Mermaids are one of the most popular trends among kids today - with everything from mermaid dolls to games, costumes, stationery and homeware accessories constantly topping their birthday and Christmas lists.


Disney’s new live action version of The Little Mermaid is further whipping up interest in all things under-the-sea themed, with a whole new world of merchandise. However, mermaid fun can be found across many of the most popular children's toy brands, from LEGO and Peppa Pig to Polly Pocket and Hama Beads.

There’s something magical about the mythical creatures which has captured the imagination of children everywhere, so you can expect Ariel dolls, Little Mermaid accessories and mermaid toys to remain popular throughout 2024.

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11 of the best mermaid toys at a glance

  • Best for imaginative play: Playmobil 70509 Magical Mermaids Play Box, £23
  • Best for creative play: Crayola Colour and Style Mermaid, £16
  • Best for role play: DesignaFriend Pearl Mermaid Doll, £21
  • Best singing mermaid doll: Disney Store Ariel Singing Doll, The Little Mermaid Live Action Film, £31
  • Best for toddlers: Peppa's Mermaid Friends: A Lift-the-Flap Book, £6.99
  • Best for independent play: Polly Pocket Rainbow Funland Mermaid Cove Ride Playset, £24.99
  • Best for early development: Educational Toy Doll – Mermaid, £16
  • Best for newborns: Bright Starts Little Mermaid Lights & Music Activity Gym, £75
  • Best for older kids: Hama Beads Mermaids Gift Set, £18
  • Best for value for money: Disney The Little Mermaid Ariel Fashion Doll, £19.99
  • Best for interactive play: LEGO The Little Mermaid Story Book, £17.99

What to look for

To coincide with the new film release, Disney has licensed a number of new products, including a Little Mermaid costume, a singing Ariel Doll, an Ariel fashion doll and a range of new LEGO sets.

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But while officially licensed Little Mermaid products – inspired by both the original and the 2023 versions of Ariel – are bound to be flying off the shelves, Disney isn’t the only mermaid toymaker.

Look out for themed books, regular and singing Ariel dolls, play sets and plushies from some of your favourite brands, such as Playmobil, LEGO and Polly Pocket.

What age range do mermaids suit?

Thanks to the huge range of mermaid-themed toys on the market you will find something for all age groups, from newborn to teen and beyond.

For the youngest children, pram toys and activity mats featuring mermaids, mermen and sea creatures are a great option. While older children will enjoy mermaid-inspired craft activities such as the Crayola Colour and Style mermaid or Hama beads.

And don’t think that mermaid toys are just for girls. Products such as a Peppa Pig lift the flap book or Playmobil's Mermaid Play Box hold universal appeal.

Here's our pick of the 11 best mermaid toys in 2023...

1. Playmobil 70509 Magical Mermaids Play Box, £23

– Best for imaginative play

Playmobil 70509 Magical Mermaids Play Box

Age suitability: 4-10 | Best for age: 6-8 | Batteries: None

This portable mermaid play set contains a whopping 56 pieces and opens up like a little wardrobe to reveal an under the sea-themed backdrop in which to arrange your figures and accessories, making it ideal for imaginative play.

Two mermaids are included in the set, alongside adjustable shelves and a little seashell-themed seat. All of the pieces fit inside the case which can be closed and carried like a bag thanks to the handle on the top. This makes it great for taking out and about or on holiday with you as it’s so easy to pack up and grab.

Playmobil turns 50 next year and this set is of the same high quality parents have come to expect from the German brand over the years. The attention to detail is exquisite with tiny nets, pearls and fish all included in the set. Some of the accessories are very small though so beware of the potential choking hazards around younger siblings.

Being made from plastic, it is nice and light to carry and of course can be teamed up with other Playmobil sets to extend and expand the play options.

Pros: Portable, lightweight, carry case included, large range of pieces, ideal for imaginative play

Cons: Tiny pieces are easy to lose/could be a choking hazard for younger siblings, made entirely of plastic

Available from: Amazon, Debenhams and Hamleys

2. Crayola Colour and Style Mermaid, £16

– Best for creative play

Crayola Colour and Style Mermaid

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 5+ | Batteries: None

This little doll is a great gift for crafty kids who love to colour, draw and decorate things as it is designed for exactly that – and can even be cleaned up and used all over again.

She comes with her own pens, charms, hair accessories and reusable stickers with the idea being that your little one can decorate her any way they like. The clip-on tail and top can be coloured in with the pens or covered in stickers which can later be wiped off/removed. The pens are also suitable for use on the doll’s hair and again, the colour can be washed out afterwards.

