The Top 10 Toy Trends For 2024

Top Toy Trends - A variety of toys from a toy subscription service

The UK Toys & Hobby market is projected to grow by 3.29% from 2024 to 2028, resulting in a market volume of US$11 billion in 2028.

Let’s dive into the playful and ever-evolving world of toys in 2024.

It’s a fascinating landscape out there, one that’s not just for kids anymore.

With “kidults” (that’s adults who love toys, in case you were wondering) increasingly influencing what’s hot on the toy scene, we’re seeing some pretty cool trends shaping up this year.

Dive into our article on UK toy trends and industry statistics for a quick guide on the latest in eco-friendly and STEM toys, along with insights into the shift towards online shopping.

Perfect for parents, educators, or anyone interested in the evolving toy market, this piece arms you with key information to navigate current trends confidently.

he Strategy Behind the Toys:

  • Integrating play with storytelling, movie and TV franchise tie-ins are more than a nod to pop culture; they’re a deliberate strategy to blend the narratives we love with tangible play experiences. In 2024, this trend has witnessed remarkable growth, driven not just by kids but significantly by adults craving a slice of nostalgia.

Why It Works:

  • Nostalgia’s Pull: Adults’ longing for the familiar — be it from recent blockbusters or classics — fuels the demand for these toys.
  • Digital Age Engagement: Amidst myriad digital distractions, these toys offer kids a physical connection to their screen heroes, making this approach highly effective.
  • Collaborations That Count: Partnerships with Hollywood aren’t just about leveraging fame; they’re about creating a deeper play experience rooted in beloved stories.

2024’s Standout Franchises:

  • The year has been exciting with several franchise comebacks, including anticipated releases like “Borderlands,” “Sonic the Hedgehog 3,” and “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu 2.” Alongside, the resurgence of “Alien: Romulus” and “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” shows the enduring appeal of these tie-ins.

2. Classic Toys Make a Comeback

Street Sharks animation
Image by DaMushroom - Hobbyist, Traditional Artist | DeviantArt

Rediscovering the Classics:

  • The charm of classic toys, offering open-ended play, has made a significant resurgence. Amidst the backdrop of recent global uncertainties, notably the pandemic, there’s been a growing trend towards seeking solace and escapism in the familiar. This nostalgic wave has heralded the return of iconic toys such as Lego sets and Barbie dolls, cherished not only by the young but also by the young at heart, including the “kidult” demographic.

Why They Endure:

  • Comfort in the Familiar: There’s a comforting sense of nostalgia and a return to simpler times that these classic toys evoke, providing a much-needed escape and a connection to a shared cultural past.
  • Cross-Generational Appeal: Classic toys bridge generations, offering enduring play value that captivates both children and adults alike. Their ability to foster creativity and imagination is unmatched, making them a timeless choice over more transient, trend-focused toys.

2024’s Nostalgic Revival:

  • The year 2024 has seen a notable shift towards these classic toys. Parents, reflecting on their childhood, are increasingly drawn to toys that resonate with their own past experiences, resulting in a significant comeback of these beloved items.

3. Eco-Friendly Toys

A Shift Towards Green Play:

  • The toy industry in 2024 has embraced a significant shift towards sustainability, mirroring a larger societal movement towards environmental responsibility. Eco-friendly toys have transitioned from a niche to a mainstream market, propelled by growing consumer demand. A notable portion of parents now prioritise a toy’s environmental footprint before making a purchase, showcasing a heightened awareness and concern for the planet’s future.

Manufacturers Lead the Way:

  • Leading toy manufacturers, including giants like Lego, Mattel, and Hasbro, alongside dedicated eco-brands like Green Toys Inc. and Plan Toys, are at the forefront of this green revolution. By incorporating eco-friendly materials and emphasising durable craftsmanship, these companies are not just responding to market demand but are setting new standards for the industry.

“Choosing eco-friendly toys isn’t just about selecting products made from sustainable materials; it’s a commitment to purchasing items that last and can be passed down, reducing our environmental footprint and teaching the next generation the value of sustainability.” 

