It’s toy season!

Thanks to Hanukkah and Christmas, December is the month for gift giving.

Like elsewhere around the world, drones, Star Wars toys, remote-controlled toys, app-related and interactive toys commanded the most attention at the recent Toy Time trade fair at the Tel Aviv Convention Center.

But a look around at the booths lining Pavilion 2 — the new and largest cutting-edge pavilion in the Middle East — showed that Israeli toymakers and game designers are also adding innovative and imaginative creativity to the holiday season.

“We’re seeing a rebirth of board games because parents are pushing their kids to play. Computers, iPads and smartphones are winning in the playing field but we haven’t lost the battle yet. There are a lot of brilliant ideas and we game designers have to try harder to create games that will appeal to kids,” Uzi Avraham, product development manager at FoxMind, tells ISRAEL21c.

He says there is demand for made-in-Israel games, best seen at the annual Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg, the largest international trade fair for toys and games.

“Over there, you see Israelis walking with their trolleys filled with new designs and new ideas and we find open doors with almost every publisher,” says Avraham, who also designs games with his brother and cousin under the name TREO Game Designers. “We have a lot of great talents in Israel.”

ISRAEL21c hit upon these eight original blue-and-white games to add to your 2015 holiday gift lists:

  1. Speedy Words

In 2015, TREO Game Designers released a new addictive version of the popular categories game to the market. Finding a word that starts with a letter that matches a category has never been so much fun. It’s a quick game to play and it’s portable – meaning it could become your new favorite car-trip pastime. Published by FoxMind Games, Speedy Words is available in Hebrew, English, Russian, Spanish and French. Price: $9.95

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy
  1. Safe Breaker

Israeli games publisher Smart Zone (www.smartzonegames.com) introduced Safe Breaker in 2015 to its product line. The game of logic, memory and deduction gets players to try and guess one another’s secret lock codes. The company, based in Petah Tikva, has about a dozen other challenging games including Israeli-created Cobra Twist and World Passport. Price: ₪80; $18.99

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Photo courtesy
  1. Mighty Mice

TREO added Mighty Mice to the global 2015 toy catalog. This balancing game of luck challenges players to stack mice on an elephant without toppling them over. The roll of the dice tells players how many mice or elephants they must add to the structure. The game is said to develop observation skills and dexterity. Mighty Mice is published by FoxMind Games. Price: ₪79

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy
  1. Mango Tango

A new educational game of forward-thinking and logic by independent games developer Inon Kohn, Mango Tango hit toy store shelves in 2015. This game includes 60 challenges that call on players to balance toucan figures in order to find solutions. Mango Tango is published by HUCH and FoxMind. Price: $25

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy
  1. Last Mouse Lost

Tel Aviv’s Theora Design is one of Israel’s most prolific game designers, with more than 155 different concepts licensed to publishers around the world. Theora’s games include Guess Who? (Hasbro), Play-On-WordZ (Hasbro), Number Rumba (Mattel), Quips (Ravensburger), One Too Many (Waddington’s) and others. Last Mouse Lost is an easy award-winning game of strategy, in which players take turns pressing down rubber mice in a row. It recently won an award from the National Parenting Center-USA 2015. Last Mouse Lost is published by FoxMind Games. Price: $8.

Last Mouse Lost photo courtesy
Last Mouse Lost photo courtesy
  1. Geoni Educational Puzzles

Geoni’s Educational Puzzles are for the youngest toy consumers on your list. These magnetic puzzles include a variety of colorful matching games that coincide with the stages of child development. Toddlers to preschoolers can use these games to learn math, numbers and letters, and identify animals and where they live. At the moment, the games are sold in Israel only, but Geoni is looking to enter the North American market in 2016. Price: ₪50-70.

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Photo courtesy
  1. Enchanted Climb

The Enchanted Climb (also known as Magical Climb) is a board game with puzzle pieces for ages five and up. The storyline involves the usual fairytale plot of a prince and dragon on a mission to save the princess from an evil wizard. The twist is that in order to win, you not only have to build a puzzle but you have to build the highest puzzle with the most pieces. The game includes dice to add a splash of luck. Enchanted Climb is published by FoxMind Games. Price: NIS ₪65.

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy
  1. Story in a Jar

While this one is not a game, we had to include Marmelada’s playful night lights that turn your room into an enchanting wonderland of imagination.

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Photo courtesy

The new Story in a Jar product features a glass jar with detailed and handmade fairytale scenes inside. The battery-operated light comes in a variety of themes including fairies, animals, Christmas and dinosaurs. Price: $36. To order, click here

Scenes from the 2015 Toy Time trade show in Tel Aviv. Photo by Kfir Sivan
Scenes from the 2015 Toy Time trade show in Tel Aviv. Photo by Kfir Sivan