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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:

Perplexus Original by PATCH PRODUCTS INC.

Perplexus Original by PATCH PRODUCTS INC.The first member of the Perplexus family, this see-through sphere houses a 3-D labyrinth game with 100 barriers, turns, twists and cliffhangers that serve as obstacles to getting a small steel ball to the end. Invented in 1970 by Michael McGinnis, a design teacher, Perplexus helps develop motor and dexterity skills, along with hand-eye coordination.
― As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.4 out of 5 stars from 393 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 12 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games.
— At Izilla Toys in Seattle, "Perplexus is selling really, really well for us," Co-owner Jude Larene told TDmonthly in late fall 2009.
— In summer 2010 this game was a top-10 best seller at Dancing Bear Toys in Asheville and Hendersonville, N.C..
Awards: 2012 Parents’ Choice Awards - Silver, 2011 Time Magazine – 15 Smartest Toys for Young Geniuses, 2011 Parent Tested Parent Approved – Seal of Approval, 2011 Grand Prix Kidexpo – Elu par les Parents (Parents’Choice), 2011 Children of Museum of Indianapolis – Top 10 Toys of 2011, 2011 Canadian Toy Testing Council – Children’s Choice, 2011 Babble List – Best Kids Toys, 2010 Toy Insider – Hot 20, 2010 The National Parenting Center – Seal of Approval, 2010 Prémio Brazil – Award of Excellence, 2010 Parents’ Magazine – Top Toys, 2010 NAPPA – Gold, 2010 ASTRA – Best Toy for Kids


 12/2/2009 (Price: $24.99; Age: 6 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Fun Flashing Sippy Cup by ELECTROSTAR

Fun Flashing Sippy Cup by ELECTROSTARAvailable in Fairy, Sports and Dino varieties, this battery-operated sippy cup features multicolor LEDs that light up when a child sips and then go off after approximately 20 seconds. They can also be manually turned on and off with the press of a button. The cups are free of BPA and come with batteries. The lid and cup can be washed in the dishwasher (remove base first). This product received 5 out of 5 stars from What the Stuff Toy Review.


 12/2/2009 (Price: $7.49) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War by FIVE STAR PUBLICATIONS INC.

Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War by FIVE STAR PUBLICATIONS INC.As Luke and his sister Jenny resume their summer vacation, their mother plans a stop at the historic town of Lincoln, New Mexico. But when a thunderstorm begins to brew, Luke and Jenny realize things aren't what they seem. Suddenly they are swept back in time and find themselves face-to-face with the notorious Billy the Kid. The ghost of Paul, a young buffalo soldier who lived more than a century ago, guides them on their journey as they experience the life and times of this mysterious young outlaw. Will Billy the Kid live up to his legend? — This book received a 2007 Indie Book Awards of Excellence.


 11/30/2009 (Price: $15.95; Age: 9 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Baby Genius Pet Care Center by PACIFIC ENTERTAINMENT

Baby Genius Pet Care Center by PACIFIC ENTERTAINMENTKids can feed Melody, listen to her heart, trim her nails, and give her lots of cuddles. The excitement begins when your child opens the pet carrier door and hears Melody's playful theme song. Plush puppy and all accessories store easily inside. "The Pet Care Center incorporates the Baby Genius principle of music as a core learning tool to engage and encourage children to communicate, connect, discover, and use their imaginations to express themselves," John Russel, of RUSSEL Public Relations, told TDmonthly. Awards: The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval 2009, The Toy Insider Best Toddler Toys for the 2009 Holiday Season 2009 and Dr. Toy 100 Best Children's Products 2009. Launch date: August 2009.


 11/30/2009 (Price: $18.00; Age: 2 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Let's Go Guang! Chinese for Children by AHA!CHINESE INC.

LetLet's Go Guang! Chinese for Children is a kit for kids to learn Chinese as a second language. Children join Ling and Kai while they visit their grandparents and discover Guang, a fun-loving dragon. It's designed for kids to learn how to properly pronounce about 50 useful everyday Mandarin Chinese words, phrases and sentences, including greetings, introductions and numbers. Each kit includes: DVD: "Meet Guang, the Chinese Dragon" (Animated Feature), "Making Dumplings" (Live footage), and "Mini Lessons and Songs," all in English and Mandarin Chinese; illustrated hardback book: "Story of Meet Guang, the Chinese Dragon with Pinyin"; English audio CD; flash cards with simplified Chinese characters, Pinyin; English Parents/Educator Guide; and vocabulary list.
— "This is a unique, high-quality, high-production toy/product that is effective, yet fun and engaging for kids," Karen Wu Audi, Co-Founder of aha! Chinese, told TDmonthly. "Kids learn Chinese and don't realize that they are learning the language." Awards: 2009 iParenting Media Award; and Dr. Toy's 10 Best Educational and 100 Best Children's Products Awards. Launch date: August 8, 2009.


 11/25/2009 (Price: $49.95; Age: 2 to 10) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


The Attitude Girl by FIVE STAR PUBLICATIONS INC.

The Attitude Girl by FIVE STAR PUBLICATIONS INC.Jam-packed with emotional conflict, trials and tribulations, romance, and humor, "The Attitude Girl" follows outspoken, materialistic 17-year-old Vicky on her rocky road to becoming an adult as she struggles with bullying, financial setbacks, idealism, loss and forgiveness. Her attitude is her rock! Author Ludmila “Mila” Bernadkin draws on her experience as a teacher, mother and advanced graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature to create this compelling, award-winning story, which unveils the tremulous world of confusing emotions and mixed messages of “maturity” today’s teens live in as they feel their way through the process of becoming young adults. Awards: 1st Place Winner in the Arizona Authors Association Literary Awards Contest.


 11/25/2009 (Price: $16.95; Age: 12 to 17) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


ItzaBitza Interactive Computer Game by SABI INC.

ItzaBitza Interactive Computer Game by SABI INC.In the award-winning game ItzaBitza, drawings truly come to life. Kids help their Sketchy by using Living Ink — a drawing recognition system — to draw one-of-a kind interactive objects that form the centerpiece of the game's action. They can draw a house and watch the character shrink to fit in the door, or draw flames and watch the rocket ship kids drew blast off. Since the environment is created through each player's personal drawings, the possibilities are endless. Awards: Dr. Toy's 100 Best Children's Products 2009; Creative Child Game of the Year Award; Parents’ Choice Gold Medal Award; Editor’s Choice and Gold Award from The Children’s Technology Review; 5-star review from USA Today; The Toy Man Seal of Approval, eco-Recognition Seal, Award of Excellence and eChoice Award; an Editor’s Choice Game Award from the Computer Times; and a “Best Tech for Kids” mention in BusinessWeek. Launch date: November 2008.


 11/25/2009 (Price: $19.99; Age: 4 to 8) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


BFC, Ink. 18" Dolls by MGA ENTERTAINMENT

BFC, Ink. 18" Dolls by MGA ENTERTAINMENTThe BFC, Ink. (Best Friends Club, Ink.) 18" doll line consists of three characters: Addison, Kaitlin and Calista, each with her own unique personality and story to tell. Each articulated doll comes with relatable fashions, a version of the classic fortune-teller game and interactive journals meant to inspire girls to discover their individuality. The line is anchored by a series of tween-targeted fiction books, in partnership with Parragon Publishing. Awards: Dr. Toy 100 Best Children's Products 2009, Family Fun Top Ten Toy of the Year 2009; and iParenting Media 2009. "MGA Entertainment introduced the BFC, Ink. doll line with the goal of bringing a larger-than-life experience to girls," Negar Treister, Director of Communications, MGA Entertainment, told TDmonthly. "With this in mind, it packaged each 18" articulated doll with extra fashions, a version of the classic fortune-teller game and an interactive activity journal. This vision resulted in a doll that is not only beautiful, but also unparalleled in the holistic play value it brings to girls." Launch date: October 1, 2009.


 11/25/2009 (Price: $39.99; Age: 6 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Torno Torno by LEARNING MATERIALS WORKSHOP

Torno Torno by LEARNING MATERIALS WORKSHOPThis product is designed so that young toddlers will delight in placing the dowel/balls in the holes, turning the base, and watching the whirling forms turn around. Older toddlers can start to build with the hardwood squares, put “red hats on the red heads," and stack colored shapes into sturdy towers. Preschoolers can build more complex and imaginative structures while exploring how motion changes the appearance and stability of forms. "Torno Torno combines a wood building toy with a wood turn-table base that is activated by the child — no batteries, just the child's gentle push and imagination," Karen Hewitt, president of Learning Materials Workshop, told TDmonthly. This product was named one of Dr. Toy's 10 Best Toys 2009. Launch date: November 2009.


 11/17/2009 (Price: $49.99; Age: 1 to 5) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Young Minds - Numbers and Counting DVD by MATH TUTOR DVD

Young Minds - Numbers and Counting DVD by MATH TUTOR DVD"Young Minds - Numbers and Counting" teaches young children how to count from 1 to 10 by way of visually counting objects on the screen in an interactive manner. he entire production is set to classical music from Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi and other classical composers. The objects counted on the screen include animals, machines, fruits, vegetables and scenes from nature. "Our DVD has substantially more educational value than other DVDs marketed to this age segment. In addition to numbers, our DVD also teaches animal sounds, colors, and much more," Jason Gibson, owner of Math Tutor DVD, told TDmonthly. This DVD has received the following awards: Dr. Toy Top 100 Best Products 2009; 2009 Dr. Toy Top 10 Best Audio-Video Products 2009; Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA) 2009; iParenting Media 2009; Creative Child Magazine Top Choice Award 2009; Creative Child Magazine Seal of Excellence 2009; and "The Toy Man" Award 2009. Launch date: July 21, 2009.


 11/17/2009 (Price: $19.99; Age: 0 to 3) [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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