2012 NAPPA Awards: Top Toys
NogginStik Developmental Rattle
SmartNoggin, Inc., ages birth-18 months, special needs, $21.99
** JUDGES' CHOICE: PHOTOGENIC **
Why the judges liked it: More than a rattle, this developmental milestone-maker taps into the abilities of babies from birth by introducing eye tracking through an innovative 3-color changing light. Tap the rattle and NogginStik’s friendly face glows – red, then blue then green.
• Cognitive connections. The sound, lights and textures promote healthy brain development.
• Tender time. Encourages interaction and bonding between a baby and parent or caregiver.
• Perfectly-sized for babies’ little hands to grab.
• Sensory smorgasbord. Textures, rattle sound and a bottom mirror are a baby’s sensory delight. BUY IT
Lamaze Turtle Tunes
TOMY, birth- age 2, $29.99
Why the judges liked it: Tap the colors of this plush turtle to hear music one note at a time or a delightful melody.
• Responsive reptile. The slightest touch on its colorful shell segments makes music.
• Repeat action. Tap a tune helps kids learn that their movement caused a reaction and one they want to do again and again.
• No tiptoeing for the turtle! His feet have crinkle sounds – great for touch, not for sneaking turtles! BUY IT
Magic Moves™ Electronic Wand from Educational Insights
Educational Insights, ages 1-8, $19.99
Why the judges liked it: Creep, leap, move and groove! Listen to the leader and physically act out the commands like, “glide like a swan,” or “waddle like a walrus.”
• Transform and perform! Listen for the cue and become a jumping rabbit or a leaping lion. Watch as your group becomes a gaggle of geese or a school of fish getting goofier with each new task.
• Matching music. Slither, stretch and scamper. Each command is accompanied by music that simulates the action it inspires. Hopping like a rabbit has boing-y, bouncy music while floating like a feather is smooth and mellow.
• Interpretive movement. Listen to the command, feel the music and let your body move to express your own interpretation of the action. This makes kids aware of how they process the sounds they hear and how their bodies move in space. BUY IT
LEGO Duplo My First Build
LEGO Systems Inc, ages 18 months-2 years, special needs, $24.99
Why the judges liked it: LEGO builder-in-training! Oversized “menu” cards show kids how to build. The pictures have actual size illustrations for children to match up and lay out the bricks before connecting them. The DUPLO bricks and real object pieces help bridge the gap between constructive and imaginary play. • Plenty of pieces to enjoy independently or share with a friend. • Solid foundation. Bricks connect securely enabling play with structures after they are built. • Learning with LEGO. Play incorporates problem solving, visual perception, hand strength, eye-hand coordination, visual acuity and parts-to-whole representation. BUY IT
Tots Art Start
ALEX Toys, ages 18 months-2 years, $16.95
Why the judges liked it: All the glory without the glue! Everything’s assembled for an afternoon of art. Create collages by placing doilies and fringed tissue anywhere on the sticky paper for a successful start to creative art! Triangular crayons, shaped paper and stickers add to the options.
• Never too young. Introduces creativity to a younger age.
• Fridge art at its finest. Children are instantly successful.
• Digit discovery. Different textures help kids explore and discover how to use their hands and fingers. BUY IT
STRIDER ST-3 No-Pedal Balance Bike
Strider Sports Intl., Inc., ages 18 months-age 5, $110
Why the judges liked it: Riding starts with balance and coordination, not dependence on training wheels, with this cool, pedal-less rider. Intuitive to use, beginners gradually build skills needed to ride a traditional bike. Kids advance at their own pace, boosting confidence as they roll along.
• “Cool” big kid bike. The look says it all.
• Lightweight. Easy to haul to the bike trails.
• Raise the bar. Separate adjustable seat and handlebar height. BUY IT
Master Moves Mickey
Weber Shandwick, ages 18 months-age 8, $69.99
Why the judges liked it: Mickey’s funky moves put the beat in everyone’s feet. He’ll show you what he’s got and waits for your rhythm to rock.
• An awe in robotic engineering. Mickey’s moves defy traditional engineering. Limits are out the window as Mickey does The Windmill, The Spin Cycle, The Handstand and The Mouska Mix dance moves.
• Props on the pose. Hinged hand and smooth moves help Mickey strike a pose with an air of attitude.
• No twisting trousers. Dude’s got the duds to strut his stuff. And doing his spins and flips won’t get his baggies in a bunch. BUY IT
BabbaBox by BabbaCo
BabbaCo, ages 3-5, $29.99 per month or $299 for a 12-month subscription
Why the judges liked it: Ready for fun all in one…box! Once a month, your mail carrier will deliver a gift box of fun that lasts all month long. Themed box includes an art project, book, exploring activity and access to an app. The prep work is done for you — just answer the door when it arrives!
