/toyfair/) is held in London in the United Kingdom from January 25-27. The event hosts both UK-based and international toy and games manufacturers and attracted 180 exhibitors in 2010. One of the highlights of this event is the "Greenhousearea," which is home to innovative toy industry start-ups from around the world. Open to trade professionals only, the event can be followed online via Twitter @toyfair2011.

This event is followed by the Nuremberg Toy Fair (http://www.nurembergtoyfair.com/) from February 3-8 in Germany, by far the biggest of the three events. Now in its 62nd year, the Nuremberg Toy Fair hosts numerous seminars on the international toy industry and is often regarded as the industry trendsetter. In 2010 the event attracted 76,000 visitors and 2,600 exhibitors from around the world. The fair hosts the Toy Awards,which honor toys in four age range categories -- "baby and infant," "preschool," "school kids," and "teenagers." Each year the organizers also present special awards to a unique category of toys; in 2011 it will be presented to a toy that promotes environmental awareness or sustainability through play. Open to trade professionals only, the event can be followed via Twitter @IntToyFair.

The final event, the American International Toy Fairin New York from February 13-16, also honors innovative toys in the Toy Of The Year (TOTY) awards. Consumers and industry professionals vote on the best new toys in 11 distinct categories; the winners will be revealed at a ceremony on February 12 before one toy is chosen to be the overall Toy Of The Year. Now in its 108th year the event attracted over 1,000 exhibitors and 25,000 attendees in 2010. Though this event is open exclusively to trade professionals, members of the public can follow it online via Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/toyfairny), YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/TIAssociation) and Twitter (@ToyFairNY).