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January 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 1
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TDmonthly Top Toy Award Winners January 2012

TDmonthly Honors 8 Innovative and High-Quality Products


TDmonthly Magazine is excited to announce our TDmonthly Top Toy Award winners for January 2012. TDmonthly has selected these high-quality, innovative products with high play value to feature to our 14,600 retailer subscribers, as well as our unique monthly online visitors, to help retailers and consumers make the best possible choices when deciding which toys to buy.

The TDmonthly Top Toy Award winners for January 2012 are:

Trigger from BLUE ORANGE GAMES

Master Kitz - The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh from KIDZAW INC

Palette from FAT BRAIN TOY CO.

Codigo Cube from FOUR CLOWNS GAME & TOY CO. LLC

Chip Taylor and the Grandkids - Golden Kids Rules from SMITHSONIAN FOLKWAYS RECORDINGS

Laser Pegs 3-D Lite Board from Laser Pegs Ventures, LLC

Coloraturo from LEARNING MATERIALS WORKSHOP

Weird & Wacky Contraption Lab
from SMARTLAB TOYS

(See full descriptions of these winning products at the end of this article)

No nominees or winners paid a submission fee to be considered or chosen, and we strictly limited the number of award winners, evaluating products based on the above criteria, as well as favorable review from retailers, consumers, experts or TDmonthly staff.

For more information on submitting your products for awards consideration, see this article.




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MSRP: $12.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Target Age Range: 13 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2011)
Made in: China
SKU or Item #: 00490
Launch Date: June 2011
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Travel
Family Games
Party Goods



In Trigger, players answer "True" or "False to various statements using their right hand for "True" and their left hand for "False." The first to answer using the correct hand signal collects a card. An example of one of the statements is "If I am your mother's brother, then I am your aunt." Players collect a card if they are the first to answer correctly, or lose a card if they are the first to answer incorrectly. "Trigger is a fast, fun party game. Your brain has to think quickly so you can answer the statement correctly and answer using the correct hand," Nicole Britton from Blue Orange Games told TDmonthly. Launch date: June 2011.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy Award, January 2012; 2011 ASTRA Best Toys for Kids
— Why it won: Super fun, for small or large groups of friend or strangers. Rapidly paced and often hilarious, players learn new facts about their opponents, and about their own abilities to be observant.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31979      (added 3/22/2011)
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MSRP: $29.99
Specialty: Yes (as of 2011)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Creative Activities
Educational



The Starry Night would have been just another landscape if it were not for van Gogh’s swirling layered brush strokes that make the painting come alive. The Starry Night Master Kitz includes all the tools your child needs to create their own Starry Night masterpiece and learning materials to deepen their understanding of the original painting. Each Starry Night Master Kitz includes:A sturdy, re-usable art tool box with magnetic closures, 3 Custom Acrylic Paints (child friendly), 5 Custom Oil Pastels (child friendly), 1 van Gogh Roller specially designed to , replicate van Gogh’s active stroke, 1 re-usable Starry Night Cyprus Stencil, 1 standard paint roller, 2 pieces deluxe art paper, 1 low tack “Mesmerizing Stars” sticker sheet, Fun, easy-to-understand van Gogh learning materials, Easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions. The Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt and Water Lilies by Claude Monet kits are also available. Fifteen percent of Kidzaw’s profits are donated to programs that fund art for disadvantaged public schools in urban areas.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy Award, January 2012
— Why it won: This fun kit introduces kids to one of the most famous pieces of art in the world. Including educational materials about van Gogh, the kit also provides paint, stickers, and the tools necessary for kids to recreate, or re-imagine, the Starry Night painting.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32879      (added 9/8/2011)
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MSRP: $24.95
Age Range: 6 and up
Target Age Range: 6 to 8
Specialty: Yes (as of 2011)
Made in: China
SKU or Item #: FA059-1
Launch Date: February 2011
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Arts & Crafts
Designer Toys



Players will be challenged to put their memory to the test in just five short seconds as they attempt to memorize a specific shade of color and then match it to the correct color wheel. Just the slightest difference between shade, tint or hue can completely change the game. The first player to fill their artist’s palette with six color chips and win the game. Fast-paced play combines with memory building, visual thinking and art.  Color guide provides extra learning material.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy Award, January 2012; 2011 Finalist for ASTRA's Best Toys for Kids
— Why it won: Unlike most matching games, which require players to remember and pair off images, this game challenges players to remember the exact shade of a certain color. They then must match the color they saw to a color wheel. An entertaining, challenging twist on the classic memory game.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32416      (added 5/27/2011)
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MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 13 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2011)
Made in: China
SKU or Item #: CODIGO
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Board Games
General Games
Electronic Games



