Toys to learn academic knowledge
In the current world we live in, in which children have to learn from home more than ever, and parents are desperately looking to find ways to motivate them to do so, toy companies are presented with a great opportunity. In fact, several toy companies are already integrating academic concepts into their toys. There are playthings that are not only fun, but are relevant tools to promote the acquisition of knowledge and foster the development of specific skills.
There are some classic products that have been redesigned in this sense, for example, the Periodic Table Puzzle by Rex London allows children to learn the elements by putting together a puzzle featuring the periodic table. Some other toys include My First Alphabet Truck by Lego Duplo, a truck children build by playing with blocks with printed letters, and the Play-Doh Academy line, dough games designed for teaching literacy and mathematical concepts in an intuitive way.
Not everything is about adapting classic toys. Some companies are also developing completely new and innovative learning toys. For instance, based on the idea that children learn best by manipulating objects, Miniland has created Rocket 10, a game focused on teaching basic mathematical concepts through manipulation of physical or digital pieces.
Toys inspired by alternative educational methods
Other companies, aware of the increase in the popularity and the demand of schools that teach based on alternative methodologies of education (Montessori, Waldorf, Steiner, et cetera), are developing new toys inspired by these methods. These companies make it easier for everybody to benefit from these philosophies in contexts that are not school related.
During Spielwarenmesse® 2020 there were more examples of this trend, for instance with the new line of toys Essentiel by Janod, or the line of products Edu4You by Chicco.
Marketing for educational toys
The importance of educational toys is also obvious when analyzing the strategies of communication and marketing campaigns of toy companies. There has been a clear focus on this matter, for instance, with new toy lines created under names such as something “academy”, something “school”, something “educational”, or with marketing campaigns focused on claims and messages related to the acquisition of knowledge.
For example, on one hand, companies such as Haba have created Haba Education, a line of toys that are unified with this brand name, and with its own specific packaging style. On the other, companies such as Hape are using messages like “Love. Play. Learn" in their ads and also on their packaging.
Also, there is a great development of digital content that supports the educational value the physical toy offers. Content that children can access though the company’s website or their youtube channel. Content that provides children with educational support while helping the brand to be more actively present in their minds.
Highlighting educational aspects of toys
While toys should always provide a great deal of fun, there is a great opportunity for companies to improve and highlight their educational aspects as parents are viewing toys as their ally to engage children in learning, especially through these challenging times.