The recent SpaceX launches have made a point of sharing the zero-g indicators astronauts use to float around the capsules as they launch into space including a stuffed globe, a stuffed dinosaur, a Baby Yoda doll, and a stuffed penguin.
These toys are not the first in space though, astronauts have had a long history of hosting Teddy Bears and more starting with the first person in space, Yuri Gagarin, who brought a small doll on his flight! Some of these toys have found their homes in museums around the world and others went home with the astronauts and their families. Buzz Lightyear, a “Toy Story” figurine, visited space on the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-125 and STS-128) and stayed on the International Space Station for 15 months!
More recently, Olaf, from “Frozen” made a trip to space with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov at the request of his daughter.
If you think building Legos at home is messy, can you imagine building a set in space? Legos have flown in space a few times. Satoshi Furukawa even built a model of the International Space Station while he was on the International Space Station!
These toys brought up by astronauts can be used to show how objects move in space. Angry Red Bird from “Angry Birds” made it into space in 2012 to explain physics concepts!
In 2004 NASA took many different kinds of toys from around the world to test how the toy might work differently in microgravity for their “International Toys in Space” series of educational activities and videos.