On Shelf
On Shelf

#OnShelf: Toy trends for the festive season

by Louise Burgers. Dinosaurs still rule and STEM kits are growing in the toy market, as Toys R Us reveals its top toy trends for the festive season.

by Louise Burgers. Dinosaurs still rule and STEM kits are growing in the toy market, as Toys R Us revealed its top toy trends for the coming festive season at an early morning media launch, where the 25 most sought after toys were on display.

Many of the top toy brands are inspired by the launch of new movies, such as Jurassic Park and My Little Pony for a new generation. Lego is still huge, as are dinosaurs – but what is really gratifying is the variety of STEM kits and increasingly gender-neutral shelf space given over to experiment kits and kits that promote everything from gardening to learning about space, the body, bug farms, and so on.

“We’re so excited to kick off the most magical time of the year with the coolest and most sought-after toys of the season,” says Catherine Jacoby, marketing manager at Toys R Us. “The top toys, which include some exclusive releases, have been hand-picked by our team of experts and inspired by the latest top play trends.” She explains that several of big trends inspiring the top toys, include the toy unboxing, colour play and creative building, with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills toys, sensory play and educational toys that support remote learning dominating the shelves.”

Pandemic pester power

Jacoby points out that the pandemic brought families closer together and the trend of family outdoor play grew. “The Quest wooden outdoor games range offers different options for full family play including Tumble which is exclusive to Toys R Us. Toy unboxing and interactive play sets continue to surprise and delight, with colour reveals, scent crazes and multi-box openings across all types of toys,” she adds. “Products like Rainbocorns, Jelly Shake Surprise, Barbie, and Hot Wheels Colour Reveal, are predicted to feature quite prominently on children’s wish lists.”

The fidget toys, which have been a craze this entire year – and loathed by teachers and parents the world over – continue to dominate toy lists, growing with new designs, include the latest furry ones. But apparently, they do reduce anxiety, stress, and increase motor skills – as long as no one else is around to be driven insane by the constant popping sound!

Dinosaurs rule

Dinosaurs are still a firm favourite and it’s a toy that transcends several categories and major brands – from Jurassic World which is still the leading brand in this category – to Power Rangers, Transformers, Nerf, Air Blasters and Imagineext. The top toys in this category are Jurassic World Stomp and Escape T Rex. Jacoby says that while radio control (RC) toys have always been a desired toy, Toys R Us identified the need for more robust and higher performance RC items, enabling kids of all ages to enjoy them for longer. “The Nexx range is next level now and offers older kids the joy of performance and quality whilst remaining easy to use and ready to run straight out of the box.”

For Tweens who love nothing more than spending time with their friends while making and capturing memories, the INSTAX Mini 11 Camera brings a retro real-world element into their lifestyle and social media obsession.

Brand mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe.
Festive campaign launches

Combined with the launch of the top toys list, Toys R Us has revealed that its Geoffrey’s Big Book of Wonder will be available in-store nationwide, as well as online from the October 25, 2021. It is a special 68-page festive season gift guide filled with wondrous toys including something for all ages and budgets with incredible deals. In addition, 50 lucky customers stand a chance to win vouchers and one lucky customer could win their ultimate wish list of three items valued at R10,000 in total.

“This year our Christmas wish is that everyone gets to experience a little bit of Toys R Us magic and we hope that South Africans enjoy our festive offering this year,” Jacoby adds.

Top toy wish lists

Take notes… these are the top toys your kiddies are expected to add to their wish lists this year:


1.       My Garden Baby Giggle & Crawl Baby Butterfly Doll, assorted.
2.       Baby Alive Baby Grows Up Happy
3.       Caylee travel jet & doll
4.       Barbie extra doll & playset.
5.       Barbie Color Reveal foam doll assortment.
6.       Rainbocorns Jelly Shake Surprise.
7.       Itty Bitty Prettys Angel High Collectables Angel Dolls.
8.       Barbie Tie Dye Creation Station including doll and dresses.
9.       Playdoh Monster Truck playset.
10.   Club Petz-Blu Blu 2.0
11.   Lego Friends Doggy Day Care.
12.   Lego City Car Transporter.
13.   Nexx stunt radio control superbike.
14.   Transforming stunt.
15.   Hotwheels Colour Reveal, two pack assorted.
16.   CAT Roarin Rex-cavator.
17.   Reggies military plane.
18.   Jurassic World Stomp and Escape T Rex.
19.   Nerf elite 2.0 flip 8 foam dart blaster.
20.   Quest 60pc Giant Wooden Tumble Tower, natural.
21.   Zingo move 3.0.
22.   Batmobile Ride on 12v.
23.   Bubblegum 7” educational tablet blue/pink.
24.   Instax Mini 11  camera & film bundle, assorted.
25.   Power Kid educational laptop, French/English.


Main image credit: Unsplash.com.



Louise Burgers is the Publisher and Editor and Co-Founder of RetailingAfrica.com. She has spent over 20 years writing about the FMCG retailing, marketing, media and advertising industry in South Africa and on the African continent. She has specialised in local and Africa consumer trends and is a passionate Afro-optimist who believes it is Africa’s time to rise again and that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be a global gamechanger in the next decade.


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