14 November 2021 by Calan

As we approach the festive season, there are endless Christmas gift lists being published across the internet. As a parent of two young girls (13 months and 3 years old), I get frustrated with gift-buying tips based on editors’ opinions, which often pick up on marketing trends rather than the facts about what kids actually play with, or what helps them learn.

Our business has a large following of parents – providing a perfect opportunity to do and share some real research in time for the Christmas gift buying season. So we designed a survey asking:

  • Which 3 toys does your child play with most? (by age)
  • What 3 things does your child want for Christmas this year? (by age)
  • What is your child’s favourite games or activities? (by age)
  • What toys or games have had the most positive impact on your child’s development/learning, and how old were they at the time?

The questionnaire was completed by 1,515 UK mums – warranting an enormous thank-you to everyone who participated. We offered no compensation other than a copy of the results, so thank you one and all for giving up your time to provide this data. I hope it’s useful to anyone looking for a gift for a child or wanting to find toys, games or activities that help children learn.

If you find this useful, please let us know in the comments. We’d like to expand on this over time and make it even more useful, especially in uncovering the best toys, games and activities that stimulate learning and development at different stages of a child's life.

The results are a little chunky to digest in one go, so I’ve broken them down into separate posts, as below, covering the answers to each question.

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.

Download the full spreadsheet

While the results appear in this series of posts, what is really interesting is to see the lists horizontally, as it shows for instance how the popularity of various toys and games changes as a child grows older. It’s an interesting way of seeing visually how many years of enjoyment certain toys (such as Lego/Duplo and dolls) can offer. Non-parents might be surprised at how little soft toys feature among kids’ favourites in the first two years. It’s also fascinating to see the commonalities across ages – for example, the fact that building things features in the top five games or activities for every age from 1 to 13 years old.

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.