Best Toys For Kids {2011}

Looking for some gift ideas?

Here’s the “Best Toys For Kids” list from the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association:

Active Play

Freestyle Spooner Board
by Spooner Inc.
For ages 3+
Using the Spooner Board, riders of all abilities can pretend they are catching a wave, riding the slopes, or burning up the asphalt without leaving the comfort of the family room. Designed for beginners, kids 3 can simulate spins, twists, slides, and wobbles, while getting a workout, stabilizing their core and improving their balance and coordination.

Z-Curve Bow
by Zing
For ages 8+
The ultimate foam arrow shooter for high tech archery, Zing’s Z-Curve Bow uses safe, soft arrows that can soar 100 feet! Set includes bow, two long-range arrows with holder, and a stick-anywhere Zartz-tip dart for accurate target practice.

Classic Play (0-7 Yrs)

Teaching Cash Register
by Learning Resources
For ages 3+
Cha-ching!! Playing store comes to life with this talking, interactive cash register that rewards transactions with lights, sounds and voice messages. Holds actual-size money and includes a built-in scanner, scale, coin slot and volume control. Engaging play helps kids practice basic math skills and recognition of coins and bills. Requires 3 C batteries, not included.

Classic Play (8 Yrs+)

Potholder Kit
by Harrisville Designs
For ages 6+
Children love to weave, especially with this easy metal loom from Harrisville that helps kids understand spatial relationships while developing fine motor control and builds self esteem. It’s a great way to produce something useful. Make handmade items to sell at fundraising events or to give as gifts!

Constructive Play

by Ohio Art/Kawada
For ages 8+
You don’t have to be an engineer to build with nanoblock from Ohio Art! Watch in amazement as 3-D buildings are erected with micro-sized building blocks. With assorted size and colored pieces, create a detailed replica of France’s Eiffel Tower, India’s Taj Mahal and others that fit perfectly in the palm of your hand.

Tegu Blocks
by Tegu
Tegu angle blocks from Tegu allow geometric building possibilities for gravity-defying play! Constructive play reaches new heights with the Explorer Set, which includes 40 blocks in seven shapes and a booklet of building ideas—all packaged in a beautifully designed box large and rigid enough to store the blocks for many years to come.

Creative Arts Play

Happily Ever After Jewelry Box
by The Orb Factory
For ages 5+
Bring a little Happily Ever After to any girls’ room with this beautiful new jewelry box from The Orb Factory. The whimsical tale of a Princess and her Frog Prince is illustrated all around this sparkling box. Follow the numbered legend and mosaic over 750 sparkling tiles and jewels… and watch this magical story spring to life!

Safety Pin Bracelets
by Klutz
For ages 8+
Super-simple, fully illustrated step-by-step directions by Klutz for Safety Pin Bracelets shows how anyone can craft an entire collection of brilliantly sparkling jewelry out of garden-variety safety pins. The book includes 12 unique bracelet designs. You pick the colors and patterns so each bracelet is uniquely you.

Early Play 0-3 Year

Early Melodies Pound and Tap Bench
by Hape
For ages 12 months and up
This sturdy wooden toy from Hape gives babies lots of ways to have fun with sounds. They can pound the balls with the hammer to make them roll down the xylophone, making a beautiful scale of musical sounds or pull out the xylophone and tap directly on the keys to make an original tune!

Pic ‘N’ Pop
by International Playthings
For ages 18 months and up
Pic N Pop by Tomy gets children moving! With the click of the button, kids launch a ball from the chute, then roll over the ball and magically pick it up! With five balls, you can use this indoors and outdoors.

Game Play (3-7 Years)

Fast Track
by Blue Orange Games
For ages 3 to 7
Ready, aim, score! With Fastrack from Blue Orange Games, the action is non-stop and the fun is plentiful. Using the elastic cord, be quick and aim well. Be the first to send all of the disks zooming across the other side. WARNING: you may find it difficult to stop playing!

