Top Toy Trend: Girl Power

10/11/2016 03:57 pm ET Updated Oct 20, 2016

Girls can do anything, whether they want to grow up to be engineers or fight crime as a superhero. Girls are calling for toys that meet their interests and passions, and toy companies are answering back with bold new products that show that the sky is the limit. This includes STEM-focused activity sets and a new Latin American princess who can change the world through the power of music.

These aspirational new toys and characters provide girls with positive messaging to help them build confidence and discover their full potential—and help them conquer the world.

Disney’s first Latin American princess, Elena of Avalor, is a confident and compassionate teen, who is now the crown princess of her enchanted fairy-tale kingdom, which is inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore. Before she can become queen, she has to prove that she is fit to rule, even though she’s still a teenager since she’s been stuck in a amulet for 41 years. Kids can watch Elena overcome these challenging obstacles and all of her adventures chronicled in Disney Channel’s animated series, Elena of Avalor. The Disney My Time Singing Elena of Avalor Doll brings that strong, female role model into playtime. Girls can act out the adventures they see on the TV show, and they can come up with their own adventures to embark on with Elena. She also sings her super empowering “My Time” song, straight from the series.

These strong action figures empower girls to find the superpowers within themselves. Creativity, Ingenuity, Curiosity, Logic, Exploration, Mastery, and Oblivion are all based on Hypatia, the Greek mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher. Each IAmElemental figure has intricate detail that reflects the power that she represents. Their bodies are modeled after healthy, fit, strong women, and they give kids the emotional strength to fight whatever comes their way.

There’s no need to reiterate how important STEM toys are for kids today to help them prepare and build skills for the jobs of tomorrow. However, research has found that a lot of those jobs are currently held by men, and the ladies of tomorrow are saying, “nope, we want in!” Companies like PlayMonster, with its Roominate sets, provide fun opportunities for girls to get hands-on experience with these STEM skills with kits designed specifically to the way that girls learn. The Roominate Cotton Candy Carnival lets girls build up three different carnival rides, including a giant Ferris wheel, complete with motors to make it spin. The instructions are picture-based and easy to follow, and each set comes with figures and accessories for role play once the set is built up.

Blasters aren’t just for boys. Girls can get up and active with the Nerf Rebelle line, from Hasbro, that has just as much role-play action as it does blaster action. And the new Nerf Rebelle Flipside Bow is one that even sharp shooter Katniss Everdeen would envy. This bow has two five-dart drums that flip around to blast 10 darts, so when one drum is empty, kids simply pull the trigger to flip the drums and keep on blasting. They can pull the string back and release it to send each dart flying up to 80 feet, for accurate target practice or fighting off any sign of little sister complex.

Doc McStuffins, the titular star of the preschool series on Disney Junior, aspires to be a doctor just like her mom. As a preschooler, she becomes the doctor and caretaker of her stuffed animals, and when she gets a bit older, does the same for her real-life pet Findo. With the Doc McStuffins Toy Hospital Care Cart, girls can play the role of doctor as well, using all of Doc’s tools to care for Findo. Featuring a light and sound patient scanner with an interchangeable X-ray card, a patient Findo, a talking EKG area, a blood pressure pump, a drawer, and a patient bed, this cart rolls and plays the “Welcome to the Hospital” song from the show.

Laurie Schacht, also known as The Toy Insider Mom, has covered the toy industry for more than 20 years. The Toy Insider is a year-round resource for parents, grandparents and other gift-givers looking for the best toys for their kids. The Toy Insider also produces an annual holiday gift guide featured in Family Circle magazine. Visit thetoyinsider.com for the latest toy news, reviews, giveaways, and more.

Follow Laurie Schacht on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ToyInsiderMom

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