The Importance of Sustainable Play:

  • This trend transcends mere play. It’s about embedding values of sustainability and environmental respect in the next generation. Toys that are designed to last and be handed down through generations represent a move away from the throwaway culture that has dominated consumerism, highlighting a preference for items that are not only cherished but also preserve environmental integrity.

The Growth of the Eco-Friendly Market:

  • The global market for eco-friendly toys has seen substantial growth, with projections indicating a continued rise in popularity and market value into 2031. This growth underscores a collective desire for products that not only entertain but also contribute positively to the planet’s wellbeing.
FeatureTraditional ToysEco-Friendly Toys
MaterialPlastics, non-recyclable materialsSustainable, recyclable materials
LongevityOften designed for short-term useDesigned to last, heirloom quality
Environmental ImpactHigh due to waste and non-recyclable materialsLower impact, encourages recycling
Cost Over TimeLower initial cost, but may cost more long term due to replacementsHigher initial cost, but more cost-effective over time

4. Toy Subscription Services

Whirli Kids Toy Box Subscription - Toy Sharing
Image from Whirli Kids Toy Box Subscription - Toy Sharing

Transforming Playtime:

  • Toy subscription services have emerged as a game-changer in the parenting world, offering a sustainable and clutter-free solution to the traditional toy buying process. These services have seen a significant rise in popularity, driven by a societal shift towards more sustainable living and a reduction in waste.

How It Works:

  • Companies like Whirli and Green Piñata Toys are leading the charge, providing a rotating selection of toys that allows children to enjoy a variety of play experiences. This model not only minimises the environmental impact of manufacturing and disposing of toys but also tackles the issue of home clutter by keeping the collection fresh and manageable.

“Toy subscription services revolutionise playtime by offering a rotating selection of toys, reducing waste and clutter. This innovative approach aligns with modern values of sustainability and mindful consumption, making it a smart choice for eco-conscious families.” – Sustainable Play Insights

In 2020, 65% of households in the UK received subscription boxes, a number that increased to 81% in the following year.

Benefits Beyond Sustainability:

  • Eco-Conscious Choices: These services align with the growing demand for eco-friendly consumer options, offering a practical way to enjoy a diverse toy library without the environmental guilt.
  • Fresh and Engaging: By constantly rotating toys, children are exposed to new play opportunities, fostering creativity and exploration without the need for constant new purchases.
  • Clutter-Free Living: Subscription services address the modern challenge of excess, providing a space-saving solution that keeps homes tidier and playtimes more organised.

UK’s Thriving Market:

  • The UK has seen a surge in toy subscription services catering to a wide range of interests and age groups. From Bike Club’s affordable monthly subscriptions to Mini Monsters Play Well Box’s focus on creative play, and Grow With Me’s tailored offerings for babies, these services exemplify the diverse and growing appeal of subscription-based play.

5. Eco-lasting Play

The global sustainable toys market was valued at $18,939.1 million in 2020 and is estimated to reach $59,643.9 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 12.5% from 2021 to 2030.

Redefining Sustainability:

  • The move towards eco-lasting play in 2024 reflects a deeper understanding of sustainability in the toy industry, going beyond the mere use of eco-friendly materials. It’s about crafting toys that stand the test of time, both in durability and in the ability to captivate generations of children.

Quality and Heirloom Value:

  • This trend marries sustainability with high-quality craftsmanship, aiming to produce toys that are not only environmentally friendly but also have the potential to become heirlooms. The focus is on creating lasting toys that can be cherished and passed down rather than quickly replaced.

Consumer Drive:

  • There’s a growing consumer appetite for toys that promise more than just temporary amusement. Driven by the desire to minimise environmental impact and to provide meaningful play experiences, shoppers are increasingly drawn to toys that embody both sustainability and enduring appeal.

A Shift in Culture:

  • Eco-lasting play signals a significant shift away from disposable consumer habits towards a future where toys are valued for their longevity. It’s a vision for a more sustainable, thoughtful approach to play, where toys foster deep, imaginative engagement over time.

6. Vitamin P(lay)

Vitamin P(lay) toys

In the toy world of 2024, we’re seeing a fantastic shift towards toys that do so much more than just entertain. “Vitamin P(lay)” is about enriching the minds and bodies of our little ones, wrapping up physical activity, creativity, emotional expression, and social skills into one big, playful package.