Perplexus Rookie
by Plasmart
For ages 4+
6.5 Inches in diameter, the Perplexus Rookie by Plasmart is filled with layers of detailed maze structures. It’s a brainteaser puzzle with facets kids and adults find both fascinating and mind-bending. Flip, twist and turn the sphere to solve the puzzle. Easy to play but challenging to complete. Great for improving eye-hand coordination and spatial relationships.

Game Play (8 Years+)

by Thinkfun Inc.
For ages 12+
Exercise your brain with PathWords from ThinkFun, the exciting new game that combines the best of Tetris® and Word Search! Place the puzzle pieces onto the selected challenge so the letters under each piece spell a word. With 40 challenges from beginner to expert, PathWords appeals to word game lovers AND puzzle game fanatics.

by Blue Orange Games
For ages 8+
You won’t believe how many laughs are packed into the game of Trigger Blue Orange Games. Players answer “true” or “false” to statements as quickly as possible by slapping the target. Right hand is true and left hand is false. With humorous statements in a fast pace atmosphere, the game is always full of surprises.

Pretend (Doll Play)

Tidoo Raspberry
by Corolle
For ages 18 months and up
Designed for bathtime fun, Corolle’s 12-inch Tidoo Raspberry doll is soft, posable and so light it floats! Filled with polystyrene “beads” that dry quickly, Tidoo is a favorite playmate out of the tub, too. Tidoo’s eyes open and close so Tidoo can take a nap — just like a real baby!

Baby Stella Playtime Potty (doll not included)
by Manhattan Toy
For ages 12 months and up
Teach Baby Stella how to use the big potty with the Manhattan Toy Playtime Potty chair! This charming little toilet can be a helpful tool in the potty training process. It encourages your little one to be a “big kid” and encourages social and emotional development through nurturing the Baby Stella doll. (Doll sold separately.)

Pretend (Fantasy Play)

Falcon Knights’ Castle
by Playmobil
For ages 4 to 10
Activate traps and prepare the knights to guard the Falcon Knights’ Castle from intruders. The castle comes with a drawbridge, breakout wall, drop-down ladder, and a trap door. The set also includes four Falcon Knights, horse, functional cannon, and many other accessories to provide hours of entertainment.

Shrinky Dinks Fairy Garden
by Creativity for Kids
For ages 7+
Color and bake these Shrinky Dinks from Creativity for Kids and transform a pop-up garden into a fun fairy hide-away. 50 pre-cut Shrinky Dinks come ready to color and shrink. Decorate the playscape with 3-D fairies, flowers, forest friends and sparkling glitter glue accents. Includes Faber-Castell Colored EcoPencils and a sharpener.

Pretend (Role Play)

Calico Critter Caravan Family Camper
by International Playthings
For ages 3+
Calico Critter families can spend happy vacations together travelling in their very own Caravan Camper from International Playthings! Includes over 35 accessories: round table, plates, cups, utensils, pots, pan, sleeping bags, maps, “board games”, iron, soap, towel & much more!

Healthy Gourmet Salad for Green Eaters
by Hape
For ages 3+
Imaginative play gets nourished when children create a tasty salad with these vibrant wood vegetables. This 36-piece set from Hape includes the bowl, the vegetables, and dressing—oil, vinegar, and pepper—plus utensils for tossing up some healthy play.

Scientific Play

Big Bag of Science
by Be Amazing
For ages 8+
This giant kit by Be Amazing whets the appetites of budding young scientists. With more than 70 hands-on science activities, it guarantees hours and hours of science fun. Make water disappear or flow uphill! Create a soda geyser or grow fake snow! Science is fun with activities using chemistry, physic, magnetism, weather, biology, geology, and flight.

Remote Control Machines
by Thames and Kosmos
For ages 8+
Use this exciting Thames & Kosmos kit to build your own motorized machines, then control them with a unique six-button infrared remote. Control three different motors simultaneously, moving each of them forward or in reverse, with easy-to-activate touch sensors. Includes 3 motors, remote control unit, battery holder, and building blocks.

(Disclosure: I received many of these toys at an event I went to at Building Blocks Toy Store but was not compensated or asked to post this list.)

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