Contact: Kara Yacovone



Top Toy Trends of 2020 Revealed at Toy Fair New York

IRL; H20 Play; Kid-Powered; Boom, Crash, Smash!; and Generations of Play Named Biggest Trends of the Year

NEW YORK, NY | February 22, 2020 – The biggest toy trends of 2020 put kids fully in the driver’s seat when it comes to how they want to play. Toymakers are responding to their call with more products that invite the whole family to play and create together and toys that continue to innovate the unboxing experience and incorporate viral trends. These are just a few of 2020’s biggest toy trends announced today by The Toy Association at its 117th Toy Fair New York.

“The toy industry continues to bring its A game when creating fun and exciting toys that also engage and encourage the development of critical skills,” said Adrienne Appell, senior director of strategic communications at The Toy Association. “The top trends announced today reflect a new wave of toys inspired by the shift in how kids and adults are consuming content, customizable toys that challenge kids to think critically, playthings that encourage kids to get active, and unique licensed-based toys that inspire lots of imaginative play.”

The Toy Association’s team of experienced trend-spotters meets with hundreds of global toy companies throughout the year to track the latest developments in toys and youth entertainment. At Toy Fair New York, the team combs through thousands of products on the show floor before making an official announcement of the year’s hottest trends at a “Toy Trends Briefing” for media, buyers, and other show guests. The briefing was held this afternoon at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center; products shown during the presentation will be hitting stores in time for holiday 2020.

A summary of the top trends follows:

  • IRL
    Where kids are watching is influencing every aspect of their lives, from their interests to what they buy and how they play. Digital-first brands originating from nonlinear platforms (like Netflix), social media, and esports platforms are infiltrating the toy aisle via action figures and dolls, unboxing toys, board games, role play items, and so much more. This trend includes digital toys that cross into the physical world and encourage active/social play and traditional and nostalgic toys with a digital twist.

  • H2O Play
    Toys that transform before your very eyes using one simple ingredient – water! – are making a splash this year. Water is readily available, safe for kids to use on their own, and easy to clean, making it an increasingly popular addition to toys in several categories. This trend includes unboxing/surprise toys that use water to reveal a hidden message, color, or character; arts & crafts that use water to create beautiful designs that wipe clean or dry and fade for no-mess, repeat play; aquatic-themed toys (like mermaids, sharks, boats, etc.); educational toys that teach kids about underwater life; and, of course, bath and outdoor toys.

  • Kid Powered
    The sky’s the limit with “Kid Powered” toys, which put the power of play in kids’ hands, helping them build creativity, leadership, discipline, confidence, and critical thinking skills. These open-ended toys are more inclusive and let children control and customize how they play. They can be found across a range of categories, from tech toys to building and coding kits, to science experiments, arts & crafts, dolls, and more.

  • Boom, Smash, Crash!
    A new wave of activity toys for kids are helping them push their physical boundaries. From toddlers to tweens, kids are gaining independence, developing gross motor skills, engaging in friendly competition, and finding more excuses to get up and moving – whether playing inside or out!

  • Generations of Play
    When play is infused into family life, everyone has more fun! Whether you’re six or 60, play is beneficial, and when younger and older generations play together, the benefits are even greater. According to The Toy Association’s Genius of Play initiative, when children play with adults, they display higher levels of language development and problem-solving skills, while parents and grandparents get a chance to reminisce about their own childhoods and enjoy play’s many benefits, too. 2020 will see a rise in family games, outdoor toys, engaging crafts, and nostalgic brands that have cross-generational appeal.

2020 won’t be a huge year for family films at the box office – but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be a big year for entertainment. Although movies have historically driven licensed toy sales, more recent avenues for kids’ content (think Netflix, Disney+, social media, etc.) are bringing digital-first characters and stories into the toy aisle, as well as giving nostalgic properties a second life. Get ready to see some of the hottest licenses for 2020 and how they are expected to impact toys and games – from action figures, dolls, and playsets, to plush, board games, and everything in between.

Additional information about these trends is available on-site at the Toy Fair Press Center (through 4 p.m. on Tuesday, February 25 in the South Concourse, above Hall E) or via e-mail to The Toy Association’s public relations contact listed on this release. A video of the presentation will be available for viewing at in the coming days. Visit to learn about the many developmental benefits of play.


Toy Fair is an annual event that is produced by The Toy Association. The largest toy trade show in the Western Hemisphere, Toy Fair takes place each February at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. The show brings together exhibiting manufacturers, distributors, importers, and sales agents to showcase hundreds of thousands of toys and youth entertainment products to retail outlets and trade guests from 100 countries.


Founded in 1916, The Toy Association™, Inc. is the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and delivering toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages. The Toy Association leads the health and growth of the U.S. toy industry, which has an annual U.S. economic impact of $97.2 billion, and its 1,000+ members drive the annual $27 billion U.S. domestic toy market. The Toy Association serves as the industry’s voice on the developmental benefits of play and promotes play’s positive impact on childhood development to consumers and media. The organization has a long history of leadership in toy safety, having helped develop the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 40 years ago, and remains committed to working with medical experts, government, consumers, and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe and fun play.

As a global leader, The Toy Association produces the world-renowned Toy Fair New York and Toy Fair Dallas; advocates on behalf of members around the world; sustains the Canadian The Toy Association; acts as secretariat for the International Council of Toy Industries and International Toy Industry CEO Roundtable; and chairs the committee that reviews and revises America’s widely emulated ASTM F963 toy safety standard.