This movement isn’t just a fleeting trend; it’s a whole new paradigm in how we view playtime.

Imagine toys that encourage kids to jump, dance, and move, sparking joy and laughter while promoting fitness.

Or creative kits that aren’t just about crafting something pretty, but about expressing feelings and navigating social scenarios.

Explore the transformative shift in educational approaches as some U.S. states are now mandating play-based learning, a pioneering move backed by compelling research.

This innovative strategy emphasises “playing with a purpose,” a method that fosters a deeper and more meaningful understanding of educational content.

This approach not only aligns with natural developmental processes but also enhances learning outcomes, making education a more engaging, effective, and enjoyable experience for students.

These toys are game-changers, showing that play isn’t just play; it’s a vital part of growing up healthy, happy, and smart.

7. Anime Mania

Global Explosion of Anime:

  • Anime has transitioned from a niche interest to a global cultural phenomenon, capturing the hearts and imaginations of fans across all ages. In 2024, “Anime Mania” dominates the toy industry, with merchandise inspired by beloved anime series flying off the shelves. This surge reflects anime’s profound influence on global pop culture, turning what was once a specialised hobby into a mainstream passion.

A Rich Tapestry of Storytelling:

  • What sets anime toys apart is their foundation in the rich storytelling and distinctive visual style unique to anime. These toys bring cherished characters and complex narratives from the screen into the physical world, allowing fans to extend their engagement with their favourite series beyond mere viewership.
“Anime transcends geographical and cultural barriers, bringing stories to life that resonate with audiences worldwide. Its influence on the toy industry showcases the global language of creativity and imagination.” – Global Anime Trends

Bridging Cultural Gaps:

  • Anime toys serve as a bridge between cultures, offering a tangible connection to the imaginative worlds crafted by anime creators. From meticulously detailed action figures and soft plushies to elaborate building sets and limited-edition collectibles, these toys appeal to a wide audience, including both children and the “kidult” demographic.

Fandom Celebration:

  • The popularity of anime toys is a testament to the strength of anime fandom. This trend celebrates the community’s passion for the genre, transforming admiration for anime into interactive and playful experiences. Through conventions, online communities, and social media, fans share their love for anime, contributing to its growth and the diversification of anime-themed products.

8. Disney Wish King Magnifico’s Castle

A Magical LEGO Adventure:

  • Disney’s King Magnifico’s Castle is the latest marvel from the collaboration between Disney and LEGO, setting the stage for an adventure as grand as the tales that fuel it. Drawing inspiration from the animated film “Wish,” this LEGO set transforms playtime into an exploration of wonder and creativity.

An Enchanting Construction Experience:

  • With over 600 pieces, the King Magnifico’s Castle offers a rich, immersive building experience. Designed for children aged 7 and up, this set invites young builders to construct a detailed, multi-level castle that serves as a backdrop for endless stories. Each room, from the cosy kitchen to the secret mirrored closet, is a canvas for imagination, waiting for kids to animate it with their narratives.

Key Features:

  • Price and Accessibility: In the UK, the set is priced at an MSRP of $99.99, with a more accessible average price of $82 on secondary markets.
  • Detailed Design: The set includes 613 pieces and features four main characters — Asha, Dahlia, King Magnifico, and Star — offering a rich narrative for children to engage with.
  • Creative Play: Beyond building, this set encourages children to delve into the world of “Wish,” solving mysteries and embarking on adventures within the castle’s walls.

The Charm of LEGO Disney:

  • King Magnifico’s Castle stands out as a beacon of imaginative play in 2024, showcasing the enduring magic of Disney storytelling combined with LEGO’s engaging construction play. It reflects a synergy between narrative depth and interactive fun, providing a platform for children to not just build, but to dream and narrate their adventures.

Compatibility: The set can be combined with other LEGO Disney construction kits in the series (43223 and 43231, sold separately) to expand play possibilities.

9. Lite-Brite Super Bright HD

A Bright Comeback:

  • Lite-Brite, the iconic toy that has illuminated childhoods for generations, is shining brighter than ever with its Super Bright HD upgrade. This modern iteration brings a fresh twist to the beloved classic, incorporating themes from popular franchises like Pokemon and Barbie, allowing children to craft luminous artwork with ease and excitement.

