Rachael Simpson-Jones examines the Science and Nature category and how toy companies are throwing open the doors to a world of discovery.
Traditionally a category that sees its strongest sales at Christmas, when parents and grandparents aim to put at least one educational gift under the tree, a year of on-off school closures has seen science toys come to the rescue of home-schooling parents across the nation.
Toy World spoke to Simon Tomlinson of Learning Resources, about the company’s brands such as Primary Science, GeoSafari and GeoSafari Jr., plus the new Circuit Explorer range, which Simon is particularly enthusiastic about.
We caught up with Brainstorm’s Debra Tiffany, who told us how, in the absence of regular school attendance over lockdown, toys which help kids learn about subjects during key stages of the curriculum in a fun way, have been extremely popular, also inspiring a thirst for further independent learning opportunities.
Simon Tomlinson also highlighted that kids are yearning to return to the basics of getting their hands and knees dirty outdoors. Guidecraft is another company that holds firm the belief that play is more beneficial when it is centred upon nature, as the company’s Lorna Smith explained: “During lockdowns, natural, organic toys that connect children to their environments became necessary during screen breaks and provided safe ways to play.”
“Nature toys are uplifting in more ways than one,” agrees Toymaster’s Paul Reader. “More and more of our members are now offering these sorts of lines, and we’re seeing great traction on them.”
Justin Clasby from PlayMonster UK reports high demand for the company’s Grow & Play range which is being expanded for 2021, across brands including Peppa Pig, My Fairy Garden and My Living World and told us that Play Monster is also very excited about the new Bug Photography Kit, launching this year.
Debra Tiffany believes that 2021 will be a brilliant year for the Science and Nature category: “The past year has shown that toys are important purchases for parents and 2020 has made them assess what benefits their child gets from a toy – anything that helps with home learning rates highly,” she said.
To read more detailed product information and to find out how suppliers in the category plan to support their ranges at retail, read the full feature article, which appeared in the March issue of Toy World, by clicking here.
The pages following the article also offer a selection of the newest Science and Nature toys keeping kids happy this year, whether that’s outdoors, indoors, or in home classrooms.