Top 10 Toy Trends 2010

by mari

Today’s post is working double time! You can also see these toy trends over at Simply Modern Mom.

Now that it’s March, lots of toy manufacturers are breathing a huge sigh of relief (unless you’re in sales, where the ball is finally rolling). The big trade shows for 2010 are all wrapped up and the new products revealed. Though consumers won’t see a lot of the results for months, we can still get some sneak peeks!

The good news? Current trends may fall on opposite ends, but they appear to be balancing each other out. On the one hand tech is growing, but wood toys are exploding. While online toys are still important, there’s also a big resurgence in toys that spark imaginations the old-fashioned way.

Stay tuned next week – all week long I’ll be bringing you my favorites from the trends (and I promise there will be no Barbie.)

Sprig Toys, Baja Scout

  1. Eco-friendly – No surprise right? But now we’re finally seeing multiple companies – large and small – acknowledging this movement. We can find everything from eco-plastics made of sawdust (see Sprig Toys, above), to battery-less light-up toys alongside all the wood toys. Stuffed animals and dolls are joining the mix with a bigger range of recycled fabrics and eco stuffing materials.

  1. Wood Toys – See above! No, really, there seems to be wood toys everywhere these days, and the number of brands and variety of toys is growing all the time. It’s a great time to get into wood – whether it’s Melissa & Doug at Target or Haba at your local toy store.

Lamaze Clutch Cube

  1. Forest Themes (birds and owls and rabbits, oh my!) – This trend is a combo of several things. It pulls from the retro 70’s vibe that we’re all loving. But it also ties right into the environmental trend as well. Plus, it’s providing a great theme alternative to the multitude of garden, jungle/zoo, and ocean themes out there already!

  1. Classic Toys – Nostalgia is a huge factor with a lot of product trends right now. It’s been going strong in toys for some time. Companies are feeding on a consumer’s growing need to connect with the product – either by tapping old brands that parents remember from their own childhoods, or highlighting the handmade, homegrown aspects of a new product. Just look at the resurgence in handmade goods, and the interest in small companies with a personal story.

Air Hogs Vectr Wave RC UFO, with object sensors

  1. What about Tech? – Technology in toys is going in multiple directions. Number one: smaller sizes. Just like flat-screen TVs, toys are using more complicated gadgetry in much smaller packages – RC vehicles are seeing some really cool advances. Video cameras are being added to everything and techie toys are growing in the preschool category as well. Make sure to take a look at the upcoming Fisher Price iXL (“I excel”) Touch screens are making an appearance!

  1. Virtual + Reality – While we love what we can do online, in the world of toys it’s all about the combo. Whether taking a toy with you in the car, around the yard, or to the computer, the big brands are trying their hardest to make their toys impossible to put down in any situation. A great example? Lego’s new Atlantis line.

  1. Focus on Affordability – Luckily for us, toy companies want you to buy their products. They understand that now’s the time to focus on the affordable toys, not the $300 horse. Though you may not notice it directly, lots of new introductions this year are focusing on an under $30 price tag.

Playskool Walk’n Ride

  1. Multifunctionality – Directly tied to affordability, toy concepts are working harder for you than ever before. Expect to see more toys that do multiple things for a variety of age ranges – so you can get one toy that will last you, and your wallet, longer.

  1. Active Playing – Traditionally “active play” refers to the great outdoors, or at least indoor toys that make your kids wiggle and bounce! This year I’m seeing it used to encompass all kinds of activity-focused toys – crafts, science, construction, brain games, etc. A lot of hands-on brain activity helps balance all of those tech and online toys!

Twig Building System

  1. Construction Innovation – Though connected to the Active Playing trend, I’m seeing some crazy new options in the world of building blocks and construction toys. Few of them will ever rival Lego’s monopoly and versatility, but many are amazing mind benders and imagination generators.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 minority scholarship May 14, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it


2 Jackie Evancho September 23, 2010 at 1:44 am

There are always something new and much more interesting for kids. Awesome!


3 Miz Big September 23, 2010 at 8:28 am

Thanks for the comment Jackie! Let me know what your favorites are sometime! You can email me at big at smallforbig dot com.


4 Paul November 18, 2010 at 3:52 am

Yes indeed we can’t get enough of trands and what toys become popular.



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