Are parents & kids looking for the same thing this year?

gift ideas 2019 arcade coder


It’s the time of year when we start to see non-stop holiday messaging about gifts, gifts and more gifts! As a parent, giving my kids a super gift means a lot more than splashing out on the latest toy.

What is it that kids look for when they ask for a specific toy? As parents, what do we want from our kids’ toys? Can we ever combine the two?

What do kids look for in toys?

arcade coder 4 player board game

When we created the Arcade Coder, we spent a lot of time asking kids what’s important to them when they’re looking for a toy. Our market research found that, for 57% of the 5-10-year-olds interviewed, toys have to be fun first! (No surprises there.) After this, 37% said that it was important that toys were familiar, something that they recognised. 31% mentioned learning as a motivation for wanting a specific toy. Not a majority, but not an insignificant percentage of kids either.

Because of this, we made sure that the Arcade Coder includes a number of classic games that kids have always enjoyed; Ping Pong, Snake & Flappy Birds to name a few. These are games that kids easily recognise and associate with fun!

what do parents look for in gifts? arcade coder

What do parents look for in their kids’ toys?

As parents, we want our kids to have fun, but we’d also love for our kids to get more out of their play time: a recent survey by The Toy Association found that 82% of parents want to encourage their children’s learning through play. Through the games, projects and paint mode, The Arcade Coder encourages the development of skills for the future, such as coding, logic, critical thinking & creativity.

9/10 parents surveyed said it’s important to encourage STEM/STEAM skills in their children, but 50% cite competition with screens as a limitation to encouraging these skills. 72% of those surveyed take steps to limit their kids’ exposure to screens, and, as we all know,  this can lead to the odd tantrum!

Through the Arcade Coder, we encourage a different approach to screen time. Kids interact actively with their screens to programme their own games by modifying the speed & colour of the games or even by creating their own games rules. They then move from actively using a screen to a tactile, hand-on gaming experience, when they play the games they’ve created with friends & family.

arcade coder game parents and kids play together

Can we satisfy both kids’ and parents’ expectations of toys?

As a parent myself, I fully share the above desires and concerns around play, learning and screen time. I and the team at Tech Will Save Us believe that a good toy should satisfy both parents’ and children’s needs, which is why we work tirelessly to develop toys, such as the Arcade Coder, that do just that! There’s no doubt that the Arcade Coder places a significant emphasis on fun, but learning & development are placed at the centre of the experience also.

As for screen time? This is something that I constantly battle with, particularly with my 8-year-old son (and I’m sure my 7-month old will soon follow suit!)  With the Arcade Coder, we’ve created a toy that redefines screen time. Children use the screen actively, rather than passively, to build and create their games. They then step away from the screen, into a tactile, hands-on experience, when they play the games they’ve built with friends and family. Screens, when used actively, and in combo with other types of play, can play a huge part in developing creative, logic and collaborative skills.

tech will save us arcade coder pong game

As a parent, what are you looking for when you buy toys for your kids? Do you think that toys can satisfy both kids’ and parents’ desires? Can screens contribute to educational play? 

We’d love to hear your opinion! Share your thoughts on Twitter @TechWillSaveUs!



  1. Toy Association, STEM/STEAM Formula for Success
  2. Tech Will Save Us x Dubit: Market Research 2018