A Brief History of Interactive Talking Toys

Think interactive talking toys are a relatively modern addition to a child’s toy chest? Think again! While the likes of successful movies such as Toy Story have earned billions of dollars over the last few decades and propelled talking toys into the limelight, their origins go back further than you might think.


The rise of interactive talking toys

These fun toys might be commonplace in playrooms across the world now, but you might be surprised to learn that they date as far back as 1877! The Edison Phonograph Doll was invented by Thomas Edison and would play a nursery rhyme through a removable phonograph.


However, despite its innovative features, the doll was a commercial failure, with many children scared of the doll – particularly when the records began to wear out and sound all wonky. Play the recordings below and you can hear for yourself.


Although the Phonograph doll may have been a failure at the time, Edison’s invention did, however, help pave the way for more interactive and engaging toys for children in the coming years. As technology advanced, these toys developed further. From pull-string dolls that repeat phrases - like Woody’s iconic, “There’s a snake in my boot!” - to modern smart dolls that take engagement to the next level. The industry has continued to grow with no signs of stopping.


Of course, it’s not just about talking dolls. While the likes of Baby Alive are amongst the most popular toys on the market today, interactive books and games, such as the LeapFrog 100 Animals book, are also helping to transform how children engage and learn with the world around them. No iPad can replicate the act of hugging a favorite doll, or pushing the buttons of a light-up singing, dancing toy.


So they’re here to stay

Interactive talking toys aren't going anywhere. Having the right voiceover and giving children the chance to learn while playing is essential to helping a toy stand out from the crowd.


If you are looking for a young voice actor to record your next singing & talking toy, reach out!


About Jenny W. Chan

Jenny W. Chan is a professionally trained voice actor and singer specializing in voiceover for the Kids & Teens market. She has recorded hundreds of jingles and songs, kids audiobooks, singing & talking toys, and prompts for mobile apps. Her naturally youthful and animated tone is a great child voiceover option for interactive toys.