The Maker Movement spotlights toys that allow kids to build and create items that are unique to them. These playthings provide kids with a sense of ownership and pride; they also help children develop important cognitive and physical skills through play. According to 2014 point-of-sales data from The NPD Group, the Building Sets and Arts & Crafts categories grew by 13% and 3%, respectively, proving that kids love to create interesting structures, designs, inventions and other projects that will set them apart from others and let their talents shine through.
Includes: building and construction toys, programmable and user-generated playthings, cooking and food-themed toys, design kits and arts & crafts, musical and performance toys, hair and make-up toys, etc.
Open-ended toys and games help promote creativity, resourcefulness and problem-solving skills by allowing kids the freedom to explore exactly how they want to play, depending on their abilities and interests. With many kids today leading very structured lives, open-ended play gives them a chance to relax, have fun, and enjoy being kids without prescribed rules or restrictions.
Includes: traditional / classic toys (marbles, play sets, matchbox cars, bubbles, dolls, balls, blocks, plush, outdoor toys), arts & crafts (Play Doh, finger paints, crayons, chalk), innovative toys (programmable bots, electronic pets, RCs), etc.
The Mini Madness trend encompasses toys that come in tiny packages, as well as smaller versions of hot-selling existing product lines. These toys pack in lots of play value at a lower price point, making them affordable for families and great items for birthday party loot bags and stocking stuffers. They are also perfect for on-the-go play and are easy to store.
Includes: novelty toys, high-quality miniature versions of existing lines, and collectibles.
“Smart” Play speaks to the growing number of educational and academically focused toys on the market. It includes innovative toys that teach kids Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) – a trend first identified by TIA last year – as well as classic games and activities that promote the development of cognitive and social skills.
Includes: classic toys with an educational twist; infant/pre-school learning toys; sophisticated science and engineering kits that teach coding and advanced mathematical concepts; activity-based books and educational board games that teach language and culture; toys that encourage parental/educator involvement and teaching; etc.
UNDER THE SEA
Toys that are aquatic-themed and / or involve water play are gaining traction in several categories, including dolls, games, collectibles, outdoor toys, and more. Some are educational and teach kids about underwater life, while others are just plain splash-tastic!
Includes: bath toys, boats, water-blasters, sea-pets, aquatic-themed items (e.g., mermaid and other sea animal plush, room décor, games, crafts, etc.), educational activities that teach about aquatic life, and more.
TOP IN TECH
The toy industry continues to draw on new technologies to create “Top in Tech” toys and youth electronics that will attract the attention of tech-savvy kids. Many of these advanced tech toys incorporate open-ended and traditional play patterns to keep children fully engaged as they explore virtual worlds or new technologies. Some of the latest tech toys also allow kids to control and customize how they play, creating an enriching and immersive play experience.
Includes: robots/robotic pets, RCs that interact with smartphones, apps that allow kids to play with physical toys in new and different ways, smart tablets for toddlers, augmented reality, wearables, etc.
DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS
2015 represents the Dawn of the Dinosaurs, driven largely by the release of Jurassic World this summer. Expect to see an inundation of dino-themed toys on store shelves to captivate kids of all ages.
Includes: dinosaur-themed books, plush and friendly characters to capture the imagination of younger kids, licensed and educational/scientific toys and games for older children.