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10 Best Toys for 2010

By Wendy Burt-Thomas

Stevanne "Dr. Toy" Auerbach, Ph.D. recently released her choices for 100 Best Children's Products for 2010. This is the 18th annual report released by the noted child development authority and Director of the Institute for Childhood Resources.

According to Dr. Toy, the report is designed to "encourage parents and teachers to focus on the value of play as essential to the learning process." Among the criteria used to choose the toys: 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 understand of the community and the world, good value for price, and fun.

"Simple toys, when used properly, can help develop complex learning skills," says Dr. Ken Gibson, author of "Unlock the Einstein Inside: Applying New Brain Science to Wake Up the Smart in your Child." "Cognitive skills, like attention, auditory and visual processing, memory and processing speed, are essential tools that help kids become better learners. Research now shows that learning skills can be taught - and therefore improved - and kids learn best when they're having fun."

Of the 100 toys, the 10 best were:

  1. AdaptivePlay - Switch-Adapted Mickey Melodies
    For ages Birth - 12 yrs. $46.99;
    This product was designed especially for children with special needs. It offers 10 songs with favorite friends Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald. The toy is switch adapted and the child can change songs by hitting the switch. Switch is not included.

  2. Apple Park - Picnic Pal Hand Puppets
    For ages 3 - 5 yrs. $30.00;
    The five Apple Park Picnic Pals come to life as puppets who are full of personality and joy. The collection of Picnic Pal puppets are naturally hypoallergenic and handmade with 100% organic cotton, natural silk, soy, and hemp and are 8" by 8" in size.

  3. ATP Electronics - Sesame Street Video USB
    For ages 3 - 5 yrs. $24.99;
    Sesame Street has gone high tech! ATP Electronics has partnered with Sesame Street to bring educational media into an exciting and dynamically new format – full-length Sesame Street videos on character USB drives with memory space and a direct link to the Sesame Street website! Collect Abby, Elmo, Big Bird, and more.

  4. Be Good Company - Jawbones 215 Piece Construction Toy
    For ages 7 - 12 yrs. $39.99;
    Jawbones is a patented and excellent new construction toy with pieces that swivel, ratchet, and snap together in countless ways. With over 10 different kinds of pieces in the travel set, it allows builders to make and then play with their creations afterwward.

  5. Blue Orange Games - Golden Gate Go for the Gold!
    For ages 7 - 12 yrs. $14.99;
    Golden Gate is a fun, relaxing game for all ages. Excellent design includes playing surface inside, and it’s travel friendly. With fast-moving play and a perfect balance of luck and skill, you’ll feel the gold rush and want to come back for more.

  6. Discovery Toys - Story Stacker
    For ages 12 mos - 3 yrs. $20.00;
    Story Stacker is so much more than meets the eye. This unique 9-piece wooden stacking system is your toddler’s first construction toy that teaches numbers, size, sequence, colors and geometric shapes, while building eye-hand coordination thinking skills.

  7. Galloping Minds - Preschooler Learns Numbers & Counting with Animals
    For ages 1 - 5 yrs. $14.99;
    Preschooler Learns Numbers and Counting with Animals is aimed at teaching children counting up to 10 and counting in reverse from 10 to 0. It introduces them to addition, subtraction,and concepts like equality and more or less. It reinforces numbers.

  8. General Pencil - How to Draw Cartoon Flipbooks!
    For ages 8 - 12 yrs. $14.99;
    General's How to Draw Cartoon Flipbooks Kit features 2 books by Local Story Artist/ Animator Matthew Luhn from Pixar Animation. Tips and professional tricks, from Matthew's 15 years of teaching cartooning and creating animated films at Pixar, are now available in these fun and educational kits.

  9. GLOB - Paint Kit
    For ages 3 - 10 yrs. $15.00;
    Everything you need in one convenient do-it-yourself kit! Includes 6 color packets, 6 compostable jars with lids, and 2 bamboo vegan brushes, all packaged in a rice paper pouch with a nice variety of vibrant colors found in nature.

  10. GlyphGuy - Chipmunk Backpack
    For ages 3 - 7 yrs. $28.00;
    The Chipmunk backpack is named after this playful critter that moves quickly and loves to be outside. This is not a school backpack, rather the Chipmunk is lightweight and was designed to further a child's enjoyment of the outdoors.

Want to learn more about games that build essential learning tools? Download a free chart showing well-known games and the cognitive skills they build (attention, memory, logic and reasoning, visual processing, etc.) at

To view the entire list of 100 toys, visit

Wendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer, editor and PR consultant. She is the author of four books: "Oh, Solo Mia! The Hip Chick’s Guide to Fun for One," "Work It, Girl! 101 Tips for the Hip Working Chick," "The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters" and "The Everything Creative Writing Book."



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