Ultimate Gifts: What Is the Most Popular Toy in the World?

Read our ultimate gift guide on the most popular toys in the world, featuring kids' play favourites from the 1950s up to the present day.

Ultimate Gifts: What Is the Most Popular Toy in the World?

Know a special child with a birthday coming soon? Not sure what to buy them? You can’t go wrong by getting them one of the world’s most beloved toys. We’ve gone back in time to list some of the most popular toys in the world, covering much-loved playthings that have brought decades of delight to kids everywhere.

1) LEGO

multiple LEGO pieces lying on the ground

LEGO is the world’s biggest toy company. With 19 billion LEGO elements created each year, enough to circle the globe five times, and sales of over 400 billion LEGO bricks since 1949, LEGO is easily the most popular toy in the world.

The company sells over 50 different colours of bricks, too, all of which can make for endless hours of fun. Kids can use their imaginations to build towering skyscrapers, recreate scenes from their favourite movies or lay the foundations for epic battles with LEGO sets. Not only is playing with LEGO fun, but it’s also good for the brain as making these models often requires problem-solving skills.

2) Hot Wheels

Oldtimer Hot Wheels on a white background

For more than 40 years, Hot Wheels racing cars have zipped around living rooms and nipped the feet of many unsuspecting adults. Mattel has sold more than 6 billion Hot Wheels cars in 11,000 different variations and 800 models. Its estimated that around 41 million kids grew up playing with these cars! Hot Wheels also offers a series of racetrack playsets, allowing cars to get big air off huge jumps and zoom around death-defying tracks.

3) Barbie Dolls

two Barbie dolls sitting on a bank and facing each other

Young girls and boys have loved Barbie dolls for nearly 60 years. According to toy manufacturer Mattel, a Barbie doll is sold roughly every three seconds and over one billion dolls have been sold to date, making it one of the most popular toys in the world.

Nowadays, there are countless varieties of Barbie dolls available. You can get dolls of different races, skin colours, body shapes and even occupations. Your little one can imagine their doll in all sorts of adventures, flying to a new country as flight attendant Barbie, saving a life as doctor Barbie or even leading a fighter pilot mission as aviator Barbie. With so many options to choose from, it’ll be easy to find a doll to suit any young girl or boy.

4) Super Soaker

man holding a white and pink water gun

Since NASA engineer Lonnie Johnson invented the Super Soaker in 1982, this water gun has become incredibly popular. Before then, water guns were cheap throwaway toys, but the Super Soaker drastically changed everything with its ability to shoot water between 30 and 50 feet away! If you’re lucky enough to have used one, you’ll know that this toy has taken water fights to a whole new action-packed level. At last count, around 200 million Super Soakers had been sold across the world, in over 175 variations, bringing in over a billion dollars in sales to top toy producers.

5) Fidget Spinners

man holding a black Fidget Spinners in his hand on a marble table

Fidget spinners (simple, spinning handheld devices) were one of 2017’s most popular toys. Some have claimed that these toys decrease anxiety and stress, but mainly they just annoy teachers and adults and keep kids entertained for hours on end!

Whether the fidget spinner’s popularity is just a fad or something longer lasting (like the previously discussed toys) remains to be seen. That said, the fidget spinner was one of the biggest toy crazes to hit the 21st century with record-breaking sales of over 200 million in 2017. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian have even jumped aboard the bandwagon by releasing their personalised versions.