With thousands and thousands of toys to choose from, covering every imaginable niche, it can be hard to find the truly wonderful toys of today.
When we're bombarded from all sides by advertising and hype, where can grownups look for toys that are high quality, age-appropriate, developmentally enhancing, innovative, and most important of all, fun?
A great way to start is to check out the reputable toy awards given each year.
All of the following programs choose their honorees independently of any influence from toy manufacturers. And each can help guide toy shoppers in their search for toys that will take their place among the classic toys we all grew up with.
If you're looking for fantastic toys, your search begins here:
Dr. Toy Award
For over 30 years, child-development expert and author Stevanne “Dr. Toy” Auerbach, Ph.D. has honored Dr. Toy's Best Children's Products every year. Dr. Toy analyzes toys based on criteria from safety & design, to educational value and affordability, for a selection of winning toys with a strongly child-centered focus.
Parents’ Choice Awards
Another longtime trusted authority is the Parents’ Choice Awards, which announced their first award winners in 1978. Their selection committees use a multi-level, confidential evaluation process to identify toys that “entertain and teach with flair, stimulate imagination and inspire creativity.” PCA judges also do not honor products that extol violence.
Toy of the Year Award
The selection process for the Toy of the Year or “TOTY” Awards is more akin to the Oscars. Experts both inside and outside the toy industry vote, along with consumers, to determine the favorite toys of the year. Winners are announced every February during the New York Toy Fair, the major industry convention.
FamilyFun Toy of the Year Award
FamilyFun magazine, a publication of Parents magazine, takes another approach, asking 50 families to evaluate hundreds of toys. The resulting FamilyFun Toy of the Year Awards are awarded every year as the holiday shopping season approaches. The 25 winners for 2014 were announced just this month, including a mixture of high- and low-tech toys, some with a strong educational element, some just pure silly fun (like a grunting pig puppet!).
National Parenting Center Seal Of Approval
The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval report advises consumers on the top toys from the perspective of America's leading parent advocacy organization.
And a searchable database of hundreds of independent, impartial toy reviews makes Oppenheim Toy Portfolio another great source for discovering the top toys of today.
What’s The Take Away For You?
Each of these established awards programs stakes their reputation on their impartial selections. Each may take a different approach to answering the question “What are the best toys on the market right now?” but they all offer loads of great ideas for parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, and anyone else shopping for toys.
And when you're faced with the overwhelming options in the toy section, it helps to know that experts have been digging through all those choices so you don't have to.
Check out Madame Alexander's latest award winners!
Our new 7” play dolls, Madame Alexander Travel Friends, were named one of Dr. Toy's 10 Best Toys of 2014. The sweet, soothing Madame Alexander Lullaby Bunny Baby was awarded the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval. And Madame Alexander Newborn Nursery Baby Dolls received the Spring 2014 Parents’ Choice Award.We thank the judges for these honors!