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Brief Published: 30 Nov 2018

Toys Target Short Attention Spans & Mindful Learners

L-R: Monopoly Fortnite, Nerf Laser Ops DeltaBurst

The dominance of digital tech is affecting children’s expectations of entertainment – prompting analogue toy brands to reduce game times and augment action for shorter attention spans. Meanwhile, educational toys are embracing slow play to reinforce mindful interactions. We unpack how strategic timing is being used to reinvent old favourites this Christmas.

Board Games Compete with Digital Play: US company Hasbro has released a new version of the family classic Monopoly that reduces game play to 30 minutes in order to hold children’s shorter attention spans and compete with digital devices. Monopoly Fortnite is also based on the popular online battle game and uses the storm within its narrative to shut down sections of the board, allowing players to progress faster to the finish.

Extreme Inside Action: Tech has also influenced the development of Hasbro’s new Nerf blasters, which embrace the high-octane action of digital screens to offer mess-free play for indoor environments. The Laser Ops DeltaBurst uses low-intensity lasers rather than foam darts to shoot and detect hits between players. The device features a corresponding app (an armband’s included for holding the smartphone), providing up-to-date information on performance as well as a solo-play version.

Compassion Care: Scruff-a-Luvs is a plush toy brand from UK company Worlds Apart that teaches children the importance of investing time and care in their pets and possessions. The toy is bought as a matted ball of fluff that children must wash, blow dry and brush to reveal its secret identity – a dog, cat or rabbit. Part of the cost of every purchase is donated to British animal welfare organisation the RSPCA.

For the most influential trends in children’s toys this year, see Toy Fair New York 2018. For more on how digital tech is offering thrilling experiences indoors, see Designing Amplified Experiences.