Codigo Cube is a socially interactive trivia game that uses players' web-enabled camera phone, a free app, and a patent-pending 2D bar-coded die. Codigo Cube is updated with new questions daily. Whenever breaking news happens Codigo Cube gets updated. Playing is fun and easy. Players simply download a free QR code reader for their phone, then scan any side of the cube. Roll the cube, scan the code, and answer the question from a list of four multiple choice answers. Guess correctly and re-roll. Guess wrong and the cube is passed to the next player. Launch date: October 2011.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy Award, January 2012; 2011/2012 The Toy Man Award of Excellence; 2011/2012 The Toy Man eChoice Award; 2011 The Toy Man Top 50 Toy Of The Year Award.
— Why it won: Codigo Cube is harnessing new technology for an innovative and inexpensive new game. Players simply scan the QR code on the die with their Smartphone to access a trivia question online. The trivia questions are constantly being updated, so the game never gets old.
— As of 9/21/2012 this product had 4.7 out of 5 stars from 23 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Easy to use; more variety than a traditional trivia game because questions are always being updated. Cons: Needs to be played in a well-lit area or the QR code readers can scan the codes properly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32953      (added 9/26/2011)
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MSRP: $13.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Music



When renowned musician & songwriter Chip Taylor ("Wild Thing" & "Angel of the Morning") became a grandfather, he directed his creative energy to writing new songs with & for his grandkids. Golden Kids Rules melds the husky, time-worn vocals & the musical instincts of a seasoned performer with the charming artistry of his 3 young grandchildren. Taylor's brother, actor Jon Voight, offers an insightful introduction to the artist & the album. 13 tracks, 38 mins, 20+page booklet w/ lyrics. Launch date: October 18, 2011.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy Award, January 2012.
— Why it won: A great CD that tackles topics relevant to kids without being patronizing or sacrificing the quality of the actual music. Lovely tunes that parents and kids can listen to together.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32957      (added 9/26/2011)
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MSRP: $75.00
Age Range: 3 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2011)
Made in: China
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction
Developmental Toys
Wooden Toys



Coloraturo, a new block set created by award winning toy designer Karen Hewitt, will delight and captivate the imagination of children and artists of all ages. This smart toy functions both as a designer art piece and a high quality children’s building toy providing endless experiences with color in both two and three dimensions. The color, form and sheer beauty of Coloraturo will attract young children as well as architects, designers and playful adults. "Displaying 36 unique, vibrant colors, this piece stands out from ordinary block sets, yet will still be a timeless toy for generations of children. This toy will provide endless building opportunities, yet looks beautiful enough to display anywhere in the house," Karen Hewitt, president/designer of Learning Materials Workshop, told TDmonthly. Launch date: September 2011.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy Award, January 2012; 2011 Dr. Toy 10 Best Creative Products Award; 2011 Dr. Toy 100 Best Children's Products Award.
— Why it won: Beautifully designed, kids can enjoy hours of pattern play, color sorting, and building. Meanwhile, parents won't mind having these colorful, geometric blocks left lying around.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32974      (added 10/5/2011)
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MSRP: $39.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2011)
Made in: China
SKU or Item #: SL10304
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Toys
Creative Activities
Educational



Standing over two feet tall, the Weird & Wacky Contraption Lab has 60 mix-and-match pieces to build an unlimited amount of contraptions.  Kids can dream up crazy courses, then build and test them using this easy-to-construct Velcro-like system.  Instructions offer tips and tricks on how to best manipulate the kit's components.  It guides kids through five sample contraption designs while they learn how to predict the outcome of each. "Contraption Lab offers full-circle skill building from prediction and planning to testing and experimentation," Nancy Storment, marketing & PR rep for SmartLab Toys, told TDmonthly. Launch date: October 2011.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy Award, January 2012.
— Why it won: A great product that encourages creativity.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32906      (added 9/16/2011)
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Justina HuddlestonWriter's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author

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