Move Over North Pole: Chicago Toy and Game (CHITAG) Week Became the Holiday Hub for Toys, Games and


CHICAGO, IL (December 12, 2019) – Chicago Toy and Game (CHITAG) Fair, the largest event during CHITAG Week, welcomed more than 30,000 attendees to the experiential and immersive playground at Navy Pier in Chicago. Attendees were invited to discover and play with hot holiday toys and games and meet the inventors who created them.

On the first day of the Fair, the annual Young Inventor Challenge (YIC) showcased the youngest toy makers. More than 250 creative kids competed in the challenge and each participant received written feedback from over 100 seasoned industry professionals, with specialties in product development, acquisition, innovation and marketing. These mentors represented top toy and retail companies such as Mattel, YULU, KID Group, Target, IDEO, Nextoy, Getta1Games and more.

The 2019 Young Inventor Challenge winners among Junior (ages 6-10) and Senior (ages 11-18) competitors are:

Best Game (Sponsored by Spin Master)

Junior: Quinn Curran, 4th Grade, from Palos Heights, Illinois; for Blindfolded Builder

Senior: Diego Humberto Martínez and Dario Yañez, 9th Grade, from Monterrey, Mexico; for Tic Tac Cubed

Best Playful Learning Concept (Sponsored by the Chicago Toy and Game Foundation)

Junior: Mason Marable, 4th Grade, from Palos Park, Illinois and Cash Phillips, 4th Grade from Orland Park Illinois; for NFL Battles

Senior: Aashi Sinha, 8th grade, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin; for Rescue Buddies

Most Creative Concept (Sponsored by PlayMonster)

Junior: Violet Kooyenga and Piper Sterling, 4th grade from Palos Park, Illinois; for Beat the Bullies

Senior: Donnie Corbitt, 8th grade from Santa Clarita, CA; for the Flying Mjolnir

Most Marketable Concept (Sponsored by Pressman/Goliath)

Junior: Addison Wiersma, 4th grade from Palos Heights, Illinois; for Totally Chick

Senior: Zoe Bain and Isabella Murch, 6th grade, from Fishers, Indiana; for House of Cards

Best Presentation (Sponsored by Yulu and the Toy Association)

Junior: Iliyan Shariff, 4th grade, from Chicago, Illinois; for Cube World, the Board Game

Senior: Eliana Lawrence, 9th grade, from Denver, Colorado; for Firehawk

And Kyle Levy and Robert Becker from Glencoe, Illinois; for Barrier Battles

No doubt, the most playful part of CHITAG Week was the 17th annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair, which took place November 23-24, 2019. Attendees were greeted by more than 140 interactive toy and game exhibits, immersive events and activities for all ages, created by leading toy and game brands from around the world.

CHITAG Fair attendees were invited to vote on their favorite toys, games and experiences and the winners are:

Chicago Toy & Game Fair #1 Fan Favorite Experience

  • The World’s Largest Kid-Powered Nerf Rocket by Kite and Rocket Research, sponsored by NERF

Chicago Toy & Game Fair Fan Favorite Top Five Toys

  • SuperThings by Goliath

  • PlayFoam by Educational Insights

  • GeoBender Cubes by GeoBender

  • UGears Mechanical Models by UGears

  • Squirmles Magical Pet by Squirmles

Chicago Toy & Game Fair Fan Favorite Top Five Games

  • Heist by Megableu USA

  • Meltdown by PlayMonster

  • Gator Golf by Goliath

  • Hoot Owl Hoot by Peaceable Kingdom

  • Trapper Keeper Game by Big G Creative

Other CHITAG Fair attendee favorites included Hasbro’s first public demonstration of the new Star Wars D-O remote-controlled droid, JAKKS Pacific’s interactive Sven’s Frozen Adventure Scavenger Hunt and Yvolution’s ride-on arena with My Buddy Wheels balance bikes. Adults enjoyed the Beer Garden with grown-up games, including the new Throw Throw Burrito from the makers of Exploding Kittens. Attendees also snapped Instagram-worthy selfies with the Little Tikes 50th Anniversary adult-sized Cozy Coupe, Star Wars characters from the 501st Legion and the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Additionally, attendees received the CHITAG Holiday Gift Guide which features top toys and games created by leading innovators recognized as Toy & Game Innovation Award nominees.

The annual consumer event was preceded by the Toy & Game Innovation Awards (winners listed here) and the CHITAG Inventor and Innovation Conferences, where new and professional inventors and design students interacted with 105 top toy and game acquisition executives from 70 companies, including Mattel, Goliath, Hasbro, Spin Master, PlayMonster, Fat Brain Toys and The Michael Kohner Corporation. The Conferences were sponsored by Longshore, Big G and Verisk Financial/G2 and attended by more than 300 people, traveling from 25 countries across six continents. Keynote speakers included Richard Dickson, President & COO at Mattel; Robert Fuhrer, Owner at Nextoy LLC and KenKen Puzzle; David Fuhrer, Managing Director at BlueSquare Innovations; Joanne Domeniconi, Co-founder & Chief Discover Office at The Grommet; and Chris Denson, Innovation Expert, Author and Host of Innovation Crush, plus more than two dozen speakers across four conference tracks. In addition, the Play In Education (PIE) Conference sponsored by Getta1Games and Educational Insights hosted five top speakers and 50 educators from around the Midwest.

Tens of thousands of hotel guests and downtown residents overlooking the beach at Navy Pier were treated to a surprise display of CHITAG-themed BeachArt. Measuring 400-feet by 100-feet and expertly designed and created by the GeoBender team, the pop-up art was a follow-up to last year’s surprise BeachArt, literally leaving an impression on Chicago!

The 2020 CHITAG Week and the 18th annual CHITAG Fair will take place next year, the weekend before Thanksgiving on November 19-22, 2020. All details will be released as they become available at CHITAG.com.

About the Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.

The Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc. promotes and hosts initiatives designed to encourage and promote the power of play and invention in social, educational, and professional environments. Chicago Toy & Game Group initiatives include the Chicago Toy & Game Fair (CHITAG), the Toy & Game Innovation Awards (the TAGIEs), Inventor Conferences for New and Professional Inventors and Product Acquisition Executives, the Young Inventor Challenge, the Play in Education Conference and the Chicago Toy & Game Foundation. For more information, visit www.chitag.com.

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