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The Few, The Proud…The Award-Winning Toys

Who Made the Cut This Year?

By Alison Marek and Julie L. Jones

Thousands of products are introduced to the toy industry every year, but only a limited number are good enough, playable enough and innovative enough to garner an award.

In addition to issuing TDmonthly Awards, TDmonthly Magazine regularly asks manufacturers to present their award winners to our readers so that retailers can quickly identify products with great potential and manufacturers can learn and be inspired by others' successes. Here are the most recent responses:

Daisy Dawson At the Beach by CANDLEWICK PRESS

Daisy Dawson At the Beach by CANDLEWICK PRESSDaisy Dawson is a normal girl, except for one thing- she can talk to animals. In this, the fourth book from Steve Voake about Daisy, she spends the summer at the beach.  Daisy makes friends with two rabbits and a crab, but when they band together to save a dolphin, it's Daisy and the rabbits who end up needing rescue. The 88-page chapter book will keep elementary grade readers interested with black and white illustrations by Jessica Meserve on every page.


 4/13/2011 (Price: $14.99; Age: 6 to 9) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


The Klutz Guide To The Galaxy by KLUTZ

The Klutz Guide To The Galaxy by KLUTZWith The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy, kids can explore the universe without leaving the comfort of their backyard. This galactic tool kit has everything kids need: a build-it-yourself telescope, a night-sight flashlight, star and moon maps, a no-batteries-required sundial, a mariner’s quadrant to steer by the stars, tons of intergalactic activities, and more.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy Award, June 2011
— Why it won: Who knew you could build a telescope with a book? Everything needed to create a spyglass for space is contained within the Guide to the Galaxy's pages. There are lots of facts about the universe, plus other projects that kids can build to help navigate this world and others. It's a great gift that will appeal to both boys and girls.


 4/6/2011 (Price: $19.99; Age: 8 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


iColor3D Coloring Books by TRI-SMART LLC.

iColor3D Coloring Books by TRI-SMART LLC.With a little help from some crayons or colored pencils, and the included red and blue (cyan) 3-D glasses, the children (and adults) will discover a whole new world right before their eyes. While any child can appreciate the cool 3-D effect, the art books are very beneficial for children diagnosed with Autism, ADD, ADHD and Down Syndrome. Once the child sees the depth of these images, it almost ensures they will complete the task. Wholesale is sold in packages of 15. Launch date: March 2010.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy Award, June 2011
— Why it won: 3-D is no longer passive! This set of coloring books allows kids to feel their pictures have really come to life. Once they wear the special, included set of glasses, their work seems to pop off the page. It's a great toy for traveling or Dr.'s offices, and will be sure to keep kids and their spectators engaged for some time.


 3/29/2011 (Price: $5.99; Age: 3 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Bag-O-Loot by BAG-O-LOOT

Bag-O-Loot by BAG-O-LOOTBag-o-Loot is a new card game that combines strategy, luck, interaction and emotions. During their turn, players can create sets of matching cards called collections, steal collections from other players, or complete a set, making a Bag-O-Loot. But players must be wary- The Bag-O-Loot could be a bluff. Players must outwit or outguess their opponents and try to commit a robbery to end the round. "It is just as fun and engaging for a group of adults to play, a group of kids to play, or a mixed group of adults and kids to play," John Shelley, president of Bag-O-Loot, told TDmonthly.
Awards: 2011 Dr. Toy's Best Picks; 2011 Preferred Choice Award in the category of Family Card Games from Creative Child Magazine.
— As of 10/19/2011 this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 10 reviews on Amazon.com.


 3/22/2011 (Price: $9.99; Age: 10 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Trigger by BLUE ORANGE GAMES

Trigger by BLUE ORANGE GAMESIn 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.


