Design a Toy Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What factors combine to make a toy fun to play with and popular with consumers? This lesson plan explores toy design in an engaging and hands on way. A small group activity gives students a chance at creativity as they apply what they've learned.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • list and describe the most popular toys throughout history
  • analyze the factors that make a toy appealing and popular
  • apply specific design principles in the design of a new toy


60 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.


Pose and respond to specific questions by making comments that contribute to the discussion and elaborate on the remarks of others.


Review the key ideas expressed and draw conclusions in light of information and knowledge gained from the discussions.


Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.


  • A list of the most popular toys from throughout history
  • Examples of some of the toys on the most popular list
  • Images of the packaging from some of the most popular toys
  • Graph paper
  • Colored pencils
  • Rulers


  • Begin by asking students to list the three best toys they have played with in their lives.
  • Have the students take turns sharing their lists with the class as you write common answers on the board.
    • What factors made these toys your favorites?
    • How many of the toys could be described as creative?
    • Do the different toys mentioned in class have anything in common?
  • Share the list of the most popular toys from history with the class.
    • Do any of the toys mentioned in class appear on the list?
    • Have any of you played with any of the toys on the list? If so, please share your experience with the class.
  • Display the images of the original packages for some of the popular toys for the class.
    • Based on these images, what can we tell about the toys?
  • Display the examples of the popular toys for the class and invite students to try them out for a few minutes.
    • How would you describe each of the toys?
    • What characteristics make each of the toys appealing?
    • Is creativity a common theme among the popular toys? If so, how?
  • Using the information garnered through the in class discussion and demonstrations, work with the students to create a list of 10 factors that may contribute to a toy's popularity.

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