Canadian Toy Testing Council: Best Toys for 2010

by DaniGirl on November 16, 2009 · 11 comments

in Consumer culture, Happy holidays

This time of year, it seems like every website, TV show and magazine is offering up the “Best Bet” toys for the holiday season. I’m always a little bit skeptical though: can I trust Disney to objectively assess the other guys’ toys, or am I just getting a thinly disguised “Best Disney Toys” list?

That’s why I’ve always enjoyed reviewing the Canadian Toy Testing Council Best Bet Toy lists. The Canadian Toy Testing Council (CTTC) has been assessing toys on the basis of design, function, durability and play value since 1952. Here’s their schpeil:

Every year, hundreds of toys are selected as representative of those being offered on the market. These toys are then tested by Canadian children in everyday settings, to assess design, function, durability and play value. The Council rates each toy, awarding Three Stars, Two Stars, One Star, Novelty or Not Recommended. You can find the ratings and a review of each toy tested in editions of the TOY REPORT, published by the CTTC. The Council also reviews and evaluates Canadian children’s books to promote child literacy.

Toys tested by actual families? That’s the kind of review I want to read. The CTTC released their list of the Best Bet Toys for 2010 on November 16, along with a Battery-Powered Toy of the Year award and a Children’s Choice category.

I can tell you from personal experience that their Children’s Choice recommendation of the Step 2 Sand and Water Transportation Station is right on the money. Our was well-loved by the 7 year old, the 5 year old and the toddler, right out of the box.

137:365 Sand and water table

One of their “Best Bet” recommendations is Ganz’ Webkinz, which continue to enthrall all three of my boys. The big boys love them equally for the cuddle-factor and the online component, and the little guy just likes to hug them and make piles of them.

I am intrigued by the recommendation for Uno Moo. Lucas might be a tiny bit on the young side, but it looks to me like a game all three boys could play together. Uno is one of those classic games that the boys seem to love. Another unbeatable classic is Lego, which has my boys enthralled in a full-on addiction. I tried Tinker Toys one year, thinking the building factor would hook them, but we found the pieces annoying to assemble and not very versatile. Have they changed Tinker Toys since we were kids? Didn’t they used to be better?

My other favourite toy recommedation continues to be Cranium’s Super Fort. We gave one to my nephew for his birthday a year or two ago, and just this past weekend my sister-in-law was mentioning what a great gift it was and how much play value they got from it. (Ha, I just googled “cranium super fort” to find the link, and came up with my CTTC post from 2007. Apparently I am starting to repeat myself!)

By the way, you can also read the full report on all of the toys reviewed by the CTTC’s testing families online. I wish it were a more interactive, searchable database, though. You can even sign up to be a testing family — something I keep meaning to do but never seem to get around to.

Shhh, don’t tell the boys, but this Christmas will see a lot of Lego under our Christmas tree. That, and Wii games. Wii is coming out with Lego Rockband — it’s like they’re reading our minds! It’s the perfect family gift.

Care to share your inspiration? What do you think will be a big hit at your house this holiday season?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rebecca S November 17, 2009 at 12:40 am

Canadian Toy Testing Council has their picks for this year's best toys – @DaniGirl has a great summary

2 Rae November 17, 2009 at 12:41 am

We’ve been a testing family for 2 years, and really? The awesome never ends! The 15 page reports (per toy!) can get a little tedious when you’ve got 4 to do before FRIDAY but other than that, the girls love having toys that only come for a little while!!

3 Shannon November 17, 2009 at 1:00 am

RT @bitofmomsense: Canadian Toy Testing Council has their picks for this year's best toys – @DaniGirl has great summary

4 Hilary November 17, 2009 at 5:59 am

Being a testing family is fun! We did it when I was a kid and I’ll never forget torturing the New Kids on the Block dolls with my friends when I was about 10. A couple of them endured particularly gruesome deaths by hanging. Fun toys and great memories 🙂

5 Nat November 17, 2009 at 7:34 am

Lego Rock Band might, just might find it’s way under my tree… just saying.

6 Shannon November 17, 2009 at 8:30 am

The Uno Moo – is fantastic!! We’re a testing family too and I volunteer for the CTTC . . . I agree with Rae, it’s amazing but the report writing can get really stressful when you’re doing several 15 page reports all due at the same time. But we love it and the kids really look forward to it every year. Another winner in my book was the Super Why ABC Letter game – my boys (4 and 5) absolutely love it and we play it several times a week with each other.

Another great game (not one I tested though) is Zingo – it’s another that my boys love and is easy for us all to play together.

And I’ve been eying Lego Rock Band too and feel it may also merit a home under our Christmas tree this year!

7 Amy @ Muddy Boots November 17, 2009 at 11:43 am

While last year was all Lego, this year it’s ALL PLAYMOBIL. I sort of feel like this is a regression… from Lego to Playmobil, isn’t it normally the other way around?? But I think that my boys (Liam 6 and Simon 3) enjoy just having “guys” to play with, without HAVING to build anything. Peter is frustrated that we have all this Lego that isn’t being played with right now. But seriously, we have three boys 6 and under… It. Will. Get. Played. With.

8 meanie November 18, 2009 at 12:02 pm

okay, help me out here. I am dying to get Gracie buckets of Lego for Xmas, but I don’t want a kit, I just want plain old Lego for her to build bungalows with etc. Where can I get this? All I see are kits in the stores…..

9 Penny November 26, 2009 at 8:12 pm

I was disappointed that the CANADIAN Toy Testing Council would reccomend the Sand & Water Transportation station when it is not
readily available in local stores.

10 DaniGirl November 27, 2009 at 6:14 am

Penny, you might check with Costco — that’s where I got mine this summer.

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