Accessories including a plastic curl and beads mean her hair can be styled in a variety of ways and she also comes with a little crown and comb of her own.

If your child is obsessed with drawing on things they shouldn’t (!) then this is a great way of encouraging their creativity – and their mischievous streak – without sacrificing your walls/furniture/Barbie doll collection. If you’re short on space too, the Crayola Colour and Style Mermaid is a much smaller, and cheaper, alternative to a styling head doll.

Some parents recommend letting your child take the doll in the bath with them so they have something to play with, while simultaneously cleaning it up.

Pros: Can be played with over and over with different results each time, encourages creativity and expression, lightweight, 3 different designs

Cons: Pen colour may rub off on your hands, the top and tail don’t clip together very easily, plastic packaging

Available from: Argos, Very and Amazon

3. DesignaFriend Pearl Mermaid Doll, £21

– Best for role play

DesignaFriend Mermaid Doll, Kayleigh, Matilda, 5

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 4-7 | Batteries: None | Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

This 5-star rated soft-bodied doll has a really unique selling point - solar-activated hair which changes colour in sunlight. At 46cms (18 inches) she’s a good size for little hands that might want to brush and braid her long hair and she comes with two trendy outfits – a mermaid-themed top and leggings and a mermaid swimsuit – plus a charm bracelet for your child to wear.

Like all the DesignaFriend dolls, Pearl comes in a boutique-style gift box and wrapping paper, and fits into the clothes of other dolls in the collection.

"The hair was a total – and best – surprise," said Heena, mum of our child tester, Ayesha, 6. "Ayesha got so excited seeing it change colour. I mean, who would have imagined that? I'm impressed by this doll's quality. Pretty features, lush packaging – and perfect for role-play games."

Pros: Unique changing hair colour, clothing and accessories can be interchanged with other dolls from the collection, soft body, movable limbs

Cons: Arms and legs do not bend at wrists or knees

Available from: Argos and Amazon

4. Disney Store Ariel Singing Doll, The Little Mermaid Live Action Film, £31

– Best singing mermaid doll

4. Disney Store Ariel Singing Doll, The Little Mermaid Live Action Film

Age suitability: 4+ | Best for age: 4-7 | Batteries: 3 x AG13 button cell batteries, included

A brand new product released to coincide with Disney’s 2023 live action version of The Little Mermaid, starring Halle Bailey as Ariel. As such, the 28cm doll has been made in Halle’s likeness – something fans have been quick to praise. For little girls of colour to see themselves reflected in a Disney Princess is a real boost for diversity – something Disney has previously been criticised as being slow to embrace.

This singing doll comes with a flowing mermaid’s tail skirt as well as an intricate party dress complete with boots and a hair ribbon. She also sings some of ‘Part of Your World’ at the touch of a button.

Prefect for role play games, Ariel has movable limbs including knee and wrist joints. Parents who have purchased the doll have praised the pretty design and included outfit change. At £31, it's not a cheap buy (no surprise for official Disney Store merchandise) but details like the additional outfit, song functions, and likeness to the on-screen character make this a special doll for Disney fans.

Pros: Quality singing feature, promotes diversity and inclusion, movable limbs, change of clothes included, ideal for role play

Cons: Expensive

Available from: Shop Disney

5. Peppa's Mermaid Friends: A Lift-the-Flap Book, £6.99

– Best for toddlers

Peppa Pig's Mermaid Friends

Age suitability: 2-4 | Best for age: 2 | Batteries: None

This lift-the-flap book is a toddler’s dream as the large flaps are perfect for little hands and the colourful pictures will capture their growing imagination.

Featuring familiar Peppa characters, including Peppa Pig, Suzy Sheep and Rebecca Rabbit, the hard back design makes this book durable and toddler-proof.

It’s a great way to spark an early love of books and reading while also boosting fine motor skills by letting them explore and lift the flaps for themselves. The mermaid theme keeps it colourful and current.

MFM Head of Consumer Content and mum of 3, Christy, says: “My Peppa-mad 2-year-old son loved looking at this book. The illustrations are lovely, and it’s very well-made, with sturdy pages that can withstand being handled by a toddler.”

