Must-have toys for 2018

What are the must-have toys for 2018? It’s always hard to predict what kids will love in the future, but this overview of the latest trends I observed at the latest Toy Fair London can give parents a hint of what may turn into the next craze this Spring and Summer. 

Mythical creatures

Mythical creatures are here to stay and this year they are bigger than ever including unicorns in all shapes and sizes, dragons, dinosaurs, fairies and mermaids also revived by the announcement of Disney’s Live-Action The Little Mermaid to come out this Summer.

I loved posing with these massive Unicorns by HGL (Grossman)


Playmobil Enchanted Fairy Ship

More Unicorns by HGL (Grossman) 


Unicorn helmet for kids by Recreation 


Retroness and Kidult

There has been a revival of nostalgic brands and toys for a while but this year the retroness trend is bigger than ever. Millions of Brits (44 per cent of the population) have purchased toys they enjoyed as kids because they bring back happy childhood memories. Cuddly toys and board games top the list, with jigsaws and LEGO completing the top five most popular choices. Millennial parents, i.e. those born between 1981 and 1997, believe in the importance of engaging with their kids on an unplugged level. So they are turning to retro toys that are nostalgic and can be enjoyed by kids with their parents.

The Yo-Yo is back 20 years since the last Yo-Yo boom in the 90s – Here I am with World Record Yo-Yo champion Yo-Hans Hans Van dan Elzen

World champion Gentry Stein of Yo-yo Factory

TOMY Camera Obscura in a portable box

Fans who collected and played with the Sylvanian Families figures back in the mid ‘80s have now become parents themselves and are nostalgically introducing the toy to their own offspring.


Gross Toys

Toilet humour collectibles, unicorn poo, gross emoji characters and slime are on the rise. Slime and squishy toys were a big hit in 2017, but this year slime will be extra stretchy, glittery and sparkly with more options for fantasy play.


Toilet humour Collectables by HGL (Grossman) 


Gender-neutral toys

Bye-Bye to gender stereotyping toys and hallo to gender-neutral toys.  

The toy industry seems to struggle with the raising trend to abandon gender specific toys.

On trend to abandon gender stereotyping toys is the company behind the Sylvanian Families. The cute little animal families were created in the late 80s in Japan with ‘50s England in mind. They were very clearly designed with girls in mind but are now innovating the look and feel to reflect the fact that girls get big jobs and are emancipated and are bringing in male characters and little pull along trams and cats that will attract boys too. 


The new Sylvanian Families Town is aimed at both boys and girls with a mix of products ranging from a fashion boutique to a restaurant, ice cream parlour and push along tram. There is a variety of new characters, from the male concert pianist to the three ‘older sisters’ of younger characters, who are independent, working women living in the town. 

University Games Paddington Sightseeing Adventures Board Game 


Against the trend! Let’s face it: boys are boys and love their engineering techy toys or construction bricks and girls still love their dolls and their pinky stuff.

As a mum from the 70s and 80s with a 300-strong vintage Barbie collection, I will always love girly toys and my boystreous son will always choose construction toys vs anything else. Against the gender-neutral trend is up and coming British Canadian company Make it Real that makes very girly art and craft kits. The gender specific games should be kept to a certain extent because they are nurturing the various interests that girls have. I personally love them.


Toys that Teach 
Millennial parents seem obsessed with edutainment and tend to purchase toys for their kids to play with a purpose rather than simply play. STEM/STEAM and VR toys all incorporate new technologies, links to apps and online platforms to get kids excited about learning including social responsibility, green living, kindness and open-mindedness.

Playmobil encourages a love for Penguin preservation through a partnership with WWF.

K’NEX has introduced K’Nected building sets which take construction games to another level. Kids can build roller coaster sets with K’nex pieces and then ‘ride’ them in the virtual world with an app.

Knex rollercoaster

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