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Activities of Toddlers and Preschoolers - US - March 2019

"The formative toddler and preschool years are crucial for a child’s development. Many parents feel pressured to focus their children’s activities on skill building. Physically active play and reading aloud from books are among the top activities that parents do with their kids. However, watching children’s television programs together is even more common. Kids this age really enjoy shows like Paw Patrol and online videos related to music, animals, and YouTube celebrities."
- Kristen Boesel, Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst

This report will cover the following areas:

  • Kids need to start learning to read before they get to kindergarten
  • Parents want their kids to build healthful habits
  • Sometimes parents of young kids need a break
  • Toddlers and preschoolers want to emulate adults
  • Brands need to embrace YouTube

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • Issues and opportunities
            • Issue: Kids need to start learning to read before they get to kindergarten
              • Opportunity: Focus on language for educational toys and products
                • Figure 1: Parents’ attitudes toward developing academic skills, by age of parent, December 2018
                • Figure 2: Parents’ attitudes toward skill building, December 2018
              • Issue: Parents want their kids to build healthful habits
                • Opportunity: Brands can make healthful habits enjoyable
                  • Figure 3: Parents’ attitudes toward health, December 2018
                  • Figure 4: Activities parents do with their kids (past three months), December 2018
                • Issue: Parents of toddlers and preschoolers sometimes need a break
                  • Opportunity: Partnerships with restaurants could boost brand exposure
                    • Figure 5: Activities parents do with their kids (past three months), December 2018
                  • Issue: Toddlers and preschoolers want to emulate adults
                    • Opportunity: Brands can provide ways for kids to contribute
                      • Figure 6: Developmental milestones, December 2018
                    • Issue: Toddlers and preschoolers watch YouTube videos
                      • Opportunity: Brands need to embrace YouTube
                        • Figure 7: Internet video viewing, by co-viewer, December 2018
                      • What it means
                      • The Market – What You Need to Know

                        • Millennials are parents now
                          • Prekindergarten years are crucial
                            • State of early childhood education in the US not ideal
                            • Demographics: Toddlers and Preschoolers

                              • Number of toddlers and preschoolers will remain stable
                                • Figure 8: Children aged 2-5, 2013-23
                              • Most parents of young kids are Millennials
                                • Figure 9: Distribution of households, by age of householder and type of household, 2018
                                • Figure 10: Age distribution among parents of toddlers and preschoolers, December 2018
                              • Family households have higher incomes
                                • Figure 11: Median annual household income, by age of householder and type of household, 2017
                              • The future is more multiracial
                                • Figure 12: Children aged 2-5, by race, 2013-23
                            • Issues Impacting Families with Toddlers and Preschoolers

                              • A child’s development hinges on critical early childhood years
                                • Enrollment in early childhood education programs is not universal
                                  • Figure 13: Percentage of children aged 3-6 enrolled in nursery school or kindergarten, 2017
                                  • Figure 14: Percentage of children aged 3-6 enrolled in nursery school or kindergarten, by race and Hispanic origin, 2017
                                • High pre-K program costs and low teacher salaries hurt everyone
                                    • Figure 15: Screen shot of “Where Does Your Child Care Dollar Go?” interactive tool, 2019
                                • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                                  • “Baby Shark” turns YouTube success into profit
                                    • Paw Patrol consumer products can’t be stopped
                                      • Hasbro suffers without Toys“R”Us
                                        • Disney+ is going to shake things up
                                          • Jell-O Play taps into kids’ love of slime
                                          • What’s Working

                                            • “Baby Shark” swims into the mainstream
                                                • Figure 16: Baby Shark Dance | Sing and Dance! | Animal Songs
                                                • Figure 17: “Baby Shark” plush toys
                                              • Paw Patrol licensing booms
                                                • Figure 18: Screen capture of Orajel’s Paw Patrol training toothpaste, 2019
                                            • What’s Struggling

