After a long winter at home, kids everywhere are ready to get outside and have fun during the warm, sunny days ahead. Today, the Toy Insider, the toy industry’s most influential organization, released its 2021 Spring & Summer Gift Guide online at thetoyinsider.com. With more than 240 toys from 130 toymakers across eight different categories, the Toy Insider’s guide showcases toys that teach and keep kids entertained; activities and games that keep the boredom at bay; outdoor products that get kids outside and active; and water toys for hours of wet and wild fun.
In 2020, the NPD Group reported a 29% increase in the outdoor and sports toys category, with sales totaling $5.35 billion. The outdoor fun will continue in 2021, with families turning to their backyards and outdoor spaces once again as the pandemic continues to limit summer camp and travel options.
“Families can still keep the fun going at home and spend that summer vacation money on toys that turn their backyards into playgrounds for kids to enjoy all season long,” says Marissa DiBartolo, editor-in-chief of the Toy Insider. “The toys you’ll find in our guide are jam-packed with play value and will get the little ones off their screens and outside. Plus, they may even sneak in a little summer learning!”
Notable summer toy trends include over-the-top toys for impressive backyard fun, educational toys to prevent the summer slide after a year of remote learning, fun toys and games that bring the best of summer camp to your home, and new toys inspired by kids’ favorite movies, TV shows and YouTube channels, including Ryan’s World, Blue’s Clues & You! and Raya and the Last Dragon.
The Toy Insider’s gift guide is broken down by play category and age group—from infants to tweens—and is never separated by gender. Each category includes a variety of products across a wide range of price points, from collectibles under $10 to splurge-worthy backyard staples:
- ACTIVITIES & GAMES: Tired of hearing the kids say, “I’m bored!”? These hands-on activities, DIY kits, and games will keep kids engaged and off their screens while also keeping parents and caregivers sane.
Toy Insider Picks: Summer Camp (Buffalo Games), Shimmer ‘n Sparkle Ultimate Tie Dye Creations Studio (Cra-Z-Art)
- BUDGET-FRIENDLY FAVES: Sticking to a budget is always important, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have fun. All under $25, these toys, collectibles and activities are packed with play value without breaking the bank.
Toy Insider Picks: Birthday Cake Swirlz Compound (WeCool Toys), Cutetitos Partyitos (Basic Fun!)
- ENTERTAINMENT TOYS: Kids’ favorite characters from movies, TV shows, video games and social media platforms are making their way to the toy box. From classic Disney characters to YouTube and TikTok stars, kids can bring their favorite characters to the real world through playsets, collectibles, and more.
Toy Insider Picks: Space Jam Super Shoot and Dunk LeBron James (Moose Toys); Love, Diana Adventure Set (Just Play)
- NATURE & EDUCATIONAL TOYS: Outside of the classroom, toys are great teaching tools for introducing kids to basic STEM concepts. Plus, with nature breaks becoming more appealing during the pandemic, these toys encourage little ones to explore and interact with the world around them.
Toy Insider Picks: Osmo Genius Starter Kit for iPad (Play Osmo); Science4You (PlayMonster)
- OUTDOOR TOYS: Say hello to the great outdoors! These toys turn your backyard into the ultimate oasis where kids can get some much-needed fresh air and have a blast until the sun goes down.
Toy Insider Picks: FOAMO (MGA Entertainment); Maxx Bubbles Bubble Flower Pot (Sunny Days Entertainment)
- PHYSICAL & ACTIVE TOYS: It’s important to help kids stay active and channel their energy after spending months indoors. There are plenty of toys that will get kids off the couch and on their feet, from outdoor games to exciting bikes and scooters.
Toy Insider Picks: Pop 2 Play (WowWee); WeeeDo 2 in 1 Ball Pit Bouncer (Jakks Pacific)
- TRAVEL TOYS: Keeping the kids entertained wherever you go is an adventure in and of itself. Whether you’re taking a family road trip or going on a weekend getaway, you won’t hear the kids ask, “Are we there yet?” thanks to these portable, travel-friendly toys and games.
Toy Insider Picks: 100 Words About Places I Go (LeapFrog); Color Wonder Activity Pads (Crayola)
- WATER TOYS: Cool down in the summer heat with water toys that are sure to make a splash, from durable pool toys and inflatables to exhilarating water blasters.
Toy Insider Picks: Swimways Spring Float and Recliner with Hyper Flate Valve (Spin Master); H2OGO! Beach Bounce Kids Inflatable Water Park (Bestway)
The Toy Insider team of experts is always in the know about the hottest, most exciting new toys. They review thousands of products throughout the year, evaluating features and overall value, and taking into consideration five main criteria: play value, originality, skill-building, product integrity, and fun factor.
Visit http://www.toyinsider.com to read reviews, find the latest in toy news, enter fun giveaways and get the latest parenting tips.