Two kids stretching SpongeBob StretchPants

The new year is well underway, and with it are the year's trends and latest crazes. The past several years shed light on one particular area of focus: children are the future. Consider these interesting concepts as another layer of what we already know kids love to set their minds and hands on.

With the ever-growing shift to shape a future worth playing in, the toy market will be one of the most significant impacts that will shape this foundation. We've compiled a list of the best ten toy trends parents should watch in 2022, and some may shock you.

Sensory Toys

The rise in popularity with the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) delivers a demand in sensory toys. This includes a range of warm, comforting feelings with everyday events for viewers or participants to zen out or shift their focus. This craze drives a high demand on social platforms, and because of this expanding market, the viewership will see growth in physical form.

Your children may begin asking for sensory toys, including mood-changing light-up activities, fidget toys, calming sounds, and any other sense-engaging activity.

Environmentally Friendly Toys

Now more than ever, consumers are conscious of their environmental impacts and how their purchases play a role. With toys specifically, we will see increased demand for sustainable and quality products through materials, functionality, and usability. There will be a surge in teaching young minds the importance of being collectively healthier in our choices, as well as the environmental consequences of excess waste.

Across many industries, toys that bring diversity, inclusion, and engage critical thinking to resonate with parents and children. All these factors help foster and sustain a healthier, happier future in child development and environmental awareness.

"Kidult" Toys

"Kidult" refers to toys that are functional for kids and adults. Many retailers can cross the aisles and reach increased audiences when they offer toys that cater to a wide variety of users. The cross-generational applications allow entire families to enjoy toys and games and create healthy dynamics.

Examples of kidult toys include building sets, 3D puzzles, construction objects, and character-themed hobbies. Everyone knows someone who is a big kid in an adult's body, but now there is an actual term and market for it.

Move and TV Franchise Themes

Themed toys based on popular movies and television series will reach groundbreaking numbers. Characters will find their way onto many items for children—and eventually, your home. If you order toys online, you'll find many characters and themed toys like Super Wings, Chuggington Train, and SpongeBob SquarePants.

These toys allow children to continue their time with their favorites on-screen and create thought-provoking scenarios in their bedroom, living room, or other play areas.

Classics Make a Return

As the millennial generation begins to become parents, the shift in new fads converts to what was once a mindset. Today's 80s and 90s kids remember a time when playing with toys was less about technology advancements and more about interaction and socialization.

These core toy trends will begin to flourish once again. The popularity of video games and electronic toys will soon find a balance as non-electronic games and toys begin to spike in demand. Things like dolls, playhouses, bears, and dump trucks all create interactive play environments and bring a layer of comfort to today's parents.

Toy Subscription Services

When buying toys in a toy aisle meets the growing subscription service industry, a toy subscription becomes the new age in shopping. Skipping the toy aisle to have the next month's order dropped on the porch will skyrocket in popularity. This new business model will chip away at how consumers traditionally purchase toys for their kids.

With this new craze, parents can skip the toy aisle debating and can begin to limit what their child receives per their subscription service. Now, you can control what your child plays with a little better and focus their package on their developmental needs. This is also a play into the environmentally friendly shifts in the way consumers spend and receive.

Tech Advancements

Of course, technological advancement will continue to flourish as the market shows high demand. New robotic playthings will surface that have features like facial recognition and voice command, in addition to understanding emotional cues and teaching reading skills.

These toys offer hands-on experiences and pair with already in-use tablets many children play with. These concepts will pair well with some of the tech found in schools and other educational platforms.

Education-Focused Toys

The workforce structure has shifted in recent years, and more parents are at home with their children. Parents seek more ways to foster independence while learning in their children, especially as they navigate the workday remotely. This new attention to education means the rise of educational toys will grow exponentially.

Another key element to the educational aspects is the virtual learning atmosphere that came about with school systems offering hybrid education. The need for education sets and activities can correspond with virtual learning and offer children the ability to learn other skills and focus on areas of personal interest.

Music and Movement

The previous year's dance movement will intensify with more ways for children to explore musicality, motion, and creativity. Things like dance mats, instruments, and karaoke machines will increase demand and popularity. With kids having more access than ever to the internet and social connection, they will explore their imagination in new ways and share their newfound talents across platforms.

Outdoor Fun

A toy trend parents should watch in 2022 that may leave some shocked is the urge to play outdoors again. While some never stopped getting outdoors, a lot have through the rise of technology. The increased demand for video games, tablets, and social platforms meant many children stopped going outdoors to enjoy simple things.

The joys of playing outdoors are not gone for many parents, as that is how their own childhoods played out. The benefits of outdoor play foster creating life-long memories, growth in imaginations, and increased socialization skills. Things like playhouses, basketball hoops, trampolines, and motorized vehicles will boom this year.

Some of these toy trends are just additions to years prior, and others will take off as their popularity and demand rise. There is one thing for sure—toy companies have their hands full. Visit Auldey Toys North America to see what we're busy doing and what we have to offer to the latest crazes.