                                              • Hasbro stumbles in the post-Toys“R”Us market
                                                • Kraft Heinz struggles to evolve
                                                    • Figure 19: Parents’ attitudes toward health, December 2018
                                                • What’s Next

                                                  • Disney+ will disrupt families’ streaming choices
                                                    • Jell-O gets into the slime business
                                                      • Figure 20: 4 DIY Summer Slimes! Pool Party, Beach Sand Slime, Jell-O Slime & More!, July 2018
                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                    • Parents feel pressure to develop kids’ skills
                                                      • Kids at this age want to be grown-ups
                                                        • Parents dine out with their toddlers and preschoolers
                                                          • Kids watch, play, and read with parents
                                                            • Two thirds of toddlers and preschoolers watch internet videos
                                                              • TV shows are the top type of kids content
                                                              • Parent Priorities

                                                                  • Reading skills are a top priority
                                                                    • There is pressure to start building other academic skills too
                                                                      • Figure 21: Parents’ attitudes toward skill building, December 2018
                                                                    • Parents feel “traditional” books and toys are best
                                                                      • Educational tablet apps help parents feel less guilty about screen time
                                                                        • Figure 22: Parents’ attitudes toward tablets and technology, December 2018
                                                                      • Parents want to encourage physical activity from an early age
                                                                        • In an ideal world, kids would eat healthful foods
                                                                          • Figure 23: Parents’ attitudes toward health, December 2018
                                                                        • Parents are more willing to make compromises for boys
                                                                          • Figure 24: Parents’ attitudes toward compromise, by gender of child, December 2018
                                                                      • Kids’ Early Development

                                                                          • Kids know the foods they like
                                                                            • Case Study: Annie’s Homegrown
                                                                              • Figure 25: Annie’s Homegrown’s Super Cheesy Cheddar Bunnies
                                                                            • Little kids want to be helpful
                                                                              • Figure 26: Developmental milestones, December 2018
                                                                            • Clear distinctions between preschoolers and toddlers
                                                                              • Figure 27: Developmental milestones, by age of child, December 2018
                                                                            • Gender-related behaviors start early
                                                                              • Girls more likely to choose own clothes and help with meal prep
                                                                                • Boys are more concerned about gender-specific toys
                                                                                  • Figure 28: Developmental milestones, by gender of child, December 2018
                                                                              • Activities Outside the Home

                                                                                • Parents don’t let their kids stop them from dining out
                                                                                  • Retailers can help make running errands pleasant
                                                                                    • There is space for play places
                                                                                      • Case study: Little Beans Café
                                                                                        • Figure 29: Little Beans Clubhouse at Little Beans Café in Evanston, Ill.
                                                                                      • Kids start playing sports at a very young age
                                                                                        • Low demand for skill-based classes at this age
                                                                                          • Figure 30: Activities parents do with their kids away from home (past three months), December 2018
                                                                                        • Cinema-related marketing should target older kids
                                                                                          • Sports participation linked to kids’ age and gender
                                                                                            • Case study: Steph Curry responds to young, female fan
                                                                                              • Figure 31: Stephen Curry Tweet to young fan
                                                                                              • Figure 32: Activities parents do with their kids away from home (past three months), December 2018
                                                                                          • Activities at Home

                                                                                            • Parents follow through on physical play and books
                                                                                              • At least one third of toddlers and preschoolers play video games
                                                                                                • Figure 33: Activities parents do with their kids at home, December 2018
                                                                                              • Preschoolers more likely to use mobile apps and video games
                                                                                                • Figure 34: Activities parents do with their kids at home, by age of child, December 2018
                                                                                              • Parents play differently with boys than girls
                                                                                                • Case study: Mattel’s “Dolls with Dad” Barbie campaign
                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Playing Barbie Dolls with Dad | #BarbieProject
                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Activities parents do with their kids at home, by gender of child, December 2018
                                                                                              • Kids’ Viewing Habits

