The Toy Box


Gold Star Winning Toys & Games

Top of The Class' Toys Offer 'Exceptional Play Value

It’s kind of odd that we at Neighbourhood Toy Stores of Canada (NETS) put out our ‘top ten’ toy list at the beginning of August, but that’s the way we roll!

And our ‘top ten’ list is a little different from other such lists. It’s not so much about the ‘latest and greatest’; it’s more about the ‘tried and true’.

Our ‘top ten’ list is voted on by our retail members. Preferences are based on customer feedback. So you could say our ‘top ten’ list is ‘voted on’ by you, the customers. Those products that make our ‘top ten’ list are awarded a Gold Star! This week we announced our 2011 Gold Star winners (see below), a list that will help you choose products with ‘exceptional play value.’

How do toys earn a ‘Gold Star’ from NETS retailers?

Before we can answer that question, we have to ask, what makes a toy a ‘good’ toy?

Good toys have value, and more specifically, two types of value.

The first value of a good toy is its quality. A good toy should be constructed of high quality, safe materials; it should be designed to do what it's supposed to do; and it should be durable enough to stand up to days and months of hard play. Anyone who knows kids knows that no toy is indestructible, but a good quality toy comes close.

The next value of a toy is its play value. A toy with good play value is a toy that a child will play with again and again, for hours at a time. It is also a toy that engages that child on several levels. It reaches the imagination, spatial thinking, logic, social development. It is a toy that is engaging, not merely entertaining.

Amongst all these great toys are the real gems, the toys that have outstanding durability, the toys that children play with not just for months, but for years and remember fondly after they grow up, the toys that get put away and saved for grandchildren. These are the toys that get awarded the Gold Star from NETS.

The 2011 NETS Gold Star winners are –

- TOMY Dino Constructables | International Playthings

- Khet 2.0 Laser Game | Lion Rampant Imports

- Calico Critter Caravan Family Camper | International Playthings

- Mugz The Ice Cream Maker | On the Right Track

- Perplexus Epic | PlaSmart

- Sock Monkey | Schylling

- Knot, Smile & Cuddle | Alex

- Intelliglobe | Pirie McKie & Associates Inc.

- Piggy Paint Barn Box Gift Set | Stortz & Associates

- K’s Kids Hungry Pelican | Playwell Enterprises

To view product descriptions and images of each of the 2011 Gold Star winners, go to

Paul Christy is owner of The Monkey’s Uncle Toy Store in Invermere B.C., a member of Neighbourhood Toy Stores of Canada (NETS) and the Chairman of NETS Gold Star Awards Committee.

He believes that children who have 'too many toys' usually have too many of the 'wrong' toys, products that offer no ongoing play value. If children are provided with toys that fit their age and interests, they will in fact end up owning fewer toys.