The Best Toys for Kids with ADHD 2012
What to look for and our top picks
Tags: Toys for Kids with ADHD, Tips for Shopping for Kids with ADHD
Posted: 2012-12-11 15:27:41 By: by Stephanie Oppenheim and Joanne Oppenheim

 

Everyone wants to  bring home a present that's going to be a hit.  For a child with ADHD, there are some toys to avoid.  The "big" construction toy may look like a memorable gift-but can unfortunately end up causing tears instead of a positive play experience.  A board game with lots of rules that you might have enjoyed as a child can also produce more frustration than pleasure. Here's what you should know before you go shopping for a child with ADHD:

 
Play to their strengths. Many children with ADHD have plenty of energy that they need to use so physical activity should be encouraged. For example, sports like swimming or karate can provide a valuable outlet.


Confidence Builders. Kids with ADHD have trouble completing lengthy tasks because they often become frustrated and discouraged. While bringing home an elaborate and complicated puzzle or construction set might seem like a great treat, it may be too intimidating for a child with ADHD. Instead, start out simpler and give your child a puzzle or construction set that has fewer components.


Clear the Deck. Does your playroom look like a toy store? Kids with ADHD are easily distracted when there are lots of toys around vying for their attention. To help your child focus, it might be helpful to have a play table where only one game or toy can be played with at a time. Place other toys in closed cabinets. In this case, less is definitely more.


Shorter is Better. Games with short play times are a better choice than those with lengthier ones. Selecting games with only a few easy to understand rules is the best choice.


Pretend Play. Giving kids the props for pretend play, whether it's a set of costumes, puppets or a playhouse, also are solid choices for helping children to develop their imaginations and communication skills. Role-playing with dolls, stuffed animals or action figures allows children to express feelings that they might not otherwise be able to do directly.

 Provide Open-Ended Artistic Outlet. Many children with ADHD are often told that they are not doing something the right way. Open-ended art supplies like clay, big markers, or paints give kids an opportunity to express themselves in a non-verbal way. There is no right or wrong way to use these art supplies. As a parent, it is also your job to provide positive reinforcement. For example, you can help coordinate an art show for family members to attend.

Be on the same team. Be aware that you can really help kids cope with ADHD and create a supportive environment that involves the whole family. Extended family members should be encouraged to play and interact but they need to have reasonable expectations. For example, kids with ADHD cannot be expected to sit still for long projects or games. It is important for everyone to be aware and considerate of each other so that no one will end up frustrated or in tears.

Here are our top picks for this holiday season for kids with ADHD:

Reading and Writing

 

 


2012 Award
LeapPad2 Explorer
(LeapFrog $99 Score: )

This updated version of last year's breakthrough LeapPad Explorer remains our top pick in high tech toys for 2012. Just like the original, it delivers on all counts in terms of being age appropriate, engaging and easy to use.

What we wrote last year: The LeapPad is not your iPad. In many ways, we think it's better. Well, better for the young audience for which it was designed. At $99, the white, lightweight tablet delivers satisfying speed and graphics to your older preschooler and early school age child. Unlike your iPad, everything is meant for your child. The games pull from LeapFrog's library of 100+ educational games- so you can select those that are most appropriate for your child and her needs. You can use all Leapster Explorer games and apps you already have- also a plus. Our testers also loved exploring the art program- here's an example of where an adult may want a turn! The LeapPad also has a built in camera and video camera. All in all- a great use of technology that will entertain and engage your child.

What's new this year: it's lighter, smaller,  has 4 GB Memory, both a front and back camera, video capability, a faster processor, and you can recharge (although recharger sold separately).  There are now 325 plus games to access from the LeapFrog library as well as eBooks. Comes loaded with 5 apps.  We recommend that you download the more open-ended art studio (it no longer comes loaded).  It comes in both green and pink.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 

