The Toy Box


Toys with Exceptional Play Value

Winning ideas for kids and parents!

My oh my! There are so many ‘wish lists’ in the works already and we haven’t even reached December! (Whoever said the holiday season wasn’t all about gifts and toys was living under a rock!) Kids know what they want and parents usually have some different ideas about this. During the coming weeks there is every opportunity for a ‘wish list’ tug-of-war to materialize on the home front.

Ideally, there is always room for compromise. And with that, we would like to put forth some toy suggestions that you may find useful in avoiding any ‘anticipointment’ on ‘the big day.’ (‘Anticipointment’ being the probable outcome in situations where ‘said’ gift from ‘said’ wish list is not received due to a) Santa being out stock b) the price tag being a tad too outrageous or c) the idea of your child owning ‘said’ gift being preposterous!)

Each year Neighbourhood Toy Stores of Canada (NETS) awards a ‘Gold Star’ to 10 toys. You could call it our ‘top ten’ list. A winning product must offer exceptional play value and be safe and durable. The really nice thing about these winning products is that NETS retailers select these based on feedback from parents like you. These are the toys and games ‘you’ have found to be the ‘most amazing’ products because kids play with these toys over and over again, never tiring of them.  

So, based on kids loving to play with these toys, and parents loving to buy these toys for their children, conditions are right for a ‘win/win’ situation in the ‘wish list’ tug of war.

Here are some of this year’s Gold Star Award winners:

Magformers 30-Piece Rainbow Set
Kids 5+ explore and experiment with these two geometric shapes creating simple and complex 3D models for hours on end. Each time they pick up this toy it presents them with new possibilities limited only by their imaginations. The 30-piece Rainbow set includes 18 square (size: 2.5” x 2.5”) and 12 triangle (size: 2”H) Magformers and an idea booklet. Suggested retail price is $49.99.

Speed Stacks StackPack
These are hot! Sport Stacking is a phenomenon that has participation in over 29 countries and 35,000 schools! This is all about stacking and re-stacking the cups, proficiently, in record time. Kids can’t help but develop their hand-eye coordination in the process and there is always the challenge of breaking their last record. There are a million videos of speed stacking online. Check them out! The StackPack includes 12 Speed Stacks Cups in one of four assorted colours, the StackIt Timer (which also doubles as the cup-carrier), StackMat, Training DVD & Instruction Booklet. Suitable for children 8+ the suggested retail price is $39.99.

Baby Stella Sweet Sounds
Here’s something for those little darlings who are 12 months plus. Manhattan Toy’s Baby Stella Sweet Sounds doll captivates the imaginations of boys and girls around the world. Baby Stella can talk and features three realistic sounds: pacifier sucking noise when pacifier is attached, giggling when foot is squeezed and she calls for "mama" when her hand is squeezed. Her adorable outfit includes a magnetic pacifier and a pink ruffled onesie with Velcro-like closures in back. Baby Stella comes with two replaceable AA batteries. Suggested retail price is $44.99.

You will find each of the 2012 Gold Star Award products in NETS retailers across Canada.

Each of the ideas mentioned above are pretty much in the ‘major league’ gift department price-wise. But any one of the 50 NETS retail stores across Canada has a far wider selection for you to choose from. There’s no question you will find   the gift that ‘fits’ both your child’s age, stage and character, as well as your budget.

We love it when you give us a challenge, so drop on by!

In the meantime we’ll be back with additional 2012 Gold Star Award winners in the coming weeks!

Neighbourhood Toy Stores of Canada (NETS) is a network of local independent specialty toy stores, and their suppliers. NETS retail stores are owned and staffed by people who live in your community and are usually parents themselves. NETS retailers and their suppliers are passionate about connecting children with safe, fascinating, quality-made toys and games to engage them in fun and learning.

Before the register rings, be sure to visit our Holiday Gift Guide. You’ll find this year’s hottest toys, gifts for the hard-to-buy-for person in your life and shopping tips that will save you time and money.