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Little Tikes: What kind of toy company is this?

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Little Tikes is an American toy brand founded in 1970 by Thomas G. Murdough. The company was acquired by Newell Rubbermaid in 1999 and produces a wide variety of children's products, including vehicles, playhouses, basketball sets, activity gyms and furniture.

They have manufacturing facilities in Ohio, California and international locations in Europe and Asia.

In this article you can read all about the history of Little Tikes and how they became one of the most famous toy brands in the world.

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Our favorite Little Tikes toys

The brand has made a whole bunch, but these are our favorite toys:

Best playground equipment for your toddler

Little TikesExpedition Climber – Climbing frame

With this climbing frame your child will be able to develop his or her physical motor skills and have fun adventures.

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Best plastic sandbox

Little TikesSandpit Turtle

The sandpit is shaped like a turtle. Because of its nice design and green color, the sandpit fits nicely in the backyard as an extra playground.

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What is Little Tikes good at?

We have already written a lot about Little Tikes and they are mainly featured in outdoor toy articles such as these best sandboxes for the garden en this article about the best playground equipment.

About Little Tikes Company

How many employees did Little Tikes have in the 1970s?

In the 1970s Little Tikes had about 50 employees.

What was the name of the company Little Tikes became part of?

Little Tikes became part of Newell Rubbermaid Inc. in 1999.

How many sales did Little Tikes have in 1983?

In 1983, Little Tikes had sales of $50 million.

Where was Little Tikes' first national television advertising campaign?

Little Tikes' first national television advertising campaign was in 1992 and aired in the United States.

Little Tikes Company was founded in the late 60's by Thomas G. Murdough, who was interested in the toy industry. He saw that the toy industry was in a period of intense transformation, with smaller companies and distributors being swallowed up by large manufacturers. Murdough disagreed with the increasing poor quality of toys and the fact that toy manufacturers focused only on making toys cheaper. He saw the need for plastic toys that could be produced inexpensively and started Little Tikes.

Murdough maintained a personalized approach to toy marketing, limiting product distribution to independent toy stores and supermarkets to avoid deep discounts. He focused on durability and safety of toys for toddlers and preschoolers and avoided using television advertising. Instead, he relied on word of mouth and excellent customer service.

Origin of Little Tikes

When was Little Tikes founded?

Little Tikes was founded in the late 60s.

Who was Thomas G. Murdough's employer?

Thomas G. Murdough worked at Wilson Sporting Goods before founding Little Tikes.

What was the name of Wilson Sporting Goods' subsidiary?

Wilson Sporting Goods' subsidiary was called Wonder Products.

Where was the Little Tikes Company located in America?

The Little Tikes Company was based in Aurora, Ohio. A real one toy brand from the United States.

Murdough decided to buck this trend and left his marketing job at Wilson to start his own company. Seeing the need for inexpensive plastic toys, he began manufacturing large plastic outdoor play equipment, toy boxes and children's furniture using the cheapest manufacturing processes and raw materials for plastic toy production. The company started with a small number of employees and grew into one of the best-known toy brands in the world.

How Murdough's personal approach led to success: 70s and 80s

What production technique did Little Tikes pioneer?

Little Tikes pioneered the use of the rotational molding process to make plastic products, mainly for large products such as agricultural tanks and chemical containers. This process made it possible to produce larger and more durable products than traditional blow molding, which was widespread in the toy industry. It enabled Little Tikes to produce a wide variety of shapes and colors, giving them more versatility in their manufacturing process.

What made the rotational molding process possible?

The rotational molding process made it possible to produce larger and more durable products than traditional blow molding, allowing Little Tikes to produce a wide variety of shapes and colors. This allowed for more versatility in their production process and enabled them to produce a wide variety of toys.

Where did the company move its activities in the mid-70s?

In the mid-70s, Little Tikes moved their operations to a larger facility in Macedonia, Ohio, as they were growing rapidly and needed more space for their production.

What was the name of the Little Tikes best-selling toy car?

The Little Tikes best-selling toy car was the Cozy Coupe, a red and yellow foot-operated car with an enclosed cab that gave children a sense of security as they explored the world.

The purchase of Rubbermaid: 1984

What percent did Little Tikes sales increase in 1982? What was the total sales increase in 1983?

In 1982, Little Tikes sales increased 20%. The following year, in 1983, total sales increased by an astonishing 100%.

How much money did Rubbermaid pay for Little Tikes in 1984?

In 1984, Rubbermaid bought Little Tikes for $50 million.

After purchasing Rubbermaid, Little Tikes had access to new capital and a brand new manufacturing facility in Hudson, Ohio. This enabled the company to expand intensively in their product line and distribution. They added a spring-summer line of outdoor toys, including climbing and sliding sets and plastic sports equipment. The company also began to move away from their exclusive reliance on rotational molding and began producing small injection molded toys in their facilities.

Little Tikes continued their approach to marketing, focusing on customer satisfaction, teamwork, innovation, marketing and continuous improvement. The company continued to resist television advertising aimed at children and focused on catalog mailings and growth through word of mouth. This led to growth in Little Tikes sales at a rate well above the average growth rate for the toy industry. In the late 80s, Little Tikes was responsible for 25% of Rubbermaid's profits and was considered one of the most successful companies in the Rubbermaid stable.

Departure of Murdough: 1989

Who was the president of Little Tikes in 1989?

In 1989, Thomas G. Murdough was the president of Little Tikes. He founded the company in 1970 and led it until his departure in 1989.

How many manufacturing facilities were built in the US in the 90s?

In the 90s, Little Tikes opened additional manufacturing facilities in the United States to increase production efficiency and keep up with the growing demand for their products. It is not known exactly how many facilities were built, but the company expanded its production capacity to meet demand.

After Murdough's departure in 1989, Little Tikes embarked on a new course under the leadership of Gary Baughman. The company experimented with broader advertising campaigns and focused on increasing production efficiency. In the 90s, Little Tikes expanded its production capacity and opened additional facilities in the United States to meet growing demand. The company also began producing large commercial playground equipment for child care centers and community plazas, which became a major growth market for the company.

The future of Little Tikes

What is Little Tikes planning in terms of developing toys for parents and children to play together?

Little Tikes plans to develop more toys for parents and children to play with together. The brand believes that play is an important way for parents and children to spend quality time together and create memories. By developing toys that are suitable for both children and parents, Little Tikes hopes to make this experience even better.

What else is the toy manufacturer working on to build into its products?

In addition to developing toys that parents and children can play with together, Little Tikes is also incorporating electronics into its products. The company understands that children are growing up in a world where technology plays an important role and wants to ensure that its toys remain relevant. By integrating electronics into its products, Little Tikes hopes to continue to engage children and maintain their interest in play.

To make its products even better, Little Tikes also collaborates with other companies. For example, the company has teamed up with Buckeye Built to develop toys that are durable and of high quality. Little Tikes has also collaborated with Sherwin Williams to develop new paint colors for its products. By collaborating with other companies, Little Tikes can make its products even better and provide its customers with the best possible gaming experience.


It is one of the oldest toy brands in the world and one of the most popular. Little Tikes is a brand of plastic toys for children designed by Thomas G. Murdough and founded in the late 60s.

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.