 3/22/2011 (Price: $12.99; Age: 8 and up) ENTER BLUE ORANGE GAMES TOYSHOW [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Fastrack by BLUE ORANGE GAMES

Fastrack by BLUE ORANGE GAMESFastrack is an all-new kind of sports game. It consists of a wooden tray with an elastic band across each end and a bridge in the middle with a slot opening. Each side starts with 5 wooden disks. Using the elastic cord, players must be quick and aim well to be the first to send all of the disks zooming across to the other side. The first to successfully clear all 10 disks to the opponent's side wins the round. "Fastrack is high quality, eco-friendly, durable and made of wood," Nicole Britton from Blue Orange Games told TDmonthly. Launch date: June 2011.
Awards: 2011 Dr. Toy's Best Green Product; 2011 ASTRA Best Toys for Kids
— In a July 2014 survey, one out of 14 retailers told TDmonthly that Fastrack was their store's best-selling toy.


 3/22/2011 (Price: $19.99; Age: 5 and up) ENTER BLUE ORANGE GAMES TOYSHOW [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Paint in the Tub by ALEX BRANDS

Paint in the Tub by ALEX BRANDSIncludes 5 colors of soapy finger paint, a fish-shaped sponge for clean up and a hand-shaped palette to hold the paints. Safe, clean and fun for kids.
Awards: Dr. Toy’s Best Classic Toys for 2011
— In an April 2013 survey, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Paint in the Tub is one of their best-selling bath toys.


 3/7/2011 (Price: $14.95; Age: 2 and up) ENTER ALEX BRANDS TOYSHOW [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Discover Amber Science Kit by DISCOVER WITH DR. COOL

Discover Amber Science Kit by DISCOVER WITH DR. COOLPolish real amber to reveal the hidden treasures that may be trapped within. Just like the paleontologists in the movie Jurassic Park, kids will create a window back in time. Follow the simple instructions and peer into the real amber pieces in search of ancient bugs and plants that were alive during the time of the dinosaurs. This fun activity kit contains 5 real pieces of amber, 6 special grades of gemstone quality sandpaper, magnifying glass, adventure booklet, and an amber-colored key chain with a genuine scorpion inside. Launch date: 2012.
Awards: 2012 National Parenting Center Seal of Approval; 2012 Product of the Year - Informal Education Products


 3/1/2011 (Price: $29.95; Age: 6 to 12) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Sbyke by SBYKE

Sbyke by SBYKEThe Sbyke is a rear-steering scooter that is self standing and weight shift controlled, making it easy for both children and adults to ride. It features interchangeable stem lengths so it can be used by short and tall alike. The front wheel, a standard bicycle wheel, makes the Sbyke more durable and able to cover rough terrain than a traditional scooter. Holds up to 250 lbs.
Awards: Dr. Toy 2012 Best Green Product, Dr. Toy 2012 10 Best Active Products, 2012 Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products, Parenting Magazine Best in Play award at Toy Fair 2012, and ISPO 2012 Showcase Winner.
— As of 9/21/2012 this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 1 review on Amazon.com. Pros: Well made; glides smoothly; fun for kids and adults.


 2/22/2011 (Price: $249.99; Age: 8 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


FauxCabulary™ by OUT OF THE BOX PUBLISHING

FauxCabulary™ by OUT OF THE BOX PUBLISHINGFirst, a crazy definition is read to the group by the "Wordmeister." Next, players must grab three random word cubes and create a new word to fit the definition. Each new word is read out loud, and the "Wordmeister" picks the best one. The player whose words are chosen the most wins. 3-7 players. Launch date: March 2011.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy Award, June 2011
— Why it won: Fauxabulary is a great game for large groups. It's similar to Apples to Apples, but creating new words out of different word-parts encourages kids to think creatively, and have fun with letters. It combines the silly group fun of Apples to Apples with the fast-paced scramble to create and find words like Scrabble or Boggle, and is reasonably priced relative to similar party games.


 1/25/2011 (Price: $29.99; Age: 13 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]




Following are some of the programs represented in TDmonthly.com's section of award winners: Dr. Toy, iParenting Media Awards, TIA T.O.T.Y., Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, The National Parenting Center, and Parents' Choice Awards.

You may also access TDmonthly's review section to see which products earned 5 TD stars.

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