 
2008 Awards
LeapFrog Tag Reading System
(LeapFrog $49.99 Score: )

Touch the pages of the Tag books with a chunky pen shaped infrared sensor. It reads the words, letters, numbers, and even sings! Unlike so many so-called reading systems, this one has real books such as Olivia, Chicka, Chicka Boom, Boom, I Spy, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, and The Little Engine That Could among others in the library of choices. There are activity books as well as some popular licensed characters. We're hoping they will add even more real books to the list. A fun tool that beginning readers can use independently, the way you probably listened to recordings. Only Tag improves on that. It's not just listening, kids are actually seeing the words, moving the sensor from left to right and turning the pages from front to back. In other words it reinforces how a book "works" in a child friendly and playful way. Parents will need to download the audio onto the sensor from their MAC or PC. The toy comes loaded with just one program, but there are 16 titles available to add on. ($13.99 each)  4-8.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP ADAPTATION: The chunky sensor will be easier than most to grasp. If it needs to be futher adapted, a glove with velcro in the mitt and a strip of velcro on the sensor may do the trick. Unlike simply reading along with a recording, this learning tool enables beginning readers to follow along and get the sense of how the text moves from left to right. It encourages readers to learn the mechanics of how a book works from front to back, from left page to right. Add to this the fun of exploring the pages and art to make things happen and this goes a few steps beyond any other read aloud story system with real books!

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2012 Award
LeapFrog Tag Interactive World Map
(LeapFrog $19.99 Score: )

An update to the original Platinum Award winning World Map of 2011. Now LeapFrog has redone the sturdy cardboard map into a two-sided interactive puzzle. It has a Political Map on one side with each of the country's names and borders. Kids can play a quiz game that help them learn the names of the countries and oceans. The reverse side shows a Physical Map of the world that shows the seven continents, oceans, major mountain ranges, deserts, rivers and major landmarks. Putting the puzzle together gives kids some hands-on experience with learning to map the world. As with the USA Map, this is an add-on to the TAG Reading System (the TAG pen is not included in this package). With the TAG, your child can explore the map on several levels. We love the ability to explore and hear the name of place touched on the map. If you ever wished your atlas could talk to you (or was that just us?)...this is really what happens with this mode. There is also a lot of built-in trivia...another passion with school-aged kids who love to amass facts! Our favorite is the travel time mode so that you can find out how long it would take you to travel from New York to Sydney!

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

Vehicles

 

 

 
2012 Awards
Fisher Price, Thomas The Train: Steam 'n Speed R/C Thomas
(Fisher-Price $44.99 Score: )

Imagine a train engine that sends up blue steam! Really! Kids control the motion with a child-friendly radio controller that lets them activate the steam and send Thomas rolling backwards or forward. Thomas also chugs and whistles and says a few phrases. The steam is created with cold water - like a cold-water vaporizer; so there is no danger. It needs 4 AA batteries to run.  2 & up.

SNAP: As remote vehicles go, this is less complex than most. Yet, there is a sense of power to be gained as children gradually come to master and recall the buttons to push that make this little engine go. The magic of the blue smoke make this a toy that will wow a wider age range of players...probably even the  grown ups in the room.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2010 Award
Krazy Kars Light Up Marble Racers
(Skullduggery $7.99 Score: )

Kids can customize their own see-though racers with the stick-on decals. Give them a shake and the "marble" in the center of the vehicle lights up. These will make good party favors or stocking stuffers or a less than costly way to exit the toy store with a small purchase. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2012 Award
Creativity for Kids Monster Trucks
(Creativity for Kids $19.99 Score: ) Two sturdy little monster trucks with metallic bodies come out of the box ready to roll, flip, race with pull-back motor action. What makes these special are the crafty add-ons. Kids can customize their trucks with stickers and acrylic paints. A rare find in the craft department that will interest boys as well as girls. This calls for some fine motor skills in getting the stickers off the sticker sheet, so some adult help may be needed, especially with the younger age group. Marked 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

Games and Puzzles

 

 


2012 Award
Chronicle Around the World Puzzle
(Chronicle $14.95 Score: )

Highly stylized images of multicultural children from around the world fit together, hand in hand, on this big 16-piece floor puzzle. The playing pieces are two-sided, so there are 32 images that can be joined. Each figure is wearing the native costume of his or her country and the name of the country is printed on the side. Marked for 3 & up, but the concepts are well beyond that age group.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2012 Award
Feed the Woozle
(Peaceable Kingdom $20 Score: )

