Design a Toy!

Can you design the toy of the year for 2020?!

Project Description

Teams will research the history and design concepts behind toys. They will journal their work and following steps of the Engineering Design Process (Imagine, Plan, Design, Create, Revise) will research then apply their knowledge of the history of popular toys over past 30 years to design a toy prototype that will be ready for Christmas 2020. Teams will create persuasive writing documents to “sell” the toy to prospective toy company and highlight their project in a digital presentation.

Driving Question

How can we develop a toy that will be popular in 2020?

Entry Event - Request for Proposals; Mattel Toys

Request for Proposals

Toy designers from Mattel are seeking proposals for the next popular toy! The toy will be created for the 2020 Christmas season. We want a toy that kids would love! It needs to have a purpose and appeal to the most children as possible (consider gender and age). Parents also have to like the toy to be willing to buy it as presents.

You have 2 weeks to create a prototype, an advertising website, and present it in a Shark Tank type pitch to the toy designers at Mattel.

Before You Start: Research

Before you begin, let's go back in time! Do you remember your favorite toys from your childhood? This research will be a blast from your past! You will be assigned a year and will find the most popular toys every 5 years after.

Create a timeline of the most popular toys over the last 30 years using this website: Think Write Read Timeline

Compare and Contrast the toys. Ask the following questions:

1. What do they all have in common?

2. What are some differences?

3. How has changes in technology effected what toys are popular?

4. Is there a common theme with the toys on the timeline?

Here Are Some Fun Videos to Get You Started!

Teddy Ruxpin Commercial
My Buddy & Kid Sister Commercial
Talkboy Commercial

The Challenge

Create a toy prototypes that:

  • Appeals to children based on your research of toys from the past.
  • Have a purpose for play.
  • Appeal to parents to want to buy for their children.

The presentation must:

  • Pitch the idea to the company
  • Reflect the history of popular toys from the past.
  • Website needs to be attractive to buyers/children.

What Are Your Needs to Know?

put padlet link here.

The Engineering Design Process

Follow the steps of the Engineering Design Process to create your toy. Students would journal throughout these steps.

Ask questions. Make sure you understand the requirements and all the available tools for your project. Research for answers to your questions.


Discuss and imagine what kind of toy you want to create. The sky is the limit: imagine an ideal scenario. Refer back to your research of other toys.

Draw some design sketches. Discuss what will and won’t be feasible and have a solid idea of what needs to be accomplished. Create more than one design idea and share with the group. Invite all members to share ideas. Select the best design and elaborate. Add important details, such as what materials you need, design considerations, label your plan, etc… Lay out everything you can before beginning the process. Have a firm concept before creating.


Apply your plan to materials and create your toy prototype. Attempt to stick to your plan. Test out the toy. Did your plan work as designed? What could work better?

If your project doesn’t work, improve upon the design and make corrections. If the project does work as planned, are there areas for improvement? What design details will make your project run smoothly and stand out from the other designs?

Cumulating Product - The Presentation

Each team will create a website using and the log in your are given. The presentation must show an understanding of the historical and mathematical timeline concepts and detail the toy design from beginning to end.
    • Using Weebly to sell your toy. Then pitch the toy Shark Tank style.

    • Your website should link to your timeline.

    • The presentation must demonstrate the toy to the audience.

    • Review the Project Checklist, Presentation Rubric, and Collaboration Rubric

Examples of good Shark Tank pitches:

The Assessment


  • Would you want to play with your toy?
  • What common theme did you find when researching toys of the past?
  • Is there huge differences over time with the toys?
  • Would the toy from the 80s be popular now?
  • How is your toy reflecting the toys of the past?
  • Does your toy have a purpose for play?
  • Is your toy a learning toy that may appeal to parents?
  • Will your toy be affordable to most families?
  • Is your toy gender specific?
  • Does your presentation show knowledge of the toy industry?
  • Is your website attractive to buyers as well as children?
  • Is your pitch persuasive?