Introducing “Generation Self Improve” • The Toy Book

Source: The Insights Family / The Book of Toys


Gone are the days when learning was stereotyped as repetitive and boring.

With a new cultural push towards creative and expressive learning and the rise of digital technology, schools and fee-paying institutions are now places where children enjoy spending time. Toys steeped in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), online courses, creative craft kits, educational puzzles, and an ever-growing assortment of edutainment products are blurring the line. between school and play. In the future, the role of play in education is likely to grow, as children and parents seek out the toys and games they use and buy to be both enjoyable and informative.

According to the last six months of data in Prospects for children, more than 2 in 3 American children aged 6 to 12 agree that it is important for the products they buy to improve their knowledge and skills. STEM toys are a clear example of how toys can combine the value of entertainment and education. With STEM topics currently ranking 4th in the top 10 favorite topics for kids ages 6-12, toys kids can use to explore STEM concepts have taken off. Toy manufacturers such as Mattel have made a number of products related to the solar system, electronics, and magnets. Likewise, the continued popularity of LEGO – the #1 toy among American children ages 3 to 9 – speaks to their interest in building minifigures and structures from scratch and in experimenting with construction.

As the new generation of digital natives, video games provide an obvious platform for technological learning outside of school. Computer science currently ranks as the 4th favorite subject for American children aged 6-12, with its popularity increasing by 19% over the past year. The topic jumps to #1 among kids who play video games, showing how the hobby boosts interest in coding and computer programming. 97% of American kids ages 6-12 agree they love learning new things. On platforms such as Roblox and Fortnite that encourages customization and free play, children can develop their digital skills while expressing themselves and playing with friends.

Not only does gaming enhance education, but children also enjoy learning opportunities on their entertainment platforms. End of 2021, Minecraft, the third most popular game among American teenagers, has launched a new game in collaboration with the University of Cambridge that helps children learn English in an interactive and immersive way. Likewise, Roblox features number-based mini-games that children complete by choice. For the youngest, the launch of number blocks on Netflix reported the popularity of educational TV shows. Many schools are already encouraging children to use these materials as part of their homework, which suggests the potential for further collaboration between the education system and the toy industry.

Beyond the interest of the children themselves, education is also at the heart of parental concerns. 76% of American parents report participating in homework or family learning activities at least once a week, especially in homes with children ages 3-12. This has increased by 15% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, suggesting that since lockdown restrictions have disrupted school routines, parents are taking a more active role in their children’s education. Additionally, 58% of U.S. parents surveyed in the past 6 months are concerned that the school curriculum is not right for their child, suggesting they are open to the idea of ​​different mediums, including toys and games. video, to help their child’s development.

Parents are aware of the influence play has on their child’s development, with 2 in 3 parents in the United States agreeing that children can learn through play. Creative skills are currently the number one benefit American parents seek for their children through play, followed closely by social skills. Additionally, 85% of all US parents surveyed agree that learning while having fun is important and this has increased by 11% in the past 6 months. As a result, more and more families in the United States are looking for television shows, toys, puzzles and video games that entertain and educate.

Another factor driving purchasing decisions is the need for toys and games to have double value, especially in times of financial uncertainty. Products that provide entertaining and educational value promise two developmental aspects for parents looking to get the most out of their money. When shopping for toys, 13% of parents in the United States place equal value on fun and education when choosing products for their children. Currently, parents between the ages of 18 and 35 are the biggest spenders on toys and games, spending $85.19 monthly on these products, or an average annual spend of $1,022.28. By fulfilling the purpose of edutainment, brands can increase the overall sales potential of their products in such a saturated market.

* All statistics are taken from the last six months of data from the Kids Insights and Parents Insights portal (August 2021 – February 2022)

The Insights Family is the global leader in market intelligence for children, parents and families, providing real-time data on their attitudes, behaviors and consumption habits.

Kids Insights surveys 7,780 children aged 3-18 every week. Parents Insights surveys more than 3,800 parents of children ages 1-16 every week. The two services operate in 22 countries on six continents and, in total, investigate more than 469,040 children and 228,800 parents per year. This means that the company polls a new family member somewhere in the world every 45 seconds.

The Insights family have produced an exclusive ‘The Year of STEM’ report for London Toy Fair, the UK’s largest trade fair for toys, games and hobbies in January 2022. Sign up for your free copy here:

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