Spielwarenmesse: Three ways to maximize play value

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Three ways to maximize play value

from Maria Costa

Consumers are appreciating toys and games with added value. Toys that can be played with for a long time, or present multiple options and functionalities, even beyond the main action of play. There are three main ways for companies to increase the play value of their products.

Evolutional toys, growing with the child

On one side, the fact is that children grow very fast, and their general skills and cognitive abilities change constantly and quickly, more so during the first years. On the other side, parents are looking for good quality toys, but if they assumed the child would use them only for a short period of time, it is harder for them to decide on purchasing.

Toys that evolve with the capabilities of the child are the perfect solution to this reality. In the market, one of the main toy categories offering this option is ride-ons. I can name some examples of evolutional bikes such as smarTrike The Xtend 3-in-1 Bike, Globber Explorer trike 4in1, or Leg&go bike (covers a remarkably big age range suiting kids from 6 months to 6 years), among others.

leg&go balance bike transformations // 6 months to 6 years

This trend is influencing all sorts of toys. In the last Spielwarenmesse, two companies, VTech and Hasbro (Baby Alive), presented some of the most innovative products in this line, dolls that grow from baby to toddler.

Mr. Potato Head Drum Set, Hasbro and Claudio Reig
Mr. Potato Head Drum Set, Hasbro and Claudio Reig

Multiple ways to play

Another possibility to increase the play value of a toy is by offering different ways to play with it. One example great example is Mr. Potato Head drum set done by Hasbro in collaboration with Claudio Reig, a product that combines the fun of customizing a potato head in an original way, on a musical instrument. And there are all sorts of other good examples, such as dolls combined with RC (Baby walker Baby Annabell, Zapf creation), bikes that include blasters (Nerf Kid's Bike, Hasbro), ride-ons for the child to fit and play with blocks (Chillafish), vehicles to be washed (Car Wash Splash Center, Step 2), repaired (My real car, Feber), and even decorated (D.I.Y. Cozy Coupe, Little tikes). The key is to think how to blend categories of toys in a way that boosts the wow effect, and the fun.

More than a toy

Toys that have a purpose beyond the main concept of play are also on the rise. I am talking about products that offer different functions, in a way that makes them useful for parents and kids in different situations. For instance, the ride-on Mommy's Tiny Helper, presented at Spielwarenmesse® 2020, lets children sweep the floor while they play – what a great idea to keep the rooms clean. The company Micro offers different scooters that have the option to carry a backpack, to go to school having fun!

Toys that offer the option to put them away very easily are also highly valued by parents. I am talking, for instance, about play mats that fold in seconds with all the toys kept inside, such as Play & go, or toy chests that have playful features. That is the case of Market Toy by Miniland, a chest that contains toy veggies and fruits and it opens to convert into a market.

Market toy, Miniland
Market toy, Miniland

Parents appreciate quality toys

There are different ways companies can innovate by adding value to their toys. Parents will appreciate quality toys that last for a long time, toys that have multiple ways to engage their children. They will appreciate products even more that go beyond the function of entertainment to help families in different aspects of their daily lives.


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Author of this article:

Maria Costa, AIJU

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