Designed for beginning game players, this is a cooperative game that involves some fine and gross motor skills, simple counting, and turn taking. Set the Woozle playing board with its big mouth on a table that kids can easily reach. Players take turns tossing the die and putting that number of snacks in a big plastic spoon. Now the trick is to carry the snacks on the spoon to the Woozle without spilling them. For every piece that gets in the Woozles big mouth you get a yummy card. There are thee levels of play. Level one involves simple walking to the Woozle and feeding it. Level Two involves following the directions on the spinner. Players may have to walk backwards, hop or wiggle and still not spill the pieces. The third version calls for a blindfold! This will make a fun party game. Level Two sounds like the most fun. Blindfolds are sometimes a little scary for threes...but try it once they have the hang of this game.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 
2012 Awards
eeBoo About Face
(eeBoo $15 Score: )

Assemble the strips to create an endless cast of zany faces. Created by artist Saxton Freeman uses his photos of found objects to create images that can represent eyes, noses, mouths and other features from leaves, ribbons, coins and such. There is no right or wrong. Good fun. 4 & up.

SNAP: A good talking game with objects to know and name and extend vocabulary. Use this game for solo play or taking turns adding the top, middle and bottom of faces.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

 

 

 

 
2010 Awards
eeBoo Baby Animals, Simple Puzzle Pairs
(eeBoo $14.95 Score: )

Twenty two-piece puzzles of mother and baby animals that fit together side by side. This is a good toy for developing dexterity as well as language. Children often know the names of the adult animal, but learning the baby names for them is another level of knowing. There are color cues on the two pieces that help beginners get it together. These are sturdy puzzle pieces with charming art done by well known illustrator, Saxton Freymann.

SNAP: A good choice for building language. When you play with these you can also use them with riddles...I see an animal that has a trunk...or I see an animal that hops. There are other games suggested on the box. These are sturdy puzzle pieces with charming art done by well known illustrator, Saxton Freymann.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 



 

 

 
2011 Awards
Funny Faces Game
(International Playthings $14.99 Score: )

Our testing family had great fun making funny faces at each other. Actually one player has to try and make a face that matches one of the faces on the game board. The other players have to guess which face it is that he is making. It's easy but fun and comes with 60 face cards, 30 face tiles and four game tokens. This is an entertaining game that also puts kids in touch with "reading" people's expressions and thinking about their own.  The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.  We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

SNAP: Add a mirror to this game so kids can see for themselves how their face looks while they are trying to copy the face on the game board.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2011 Award
Where's that Chipmunk? Game
(Haywire Group $24 Score: )

Our players of mixed ages liked this hide and seek game. It comes with a plush chipmunk and a set of 40 indoor cards, 40 outdoor cards, and create your own cards, 6 score cards and 13 acorn tokens. In each round, one player gets to hide the chipmunk but not just anywhere. The hider picks three cards and then everyone hides their eyes while the hider puts the chipmunk in one of the three places pictured on the cards. The hider then shows the other players the three cards that are printed with clear images and the word(no reading required.) Players then search for the chipmunk. First one to find the toy gets an acorn and becomes the hider in the next round. Winner of the game is the first to get three acorns. This is an active game and the objects on the cards are pretty much objects found in a middle class home. We liked the fact that you can add pictures on the create your own cards. A good choice for 3-7 year olds for a party or family gathering. It's active play that gets kids moving. Average play is 20 minutes. 2-6 players. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2011.

 



 

 


2012 Award
Galactic Floor Puzzle
(Janod $23.99 Score: )

All the pieces fit in this beautiful case with galactic images. Inside are 36 good sized pieces to fit together into a 24 x 36 inch picture of space with astronauts, planets, stars, and rockets. Heavy cardboard pieces will hold up as kids love doing their puzzles many times. 4-7

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2011 Award
Dr. Seuss Wood Alphabet Puzzle
(I Can Do That Games $19.99 Score: )

Lift the gaily-painted wooden letters to uncover a surprise object that begins with the sound of each letter. Under the A is an airplane. Under the B a ball, etc. Favorite Dr. Suess characters are painted on the wooden frame, as well. Best of all, the raised letters are chunky enough for little hands to lift out and hold with ease. 3 & up.
The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2009 Award
Simms Taback Animal Parade Floor Puzzle
(Briarpatch $18.99 Score: )

