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14 November 2016 by Calan

We asked 1,515 UK mums to tell us which toys their children play with most. For a little background on why and how we did this, review the introductory post as it’s part of a series of articles covering toys, gifts and activities for children based on real data.

We are keen to expand this research over time, giving us more detailed results, especially around the toys, games and activities that stimulate learning and development. If you’d like to take part in future and receive a copy of the results, please subscribe to our blog using the form on this page and we’ll include you in the next questionnaire.

While we did include the ages 0-6 months, we didn't feel the number of participants at this age group was large enough to provide valuable results, so we've omitted that age group from the results but will look to include it in future as we expand the data.

Download the full spreadsheet

While the results appear in this series of posts, what is really interesting is to see the lists for each age side by side, as it shows how the popularity of toys changes as children get older. To see the data this way you can download a copy of the full spreadsheet by subscribing to our blog using the form on this page. On subscription you'll receive a download link to the full spreadsheet.

Toys are more consistent than we expected

Probably most interesting of all is how similar the lists are regardless of age. Six of the toys that appear in the top 11 toys of 18 month old babies, also appear in the list of 10 year old children.

In children between 18 and 48 months old, cars, trains and dolls are the most popular toys, whereas Lego tops all lists in children from 4 to 10 years old.

Drawing and colouring-in starts at around 18 months old and then becomes consistently more popular as the child gets older. Similarly, tablet computers appear in the popularity list at age 5 and then rise in popularity across each subsequent age group.

Creativity and imagination reign supreme

Having two young daughters, I’ve read a fair amount over the last few years about how children benefit from simple toys, and how it requires them to use their own creativity and imagination to create games with them. This is thoroughly supported by our results in that very few noisy, electronic or flashy toys make it anywhere near the top, even if the varying types of those toys are combined into a single category.

Toys children play with most, by age

Within each heading I’ve indicated the number of mums that participated in the questionnaire for that age group, and within each list I’ve highlighted the total number of times the toy appears among the lists of top toys for that age group.

6-12 months (66 children)

Toy Total
Musical Instruments 28
Stacking cups 28
Balls 21
Dolls 16
Fisher Price electronic toys 16
Sophie Giraffe 15
Books 13
Doors and drawers 12
Jumparoo 12
Vtech walker 12
Rattles 9
Shape sorter 9
Plastic bottles and lids 8

12-18 months (84 children)

Toy Total
Books 40
Balls 28
Cars/Trucks 27
Musical toys 24
Shape sorters 21
V-tech Walker 20
Dolls 17
Stacking toy 16
Puzzles 13
Kitchen 12

18-24 months (108 children)

Toy Total
Cars/Trucks 56
Trains 33
Balls 28
Animal figures 25
Dolls 24
Books 19
Kitchen 17
Shape sorter 17
Soft toys 16
Drawing/Colouring 15
Lego/Duplo 13
Stacking blocks 12
Mega blocks 12
Play-Doh 11
Tools 8

24-30 months (135 children)

Toy Total
Cars/Trucks 81
Dolls 52
Lego/Duplo 49
Kitchen 41
Trains 40
Puzzles 32
Play-Doh 24
Balls 21
Books 20
Drawing/Colouring 19
Stickers 17
Tools 12

30-36 months (141 children)

Toy Total
Cars/Trucks 69
Dolls 48
Kitchen 44
Puzzles 41
Train set 40
Lego/Duplo 36
Books 21
Drawing/Colouring 18
Dinosaurs 17
Tea set 16
Builder toys 13
Tool bench 12
Bricks 9
Paw patrol figures 8
Soft toy 8

3-4 years (234 children)

Toy Total
Cars/Truck 128
Dolls 96
Kitchen 56
Lego/Duplo 52
Train set 49
Play-Doh 40
Drawing/Colouring 37
Dressing up 36
Dinosaurs 29
Puzzles 28
Blocks 21
Playmobil 20
Books 17
Paw patrol figures 16
Scooter 16
Bicycle 8
Mega blocks 8
Soft toys 7
Tea set 6

4-5 years (198 children)

Toy Total
Lego/Duplo 112
Dolls 81
Drawing/Colouring 72
Cars/Trucks 53
Dressing up 52
Soft toys 49
Kitchen 36
Train set 36
Playmobil 28
Play-Doh 25
Imaginext 24
My little ponies 23
Action figures 21
Puzzles 16
Books 15
Marble run 12
Scooter 8

5-6 years (135 children)

Toy Total
Lego/Duplo 95
Drawing/Colouring 52
Dolls 44
Cars/Trucks 41
iPad/Kindle/Tablet 33
Dressing up 28
Playmobil 20
Puzzles 21
Board games 16
Play-Doh 15
Soft toys 13
Bicycle 13
Books 12
Scooter 11
Hot Wheels 9
Magnatiles 8
Nerf guns 8

6-7 years (123 children)

Toy Total
Lego 77
Drawing/Colouring 64
iPad/Kindle/Tablet 32
Dolls 53
Cars/Trucks 29
Board games 24
Dressing up 20
Playmobil 17
Shopkins 16
Soft toys 16
Magna tiles 11
Football 9
Nerf guns 8
Bike 7
Books 4

7-8 years (90 children)

Toy Total
Lego 62
Dolls 37
Drawing/Colouring 28
iPad/Kindle/Tablet 28
Dressing up 24
Soft toys 16
Bicycle 14
Build a bear 13
Board games 12
Shopkins 12
Football 11
Cars/Trucks 8
Nerf guns 8
Scooter 8
Books 4

8-10 years (114 children)

Toy Total
Lego 84
iPad/Kindle/Tablet 63
Xbox/Playstation 52
Dolls 28
Drawing/Colouring 23
Board games 20
Soft toys 19
Nerf guns 12
Books 12
Shopkins 11
Football 10
Cars/Trucks 10
Bicycle 9
Scooter 9
Football 8
Wii 7

10-13 years (87 children)

Toy Total
iPad/Kindle/Tablet 65
XBox 29
Lego 28
Drawing/Colouring 24
Football 17
Mobile phone 12

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