Oct 12, 2022
Toy Association names top toy trends for holiday season

The Toy Association reported the top toy trends of the 2022 holiday season — from toys that immerse families in play experiences away from their devices, to purpose-driven play that introduces children to diversity, environmental causes and social issues.

According to the association, the trends are backed by extensive product research and tracking by The Toy Association trends team throughout the year, as well as a OnePoll survey commissioned by the association, which gauged 2,000 U.S. parents’ attitudes about toys, play and what is driving their toy purchases.

“While reports indicate that consumers have lower confidence to spend due to inflation, toys historically have proven to be recession-resistant because of their affordability and families’ desire to make sure kids experience the wonder of play through toys and games,” said Adrienne Appell, executive vice president of marketing communications at The Toy Association. “Our research shows families are turning to play to destress, make memories and have fun. In fact, 67% of parents in our survey said they spend more time playing with their kids now than they did before the pandemic, and 54% said they specifically seek out toys that will enable them to make new memories with their children.”

The Toy Association trends team previewed hundreds of products set to hit shelves this holiday season to determine what will top wish lists, taking into account how the 2022 toy trends announced by the team earlier this year have evolved.

The following is a summary of the top trends and toys reported by The Toy Association:

All about the experience

After two years of living through a pandemic, today’s consumers are more driven by experiences than ever. While kids today are growing up as digital natives, their parents care about the memories their children are making in the real world. This holiday, look out for screen-free toys that allow kids to customize their play experiences, bring digital worlds to life and innovate classic play for the whole family. This trend also encourages hands-on play and skill-building.

Examples include:

• Bill Nye’s VR Science Kit (Abacus Brands)
• Cody Block (QUBS)
• Disney Kingdomania (Funko)
• Magic Mixies Magical Crystal Ball (Moose Toys)
• Mario Kart 24V Ride-On Racer (Jakks Pacific)
• Play-Doh Ultimate Ice Cream Truck Playset (Hasbro)
• Twister Splash (WowWee)

Purpose-driven play

Of the U.S. parents surveyed, 73% say they appreciate that today’s toys are more progressive and diverse than when they were kids, and 68% expressed interest in purchasing toys that expose their children to diversity and teach inclusion. Additionally, 92% of parents who turned to toys that help support their children’s social and emotional learning during the pandemic say they are continuing to do so. Now, toy stores offer toys that are sustainably made, speak to important social issues like climate change, create a more inclusive world and support children’s mental health.

Examples include:

• Hugimals (Hugimals)
• Global Kidizen Doll Collection (For Purpose Kids)
• Miniland Baby Doll with Down Syndrome & Glasses (Miniland)
• PLAYMOBIL Wiltopia – Animal Care Station (Playmobil)
• Snap Circuits: Green Energy (ELENCO)
• WindBots: 6-in-1 Wind-Powered Machine Kit (Thames & Kosmos)
• Wooden Shape Sorting Grocery Cart (Melissa & Doug)

Entertainment everywhere

Kids continue to take a cross-platform approach to media consumption, and 66% of parents now report that social media and digital content influence the types of toys their kids want. For toymakers, this means new licensing opportunities and a springboard for emerging trends in play (as seen with fidget and sensory play videos on TikTok).

Examples include:

• Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Fresh Fierce Collection by The Fresh Dolls (World of EPI)
• CoComelon Ultimate Adventure Learning Bus (Just Play)
• Gabby’s Dollhouse Cook with Cakey Kitchen (Spin Master)
• LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Peach Starter Course (LEGO)
• Pokémon Trading Card Game: Pokémon GO Elite Trainer Box (The Pokémon Company International)
• Pop It! Pro Light-Up Fidget Toy (Buffalo Games)
• Squishmallows (Jazwares)
• VTech Level Up Gaming Chair (VTech)

Play for all

Children won’t be the only ones creating toy wish lists this year, as toy-spending trends indicate adults enjoy playtime just as much as kids. Parents who reported purchasing toys for themselves rank board games (52%) and collectibles/fan items (48%) among their most sought-out categories. Additionally, 67% of U.S. grandparents report looking for toys they can enjoy with their grandkids when gift shopping. Playthings with cross-generational appeal will continue to resonate with toy lovers of all ages this holiday, according to The Toy Association.

Examples include:

• Amazing Prediction Thinking Putty (Crazy Aaron’s)
• The Magical World of Disney Trivia Game (PlayMonster)
• Lite-Brite Wall Art, Transformers Edition (Basic Fun!)
• Build-A-Bear After Dark Collection (Build-A-Bear Workshop)
• Connect 4 Spin Game (Hasbro)
• Custom Photos Magna-Tiles (CreateOn)
• Create a Castle BuildMaster (Create A Castle)
• Little People Collector E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Figure (Mattel)

Social Connections

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