• Pampers the parents. Comes with a special gift just for moms and dads.
• 1, 3 or 12. Send a one-time gift or for three months or a full year of fun!
• Precious time, not prep time. Helps families connect while giving them all the tools so they don’t have to create and compile them on their own. BUY IT
Begin Again Toys, ages 3- 5, $22
Why the judges liked it: Perfect all around! Natural rubber bathtub toy is BPA free, phthalates free, lead free, dishwasher safe, won’t mold AND is fun for kids.
• Holes in this theory! Large holes in the 4 pieces (2 sharks, 1 diver, 1 octopus) help them sink to the bottom for deep sea exploration and prevent mold from growing in a confined area.
• Imaginate! The simple design leaves imagination for the kids.
• Double duty durability. Made of thick, solid rubber, the ball doubles as storage. BUY IT
Tag Get Ready for Kindergarten
LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., ages 3-5, $13.99
Why the judges liked it: Look, listen and learn! Each page of this book shines a spotlight on a different school-readiness skill with interactive Tag touch appeal. Different voices respond, teaching alphabet recognition, early math, emotions, seasons, months and more. Just open the pages and you will see just how fun kindergarten will be! Works with the Tag Reading System.
• Learning through entertainment. The most productive way to learn is by having fun. Kids won’t even realize this is a lesson in independent study!
• No backaches here! The pages of this interactive book deliver a backpack full of learning without the weight.
• Revisit favorites. Kids can learn at their own pace, return to pages for a refresher course or confidence booster.
• Listening’s a skill. Different voices keep the play auditorily interesting while sound effects and verbal praise encourage further learning. BUY IT
Touch Magic Learning Bus
LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., Preschool and Kindergarten: 3 - 5 years, $24.99
Why the judges liked it: Board this bus and you’ll never be bored again! Familiar touch technology has reached two-year olds’ toys. 26 letters, animals, keyboard and more are a simple swipe away.
• Have bus, will travel. Lightweight and thin, your kids can easily have this bus in tow for learning all over town.
• No buttons. Simply touch, tap or swipe the surface for a lesson in learning and fun. Added bonus: no keys to collect crud; it’s easy to wipe clean.
• Three stops. This bus makes three stops to let kids explore and learn on their own, enjoy music and play games. BUY IT
Green Toys, ages 3-8, $27.99
Why the judges liked it: This perennial flower garden is made from recycled plastic milk jugs! Slide stems and flowers onto the base to create your very own centerpiece!
• This garden helps kids grow by learning colors, matching, counting, sorting, grouping, patterning and more.
• Does your garden grow in a row? Base connects in puzzle-like form and can be linear or a circular.
• Free of pesticides! No BPA, Phthalates, PVC or external coatings. BUY IT
LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., ages 3-8, $99.99
Why the judges liked it: Durability of a toy, technological advancements of a tablet. Double the memory and two cameras equal two thumbs up for parents and kids! Stylus, touch screen and motion sensor are used to play games, listen to 5 songs or read a book. Downloadable apps and cartridges are also available. Pretty soon, we’ll be begging our kids to use their LeapPad!
• Memory for memories. Holds 20,000 photos or 40 video apps.
• Mega power, mega speed. 550 MHz processor
• Won’t poop out. The LeapPad 2 has rechargeable capabilities.
• Games begin at 3. Age range for games start at 3+. “I like to take pictures – they’re so big that you can see what you’re changing!” 6yr old boy BUY IT
GlitterToos, ages 3-15, special needs, $15.95,
** JUDGE’S CHOICE **
Why the judges liked it: Fun to do and look at too! 15 sticker stencils, 6 glitter colors and a nail polish-like bottle of glue makes for easy glitzy fun. Tattoos are permanently temporary: they last several days — no glitter trail left behind on bed sheets and hand-washing’s no match for them, but they can be removed when wanted. A great tween gift or present topper/stocking stuffer.
• Gossip and glitter. Enough supplies for kids to do with friends.
• Choices, choices, choices. Pick your design, pick your colors, pick your place.
• Better than the real thing! Doesn’t hurt to put it on and won’t rub or peel off – and can be taken off if you change your mind! BUY IT
Puppet-on-a-Stick™ (set of 3) from Educational Insights
Educational Insights, ages 3-15, $23.99
Why the judges liked it: Masterfully designed with minimally molded detail, these puppets are just waiting for your personality to give them life and language.
• Not tongue-tied. A thumb lever on the rod effortlessly opens and closes the puppet’s mouth for easy jabbering jaws.
• Rods for bods. Set of three puppet heads are permanently perched on poles.
• Grab to gab. Your thoughts and voice, the puppet’s grace and face give kids a friend to help them pretend or talk through topics to help them understand. BUY IT
Playmates Toys Secret Sewer Lair Playset
Playmates Toys, ages 3-adult, special needs, $119.99
Why the judges liked it: Fighting villains from this “underground” hideout, these mutant ninja warriors can periscope spy on street level society while honing skills in over 20 secret battle areas.
