The Chicago Toy & Game Fair Recap #ChiTag

I wish these DigiBirds could sing to you “Welcome to our post!” 

As the winter holidays approach this is the time where families start preparing for their own holiday traditions.  In this Fandads’ household the Chicago Toy and Game Fair has become a tradition that every year we all look forward to attending.  This year’s ChiTag came and went and we had a great time and played with a lot of cool stuff.

This year’s show started with a bang or should I say a roar as a Zoomer Dino greeted all the bloggers to the fair and maybe scared a kid or two.  As much as I tried to take a clear picture, this guy kept moving and entertaining the crowd.  Pretty cool way to start the day.

As we walk around the exhibit hall we are always on the lookout for toys or games that we can enjoy as a family.  Now that my little girl is getting older, she is able to get more hands-on with the exhibits and tell us what she likes and does not like.  Here were some of her favorites, along with some of my favorites.

SpinMasters: Chatsters & DigiBirds

Playing with Spinmasters Chatsters Doll.

With everything becoming more advanced it was only a matter of time before toys start becoming more interactive with their owners and their accessories and this was seen with Chatsters: Gabby. My little girl had fun seeing the different reactions of Gabby as she handed her a phone, then put lipstick on her lips. Gabby’s eyes light up and showed some affinity toward the object that was put in front of her. My little girl had a lot of fun with Gabby, and I see this doll being a big hit this holiday season.

The DigiBirds (at the top of this post) have real bird tweets programmed into them and either tweet or sing a song when you interact with them.  One of the coolest features of the DigiBirds is that if you have more than one they can all sing the same song together in a chorus.

Quick story about the staff at the SpinMasters booth.  When I went to pay for the DigiBird I did not have enough cash on hand and the booth only accepted credit cards, not debit cards.  When Dave saw the sadness on my little girl’s face, he told her he will hide the bird in a special spot and that he will watch it until I return to pick it up.  The way he talked to her was so kind and soothing that she handed him the bird as I walked away to find a cash station.  Customer service like that is always great to see and I thanked him for doing that for us.

Adventure Sandwich

Adventure Sandwich 

Imagine going to a place made entirely out of cardboard boxes.  When I saw Adventure Sandwich last year my jaw practically dropped to the floor.  This year, it looked bigger than last year.  If this place was around when I was little, I probably would never go home.  This place was amazing and I can not wait to see it again next year.

Everest Toys

Building with Everest Toys

Over at the Everest Toys booth we had fun with their Crazy Forts set.  With winter coming up these would make staying in on cold days a lot of fun.  My little girl enjoyed how easy it was to connect the pieces together and we created a rocket-car-type thing.  When we were done with our creation, the staff at the booth put a blanket on it and it instantly became a cool looking fort.  I think I would want this for myself more than my kids, but I can always share with them.

Lille Huset

Designing a house with Grow Studio’s Lille Huset paper houses.

Lille Huset has taken paper houses to another level in my opinion.  These sets are pretty cool because they are so easy to put together and take apart.  My little girl spent a lot of time at this booth and her little brother got in on the fun too.  In talking with the brand’s owner, Alyson Beaton, she told me how the toys are made in Indiana and they have just acquired a space to host birthday parties.  We bought a Brooklyn house and a few accessory sets and can not wait to build these when we get home.  Help support local developers and pick up a few of these cool paper dolls sets.


Operation inventer John Spinello
Life size Operation Game

Man, as a kid I loved Operation. This game was a lot of fun and I can not wait until I start playing it with my kids.  I can already picture the hours of laughter that we will have together playing this, but I can also picture the tantrums that might erupt from touching the sides one too many times.  Operation is such a great game and there are so many variations of the game that you are sure to find one that you will like.  

Did you know that the inventor of Operation, John Spinello only made $500 for his game?  This man who has brought joy to millions is now in need of medical attention and is struggling to pay his bills.  If you would like to say thank you to John for his fantastic game and maybe help out a little, visit to help the man who’s game is an American staple.


Spider-Man Floppet to the rescue 

I think for the past few years that we have gone to the fair I always pick up some Floppets.  This year they had some cool Marvel and Disney Frozen ones.  The deal they had on them were too good to pass up, so we bought a few Frozen ones and the Spider-Man you see above.  While my little girl uses hers as rings, I tend to use mine to hold together my headphone wires or other wires that get tangled up a lot.

The Chicago Toy and Game Fair this year was a lot of fun and sometimes there isn’t enough time to play with everything that is there.  One year I will attend the Star Wars luncheon with my family, because I’m curious to see how a Stormtrooper eats, but in the meantime I will have to wait for my answer.

I think this year was bigger than before and I would like to thank Mary Couzin for creating this great experience and new tradition for my family.  I can not wait for next year’s ChiTAG and I know my little ones can not wait, too.

Hanging with Mary Couzin.
Scroll to Top