Exclusive: Pre-school – making little ones smile

Published on: 20th April 2021

Rachael Simpson-Jones speaks to a selection of the leading suppliers in the Pre-school sector to find out how 2021 is shaping up.

Bandai’s CoComelon range

The Pre-school category is one of the largest and most diverse sectors of the toy market. With new licensed properties attempting to challenge the dominance of established brands such as Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig, along with a growing trend for sustainability, the Pre-school arena is as competitive as ever.

Moonbug Entertainment’s CoComelon has taken the pre-school world by storm, and master toy partner Bandai has seen demand for toys soar, surpassing even MD Nic Aldridge’s expectations. “I think the level of engagement that you get from the brand is one of the key differences,” he explained. “At its heart, CoComelon is about learning, playing and singing, and the toy line is an extension of these themes, bringing the on-screen to life.”

Other toy partners on board with CoComelon include RMS International and Diamant, who tell us what their ranges offer.

Another recent entrant to the Pre-school arena, Ludo Studio’s Bluey has got off to a strong start in its home market of Australia, as well as the US, and has now arrived in the UK. Ravensburger has been appointed licensee for jigsaw puzzles, and is joined by master toy partner Moose Toys, and we heard all the details of the Bluey line. Logan Stone, head of marketing, Europe, Moose Toys, told us: “Kids adore how Bluey is all about play, but it’s also genuinely funny so the whole family can watch it together.”

From new properties to evergreen brands, 8th Wonder continues to go from strength to strength by signing deals with Mattel and MGA Entertainment that have resulted in the development of new toy ranges for Fisher Price and Little Tikes. “These deals open up a lot of possibilities and will massively broaden the appeal of 8th Wonder toys among consumers,” explained Andrea Gornall, senior product & business development manager, as she detailed how the new ranges have been developed, with sustainability in mind.

Bluey from Moose Toys

Other new wooden pre-school ranges that will appeal to eco-conscious parents include those from Sawdust and Rainbows, which creates beautiful indoor climbing frames from sustainably sourced wood; Rex London, which is launching as new wood-mounted xylophone; Hape’s extensive eco-friendly offering and Golden Bear’s Hey Duggee plush that’s well on its way to being made of 100% recycled materials. Golden Bear MD Barry Hughes told us how the company’s wider licensed portfolio is enjoying success, with ranges also based on characters such as Bing, Love Monster, In the Night Garden, Waffle the Wonder Dog and Mr Tumble. “We pride ourselves in really getting under the skin of our pre-school licences, transforming much-loved kids’ TV characters into high quality toys that are totally on-brand, and that children love,” he enthused.

With more detail on the ranges mentioned above, as well as marketing plans and retail support options, read the full article plus extensive product listings, which appeared in the April issue of Toy World here.


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