• Tall on action. This lair boasts 40” of pure action excitement.
• Team Turtle. The playset is large enough for your friends to team up with the Turtles for combat.
• Pop in for pizza. Access the lair through the manhole cover, zip-line or working elevator – but don’t come empty-handed; pick up pizza at Antonio’s Pizza-Rama before you come.
• Hang out in the homestead. Tire swing and zip line can be attached anywhere on the lair. BUY IT
All Duct Out
ALEX Toys, ages 6-8, $27.95
Why the judges liked it: Back to the ages when toys were boxes and planes were paper, this set is a welcomed return of the basics with a modern, trendy appeal. Fun-printed duct tape and directions help kids create headbands, purses and more.
• Simple, fun and easy to make.
• Runway worthy. Creative and eye-catching, kids can really strut their stuff with these home-made masterpieces! • Directions suggest, artists impress. Patterns get kids started, but creativity takes over to make one–of-a-kind originals. BUY IT
Discovery Kids Spaceship Laser Tag
NKOK, Inc., ages 6-8, $19.99
Why the judges liked it: All encompassing game of hide and seek, tag and lasers. Kids strap on wrist laser spaceships and target their opponent without getting hit by their foe’s visible laser beams.
• Projected, not projectile. Indoor Laser Tag throws infrared beams of light around a room, not projectiles that’ll get you grounded.
• Six lives. Each player has six lives, and each life has 5 shots. That equals 30 rounds of action-packed combat.
• Senses a hit. You know you’re hit — you automatically lose a life and your spaceship vibrates acknowledgement — or maybe it’s a sensory sign to pick up your game! BUY IT
Razor® FlashRider™ 360
Razor USA LLC, ages 6-8, $129.99
Why the judges liked it: The sparks are flyin’ with this ride-on! Evolved classic three-wheeler delivers style and performance with highly responsive back casters that send kids into 360° spins while a spark bar cartridge with a pull-up lever leaves a blazing trail!
• Lightning quick speed. The zippiness of this ride-on sparks neighborhood kids’ interest and gets them in line for a turn.
• Flat-free tire. Dense foam front tire won’t require pit stops for changes.
• Low rider won’t flip when kids spin. BUY IT
DC Universe Super Heroes The Batcave
LEGO Systems Inc, ages 6-15, $69.99
Why the judges liked it: To the Batcave!” all you Batman-LEGO fans! This set masterfully combines two obsessions: to build the Batcave and surrender your imagination to the Caped Crusader. This detailed LEGO rendition includes the iconic red phone and a transforming changing station for the Bruce-Batman switch. The Dark Knight zips around on the Batcycle while Bane bores into imagination in his spinning drill tank. Two-expressioned characters included are Batman, Robin and Poison Ivy while Bruce Wayne and Bane maintain their stare.
• Bruce does exist! This set comes with the elusive Bruce Wayne character not found in other LEGO sets.
• Caped Crusaders have capes! Cloth capes enrobe Batman and Robin as they fight the evil Bane and Poison Ivy.
• Slick design. Front and back printing on the characters, detailed hair and redesigned Batcycle renews this classic with modern flair. BUY IT
Ravensburger/Grand Communications, ages 9-15, $19.99
Why the judges liked it: The picture jumps right from the puzzle! Once the 1000 piece puzzle is complete, download the app, hover over each animal to experience the savannas of Africa and capture the wildlife that call it home.
• Animation app. Download the app to see the animals come to life with real action and sound effects on your iPhone or iPad.
• Tabletop tour of Africa. Watch the animals roam in the comforts of your own home.
• Puzzle pieces make connections. Classic jigsaw puzzle is embedded with the modern twist of technology.
• Action-packed puzzle allows you to enjoy a safari without the cost of a plane ticket, fear of a lion or hunger of a hippo. BUY IT
littleBits Holiday Kit
littleBits Starter Kit
littleBits , ages 9-15, $89
Why the judges liked it: Today’s enthusiasts are tomorrow’s engineers. Modular components cleverly snap together with magnets for a lesson in electronics and a spark to ingenuity. Perfect for all the hard-to-buy-for, science-minded kids on your gift giving list!
• Current events. Click together pieces to complete a circuit. Add your own components like pipe cleaners, paper and tape to light, vibrate, turn and create.
• Tinkering with technology. Designed to inspire, this set helps develop the skills to think outside the box. It creatively and effectively links play to innovation.
• An engineer’s toolbox. This set takes intellectual capabilities to the next level. Kids use the modular buzzers, lights, and motors to create a doorbell, light up a tabletop tree, or spin a flower. Have fun coming up with ideas, figuring them out, tweaking and trying and problem solving to challenge your mind and advance your skill.