You are going to love the look of this handsome 48 piece floor puzzle. Each animal pictured comes in four pieces with the background color serving as a clue. You do need plenty of room for this loooong puzzle and younger kids may need help to get started. But not to worry, the big pieces make this ideal for younger kids. After it is complete, be sure to play a riddle game by taking turns telling a few sentences about the animal you are thinking of and see if your child can find it. For example: Say 'I am thinking of an animal that goes hippity-hop and has a bushy tail.'  Add a color clue, if needed, or a rhyming clue. Encourage kids to take turns in making up the riddles. Also special, the Simms Taback Jumbo Floor Puzzle ($18.99) with farm animals.  They say 3-6. We're sure 3's will need help. So will most 4's. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.
 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


Arts & Crafts

 

 


2012 Award
E-Z Crafts Paint-a-Bank
(WowToyz $10.99 Score: )

This painting project comes with water soluble paint that is washable and spreads with ease. That makes this a good project for young painters. Choose a ceramic dinosaur or one of several vehicles. Out Tester liked the stegosaurus with all those fins on its back. Perfect for collecting pennies or bigger change for a rainy day. Unlike old-fashioned ceramic banks, this one can be opened and is reusable. Kit comes with paintbrush, six non-toxic paints and a white ceramic bank ready to decorate. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2012 Award
Seedling Color the Earth Ball
(Kid O $30 Score: )

A globe/ball for all ages. How kids use it will depend on their age. Some will like boucing it and simply playing with it. Others will love the fun of labeling the countires or color coding them. Inflate this jumbo 16-inch ball that comes with a set of permanent fabric markers. A word of warning, this has a strong odor when it comes out of the box that disappears in time. It's the size of a big beachball, though not intended for the water. It does bounce well. This ball is marked 3 & up, but will be of more interest to school aged kids.

 

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2012.

 

 

 


2011 Award
Make Your Own Kaleidoscope
(Creativity for Kids $12.99 Score: )

Here kids are getting an introduction to reflective properties of light and how different materials affect what we see. The set requires kids to follow step by step instructions for putting the kaleidoscope together. Comes with lots of materials to put in the end piece, but you can also encourage your child to experiment with things from around the house (small buttons, Cheerios, etc.).  Kit says 5 & up--and while a 5 year old will love playing with this toy, they will need your assistance to put it together.   We'd say  more like 8 & up for independent play.  The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.   We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 



 

 

 
2009 Awards
Creativity for Little Kids Finger Prints
(Creativity for Kids $20 Score: )

We really love the way this finger printing kit is set up for less mess and good fun. Of course little children are more involved in the doing than finished painting. It's a chance to explore how colors mix and how spreading the paint results in different effects. This should be the main focus--exploring colors and motion and messing around. For slightly older kids one can preserve a special art work by pressing paper and rolling the breyer over the plastic sheet to make a print that can be saved. It comes with an apron, sponge for cleaning fingers and six pots of paint that sit secure in the painting tray. Last but not least, this all stores well in a good box when the artistic moments are over. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. 

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SNAP ACTIVITIES: This is more like a print making kit. Kids use the finger paints on the plastic surface in the kit and then use paper and roller to "print" their artwork on paper. This is a step more than regular fingerpaints and becomes involved with a finished product. That may be one step too far for most paintings. Encourage children to experiment and enjoy the process rather than focusing on the final product. Of course, you may want to capture a sample of their artwork. That's fine. Just let the painting be the most important part of the fun.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2012 Award
eeBoo 12 Jumbo Double-Sided Color Pencils
(eeBoo $7.50 Score: )

Learning to write letters and drawing is just more fun when the pencils have colors. This wonderful set comes with a special pencil sharpener to fit the wider shaft. It has six extra big easier to grasp pencils; each have two different colors. There is a set with primary colors or another with pastels. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

 

Building

 

 


