As a natural, ongoing part of our work as parents, teachers, early childhood specialists, and others involved with children at home or elsewhere, we observe children at play. With our eyes we see what works…and what doesn’t hold up under tough testing—the normal barrage of active, inquisitive, and resourceful babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and older children.
This guide is offered to complement your observations and to help you in selecting the right products to enhance your child’s play and learning.
We make buying decisions based on lasting play value and product applicability to find a good balance of children’s active, creative, and educational experiences that range from the basics to today’s technology.
We can depend on the durability and versatility of such items as blocks, construction toys, games, dolls, puppets, and transportation toys. They stimulate the imagination, engage the player, have value, and hold up over time.
We apply these standards to all the play product choices we make. We often hear consumers describe their experience of making a purchase, but shortly after giving little Annie or Danny the product it falls apart—a frustrating and often expensive experience. Products that do not meet safety standards can be dangerous and cause harm to children. We want to avoid these problems and as always strive for excellence.
Dr. Toy spent a great deal of time reviewing a large quantity of varied products created by manufacturers and designers the world over. We make sure the final selections match the extensive criteria for excellence. Certainly age grading, name recognition, company dependability, versatility of design, and place of purchase are factors to obtain the right product.
Another aspect you can depend on is a warranty. Rising costs for products require everyone to be wise consumers to get lasting value. Durable products, properly designed and developmentally correct, are worth the money. Children’s positive reactions are worth our care in selection.
Dr. Toy utilizes a comprehensive set of objective criteria to evaluate toys and children’s products.
Some Basic questions are:
• Is this product affordable and worth the price?
• Does it have lasting “play value”?
• Is it appropriate?
• Is it fun?
• Does it meet safety standards?
Dr. Toy is pleased to again have the opportunity to share over 56 years of play, toy, and educational experiences with parents, teachers, and other consumers to assist them in their own selection process to match the child’s age and interests.
This timely report, since 1992, features information about l00 wonderful new educational and developmentally appropriate toys, games, and children’s products from large and small companies. The toys and products selected meet our high standards for design, durability, price, quality, safety, and value.
Dr. Toy wants to remind parents and teachers, “Let’s not forget that play is children’s work.” It is also essential for well-being at any age and should be actively practiced, respected, and understood by all adults.
We should be thinking: What products or ‘tools for play’ can we obtain to provide wholesome experiences for our children (and ourselves) and provide plenty of positive and meaningful playful learning interactions.
Dr. Toy’s Smart Play/Smart Toys: How to Select and Use the Best Toys and Games, in its expanded 4th Edition, written for parents, teachers and others who care about children, is available in toy and book stores and online.
Dr. Toy invites consumers to take time for play, expand diverse product experiences, and ask questions about toys and products to companies and retailers.
Following are Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Award-Winning Toys, Games, and Children’s Products and their companies grouped in categories of “smart” play. You can find out more about each product by the assigned codes that designate types of products and by visiting websites and stores.
Have a playful, safe, and healthy rest of the year. Continue to play together for all the beneficial, positive, and right reasons!