Healthy habits, a broad concept
There is a bunch of ideas the industry can take into consideration to create toys that promote good habits in children. Healthy habits are a broad concept that includes actions related to eating, sleeping, exercising, hygiene, limiting screen use, etc. With this in mind, it is obvious that there are several perspectives to develop toys to promote good routines and behaviors, even if we only mention a few relevant ones in this article.
While data indicates children are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, studies also point out that toys can motivate them to have a better diet. But how? Well, one option is by offering them toys representing veggies and fruits since they are very little (Fruits&Veggies collection Teethers by Oli&Carol). These kinds of toys allow children to learn and become familiar with the different varieties of foods.
Children who have fun playing with pretend fruits and veggies starts getting a good attitude towards real foods. Imagine the wonderful feeling they could get while hugging a soft squishy huge smiling fruit (Comfort Food Avocado by Squishable), the enjoyment they will experience cutting fruits (Wooden Cutting Fruit by Melissa & Doug) or playing with a salad (Healthy Salad by Hape). The The Wonky Fruit and Vegetables set by Plan toys , a toy that features veggies that look imperfect, showing children what these aliments might look like.
We can find several options already in the market, toys with different materials; wood, plastic, fabric, et cetera., from different toy categories; board games (Tower of fruits by Goula), DIY activities (Fruit Pompoms Janod), costumes (Kids Banana Baby Kostüm by Rubies); and even with educational functions to play with concepts such as colors or math (Veggie Farm Sorting Set by Learning Resources).
In the last few years, another type of toys and games have been helping to foster a positive attitude towards fruits and veggies: gardening sets. In some cases, toys present role-play options (Plush Vegetable Garden, Educational Insights), while in others kids can grow their own food (Pizza Garden, by Creativity for Kids) something that encourages them to try veggies.
Another very important factor contributing to children’s health is physical activity. There are multiple examples of toys that encourage children to move while having fun. In fact, Spielwarenmesse has been pointing out this trend for a few years now. Several toy categories are innovating from this perspective. For instance, there have been several new board games in the market proposing active ways to play (das Balancierspiel Sturdy Birdy: The Game of Perfect Balance by Fat Brain Toys or Angelina Ballerina Dance with me by Wonder Forge).
However, as the data showing the prevalence of childhood obesity is worrying, and as an industry targeting children, we should continue to contribute positively to this issue by thinking of more ways to create and market all sorts of toys to promote children to be active.
Keeping good hygiene
For parents, making children wash their hands, clean their teeth or give them a bath or a shower is usually a struggle. And as hygiene has become even more important than ever due to the pandemic, our industry has an opportunity to respond to this need by offering toys and games that facilitate these routines.
Of course, there are already some products in the market based on these ideas. For instance, the list of wonderful toys to play with in the bathtub is long Marco Light-Up Bath Toy by Boon oder Ready Freddy Spray 'N' Sprinkle by Yookidoo), but what about the shower? Many homes only have a shower, and there are not many toys to focus on that everyday activity.
And even if there are also wonderful toys, and interesting marketing campaigns to highlight the importance of washing hands (especially now with the Covid-19 pandemic) or dental hygiene, there are not many to play with while doing these activities. We should think about how to make routines more playful by creating toys that improve these experiences, making them fun instead of tedious.
Supporting children’s health will improve your business
Parents are greatly valuing toys that help them improve their children’s health. For that reason, developing toys that foster good habits will help any company to be more successful. Toys promoting good eating habits, keeping children active, enough sleep or encouraging them to maintain a proper hygiene. There are plenty of perspectives to consider beneficial for children’s health.