                                                                                                • Traditional kids programs and movies remain relevant for families
                                                                                                  • TV shows are the go-to content for parents
                                                                                                    • Kids movies are important too
                                                                                                      • Figure 37: Types of TV/video content that kids watch, December 2018
                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Frozen 2 | Official Teaser Trailer
                                                                                                    • Most kids watch content on multiple devices
                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Percentage of kids aged 2-5 who watch TV/Video content, December 2018
                                                                                                    • At least two thirds of young kids watch internet videos
                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Internet video viewing, by co-viewer, December 2018
                                                                                                    • Music and animals and influencers, oh my!
                                                                                                      • Viewership of product-focused videos higher among preschoolers
                                                                                                          • Figure 41: Types of videos that kids watch alone, by age of child, December 2018
                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Unboxing Video: SURPRISE Toys Peppa Pig Mickey Cutie Poopies slime surprise Mighty Beanz egg
                                                                                                        • Parents join their kids for internet videos
                                                                                                          • Figure 43: Types of videos that kids watch with parents, by gender of child, December 2018
                                                                                                      • Favorite TV Shows

                                                                                                        • Paw Patrol leads the pack
                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Paw Patrol “Top Ultimate Rescue Moments” compilation video, 2019
                                                                                                          • Mickey and friends provide more educational content
                                                                                                            • Figure 45: Super Hero Hot Dog Dance | Music Video | Mickey Mouse Clubhouse | Disney Junior
                                                                                                            • Figure 46: Kids’ favorite TV shows, December 2018
                                                                                                          • Favorite shows: Toddlers and preschoolers
                                                                                                            • Thomas & Friends and Sesame Street appeal more to toddlers
                                                                                                              • Older kids can handle more complicated storylines
                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Kids’ favorite TV shows, by age of child, December 2018
                                                                                                              • Favorite shows: Boys and girls
                                                                                                                • Boys are drawn to vehicle-centered shows
                                                                                                                  • Girls like shows with female protagonists
                                                                                                                    • Figure 48: Kids’ favorite TV shows, by gender of child, December 2018
                                                                                                                • Subgroup Differences

                                                                                                                  • Moms vs dads
                                                                                                                    • Skill development is a bigger concern for dads
                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Parents’ attitudes toward skill building, by moms and dads, December 2018
                                                                                                                    • Parent/child activities are becoming more gendered at home
                                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Activities parents do with their kids at home, by moms and dads, December 2018
                                                                                                                    • Moms run errands with kids, but dads get to have fun
                                                                                                                      • Figure 51: Activities parents do with their kids away from home, by moms and dads, December 2018
                                                                                                                    • Age of parents
                                                                                                                      • Millennials feel more pressure to start building kids’ academic skills
                                                                                                                        • Figure 52: Parents’ attitudes toward developing academic skills, by age of parent, December 2018
                                                                                                                      • Millennial parents employ digital diversions for kids
                                                                                                                        • Figure 53: Activities parents do with their kids at home, by age of parents, December 2018
                                                                                                                      • Household income
                                                                                                                        • Higher-income households do more reading and building
                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Activities parents do with their kids at home, by household income, December 2018
                                                                                                                        • Higher-income households better able to afford paid activities for kids
                                                                                                                          • Figure 55: Activities outside the home, by household income, December 2018
                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                        • Data sources
                                                                                                                          • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                • Definitions
                                                                                                                                • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Children aged 2-5, 2013-23
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Children aged 2-5, by race and Hispanic origin, 2013-23
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Distribution of households, by age of householder and type of household, 2018
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 59: Labor-force status of men aged 16 or older, annual averages, by age, 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 60: Labor-force status of women aged 16 or older, annual averages, by age, 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 61: Median household income, by type of household, 2016
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 62: Percentage of children aged 3-6 enrolled in nursery school or kindergarten, 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 63: Enrollment status of children aged 3-6, 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 64: Percentage of children aged 3-6 enrolled in nursery school or kindergarten, by race and Hispanic origin, 2010-17

                                                                                                                                Activities of Toddlers and Preschoolers - US - March 2019

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