Source: Mattel/The Toy Book

The Fisher-Price Play Lab just got an update.

After more than six decades of creating toys and other products for young infants, toddlers, and kids, the first kid-led toy testing facility in the industry has been revamped. Located in East Aurora, New York, Mattel‘s Fisher-Price Play Lab is where kids and designers work together to create and evaluate more than 450 toys each year.

“The Play Lab is at the heart of Fisher-Price because it’s where the magic starts and where we glean insights directly from kids to make sure our toys and products continue to evolve to suit their needs,” says Deborah Weber, Ph.D., senior director of early childhood development research at Fisher-Price. “As we believe that no detail is too small when it comes to play, the lab’s role is to create a fun and enriching experience for families around the world.”

The Play Lab has been renovated with new research tools, technology, and software, including eye-tracking to gauge input from toy testers who can’t yet verbalize; Viso, an audio/video recording tool that captures minute details of play; the Baby FaceReader Emotional Analysis tool to automatically measures facial expressions in infants ages 6-24 months; and Observer XT Software to annotate play in a quantitative way and visualize it on a timeline.

Related: State of the Industry Q&A 2022: Mattel

This year, new Play-Lab-approved toys are rolling out to retail. and will be showcased on Play Lab endcaps in the toy departments of select retailers in the months ahead.

The assortment includes new products, such as Meditation Mouse and Linkamals toys alongside updates to the Fisher-Price Classics assortment, including Thomas & Friends and the Rock-a-Stack.

More information about the Fisher-Price Play Lab, including details on the team, the process, and the toys can be found here.

For an extensive look at some of 2022’s new toys, be sure to consult the Toy Book‘s 2022 BIG Book.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.