Have you already started shopping for your children’s must-have toys? If not, you should start soon as possible as some popular toys are already selling out. Take for instance hot items like Sony Play Stations and Disney Doorables. Be that as it may, some toys are much more practical, particularly educational gifts offered by Little Passports. For an in depth look on toy trends, toys for travel and more, Little Passports Chief Design Officer John Reale spent time to answer a few questions.

John Reale (credit: John Reale)

About John Reale

A toy industry expert with 25+ of experience, John Reale has worked with some of the biggest names in the business. In fact, some of his toy products are among the most popular ever. For instance, he helped design Hot Wheels and Pixar’s Cars at Mattel. Additionally, he was a VP at Hasbro, overseeing popular brands like Star Wars, Marvel Universe, Power Rangers and GI Joe. John Reale’s educational background includes a BFA from the Fashion Institute of Technology and MBA from Boston College.

Q&A With Toy Designer John Reale of Little Passports

Can You Talk A Little About Your Background? 

I’m currently the Chief Design Officer at Little Passports, an award winning enrichment and activity kit subscription service. I started out in the toy industry in the early 1990s as one of the first graduates of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Toy Design program. Over the last three decades I’ve worked for Hasbro, Mattel and Spin Master. During that time, I supported and led the design of many popular toy lines that were introduced.

Early Explorer Gifts (credit: Little Passports)

Can You Talk Briefly About Little Passports?

Little Passports offers one-of-a-kind activity kits that awaken kids’ curiosity about geography, culture, science and art. Through enriching globally-inspired activities, hands-on projects, and relatable characters, Little Passports ignites the imagination. It further opens the door to a new way to see the world and explore science.

Industry Awards

Designed in conjunction with professional educators, award-winning writers, and kid testers, Little Passports’ products have earned the company numerous awards from the National Parenting Publication, iParenting and Parents Choice.

Subscription Programs

Since being founded in 2009, we now offer five subscription programs and a line of complementary standalone toys, games and activities kits.

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What Are Your Thoughts About Top Toy Trends For 2021?

One trend that we see re-emerging is centered around play experiences that offer real social engagement. We certainly see technology continue to grow as an overall trend in toys and games. In fact, toys that encourage real-life personal interaction such as puzzles and board games are making a resurgence.

The pandemic certainly played a role in driving this greater demand for toys and activities that families can do together and create joyful memories.

Related: LendingTree Survey: Americans Ready To Travel

Can You Recommend Holidays-Related Toys From Little Passports?

Our subscription kits are always the most in demand. Gift givers love that a new surprise arrives each month and children who receive them are bursting with excitement to open their package.

Most Popular Little Passports Subscriptions

Our most popular subscriptions are World Edition for ages 6-10 and Early Explorers for ages 3-5. For gift givers looking for standalone items or stocking stuffers, we offer many STEM and geography and travel

Are Kids Looking For Other Specific Toys This Year?

Toys based on popular stories in movies and TV shows continue to excite kids across all ages, while older children will tend to gravitate toward technology like VR headsets and games. Engaging creative play brands like Lego are always high on the list.

What Can Parents Do With Their Kids When Traveling?

Keeping your children engaged while traveling is one of the most stressful things parents have to deal with! Whether it’s a 8-hour road trip or delays in bustling airports, keeping those little hands and minds occupied is critical!

Ideas For Children Of All Ages

For older children, we have geography and travel themed activity books and original stories. For younger children, our Animal Tracks and Food Around the World kits are fun, engaging travel-friendly kits.

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What Toy Trends Do You Think Will Emerge In 2022?

One thing I love about toys and play is that there is always something unexpected that changes everybody’s perspective and changes the paradigm. We are constantly humbled by what we thought would be hot, vs what the 5 year old ultimately tells us!  That said, there are key themes that will continue to grow including the intersections of play and technology, the role of story and narrative with play, and the increasing impact of social media.

We’re thrilled at Little passports to be incorporating these ongoing themes into our current and future plans in ways that really speak to our unique brand.

Related: Squaremouth Travel Trends For The 2021 Holiday Season

About The Author

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including CBS New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS Radio, Engadget and Radio.com.

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