Pros: Bright design is appealing to young children, toddlers can explore and lift the flaps for themselves, familiar characters, appeals to boys and girls

Cons: The book is quite short with just a couple of flaps on each page so you may find your child outgrows it fairly quickly

Available from: Amazon, WH Smith and Smyths Toys

6. Polly Pocket Rainbow Funland Mermaid Cove Ride Playset, £24.99

– Best for independent play

6. Polly Pocket Rainbow Funland Mermaid Cove Ride Playset

Age suitability: 4-10 years | Best for age: 4-8 | Batteries: None

This colourful theme park playset has a host of interactive features that will appeal to growing young minds. With 2 dolls and an impressive 15 accessories, the play possibilities are endless.

For kids who enjoy the current surprise-and-reveal trends (isn’t that all of them?), the turret atop the plastic cove will be a highlight – twist it to reveal a hidden sweet shop and to dispense accessories down the little slide at the side. There’s also a little game where you can catapult pearls into their shells, plus a swing and a carousel for the characters to sit on.

Originally released in the 1980s, Polly Pocket toys have endured due to the attention to detail and huge range of playsets available – and the Netflix series based on the character has made her popular with a whole new generation of young girls.

This set is great for encouraging independent play and is lightweight. Again, there are lots of tiny accessories so be aware if younger siblings are playing nearby.

Pros: Comes with two dolls – a Polly Pocket and mermaid doll – each with movable joints, different play zones and surprise rooms extend the play opportunities, lightweight, can expand collection with other sets

Cons: Plastic, unlike some of the Polly Pocket sets you can’t store all the pieces inside it, small pieces could be choking hazard for younger siblings

Available from: Amazon, Bargain Max and Maqio Toys

7. Mamas & Papas Educational Toy Doll – Mermaid, £16

– Best for early development

Mamas & Papas Educational Toy Doll – Mermaid

Age suitability: From birth | Best for age: 6-12 months | Batteries: None

This beautifully-made mermaid doll is an ideal way to entertain young babies. The C-ring clip means it can be hooked onto a pushchair or pram to keep baby busy while you’re out and about and they will love the soft colours and the mermaid's friendly face.

With a range of textures, sounds and features such as a rattle and a teething ring, it offers ideal stimulation for developing brains. It’s incredibly light so is a great toy for grabbing when you’re on the go. The clip should also stop your little one from hurling it out the pram when you’re not looking.

The C-ring is also detachable and doubles up as a teething toy – something you’ll be grateful for as your baby grows and needs something to bite and dribble all over. And yes, before you ask, it is machine washable!

Pros: Lovely colours, textures and sounds, quality materials, lightweight, portable, machine washable, doubles up as teething toy

Cons: Light colours can get grubby quickly

Available from: Mamas & Papas, Amazon and Bella Baby

8. Bright Starts Little Mermaid Lights & Music Activity Gym, £75

– Best for newborns

Bright Starts Little Mermaid Lights & Music Activity Gym

Age suitability: From birth | Best for age: Newborns | Batteries: 3 AA batteries (not included)

Based on Disney’s original The Little Mermaid film, this bright and engaging activity gym features Ariel, Sebastian and Flounder accessories and a host of light and sound displays.

At £75, it is not cheap – but a great investment from birth. Switch on the lights for an immersive experience or try the generous 25 minutes of melodies to encourage your child to wiggle and kick to the music.

Activity gyms are a great way to strengthen and stimulate new babies and also the ideal way to introduce tummy time - see our round up of the best baby activity mats here. The NHS recommends introducing small bursts of tummy time from birth in order to strengthen your baby’s neck, shoulder and trunk muscles. And this mat is a great place to start as it comes with a support pillow and textured toys for them to play with. Remember that very young babies may only managed a minute or so on their stomach before they become distressed or irritable, so aim for short stretches as they build up their muscles.

The mat itself is machine washable – great for all those little dribble and vomit accidents that newborns tend to have – while the detachable toys are wipe clean.

A nice feature of this mat is that the toys are detachable so you can unhook them from the play mat and pop them on your pram or in your change bag for while you are out and about. It also has a padded base for extra comfort, and folds flat so can be popped down the side of the sofa or behind a door when not in use.

Pros: Range of accessories to stimulate baby’s development, folds flat for easy storage, detachable toys for on the go, lightweight, machine washable, great for tummy time

Cons: Expensive, toys are wipe-clean only

Available from: Argos and Amazon

9. Hama Beads Mermaids Gift Set, £18

– Best for older children

Hama Beads Mermaids Gift Set,

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 5-10 | Batteries: None

This bead design set makes a great present for older children as it will keep them occupied for hours. Containing a whopping 4,000 beads, creative kids can make up to two plastic mermaids and a dolphin that – with a bit of adult help – are then fused together with heat via an iron.