2012 Award
CitiBlocs Glow in the Dark Blocks
(Citiblocs $29.99 Score: )

70 Glow in the dark and 30 natural blocks come in this new set of blocks. If you expose them to light for 10 minutes they will glow for over 40 minutes. These are fun to use separately or as additions to other building sets. We can report that they do work and add a new kind of sensory dimension to building fun. Build before bedtime and there is a nightlight when the overhead light is turned off. Also new this season, a set of Neon color Citiblocs.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2012 Award
TinkerToy Transit Building Set
(KNEX $43.99 Score: )

Many may remember TinkerToy sets that came with wooden pieces with a happy sense of nostalgia.  We think in this case, that this new set with "bendy" plastic pieces are even better than the original. K'NEX has licensed the trademark from Hasbro (in case you were wondering).  Our testers also liked the ability to make vehicles with this set that comes with lots of wheels as part of this 150 piece set. Fun to explore together. There are 15 suggested builds, but encourage your child to create their own builds.  The box the set comes in is sturdy enough to be used again and again for storage, also a plus!  The only comment of our testers "we wish there were more bendy pieces!"

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

 

 

 


2012 Award
Laser Peg Bot
(Laser Pegs $19.95 Score: )

Want a fun introduction to circuits?  This intro set from Laser Pegs comes with instructions for 6 different models, but our testers loved treating this as an open-ended set. Make the connection between the pieces and they light up.  The low watts come from the 3 AA batteries (not included).  The company makes more extensive (and expensive kits)-- one of our favorites was last year's award winning 3D Light board.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2012 Award
MegaBloks Mini Bloks Tub Yellow and Blue
(Mega Bloks $24.99 Score: )

Choose a yellow and blue tub with 120 pieces or the pink and raspberry version. Either of these come with one action figure, a wheeled base, a working doorway and window, a plastic mini computer, stickers, and a variety of block shapes. Itís a truly open ended set with room for storing more, although it contains enough to get builders started. These are the same size as Lego Duplos and compatible. Unlike many Duplo sets, this is marked more realistically for 3 & up. As we have indicated in the Pink Duplo reviews, we donít prefer gender specific blocks, but we recognize that some girls were not building at all with the primary color sets. So, if pink is the only way to get your girls to build, we say bring them on. It's more important that we give girls the opportunity to develop the spatial skills that boys have historically honed with their building toys. These are basic skills that are needed in math and science for boys and girls. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2012 Award
Fat Brain Arx Magnetic Building Pieces
(Fat Brain Toys $28.99 Score: )

An open-ended magnetic set of arcs with 24 colorful pieces. They can be used flat on the table or use the bases to build vertically in two stacks or an arching one. Happily the magnets are fully enclosed for safe play. There is no right or wrong way so this is a set that invites exploration and imagination. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

Pretend Play

 

 


2012 Award
Playmobil Sports Action Take along Soccer Set
(Playmobil $59.99 Score: )

There's no real building or assembling of this soccer field. The case opens to a big self-contained playing area with four players and two goalies. You will want to add more players. The goalies cannot kick but can block with a left to right motion. Pull back a leg and load the ball and the players kick the ball down the field. There are a lot of add-ons for this theme. Young soccer players will like the dramatic play of controlling a field of players. This is a play setting that is a lot younger than a foosball table that has a lot more action. The box shows boys, but there is a girls soccer team set as an add-on....of course.  5-8

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2011 Award
North American Bear Nesting Puppets 3 Little Pigs
(North American Bear Co. $40 Score: )

What great gift idea! The mid-sized pig and littlest pig do nest inside of the biggest pig puppet. All are done up in pink velour. The big guy has 'I love bricks' embroidered on the front of his overalls. The middle one has 'I love sticks' on her overalls and the littlest one has 'I love straw' stitched on his. As for the bad wolf, he's a finger puppet stored in the big pig's pocket. This wonderful set is ideal for encouraging kids to retell a familiar story in their own words. In the recall department the embroidered images will help them retell the events. With so many puppets more than one player can take a role and help in the story telling. Just as they like rehearing a tale, they will enjoy retelling it with these props. Not only that, you can encourage them to tell the further adventures of these familiar characters. Being able to sequence the story and put it in their own words is an important pre-reading skill that develops language and recall. A good story needs a beginning, middle and end and this one has a strong storyline with room for all that huffing and puffing to make telling it good fun! Also available, a charming set with Goldilocks and the 3 Bears from the same maker. 4 & up.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2011 Award
Manhattan Toy Dave Dimetrodon Puppet
(Manhattan Toy $30 Score: )