• Once bitten. Once kids understand the concept, there is no stopping the overflowing ideas kids will think up. BUY IT
3D Puzzle La Tour Eiffel
Ravensburger/Grand Communications, ages 9-adult, $25.99
Why the judges liked it: Ooh la la, Paris in a puzzle! Piece together the famous landmark — puzzle style! Ideal for kids who have mastered flat puzzles and want an incremental challenge. Flat and hinged plastic pieces are all numbered and have arrows to indicate placement so it can be easily and methodically erected in an afternoon.
• Mantel-worthy. This puzzle is a fun pastime and the final product is a displayable three-dimensional piece of art.
• Sturdy structure. Three puzzle sections are each divided with a plastic base that give the structure added stability and lends architectural authenticity to the pride of Paris.
• Build-by-number. Numbered pieces guide children to build from the ground up making an overwhelming task not only do-able, but enjoyable. BUY IT
Air Hogs Battle Tracker
Spin Master Ltd., fun for the entire Family, $99.99
Why the judges liked it: Entering hostile territory – take cover! Missiles flying, disks coursing through the air and the battle is on! Indoor helicopter, controlled by remote, can shoot disks while A.R.T. (Automatic Robotic Turret) tracks its every move and can lock-on to fire foam missiles, bringing the helicopter down.
• You call the shots. A.R.T. can be used on auto track mode or manually controlled with the tethered remote.
• Mission command. Use the heli and A.R.T. together or on their own. Identify and fire at your own targets or have a face-off with the Air Hogs duo.
• Precision. A.R.T. is impeccably accurate in its quest to cause the heli’s demise. BUY IT
Dr. Dreadful Alien Autopsy
Spin Master Ltd., Fun for the entire family, $29.99
Why the judges liked it: Ever been invited to an edible autopsy? It’s creepalicious! Bubbling guts, injected intestines, and eyeballs provide a hair-raising, spine-chilling smorgasbord for dig-in diners. Lung Bugs provide the traditional, gummy candy lure that does not disappoint. “Very rarely do I come across a product that truly amazes me and catches me off-guard. This one did! The alien guts were disgustingly believable – they had an eerie mystical lure about them. An appeal that was creepy, enticing, and enGROSSing.”— NAPPA judge
• Won’t disappoint. You’ll truly be fascinated by the life churning within the alien.
• Repeat play. Amazingly, this isn’t a one-time feast. You’ll be back for more.
• Edible. Who knew aliens made for such tasty treats?! BUY IT
BLASTmedia PR, fun for the entire family, special needs
Why the judges liked it: More than a pedometer, Geopalz motivates kids to walk with the promise of prizes. Log your daily strides online to earn points redeemable for freebies shipped right to your door.
• Weekly e-mails are sent to parents to chart their child’s progress. Trivia tidbits are included with fun facts based on their steps.
• Show off. Efforts are awarded with printable certificates to display your achievements.
• The more you walk, the more you get! Shop on your “prize wall” to redeem points. Parents pay shipping for prizes like soccer balls, Frisbees, water bottles and more. • 2500 steps = 1 mile = 1 point. Prizes start at 40 points. BUY IT
Sony Computer Entertainment , fun for the entire family, $249.99 WiFi, $299.99 WiFi/3G
Why the judges liked it: Portable gaming system that has the advanced technology to astonish, yet the intuitiveness to pick-up-and-play. Vita reaches beyond the ho hum hand held systems and presents gamers with fingertip access to apps, chats and stats. Impressive graphics, touchscreen and analog controllers, video/music player, voice chat during play, picture taking capabilities and too much more to mention!
• Packs a punch. System has enough power to easily run several apps at the same time.
• Double duty. Dual analog sticks, front and back cameras, front and back touch pads
• Friends and foes. Wi-Fi capability lets you talk with friends during games, find fellow gamers, check others’ stats and play to beat them.
• Better than being there. At 5”, the screen and its unprecedented graphics and motion sensor transports a player directly into the game. BUY IT
Symphony in B.
B. toys, fun for the entire family, $49.99
Why the judges liked it:A concert hall with the comforts of home and the sounds of a symphony! Place tall plastic instruments in the orchestra pit — in any order, on either of the two levels, to hear ever-changing music. Vary the music by adding to or taking away instruments and listen and learn how each sounds alone or within the context of an orchestra.
• Puzzle-like play. Instrument-shaped pieces have geometrical bottoms that fit in the shaped wells or can be placed in the storage space in back.
• Tall on fun. Pieces are tall and easy for little fingers to grasp and place.
• Musical family. Special lights indicate what family the instruments are a part of: woodwind, brass, percussion, keyboards or strings and if they primarily play the melody or accompaniment. BUY IT