While the individual beads can be a bit fiddly and you’ll need to help/supervise your child when it comes to ironing them, there is still hours of independent play to be had here sorting and arranging the beads into the colourful designs.

It’s a great way to hone fine motor skills and the child is left with a permanent record of their own handiwork. A nice touch is that the kit also includes bead supports so that the models can proudly be displayed once complete.

The set also includes two pegboards to build the mermaids on and the designs to copy in order to create them, plus the special ironing paper required to seal them once complete.

Another handy feature is a storage tray so the beads don’t get lost when not in use.

The beads are small so keep them away from children under three and always supervise children around hot appliances.

Pros: Great for creative play, kids have something to keep at the end of it, boosts fine motor skills, takes time and patience, fun and colourful designs

Cons: Plastic, small parts, requires adult supervision

Available from: Hobbycraft and Amazon

10. Disney The Little Mermaid Ariel Fashion Doll, £19.99

– Best for value for money

Disney The Little Mermaid Ariel Fashion Doll

Age suitability: 3+ | Best for age: 5-10 | Batteries: None

If you're looking for a mermaid play figure based on the 2023 live action version of The Little Mermaid, but can forgo the singing feature, this Mattel doll comes in at a much lower price point than the shopDisney’s singing Ariel doll.

While she doesn’t have the same number of features and accessories, this is a great basic playline doll with reviewers quick to praise the quality of her long hair and the intricate detailing on her face.

And with her clothing being painted on – except for her detachable plastic fin – there’s nothing to stop you getting the doll wet, which should make for some imaginative bathtime fun.

Pros: Budget-friendly, perfect for bath time, good quality hair, based on new movie, promotes diversity and inclusion

Cons: Clothes do not come off, cannot stand up alone, hinges at waist only

Available from: JD Williams, Smyths Toys, John Lewis and Amazon

11. LEGO The Little Mermaid Story Book, £17.99

– Best for interactive play

LEGO The Little Mermaid Story Book

Age suitability: 5+ | Best for age: 8-10 | Batteries: None

Offering the fun of construction as well as a toy to play with, this new LEGO set also coincide with Disney’s 2023 The Little Mermaid film.

With a total of 134 pieces, the fold out Story Book set features three themed play zones: Ursula’s lair with a folding shell throne; Prince Eric’s library with a hidden book and map; and Ariel’s cave with a revolving statue and key.

It comes with three figures – Ariel, Ursula and Eric – plus a little Sebastian the crab and a host of accessories including a statue of Eric for Ariel to admire.

It contains the trademark LEGO attention to detail and virtually indestructible pieces so you know it was built to last.

The play set can be shut and locked when not in use – perfect for kids who love to stash their secret treasures safely away, but also reducing the chance of the small parts getting lost. It also makes this a great option for taking on days out and trips away.

A bonus feature of this product is the LEGO Builder App, which can be used in conjunction with the set to extend play. The app allows them to view their model in 3D and zoom in and out while tracking their build progress. It’s a great way of introducing a modern take to a classic toy.

The Story Book set is part of a range of new releases to mark the occasion – other new products include Ariel's Treasure Chest and the The Little Mermaid Royal Clamshell.

Pros: Interactive app extends play, folds up for safe and compact storage, built to last, attention to detail

Cons: Plastic, small pieces are easy to lose

Available from: LEGO, John Lewis and Argos

Planning a Little Mermaid themed party?

If you're planning to spoil your own little Mermaid or Merman with an under-the-sea inspired party, try these products to help you really make a splash.

Mermaid cake stand: Display your homemade or shop bought (we're not judging) creations atop this 3-tier under-the-sea themed cake stand.

Little Mermaid costume: Dress your little one to the nines in this new edition of Ariel's iconic look from the Disney Store, complete with stretchy back for a comfortable fit.

Mermaid cake candles: Light up any birthday cake with these cute mermaid candles from Hobbycraft that can be popped in the top of treats of any size.

Mermaid paper plates: Get your guests talking with the eye-catching paper plates that look great and also save on the washing up.

Mermaid slap bands: These mermaid-themed favours are suitable for guests of any age or gender and are perfect popped in a party bag.

Super Smalls Mermaid Pool Party Mega Set: This pretty necklace and bracelet set comes in a lovely gift box, making an extra-special gift for the birthday child

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Amy Burns is a senior journalist with more than 15 years’ experience in writing and editing lifestyle content including travel features. She is a mum of 1 and writes regular family travel reviews, days out guides and destination features for the national newspaper The i.