CHICAGO, Oct. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to choosing the right toy for your child this holiday season, whom do you trust for advice?
Organizations that review toys and create "best toy" lists are an important resource for holiday shopping ideas. But it's critical that their judges are well qualified and that their criteria for reviewing and rewarding toys are relevant, well thought out, and designed to support play.
The American Specialty Toy Association (ASTRA), recognized nationwide for its prestigious annual awards program, today announced its 2015 Best Toys for Kids Awards. Winners in 14 distinct categories are chosen by specialty store retailers – more than 800 men and women who understand the value of play and, day in and day out, have hands-on experience with how kids play.
"The ASTRA Best Toys for Kids Award experts base their choices on what the child does with the toy, not what the toy does," said Kimberly Mosley, ASTRA president. "They know what kids love – as well as what they'll play with just once then toss to the sidelines. Because they recognize a quality play experience when they see it, these toy experts can offer helpful and meaningful recommendations on brands both large and small."
As a result, the annual Best Toys for Kids Award makes it easier for moms, dads and other gift-givers to make smart buying decisions for their kids.
The Best Toys for Kids Award honors the new and improved toys that promote open-ended or creative play, incorporate innovative design features and maintain exceptional safety standards. The winners of the 2015 ASTRA Best Toys for Kids Awards are:
Get outdoors and have some fun! The Swurfer by The ROB Company reinvents the American backyard swing. Use it sitting or standing. Handles adjust for any height or position. Great for a little one looking for a calm swing or a bigger one looking for excitement. Ages 6+, $129.99
CHOOSE YOUR OWN CATEGORY
Mixed By Me Thinking Putty® Kit
Time to get creative! Kids make custom Thinking Putty® colors with this brand-new kit from Crazy Aaron's Puttyworld. With five tins of clear putty, three concentrated color putties, three special effect putties and an instructional mat, it includes everything kids need to make their own Thinking Putty colors!
Ages 8+, $17.99
CLASSIC PLAY: 0-7 YEARS
Pretend and Play Teaching Cash Register
Playing store comes to life with this talking, interactive cash register by Learning Resources that rewards transactions with lights, sounds, and voice messages. Holds actual-sized money and includes a built-in scanner, scale, coin slot, and volume control. Kids practice arithmetic and bill recognition. Requires 3 C batteries, not included. Ages 3+, $54.99
CLASSIC PLAY: 8+ YEARS
Fashion Plates Deluxe Kit
Calling all aspiring fashion designers! Create fabulous designs with the Fashion Plates™ Deluxe Kit from Kahootz. Create one-of-a-kind looks with rubbing plates and the Fashion Plates™ tablet. Add colors and detail with artist's pencils and fashion textures. The stylish portfolio case neatly stores your tablet, plates and tools. Ages 6+, $29.99
Throw, catch, and bounce! Mini Ogodisk by OgoSport, LLC is a multi-functional hand trampoline for balls. A floatable, portable, durable and flexible game that promotes active play by bouncing balls up to 150 feet off mini trampolines. The ogodisk also works as a flying disk! Ages 4+, $29.99
Modarri Surf & Turf Combo
Meet the new Beach Cruzer and Camo Car from Modarri/Thoughtfull Toys, Inc. Each modular car of the Modarri Surf & Turf Combo has interchangeable parts, real suspension and steering. You can literally feel the road! Ages 8-108, $39.99.
