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Still looking for new ways to play and learn… Expert perspectives and expectations for interactive toys

Hall, Lynne; Paracha, Samiullah; Flint, Tom; MacFarlane, Kate; Stewart, Fiona; Hagan-Green, Gillian; Watson, Derek


Lynne Hall

Samiullah Paracha

Kate MacFarlane

Gillian Hagan-Green

Derek Watson


The use of interactive, smart and connected toys is expected to increase rapidly with many claiming not only new ways to play, but also to have educational benefits. However, there is a lack of evidence to support such claims and the purpose of the current analysis was to gather expert opinion about interactive toys for play and learning. In-depth interviews with 15 experts from technology corporates, stakeholder organizations and academia using a semi-structured interview protocol were conducted. The audio transcripts were coded using a Template Analysis approach with the key themes being educational utility, learning, play, and children with disabilities. The text visualization revealed that experts perceived high educational effectiveness of interactive toys. Apart from the educational value, experts also spoke about the benefits of interactive toys in entertaining the children of busy parents, privacy, security and integrative features of smart toys. This study demonstrates that for experts’ interactive toys have higher perceived educational value than traditional toys or other forms of play although this is an intuition or an insight rather than based on direct evidence to support this view. From the analysis and interpretation, we identified three main recommendations (1) the need for interactive toys to provide a safe, secure and private way to play and learn; (2) increased research, experimentation and investigation to explore interactive toy claims and potential; and (3) increased interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaboration and innovation.


Hall, L., Paracha, S., Flint, T., MacFarlane, K., Stewart, F., Hagan-Green, G., & Watson, D. (2022). Still looking for new ways to play and learn… Expert perspectives and expectations for interactive toys. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, 31, Article 100361.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 16, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 24, 2021
Publication Date 2022-03
Deposit Date Aug 12, 2021
Journal International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction
Print ISSN 2212-8689
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Article Number 100361
Keywords Smart toys; Interactive toys; Connected toys; Educational utility; Expert opinion
Public URL