January 26, 2022
While technically a toy company, The LEGO Group is also an education company. Kids playing with these interlocking plastic bricks and related toys learn to think in three dimensions while improving literacy as they read instructions for some of the more complex building projects. It also encourages problem-solving, organization, and planning by construction.
The edutainment industry is a large and growing market with no shortage of companies competing for a piece of it. Adroit Market Research, a global business analytics and consulting firm, expects the edutainment market to reach $15.22 billion with an annual growth rate of 9.3% from 2021 to 2028. While the Denmark-based LEGO Group is privately held, we wanted to observe January 28th – National Lego Day – by looking at some of the brands behind making playtime educational and fun while spurring the imagination.
While perhaps best known for its Barbie doll and Hot Wheel brands, Mattel Inc. (Tii:MAT) has a sizeable lineup of educational toys for kids from birth to 4 years of age through its Laugh & Learn, Linkimals and Fisher-Price brands. If LEGO-type building is what the children want, Mattel’s MEGA Construx and MEGA Bloks encourage engineering skills with a line of products that include Hot Wheels, Pokémon, Halo and Barbie-themed construction kits. Other educational toy offerings include Code & Learn Kinderbots, a Smart Tablet, and other toys under Mattel’s Fischer Price brand line.
As the company behind the Playskool brand and its Mr. Potato Head, Play-Doh, Tonka, and Tinker Toys lines, Hasbro Inc. (Tii:HAS), unsurprisingly, also has a presence in the educational toy market. Hasbro’s Monopoly is perhaps the most financially educational game on the market. Jenga improves fine motor skills, manual dexterity, and problem-solving skills in mathematics and engineering. The toy company’s Clue board game encourages deductive reasoning skills while its Simon electronic memory game promotes attention, concentration and impulse control. A game of Scrabble is a tried-and-true way to build a kid’s vocabulary while having fun.
A subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company (Tii:DIS), National Geographic Partners has an extensive line of educational, research, and STEM toys to select from. Educational Nat Geo Kids product lines include a Volcano Science Kit and a Glow in the Dark Crystal Kit that allows kids to create their own crystals. For youngsters that prefer puzzles, National Geographic has a line of 48, 63, and 100-piece 3D puzzles produced from images from the National Geographic image library that showcases the natural world.
With brands that include Etch A Sketch, Erector Set, Meccano and others, Canadian multinational toy-maker Spin Master Corp. (Tii:SNMSF) has a strong lineup of games and toys for parents wanting an educational playtime for their children. Meccano is one of the oldest construction systems in the world that encourages engineering skills ranging from basic building to high-tech robotics programming. The Etch A Sketch mechanical drawing toy has encouraged creativity and design for more than 50 years. The company recently launched a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics)-inspired initiative giving children and families hands-on learning activities that show kids how popular Spin Master toys are made with hands-on STEAM experiences.
Though not as well-known as some of the other toy-makers mentioned here, Jakks Pacific Inc. (Tii:JAKK) is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of toys and consumer products that also has a presence in the educational toy business. Among the company’s products is Eyeclops, a digital microscope and camera for kids that magnifies up to 800x and serves as a camera or video recorder, and the Sports Zone Inflatable Darts game that promotes hand-eye coordination.
Educational toys and games help develop STEM skills, problem-solving and vocabulary abilities that parents and schools often turn to. With such robust demand, it’s easy to understand why it’s such a large and expanding industry.