Good Housekeeping’s 2012 Best Toy Award winners have been released!!! Here are the top 23 toys:
Hexbug Hive Habitat Set ($35; ages 3+) lets kids customize a bi-level maze, then see mechanical bugs run amok. Its 35 easy to-assemble pieces link with other sets to create an arena that will amuse for hours.
Techno Source’s Glow Crazy Doodle Dome ($20; ages 3+) gives little Picassos magical privacy as they sketch on the tent’s walls using a green light wand. When the mess-free art fades, it’s time to start all over again.
Shure Products ArchiQuest Architectural Elements ($30; ages 4+) contains more than 50 wooden blocks, in fresh shapes and bright hues, that young builders loved stacking up—and knocking down.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shellraiser ($35; ages 4+) with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($10 each, sold separately) can inspire an imagination-fueled crime-fighting scene.
§ Moose Toys Fortune Cookie Maker ($25; ages 5+) lets young bakers mix and roll real dough, heat it in the microwave, and form it around fortunes they write. The best part: devouring their own creations.
§ JAKKS Pacific Power Trains Auto Loader City Train Set ($40; ages 5+), an affordable alternative to die-cast models, had boys and girls assembling 18 realistic-looking feet of track for a five-train motorized locomotive.
The Micro Chargers Loop Track Drag Strip ($20; ages 6+) is perfect for superfast freewheeling fun. Tiny collectible cars, charged in as little as nine seconds, shot to incredible speeds for thrilling play.
§ Crayola Marker Airbrush Set ($25; ages 6+) uses markers to create spray paint-style art while giving kids a serious workout operating the manual pump. It includes 12 markers and four stencils.
§ Techno Source Codee ($8; ages 7+): Puzzle fans got a kick out of creating critters from a twistable chain of interlocking blocks that, when kids followed the coded formula, formed a bright flamingo, scorpion, or robot, to name a few.
§ LEGO Friends Adventure Camper ($30; ages 6 to 12): Constructing a motor home replete with two dolls, bikes, and a surfboard made this a popular pick with our testers. They were also fans of the Lego Creator Street Rebel set.
§ Playmobil E-Rangers’ Headquarters ($130; ages 7 to 12), a command center with a swiveling LED spotlight for imaginative scenarios, was adored by older kids. A working solar panel (it operates a fan) instills eco ideals.
§ Silverlit Bluetooth 1:16 Porsche 911 ($80; ages 8+): Hardly a standard remote-controlled car, this hyper-detailed toy, a 1:16 replica of the coveted sports car, can be steered via iOS devices (download the app first).
§ Colorfall from Marbles: The Brain Store ($45; ages 8+): Creating beauty takes focus—with 20 patterns to try, this toy shows kids how to arrange tiles in ways that, when knocked over, reveal artful designs (or they can make their own.)
§ Wild Planet Night Sight ($40; ages 8+) features head-mounted infrared goggles that provide a 50-foot view in the pitch dark.
§ Hasbro’s Bop It! Smash($23; ages 8+), in a total remake of the original, ratchets up speed and intensity levels as players try to hit a moving light squarely in the center. It improves coordination and entertains one or multiple kids.
§ KNEX Atomic Coaster ($71; ages 9+): This 4-foot-tall motorized toy promises a wild ride for two dueling cars. Parents may need to help assemble over 1,250 (count ’em!) pieces.
§ The Ravensburger 3D Building Set ($26; ages 10+) may trigger the travel bug, as young ones dexterously join curved, hinged, and flat puzzle pieces to form a famous site (other kits make the Empire State Building, Big Ben, and Tower Bridge).
The six winning board games are:
§ Haba’s My Very First Educational Play Zoo ($42, two to four players; ages 3+): Young gamers were completely engaged by its ten activities, like finding animals by touch, teach memory, math, shapes, and colors.
§ Gamewright’s Elephant’s Trunk ($15, two to four players; ages 4+): This game promotes color and pattern recognition as kids place a piece of clothing into a matching trunk. Roll a mouse on the die, and your luck runs out.
§ Fat Brain Toys’ Argh! ($9, two to six players; ages 6+): This board game sparks kids to think fast, claim loot, and keep greed at bay: Draw activity cards until you choose to stop, or risk losing it all to a pirate. Our testers played on and on.
§ Thinkfun Yackety Smack Card Game ($18, two to six players; ages 6+): Kids love hearing recordings of their own voices, and to win, players compete to spot the cards that represent a sound they just recorded. See a match and slap the “smacker.”
§ Educational Insights’ The Sci Or Fi Files ($15, two to six players; ages 10+): Test your scientific IQ with a set of 200 cards with true/false statements and fascinating explanations tucked into a wee filing cabinet. Testers called it the best game for teaching them something new.
§ Gamewright’s Scrambled States of America, Deluxe Edition ($16, two to four players; ages 8+): While racing to rack up different challenge cards, kids learn about the USA. Whoever gets the most cards becomes the new “Head of States.”
For more on Good Housekeeping’s top-rated toys, visit www.goodhousekeeping.com/