The Future of Play: Appeal to Millennial Parents with Eco-Friendly Toys & Games

May 13, 2019 | Millennial parents want the toys and games their children play with to be more eco-friendly, reflecting their values to live more sustainably, according to an in-depth report by The Toy Association and ProdigyWorks. The report, “Toy Manufacturing and Retail Solutions – the Future,” provides ideas on how the industry can capitalize on the changing marketplace, and appeal to new customers and retain (or increase sales with) existing ones.

“Parents want to know that the products they buy will not harm the environment. Offering a toy that is biodegradable or an initiative that encourages toy sharing will appeal to today’s environmentally-conscious consumers,” said Ken Seiter, executive vice president of marketing communications at The Toy Association. “The ProdigyWorks report highlights opportunities for toy companies and retailers to bring in new customers or deepen their connections with existing customers through reusable and eco-friendly strategies.”

In the report, ProdigyWorks futurists identify 12 key opportunities for toy manufacturers and retailers, centered around five themes, including the theme of “Speaking to Consumer Values,” highlighted below:

  • Toy companies need to recognize and respond to a fast-rising movement against plastics that is shaping consumer behavior. If toys were made with materials that biodegrade, a family could compost it themselves or send it out for municipal composting – upping the product’s appeal to parents.
  • Another option for manufacturers and retailers is to host or sponsor free neighborhood toy exchanges, which would operate as a library would, and align with today’s “sharing economy.”
  • To serve low-income neighborhoods, companies could create local toy banks (similar to community food banks). Toymakers or retailers could tie this to sales, with each toy purchase funding a gift to a toy bank for underprivileged children. Consumers could also help stock the toy banks by donating toys and games.

Previously, TNT highlighted opportunities within the report’s themes of Toy Diaspora, Everybody Plays, and Experiences. TNT’s final article in the series will explore the theme “Looking Beyond the Thing — Service Opportunities,” and its correlating examples. The full ProdigyWorks report is available free to Toy Association members at