All toys look inviting and fun when they’re displayed along the toy aisle or promoted in a television advertisement. Fortunately, toy rating organizations and parenting magazines have stepped in to help parents, grandparents, and other adults choose the award winning baby toys, award winning toddler toys, and award winning toys for school-age children. Each year, often right before the holiday season, these groups publish listings of the toys that provide the most fun at the best value.
Following are some of the best toys as judged by various toy rating groups.
Oppenheim Toy Award Winner for Preschoolers: Wonderworld Eco House
Environmentally conscious home construction extends to the toy industry with the Smart Gear Wonderworld Toys Eco House Dollhouse, available at The Creativity Institute. The wooden house comes with rooftop solar panels and a windmill, recycling bins, a rain barrel and an energy-efficient scooter. A family of three dolls and assorted furniture also accompany the house: Dimensions: 24” wide by 22”deep by 20” tall. Price: $129.74. Shipping is included.
FamilyFun Magazine Toy Award Winner: Sing-a-ma-jigs
FamilyFun magazine holds an annual “Toy of the Year” event where parents and kids alike rate hundreds of each year’s new offerings. The top winners are the Sing-a-ma-jigs stuffed animals from Mattel. Squeeze different parts of the 9” tall dolls and they will chatter (in their own language), sing alone or harmonize with other Sing-a-ma-jigs. Each of the four cuties has its own pitch, which makes for a melodious quartet when they sing together. Two AAA batteries are included. Price: $49.99 (four pack), $12.99 each. Shipping varies.
Parents’ Choice Award: Hand Tattoos
Turn your hands into talking animals, monsters or fantastic creatures with the award-winning Temporary Hand Tattoo Sets, available at Uncommon Goods. Applied with water to the side of the hand, these tattoos form an instant hand puppet. The monster and animals sets are sold separately and include 18 tattoos in each set. Ages 3 and up. Price: $12 per sent. Shipping starts at $4.95.
iParenting Media Award Winner: Imaginets
A sturdy wooden case and the magnetic shapes inside make up the clever award winner Imaginets, available through Mindware. Assemble the shapes to create any of the 50 included picture designs and then decorate the background with dry-erase markers. Ages 3 and up. Price: $29.95. Shipping is $8.99.
Toy Industry Association Award Winner: Eco-Friendly Dolphin Explorer Boat
At a grand toy fair and gala awards event each year, the Toy Industry Association awards its Toy of the Year awards. One of the awards went to the Dolphin Explorer Boat from Sprig Toys. Created from Sprigwood, a composite material made of recycled plastic and reclaimed wood, the play set includes a large explore boat, a rescue boat, a mother and baby dolphin, a rescue guide and small accessories. No batteries required. Measurements: 6” high by 6″ wide by 9.5” deep. Ages 3 and up. Price: $24.99. Shipping is $4.99.
For more toys selected by these toy rating groups, check out the following sites:
Toyportfolio.com (Oppenheim Toy Portfolio)
Familyfungo.com (FamilyFun Magazine)
Parents-choice.org (Parents’ Choice Foundation)
Toyindustryassociation.org (“Toy of the Year” Awards)