HD Creativity on Display:

  • The introduction of high-definition templates revolutionises how characters and scenes come to life, providing stunning clarity and vibrant colors. This enhancement transforms a simple play session into a deep dive into creativity and illumination, where every peg placed is a step towards creating a masterpiece.

Innovative Features:

  • Armed with the latest LED technology, the Lite-Brite Super Bright HD ensures that each creation pops with brighter colors and clearer images. This set is not just about revisiting a nostalgic play pattern; it’s about elevating it to match the visual expectations of today’s generation.

Engaging and Educational:

  • Beyond the fun, this set serves as a canvas for creativity, offering children the opportunity to explore art and design in a playful, engaging manner. The variety of light modes further enhances the interactive experience, allowing young artists to showcase their work in dynamic new ways.

10. Zhu Zhu Pets Aquarium

Bringing the Ocean Indoors:

  • The Zhu Zhu Pets Aquarium is the latest splash from the beloved toy line, set to enchant children in 2024 with the magic of the underwater world. This innovative set invites young explorers aged 4 and up to dive into a sea of imagination, all without the hassle of real water.

Interactive Aquatic Adventure:

  • This collection isn’t just about plush toys; it’s an entire aquatic ecosystem. With plush tropical fish and accessories like a fish bubble and a boat, the Zhu Zhu Pets Aquarium transforms playtime into an interactive exploration of marine life. It encourages children to create their own stories, fostering a connection with the wonders beneath the waves.

Educational and Fun:

  • The Zhu Zhu Pets Aquarium does more than entertain; it educates. By engaging with these playful sea creatures and their habitat, children learn about aquatic life in a fun, accessible way. This set not only sparks curiosity about nature but also promotes environmental awareness from a young age.

A Return to Beloved Roots:

  • Set to debut in spring 2024, following its showcase at the New York Toy Fair 2023, the Zhu Zhu Pets Aquarium marks a significant expansion of the Zhu Zhu universe. Known for its innovative plush toys, the brand continues to captivate children’s hearts by combining the joy of collecting with immersive thematic play.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it—the top 10 toy trends of 2024.

From the resurgence of classic toys to the green revolution in toy manufacturing, and the growing influence of “kidults,” it’s clear the toy industry is both reflecting and shaping our times.

Whether you’re a kid at heart or shopping for the little ones in your life, there’s never been a more exciting time to dive into the world of toys.

FAQ: Navigating the World of Kidult Toys in the UK

A ‘kidult’ is someone aged 12 or older who enjoys buying and engaging with toys and games traditionally designed for children. This demographic includes both teenagers and adults who find joy, nostalgia, or hobbyist pleasure in collecting and using toys such as board games, arts and crafts, building sets, collectibles, and video games. The term reflects a growing trend of older audiences engaging with toys, influencing market trends and product offerings from companies like Lego and Disney.

Toy companies are increasingly recognising the buying power and interests of kidults, adapting their product lines to cater to this demographic. This includes the development of sophisticated building sets, limited edition collectibles, and board games designed with more complex themes and strategies. Companies are also collaborating with franchises popular among adults to create themed toys and games that appeal to a sense of nostalgia and fandom, thus broadening their market beyond children.

Yes, adults looking to purchase toys and games for themselves or as gifts can find a variety of discounts and vouchers specifically aimed at the kidult market. Many online retailers and specialized coupon websites offer promotions, limited-time offers, and exclusive deals for a wide range of toys and games, including those popular among adult consumers. Signing up for newsletters, joining loyalty programs, and following favorite brands on social media can also provide access to exclusive discounts.

Absolutely, the UK hosts a vibrant community of kidult toy enthusiasts who gather both online and in person. Forums, social media groups, and websites dedicated to toy collecting and hobbies are great places to connect with like-minded individuals. Additionally, conventions, meetups, and toy fairs regularly take place across the country, offering opportunities to explore new releases, purchase rare items, and engage with the wider community of toy and game enthusiasts. These events are not only a chance to expand collections but also to share experiences and knowledge about different aspects of the toy industry.


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