CREATIVE ARTS PLAY
Craft-tastic Yarn Tree Kit
Wrap it. Display it. Love it. The Craft-tastic Yarn Tree Kit from Ann Williams Group is perfect for hanging jewelry…or use as a decorative accent piece. Wrap the 18" wire tree with yarn, then bend it into the shape you want. Kit includes an assortment of colorful yarn. Ages 8+, $29.99
3D PlushCraft® Puppy
It's im-paw-sible not to love this 3D Plushcraft® Puppy from The Orb Factory. Use the stylus to punch fabric pieces and match colors to create an adorable plushy pal. Mess-free, it's totally intuitive and has perfect results every time. Includes instructions, 1 puppy figure, stylus and colorful fabric pieces. Ages 5+, $12.99
Push it, pull it, roll it, GO! Surprisingly simple yet endlessly entertaining, Rolligo by Fat Brain Toy Co. is a sensory adventure! 10 multi-colored spheres easily stack in a rack that spins in all directions. Push it forward, back, sideways—any which way. Encourages motor skills and sensory exploration. Ages 12 months+, $24.99
GAME PLAY: 3-5 YEARS
Super Genius - First Words
Super Genius—First Words by Blue Orange Games is a matching game that features fun with early reading concepts! Any two cards have a match between a word and its image, two images or two words. Developed in consultation with early learning professionals. Ages 5+, $12.99
Three Little Piggies
Help three pigs build their houses and stay safe! Inspired by the beloved story, Three Little Piggies by Smart Toys and Games features 3 easy-to-hold puzzle pieces, a story book with images and a booklet with 48 challenges. Or skip the game and use the pieces for imaginative play! Ages 3-6, $24.99
GAME PLAY: 6+ YEARS
Bugs in the Kitchen
Ugh! Bugs in the Kitchen! Roll the die and move pieces on this 3-D maze board by Ravensburger USA Inc. to trap the creepy crawly Hexbug® nano® before your opponent does. Get the bug first and win; leave it loose and go buggy in this fast-action game of extermination! Ages 6+, $29.99
Laser Maze Jr.
ThinkFun does it again with Science Logic Maze for Juniors! Use science and logic to get the laser beam to the rockets so they can safely return to earth! It's a tricky job, but your brain power will get it done. One mission completed and 39 more to go! Ages 6+, $29.99
GAME PLAY: 8+ YEARS
Bellz Magnetic Game
Bellz Magnetic Game by Wiggles 3D is deceptively simple and wonderfully challenging. Open the travel pouch with 40 bells in 4 colors and 3 sizes. Use the dual-powered magnet wand to pick up bells of only one color. The first player to collect 10 bells of one color wins! Ages 6+, $19.99
PRETEND: DOLL PLAY
Mon Premier Bébé Calin Ballerina
The ideal first baby doll for the littlest mommies! Dressed in a pink tutu and ballet slippers, Mon Premier Bébé Calin Ballerina by Corolle Dolls will pirouette into little girl's hearts! 12 inches tall with a cuddly soft beanbag body and supple vinyl skin. Ages 18 months+, $41.99
PRETEND: ROLE PLAY
Kidoozie Pop-Up Theater Tent
Unleash your child's imagination with this easy-to-assemble theater tent by International Playthings that has enough room for two or more little performers. Use puppets, dolls or do a stand-up routine! Made of a sturdy material to withstand heavy play. Carry case included. Puppets not included. Ages 3+, $29.99
PRETEND: FANTASY PLAY
Folkmanis® Winged Dragon Puppet
Fantasy play just got more entertaining with the Folkmanis® Winged Dragon Puppet. Fierce and bold, this green flying reptile is a handful of fun. Create your own fairytale animating the mouth and wings of this magical beast. Ages 3+, $29.99.
Snap Circuits Arcade
Explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) concepts with Snap Circuits Arcade by ELENCO. Learn about electricity, engineering and circuitry with easy-to-follow instructions. Use 30 components to complete over 200 projects, including an internal Microcontroller pre-programmed with interactive games, a tri-color light orb and a dual LED display. Ages 8+, $64.99
For more information on the winning toys and to find a neighborhood toy store near you, please visit http://www.astratoy.org/best-toys-for-kids.asp.
With more than 1,700 members, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is the largest association for companies in the specialty toy and children's products arenas. ASTRA and its member companies promote the growth of the toy industry by delivering products that serve children's best interests. For more information, visit www.astratoy.org.