Mattel focuses on play as learning activity vital to children's development. The company manufactures toys it believes creates a foundation for learning while promoting creativity, relationship building, confidence and competence in dealing with life's challenges.
A number of different brands exist under the Mattel umbrella. Some, like Barbie, Little People, Matchbox, and Hot Wheels, enjoy popularity among several generations of consumers. American Girl, while a very different product than Barbie, enjoys similar popularity that has spawned an accessory cottage industry. Other Mattel brands include Xtractaturs, D-REX, Monster High, and Polly Pocket. In addition, Mattel sells licensed products from Disney and WWE.
A 1993 merger brought Fisher-Price into the Mattel fold as a wholly owned subsidiary. Fisher-Price, which has 100 percent name recognition among U.S. parents, is the brand name under which Mattel markets its infant and preschool products.
Mattel sells its products in retail stores and online. Product lines include toys, games, books and digital media like videos, computer and video games and mobile apps. Some product lines tie into popular children's movies and TV shows.
Barbie is probably the best-known Mattel toy--and, perhaps, the best known toy period. The heart of the Barbie line is its dolls. They run the gamut from the classic, basic Barbie to collector and specialty dolls. An extensive line of clothing and fashion accessories and playsets, ranging from houses to vehicles to home and business settings and recreational equipment, round out the Barbie line.
For children whose taste in toys runs more toward cars than dolls, Hot Wheels and Matchbox provide a huge selection of individual and multicar packs and a full line of accessories to optimize imaginative play. Among the most popular are tracks on which children can run and race cars. Tabletop and floor versions are available. Some are simple straight or oval tracks, while other have spirals and loops. Playsets have modern themes such as dinosaurs as well as service station and police station classics.
Lifestyle product lines have Barbie and Hot Wheel-themed products for children. Sports equipment, bicycles, furniture sets and travel gear are examples of lifestyle products Mattel offers.
Some toys tie into popular Disney movies. "Toy Story," for example, includes character figures and a variety of accessories. Disney Pixar's "Cars" toys include child-size powered cars children can drive. "Disney Princess" and "Tangled" have dolls and playsets that are similar to those available under the Barbie brand.
Other popular Mattel brands include Monster High, which has ghoulishly fun character dolls and accessories; Polly Pocket miniature dolls and playsets; WWE wrestling-themed action figures, accessories and apparel; Little Mommy baby dolls; and family games such as Loopz, Uno and Apples to Apples.
Mobile offerings bring Mattel into the digital age, with mobile versions of such popular games as Magic 8 Ball, Mad Gab, Phase 10 and Loopz available to smartphone and tablet users. Several other apps are also available that serve as standalone products. Many, but not all, are free.