Toy Trends

Popular Toys for Babies and Toddlers

Toys can move in and out of fashion as quickly as an electric train can whiz around the track. Some toys never go out of style, earning a top position in the class and toy hall of fame. Yet, every year toy trends seem to shift a little and give rise to a host of fascinating, and sometimes surprising, toys.

Toy trends can tell a lot about the values families hold and where society in general is moving. They offer insight into what is most valuable to children at that moment in time. The current toy trends are focused on learning, activity, water, and the color pink.

1. A popular catchphrase these days is "preschool readiness". The focus is preparing your toddler for preschool and your preschooler for kindergarten with the help of various learning toys. Educational toys mix entertainment and education to make learning fun. Educational toys can be used to teach your toddler about shapes, the alphabet, numbers, phonics, languages, and animals. Many use phonics to start your toddler on the path to reading. Flashing lights and audio reaffirmation provide encouragement and stimulation to help move your toddler to the next level. Many toddlers love the sounds, music, and lights, keeping them at the top of the trend list.

2. The constant rise in obesity is leading to a nationwide epidemic. The need to get kids moving and active has spawned a trend towards activity toys that get your toddler's heart pumping. Riding toys are popular for babies and toddlers. The classic red tricycle is still a number one favorite. Push toys are gaining in popularity, especially mini-versions of wheelbarrows and shopping carts that let your toddler mimic their favorite person—you. Play centers, such as kitchens and work benches have also remained popular.

3. Our world is expanding, yet getting smaller all the time. Many interactive toys are offering multiple languages. Your toddler can work through a book on their favorite educational system in English or Spanish. Many squeeze toys and dolls will speak in multiple languages if you flip the switch. Many pretend and Velcro pull-apart food sets are not only offering North American fare. Many sets are starting to include ethnic foods and stand-alone ethnic food sets. You can expose your toddler to sushi, Chinese food, and Mexican food—if you haven't already given them the real thing, yum!

4. Splish, splash your way through the water themed toys. Major lines of aquarium toys for babies are maintaining a steady stream of popularity. Train sets are adding aquarium train cars to the line-up. Water-filled play mats and surf-board play mats are available so your baby can ride an imaginary wave. The rise in pirate boats and pirate themed building toys indicate many people just want to get on the water and sail away.

5. Pink has always been a popular color with girls, but everything is turning pink lately. Many lines of stuffed toys are offering bright pink bears, cats, and bunnies, among other pink creatures.

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