These Are the Top Toy Trends of 2021

While many of the trends show the impact of the pandemic, they promote social, emotional and cognitive development, as well as family bonding.
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By Nehal Aggarwal, Editor
Published February 17, 2021
Three illustrations of toys, including a dog weave string craft, puzzle and play-doh.
Image: Matt Hollister
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The Toy Association has announced its predictions for the top toy trends of 2021. Unsurprisingly, many of the trends reflective of the impact the ongoing pandemic has had on play. The trends even note that more adults are turning to building toys and collectibles to find joy, escapism and connect with their own “inner child.”
According to their predictions, the top trends will deal with helping kids become better global citizens and focus on social, emotional and cognitive development.

“The pandemic did not stop our trends team from virtually previewing hundreds of innovative new products as we set out to determine what will be topping kids’ wish lists between now and the holiday season,” Adrienne Appell, senior vice president of marketing communications at The Toy Association, said in a press release. “We are so excited to share a sneak peek at what kids and adults will be clamoring for as we dive deeper into the impact of COVID-19 on the future of play.”

Here, their predictions for the top toy trends of 2021.

Rediscovering Play

Many families are enjoying unprecedented time together as a result of the quarantine lifestyle. The Toy Association predicts many families will search for new toys that promote togetherness, inclusivity and education in 2021. These will include toys such as family games and puzzles that will appeal to several generations; outdoor and active toys; nostalgic brands; and cooking-themed and role play toys.

Music and Dancing

TikTok has exploded on social media channels, and many little ones enjoy singing and dancing through the platform. The Toy Association predicts that toys that get kids moving and dancing will be big in 2021. These will include toys inspired by musical social platforms and programming; innovative new audio players that encourage screen-free play; and toys that allow kids to mix and make their own music. Classic musical toys will also remain on the trends list.

Social and Emotional Learning Skills

The Toy Association’s Genius of Play initiative surveyed families across the country and found that playing together was one of the best ways to help kids process their big emotions. They predict that toys that emphasize social and emotional learning skills, as well as promote mindfulness, self care and comfort will be big this year. These include plush toys, dolls and sensory fidget toys that may help offer moments of calm.

Socially Conscious Play Time

More toymakers are leaning into social responsibility and awareness with toys that promote diversity and cultural awareness, teach about sustainability and have an eco-friendly design (and packaging). Also on the upcoming trends list for 2021 are plush toys that promote the protection of endangered species; toys that give recognition to the essential workers critical to society, playsets with farm-to-table elements and STEAM toys that feature renewable energy sources.

Toy Insider echoes several of these trends. They predict that STEM-toys, toys related to space exploration and alien life, sustainability and eco-friendly toys, toys suitable for at-home use, family game nights and toys that promote social emotional learning will all be big in 2021.

Looking to shop some of these upcoming toy trends? Check out some of our favorite picks below.

Musical Turtle Toy, $27,

Peaceable Kingdom Friends and Neighbors Game for Kids, $19,

Melissa & Doug Sushi Slicing Play Set, $18,

Learning Resources Big Feelings Pineapple, $10,

Green Toys Fire Truck, $19,

Barbie Fashionistas Doll, $18,

My Family Builders Diversity Building Blocks, $35,

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