Get ready for a whole lot of growling when this oversized soft puppet is unleashed for action. It has a blue ruff on its head, a bright yellow face with green freckles and a huge red mouth that opens to revel a row of razor sharp teeth ( not really sharp--they just look that way.) He has big scary eyes half covered in the yellow face. Down his back is a mane of creamy long hair and a metallic chin and neck that will cover a good sized arm. Pair this with any other puppets or bring home the other colorful dinos in their line, such as Trip Triceratops or the fearsome Peter Pteranodon.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2012 Award
Diggin Boxset Castle
(Diggin $50 Score: )

Another of the mini play settings from Diggin that is portable and small but pretty complete. You open the wooden box and all the pieces are inside ready to set up in a variety of ways. The castle is painted like gray stone. It comes with 2 wooden knight figures, 1 princess, 1 dragon and a catapult. Castle folds up and is easy to set up. When closed, it is easy to take with you anywhere, and has a handle on the top.  Very nice quality. Perfect take along to Gram's house or fun to find there for pretend play. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


Active Play

 

 

  
2006 Awards
Gertie Balls
(Small World Toys $8 Score: )

Preschoolers need soft, lightweight, easy-to-catch balls that will not bend back a finger or hurt when they hit. Gertie Balls are gummy and soft enough for kids who may be scared of big heavy balls coming toward them. Also fun, Supersized Gertie Balls ($13), really oversized and great fun for this age group and next.  There's also a super cool Magic Gertie Ball that changes color with hot and cold water. 3 & up. 

SNAP INFO: These colorful balls are soft and slightly sticky to the touch, making them easier to catch and hold onto. They come in a variety of sizes and with different textures. Testers especially liked the knobby one which gave kids an extra way to grip and hold. These are not for toddlers because the air tube can come out and could pose a choking hazard. ACTIVITY: Getting control takes practice. Hang a big hoopla hoop from a tree branch and try to get the ball through the hoop.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2006. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2009 Award
Maxi Kick Scooter
(Kickboard USA $149 Score: )

The Maxi Scooter is designed for kids ages 6-10. Based on the 3-wheel design of the Mini Scooter, the Maxi is the Mini's big sister and big brother, designed for bigger kids. It is - bigger, cooler, tougher, stronger for the action it is sure to get. Our testers like the convertible handle that can be used upright, like a joy stick or sideways in the traditional style. Available in black or purple. 6 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.  We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2011 Award
Hyper Games Speed Slider
(Wild Planet Toys $24.99 Score: )

Think of a blend of Hot Potato and Bop-it...but here all the game play is done with your feet! What we really liked about the Speed Slider is that you can play the four games at different levels. Our favorite is the speed pass where you kick the speed slider according the numbers or colors it calls out. The game requires players to listen and react.  Unlike a lot of other electronic games, it's a kind machine.  It encourages you - that's a plus.  You can play by yourself to work on your speed and agility or play it in a group.  The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.  We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 

 
2011 Awards
Twist & Turn Ring Toss
(International Playthings $29.99 Score: )

In every sense, this is a ring toss game with several new twists. First of all the posts turn at two different speeds when the switch is on. They also move to two different musical tunes. Best of all the set-up can be varied. You can arrange the posts in a straight line or as they are pictured here in a more traditional configuration. For those who prefer, the sound can be turned off and the posts will not move. A fun active toy for indoor play. 3 & up, up, up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.  We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

SNAP: Getting kids involved in active play will be a lot easier with this fresh looking game. Use this game for score keeping if your child is working on numbers or turn taking if that is an issue.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 


2010 Award
Alex Hopscotch Rug
(ALEX $39.99 Score: )

Use this cloth hopscotch rug indoors our out for active hopping good fun. It is colorful and ready for rain or shine active play. They say it's for 3 & up. We'd say more like five and up, up, up.
Normal 0 0 1 19 109 1 1 133 11.1287 0 0 0

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


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