Holiday Award Toys – Top Ten for 2015
Puddles are freezing, snow is in the air and seasonal lights brighten evenings... Holiday shopping is just around the corner! Here are some of our testing family favourite toys for 2015.
Rogers Daytime (Dec 3, 2015)
Even older siblings can't resist dancing to BeatBo's catchy tunes and flashing coloured lights. Our testing parents loved the wide age appeal and how this spunky little robot encourages so much active play.
"BeatBo was an instant hit for my 19 month old son and 3 year old daughter. With its music and flashing colorful lights and the way it wiggles, you can't help but get up and dance!"
Our testers were impressed with the realism and quality of this play food, as well as the somewhat unique food choices - more varied than other sets and far more sturdy. Toddler safe with play appeal lasting through preschool and early grade school years.
"William (M2) loves cooking like dad. He enjoyed the takeout box and tongs best; I loved the colours and wonderful variety of vegetables. This toy makes pretend play come alive."
Ann Lemire, commenting on the Stir Fry set
Even before they were ready to play a game, our youngest testers loved just reaching into the soft fabric volcano-styled game board to find treasures, often searching for items identified on the cards. School-aged testers loved that the game is simple enough they could play on their own.
"It's all about the surprise. Our three year old doesn't fully understand the nuances of the game, but from the minute she opened it, she was enthralled. Also a hit with my seven and nine year old sons who volunteered to play with her again... and again... and again."
Our kid testers were thrilled to record the world the way they see it. The versatile accessories pack makes it easy to take action shots while riding your bike, going down slides or even swimming under water.
"I like that I get to take pictures of anything I want. It was raining when I took it to the fall fair, but the waterproof case kept it dry! I took a video when I went down the big slide and up on the Ferris wheel. That was cool!"
Despite the added risk of losing a star, our kiddi testers still prefer singing a song or doing Charades-like pantomimes to earn, rather than just pay, for their stars. A great interactive family game enjoyed by all our testers.
"Sometimes I skip places like the zoo so I can pick up a card and try to get the others to guess what I'm doing, because that's more fun than just paying a dollar to get a star."
Our testers loved all the built-in play zones and that this mega garage also features several spots to attach your other Hot Wheels sets, too. Even without the extra sets, there's plenty of room for kids to play together. In fact, this set is huge and so best enjoyed in homes where there's enough room to keep it set up for daily play. For a more contained play experience, our testers were also thrilled to watch cars zipping around the Spin Storm™ Track Set, eagerly anticipating the big crash when the cars eventually collide.
"This is the best toy ever! I like everything about it: the elevators, the shark, the race track, the cool sound effects - EVERYTHING!!! I told all my friends about it and everyone came over and we all played with it for hours!"
David (M6), commenting on the Ultimate Garage
"You never know if they're going to crash, sometimes it's really close but they just miss each other. I love watching the cars just go around and around and around, or adding more cars until the big crash happens. Bang!"
Malik (M6), talking about Spin Storm™
A fabulous new way to enjoy classic hands-on play. The red mirror attachment reflects the area in front of your iPad through the camera to interact with the programs, effectively turning that real world space into a digital-like touch screen. So far there are five great apps to offer an enriching range of brain building fun: Words, Tangram, Newton, Masterpiece and Numbers.
"I love using the Masterpiece game to draw my sister's (5) animal stuffies for her to colour. And I liked with the Newton game how you can use different objects to move the balls and get them to drop in the right spot. Some of the pictures in the Word game were hard to guess, but it was fun playing together and I liked that you could keep going even if you got a few letters wrong."
Designed with a rich variety puzzle solving options. We love that the rope clasps allow puzzlers to set up their own challenges without revealing any hints for the solution. An absolutely superb puzzling set, and one of our all-time favourites.
"I like to putter away at puzzles and Houdini was a challenge from the beginning. I liked being able to choose a puzzle and create it [myself] on the board."
The ultimate hands-on craft! Our testers loved using their fingers instead of knitting needles to make these super easy, ultra kid-friendly knitting projects.
"I wanted to learn how to knit so I can make stuff like my great aunt does, but my mom never learned how. So we both learned together, and mom watched me make my first scarf. I can't wait to learn how to make different things, too."
Our testers loved how these darts light up the night – an awesome effect that also makes it easier to see where they land. The fireworks-like whistling sound as the dart shoots through the air was another popular feature, especially when it attracted playmates from all over the neighbourhood. Best played outdoors (even in winter!), but also great in an open basement space.
"I love, love, love this bow and arrow set! I can shoot the arrows super far and because they light up you can find them, even in trees, so I'll never lose one - not even in the dark. And I like the cool whistling sound they make! All the kids came over to see what I was playing with and they all wanted to try it too!"
Other Great 2015 Award Toys
- Laugh & Learn® Smart Stages™ Scooter (12-36 months, Fisher-Price/Mattel)
- MEGA BLOKS FIRST BUILDERS Friendly Farm (1-5 years, MEGA Bloks)
- Barbie® Pop-Up Camper (3+, Mattel)
- My First Fun Felt Safari (3+, Creativity for Kids/Faber-Castell
- My First Sticky Mosaics® Princess #72742 (4+, The Orb Factory)
- Sticky Mosaics® Pirate (5+, The Orb Factory)
- Sticky Mosaics® Sticker Flip Frame Jewelry Box (5+, The Orb Factory)
- Go Bong! (5+, Foxmind Games)
- Fox's Party (6+, Zoch Verlag/Lion Rampant)
- Sew Softies™ Sea Creatures (7+, The Orb Factory)
- Attila (7+, Blue Orange Games)
- Color Clash (7+, Blue Orange Games)
- Crowded Waters™ Game - Survival of the Fishiest (7+, Educational Insights)
- King's Gold (8+, Blue Orange Games)
- Makey Makey An Invention Kit for Everyone (8+, JoyLabz)
- Loopdeloom (8+, Ann Williams Group)
- String Art (10+, Klutz/Scholastic)