Dr. Toy’s Best List 2014

Posted on October 16, 2014 at 8:00 am

Every year I look forward to Dr. Toy’s list of the best toys and games for kids. Steveanne Auerbach is the author of Dr. Toy’s Smart Play/ Smart Toys and a respected expert on toys that encourage learning and imagination. Her 10 Best lists include the ones she recommends most highly for building, being active, being creative, for learning, and for environmental sustainability.

My favorite: Time in a Box

Copyright FoxMind 2014
Copyright FoxMind 2014

Inside this box you’ll find 96 activity cards that allow a child to momentarily shift your priorities and focus on doing a special activity together. Play a board game, solve a puzzle, start a family tree, make a blanket fort, visit your local fire station or carry out an act of kindness that will bring a smile to a stranger’s face. A simple written agreement between you and the child sets the ground rules by which you’ll both abide.

Switch off your cell phone and get ready for some quality time! Season-by-season, with these inspired activities, you’ll have a wealth of ways to make memories together.

What is Time in a Box? A gift of dedicated time, an opportunity to try new things, a way to explore art and science, a chance to plan for the future and to consider the past, a way to tell a child in your life that they matter to you – more than anything!

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Dr. Toy’s Recommendations for Vacation Play

Posted on June 26, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Children’s Products for 2012 report is now available to parents, teachers, caregivers, grandparents, and others responsible for children.  As children enjoy the summer, these toys will help them play safely with toys that stretch their imaginations and curiousityat home, when traveling, and while on vacation.

Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Children’s Products Awards were developed by noted child development authority, Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D. (a.k.a. Dr. Toy) to help consumers purchase safe, affordable, educationally-oriented, stimulating toys and play products for children for vacation time for use at home or on the road. 

Dr. Toy says, “The Best Vacation Products 2012 are an excellent selection from large, small, new and established, companies across the U.S.A., Canada, and around the world and will provide children with exciting new learning tools that will help them not only do better in school, but also will provide more constructive activities while at home, traveling or at vacation destinations.  Parents need more help to get a head start locating new, quality, diversified products that children will enjoy as they increase learning skills and expand creativity.” The products range from low to high tech for “hours of constructive, educational, and stimulating fun.  Children learn best through play,” says Dr. Auerbach, “and these Best Vacation Products encourage children to maximize their potential and make the most of Smart Play. By making a renewed focus on Summertime as a special time for choosing new products for children, parents help to improve their children’s development. This is a perfect time for parents to ‘take stock, ‘ do an inventory of what their children are playing with, what is not being used, and what they need next in their development.”

I especially enjoyed reading about Chef Cuckoo!, a board game that is fun to play as it helps kids learn about healthy food choices while they compete for the tastiest — or yuckiest — meals.

The toys in the report are reviewed for: safety, age-appropriateness, design, durability, lasting play value, cultural and ethnic diversity, good transition from home to school, educational value, learning skills, creativity, improvement in the understanding of the community and the world, good value for price, and, naturally, fun.  There are products suitable for babies to older children, products from hand-crafted to hi-tech, ranging in price on the average from $10 to $50. The winning vacation products are affordable, well designed, and reflect the wide range of children’s interests.  And she has an iPhone app to help shoppers, too.

 

 

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Dr. Toy

Posted on May 18, 2009 at 8:00 am

Stevanne Auerbach is better known as “Dr. Toy,” and she and her website are great resources for parents on issues of toys and ply. Her book is Dr. Toy’s Smart Play: How To Raise A Child With a High PQ (Play Quotient), a guide not just to what toys are safe and appropriate but to what toys best engage the imagination and curiosity of children and how best to help them get the most fun — and the most learning — of the toys they get. Her website allows you to search by age and it also has information on green toys and on donating toys that have been outgrown. She even has a link to online directions for board games, to help settle disputes. Dr. Toy answers questions from parents on the site as well, a list of the all-time best toys, information about games, and guidelines in more than a dozen languages, so be sure to check it out.

The book is an indispensable guide for parents. The “work” of young children is play. It is through their imaginative play that they process their understanding of the world and learn everything from constructing a narrative to taking turns. The book has very useful information about guiding children to the kind of play they will find most satisfying and inspiring, play that will enable them to develop a sense of independence, mastery, and confidence. It has wise counsel on the pros and cons of gender-specific toys and information about toys for children with special needs and special talents. It has lists of the top 100 toys and the craft supplies that every family should have on hand every day. It is a welcome reminder of the importance of play for both children and their parents.

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