Good Toy Guide’s Top Scoring Toys in 2015

December 27, 2015 Published by

good-toy-recommendedThis year we’ve seen the popularity of digital toys explode and as technology improves there are an increasing number of toys that offer amazing play experiences. They also allow children to explore educational topics with hands-on experimentation.

Where traditional toys couldn’t give much output to children, we’re now seeing toys that can help guide children’s learning through multi-level games and immediate feedback to steer them more closely in the right direction while allowing the child to grow at their own pace.

Here is a look at the toys this year that not only received a Recommended stamp from the Good Toy Guide but went even further and scored full marks in our Fun and Skills ratings. And because it’s not just about what the experts think, our little testers have had their say in what makes these toys so great too.


osmo

Osmo

Use physical objects to interact with different puzzle apps and get children to really think outside the box.

Age: 6-11 years

RRP: £69.95

“You have to match the shapes. It really makes you think.”

– Girl aged 11 (Tangram)

The Osmo gaming system works with your iPad to transform the physical space in front of the iPad into a digital game board. This interacts with multiple Osmo apps including Tangram (a geometric puzzle), Newton (a problem solving game) and Words (a pairs spelling game). This variety means this one toy can stretch across different skills and ages.

We love how novel Osmo is and it was great seeing children thinking hard about the challenges they were faced with. The Newton game really got them thinking outside the box to achieve their goal, while Tangram keeps the physical interactivity of the classic game while adding value by giving tips and tracking the player’s success.


Solve-it-Blocks (school version)

A giant puzzle to challenge children’s thinking while developing personal, social and emotional skills.

Age: 5-9 years

RRP: £495

“It’s harder than a normal lesson…” – “…but it’s funner.”

– Girl and Boy, Year 3

Solve-it-Blocks are a highly adaptable teaching aid that are ideal for schools. The soft play cubes have different colours, shapes, flags, numbers and letters on each side; the aim, to build a wall matching a given 3×3 grid pattern.

It was inspiring to see how enthusiastic and immersed even the 5-year-olds were (who aren’t known for having long attention spans!) in a lesson using Solve-it-Blocks. On this occasion the teacher challenged children to build the wall as a team, and it was amazing to see them thinking about the problem out loud and discussing solutions with the rest of the group. The method of moving blocks to solve the puzzle also gave the children a chance to move about and get active which they loved.

solve-it-blocks

tiggly-shapes

Tiggly Shapes

Colourful physical blocks that interact with learning and creative apps for toddlers to help teach them shapes.

Age: 18 months – 3 years

RRP: £24.95

“He, he, look Mummy he moves…look, look now he’s waving!”

– Boy aged 3 (Tiggly Draw)

Tiggly combine physical toys with a variety of fun and educational apps for young children. This particular set, Shapes, is a collection of brightly coloured shapes that toddlers can press onto a tablet screen. Children use the shapes as stamps to create scenes (Tiggly Stamp), decorate the shapes with animated stickers (Tiggly Draw), or match the shape on the screen to magically turn it into an animal (Tiggly Safari).

Our little testers hugely enjoyed playing with Tiggly Shapes and really showed motivation and learning as they played. They found the animations in Tiggly Draw hilarious! These games help to familiarise toddlers with basic shapes and support language learning – they liked repeating words like ‘square’ and ‘chicken’ as they played (the language can be changed so Tiggly Shapes can even introduce children to foreign languages!).


Super Star Theater

A full theater to help children develop key personal, social and emotional skills and explore their imaginations.

Age: 4-8 years

RRP: £149.99

“I need my crown. If i’m the king, I can’t go on stage without a crown.”

– Boy aged 6

Aspiring actors can put on a real show with the Super Star theater – it comes complete with a dressing room, back stage entrance, ticket booth, refreshment stand and more!

This play set is fantastic for encouraging children to use their imaginations, make up their own stories (which helps develop speaking, self-expression and creative skills) and build their confidence by performing in front of an audience. The many features mean that children can take on different roles and work together to create their show, encouraging important social skills.

super-star-theater

 

friend-freddy

My Friend Freddy Bear

Children can play games and chat with the cuddly friend that knows all about them!

Age: 2-4 years

RRP: £39.99

“Mummy he said my name.”

– Girl aged 3

Freddy Bear is a cuddly companion for children to talk to and play games with too. Once paired with a tablet, details such as the child’s favourite food and toys can be entered into the app and will then be used by Freddy in conversation.

Children were amazed that Freddy knew facts about them and this can get children to talk and think about their identity (such as their likes and dislikes). They loved playing games alongside Freddy, encouraging them to learn numbers, letters and colours.


 

Sphero SPRK Edition Robot

Inspire a love of coding and teach STEM principles with a real working robot.

Age: 8+ years

RRP: £99.95

“It’s really cool, look it can do a figure of eight!”

– Girl aged 12

Sphero is a cool little robot that can be controlled by smartphones and tablets. As well as simply driving Sphero around, there are lots of apps available for children to experiment with coding and STEM principles (valuable skills for the school curriculum).

The beauty of Sphero is in the huge potential for playing and learning; while it can introduce younger children to the many possibilities of programming, older children can start to develop more complex coding skills. Even children who don’t like computing or coding said it was fun; clearly Sphero can really inspire an interest in an increasingly important subject in the digital age.

sphero

 

hot-wires

Hot Wires

Science is brought to life as children build and experiment with their own working circuits.

Age: 7-9 years

RRP: £49.99

“That’s a resistor, I knew that because I made a house that lit up.”

– Girl aged 9

The Hot Wires set is packed full of 100 experiments to try; children can build anything  from a flying disc to a burglar alarm! The components easily snap together so children can build their own circuits from the ground up.

Children loved having the freedom to try out their own circuits to answer those burning “what if?” questions that science ignites. The components also have their scientific symbols on them, so children can draw out the circuits they have created, making Hot Wires a fantastically fun way to support learning in science.


See more Recommended and Approved toys in our Good Toy Guide.

 

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This post was written by Anna Taylor

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