Educational Toys Low on Kids’ Wish Lists This Year

Survey results show that most popular toys are dolls and electronics

December 13, 2016: We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas!

The melody is going through your head right now.

For most of us, the Christmas holiday season is a time for family, memories and being with the ones you love.

But for our kids, it’s all about the presents. Finding the right gifts can be hard for some parents and difficult for others, which is why we decided to investigate the matter.

As was the case in 2015, this year we conducted a survey of more than 1,000 parents to find out what their kids wanted the most for Christmas this year. However, this year we did it a little differently.

The survey was conducted during the first three days of December, and asked participants the question, “What is the toy that your kids want most this Christmas?” Respondents were given the freedom to choose any product. The twist this year is that we categorized the results for an extra level of analysis. The results were both interesting, surprising and occasionally funny.

What Is the Most Popular Toy Category for Kids This Year?

According to the survey, the top three most popular categories of toys are the following:

Dolls, Stuffed Animals and Action Figures – 19.3 percent
Electronics – 14.5 percent
Video Games – 11 percent

Top Toy Categories Christmas 2016

However, there was one response that was more popular than any of those, and it was some version of “My kids haven’t decided yet,” which accounted for 23.8 percent of answers.

Unfortunately, among the least popular toys were the more practical and educational categories. The Art Supplies, Musical Equipment and Kitchen and Books categories barely cracked the top ten and accounted for less than three percent of responses.

The general Educational category did not even break into the top ten with 2.7 percent of responses at position number eight, oddly beating out Pokémon and Disney, both of which have their own category.

What Is the Most Popular Toy in Each Category?

Within each category of toys, there is usually one that sticks out. This year, some new toys made an appearance on the list, but for the most part it was the usual suspects.

In the “Dolls” category, the most popular toy was Lego Friends (21.9 percent), followed by Barbie (10.2 percent) and Elmo (9.7 percent), all perennial favorites.

The iPad (14.3 percent) and iPhone (10.2 percent) together dominated the Electronics category, followed by Beats Headphones (11.6 percent) and Drones (8.8 percent).

Playstation (30.4 percent), mostly the PS4, won the Video Game category, and Xbox One (16.9 percent) took second place, followed by Nintendo (8.1) percent and Wii (7.1 percent).

Top Toys Christmas 2016

These results were similar to last year’s survey that had the iPhone and iPad in first place with six percent Playstation 4 in second place with 5.2 percent and Legos with 4.9 percent.

What Are the Most Popular Educational Toys?

As mentioned above, the Educational toy category barely got three percent of the vote. However, the clear winners of the category are Dora and Dash & Dot.

As a matter of fact, they dominated the Educational category. The well-established Dora received 59.7 percent of the vote and the newcomers Dash & Dot received 38.3 percent.

Unfortunately, educational toys are low on our kids’ Christmas wish lists this year. However, this might be the result of the way we buy toys for our children rather than an indication of their interests.

According to a study by Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, most gift givers try to give gifts that amaze and “wow” their recipients. Such gifts are considered failures by the study, which suggests that gift recipients prefer gifts that they will be able to use or enjoy long after the moment of giving.

Jenn Choi, a parenting expert from, agrees. “There is no shame in trying to amaze and astonish when kids open their gifts,” she wrote in an article on “But if we want to turn our toy purchases into educational investments, then we need to get involved and stay involved. We have to play with them. It’s as simple as that.”

For parents who do want to get more involved in their children’s education, this is good news. According to the sources above, it is a simple matter of changing our toy- and gift-giving habits.

Not All Kids Want Toys – the Socks and Shoes Effect

Although apparel is not strictly a toy, approximately two percent of respondents stated that their kids have clothing on their Christmas wish lists this year. Interestingly, socks and shoes made up about 36 percent of those responses.

To put that into perspective, cowgirl boots accounted for a mere four percent of the responses, suggesting that utilitarian gifts are indeed more popular than fun ones—that is, unless your child happens to work in the rodeo.

For tips on how to engage your child in reading and other educational pursuits, visit the Couponbox blog.

Also, get the best deals and discounts on books and educational toys on from your favorite shops like Amazon and Scholastic.

Steve Cuffari

Steve is a writer, researcher and avid traveler from NYC. His favorite products to save money on are travel, food and beverage and tech gear. If you have any questions or suggestions, just email him: