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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:

Cars by BAUFIX

Cars by BAUFIXKids can build various models of wooden cars and vehicles using this kit. Included are wooden tools, such as wrenches and screwdrivers, to aid in the assembly. Also included are rubber tires. Baufix is distributec by Carrera of America in the U.S.

 8/6/2009 [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Smooshies™ Plush Toys by CREATIVITY INC.

Smooshies™ Plush Toys by CREATIVITY INC.Designed to encourage open-ended, creative play, colorful Smooshies plush feature mix-and-match parts — arms, legs, facial features, horns and more — that can be connected using the product's hook-n-loop tabs. Smooshies have received the following awards: 2009 Top Toy of the Year Award from Creative Child Magazine and 2009 Dr. Toy Best Vacation Children's Products Award.

 8/5/2009 (Age: 3 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Cheekeyes by STUDIO SPOON B.V.

Cheekeyes by STUDIO SPOON B.V.Cheekeyes are a series of wooden play sets with distinctive pink cheeks and dreamy eyes. These toys are handmade from eco-friendly rubberwood and are partially painted. There are more than seven playsets: Arctic, Africa, Dino, Forest, Farm, Rainforest and Sea. The average size of an animals is between 6 and 14 cm wide and 8 and 12 cm high. "Brought to you from The Netherlands (Europe) by STUDIO SPOON ... there are no bells or whistles, no batteries or flashing lights. All you need is just a little imagination and magic begins to happen. The Cheekeyes will definitely spark your kid's imagination and will encourage open-ended, educational play," Rogier van Zijp, designer for STUDIO SPOON B.V., told TDmonthly. Cheekeyes received a 2009 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award. Launch date: 2009.

 7/24/2009 (Price: $29.99; Age: 3 to 6) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Money Savvy Pig Piggy Bank by MONEY SAVVY GENERATION

Money Savvy Pig Piggy Bank by MONEY SAVVY GENERATIONThe Money Savvy Pig® is a four-chambered bank designed to help kids and their parents or grandparents begin a conversation about money. It is designed to help teach basic money skills by introducing four choices: SAVE, SPEND, DONATE and INVEST. "Its unique four-chambered design allows children to deposit their money through four separate slots on the top of the bank — one slot for each money choice — and empty each money chamber individually through the feet on the bank," Melinda Voelcker, director of operations and marketing for Money Savvy Generation, told TDmonthly. It is available in six colors.
Awards: 2015 TDmonthly Magazine Top Toy Award; 2002 Parents' Choice Gold Award; 2008 National Parenting Publications Gold Award; 2008 Preferred Choice Creative Toy Award; and 2008 National Parenting Center Seal of Approval. Launch date: 2002.
— As of 05/12/2011 this product had 4.3 out of 5 stars from 34 customer reviews on Cons: Three customers reported that the bank broke when they dropped it.
— The Money Savvy Pig is a traditional piggy bank on steroids. Instead of holding a child’s money in a single chamber, it utilizes four,  labeled save, spend, donate and invest. Reviewers found that it works well with an allowance system. Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar explains that even if children cannot completely understand the concepts behind the Money Savvy Pig, it can make it “so that saving seems like a completely natural thing.” See also 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires.

 7/23/2009 (Price: $16.99; Age: 4 to 11) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

The Pocket Referee by VRANEY INC.

The Pocket Referee by VRANEY INC.The Pocket Referee is a conflict resolution tool that comes in the form of a shiny gold coin. The Ref comes packaged with a protective pouch and handy carrying clip that allows kids to keep it close by. This powerful tool helps teaches kids how to work out conflicts on their own without the help of parents or guardians. When a conflict arises that can only have one resolution (which TV show to watch, where to go for dinner) the holder of the coin can choose to get her way, which means she'll pass the coin on to her counterpart for the next conflict, or she can choose to keep the coin and pass the current choice over to the other child. In all situations both kids win. Also available in antique brass for MSRP $9.95.
Awards: Summer 2012 Tillywig Award Winner

 7/23/2009 (Price: $12.95) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

MOOV Starter Kit by BERG USA, LLC

MOOV Starter Kit by BERG USA, LLC

MOOV is a full-size construction toy designed so that children can construct MOOV by themselves without the use of any tools or help from their parents. The wooden parts, rings, shafts and frames are multifunctional. The spare parts in the wood are specially designed so it's easy to remove the rings from the shafts. MOOV has received the following awards: TDmonthly Top Toy 2009; Toy of the Year, 2008, The Netherlands; Honorable mention, Reddot Design Award, 2008 (International Design Award); Toy of the Year, 2008, Germany; and Right Start Award, Toy Awards, 2008, United Kingdom. Launch date: June 2009.

Where to Buy: Escapade Direct

 7/17/2009 (Price: $249; Age: 5 to 12) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Elf Fun with Christina Marie Pop-In-Kins by ELF FUN WITH POP-IN-KINS

Elf Fun with Christina Marie Pop-In-Kins by ELF FUN WITH POP-IN-KINSChristina Marie Pop-In-Kins “pops in” with the first lighting of the family Christmas tree and stays until the last decoration is put away.  She loves to play hide-and-seek and is always available to share a smile and to lend an ear. In “Christina Marie and the Little Tree” Christina Marie sets out to be the very best elf at the North Pole.  But only after she discovers a little tree and saves it from a certain fate, does she learn what it truly means to be “the very best”. Each Christina Marie Pop-In-Kins Fun Set includes a posable Christina Marie Pop-In-Kins Elf, “Christina Marie and the Little Tree” illustrated storybook, and Christina Marie’s own storage case. Christina Marie Pop-In-Kins was named “2010 Book of the Year” by Creative Child Magazine.
Awards: 2011 The Toy Man Award of Excellence; 2011 The Toy Man E-Choice Award; 2011 The Toy Man Seal of Approval; 2010 Book of the Year Award from Creative Child Magazine; 2010 Dr. Toy Best Picks of Children Products Award; 2010 USA Book News Best Books Award Finalist

 7/15/2009 (Price: $24.95; Age: 3 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Snap Caps® Black & White Initials by m3 girl designs LLC

Snap Caps® Black & White Initials by m3 girl designs LLCSnap Caps® are the original, interchangeable, magnetic bottle cap necklace. This set offers a new, fun style for girls to show off their initials.
A TDmonthly Classics Award for being an all-time favorite toy.

 7/14/2009 (Age: 5 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Snap Caps® Who Said Hoot! by m3 girl designs LLC

Snap Caps® Who Said Hoot! by m3 girl designs LLCSnap Caps® are the original, interchangeable, magnetic bottle cap necklace. This set features bright, fun, trendy little owls to brighten up any outfit.
Awards: A TDmonthly Classics Award for being an all-time favorite toy.
— Six of 39 specialty retailers told TDmonthly in October 2009 that Snap Caps are a hot seller for tween girls.
Black Forest Books & Toys in Charlotte, N.C., sold 50 Snap Caps in two weeks, Co-owner June Hargrove reported in fall 2009.
— "I sell about 10 per week with the straps," Jeanette Lauture, owner of Aunt Jean's Toys & Treats in Montclair, N.J., told TDmonthly of best-selling Snap Caps in late fall 2009.

 7/14/2009 (Age: 5 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Squeez-Ease by SPOTLIGHTBABYThe innovative design and palm cushion of the Squeez-Ease prevents scratching the face and promotes sensory development in newborns. The design of the Squeez-Ease allows fingers to be free for exploration and sucking, allows for tactile development of the fingers, decreases sudden jerking of the hands and calms baby, and improves awareness of hands when cushion is squeezed. Made of an ultra soft blend of bamboo and organic cotton. This product received a 2009 Top Choice Award from Creative Child Magazine.
Past Videos: Product demonstration

 7/14/2009 (Price: $13.99) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Following are some of the programs represented in'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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