Children’s Choice 2014

Children’s Choice Awards are given to newly released toys that our testers have praised for being innovative, engaging, and the best in their area of play. A toy has to have a real ‘wow’ factor to win a Children’s Choice Award. Only a few Children’s Choice Awards are given each year, and they only go to the best of the best.
 
PDF Versions of the report follow.
 

Little People Disney Princess Klip Klop Stable
Mattel
18 mos +
Horses, princesses and a castle! This pretty-in-pink playset is sure to please. Our testers delighted in the two little horses that “klip klop” down the ramps between castle towers, ride through doorways, and dance on the spinning dance floor. They also enjoyed the Rapunzel and Aurora princess figures, which become part of imaginative play. This well-constructed playset has cheerful sound effects, and the multiple play areas (towers, stables, library) make this a great toy for play dates with other princess-loving friends.
Critter Clinic
B. toys by Battat
24 mos – 6 yrs
Our testers delighted in pretending to be vets with this cute and colourful animal hospital. The roof of the well-made, upright clinic holds 5 plastic vet tools (stethoscope, mirror, syringe, tweezers, and thermometer) that are nicely sized for little hands. Colour-matched keys open 6 little doors of the hospital’s animal cages, where sick pets can rest. The clinic comes with 2 cute stuffed animals (puppy and kitten) that our testers enjoyed nurturing back to health. Parents liked how imaginative play with this toy fostered caring and compassion.
Plus-Plus Mini 600 Pieces
Plus-Plus
3 +
This innovative building toy has endless creative potential. With over 600 pieces, all of which can fit together to make 2-D or 3-D creations, kids can build just about anything. Pieces are colourful, lightweight and durable. Testers liked how they fit together easily and stay together well. Our testing families found the toy especially remarkable for its appeal to a wide variety of ages. While enjoyed by testers as young as 3, much older kids also liked it and could make more complex creations. With so many pieces, kids can easily play with this toy together, and families were impressed by how unique each child’s creations were.
Mental Blox Critical Thinking Game
Learning Resources
4 +
Stacks of fun! This colourful game comes with 20 plastic blocks in 4 different shapes, 3 patterns, and 4 gender-neutral colors. The 20 activity cards prompt strategic thinking as players try to re-create an arrangement either by observing the illustration or by listening to verbal instructions. Our testers enjoyed manipulating the pieces and liked that there is more than one way to play with them. Families found that while the suggested methods of play are designed for ages 3+, even 1-year-olds could practise making patterns and stacking. Parents appreciated how the games are flexible enough to allow for increasing skill development.
Robot Invasion
Bloco Toys Inc.
4 – 10 yrs
Create an army of robots! This building toy has more than 200 foam pieces for kids to create their own sci-fi creatures, either by following instructions or using their imaginations. Our testers delighted in this attractive, made-in-Canada toy and had tons of fun making stand-alone robots. The illustrated instructions are easy to follow, and testers enjoyed using their robots in imaginative play and then taking them apart to build others. Families liked how the toy has enough pieces for multiple children to play together and create up to 5 robots at once. Some testers set up a “robot parts shop” and would trade in body parts for other ones. Said one testing parent, “ I have never seen a toy that had this level of longevity and was so loved by kids from as young as 15 months to 8 years.”
Even Steven's Odd!
Educational Insights
8 +
This fast-paced dice game requires quick hands and quick math skills—with a dose of strategy and luck to boot. Players race to compete the challenge shown on 1 of 40 challenge cards. The first player to do so grabs the “Steven” figure. Clearly written instructions are printed on the inside of the box, so they never get lost. Testers reported that the game’s design was well thought out, that all materials are durable and perfectly sized, and that there was lots of laughter during play. Families also liked the different levels of play, so the game can grow with kids. Games for 2–4 players take about 10 minutes.
Make Clay Charms
Klutz Inc
8 +
This attractive craft kit offers hours of entertainment. Kids can produce cute, colourful clay charms to attach to the included bracelet. Kit includes clay in nine colours, finishing glaze, shaping tools, charm loops, jump rings, and a drying and display stand. There are more than enough materials to complete a bracelet. For those who like to follow directions, there are easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions. Others may want to take inspiration from the illustrations and instructions to create their own unique charms. Our testers enjoyed both the creation process and the end result. “There’s no end to what kids can do with this craft.”, said one testing parent.
Marker Maker
Crayola
8 +
Create your own unique markers with this cool and colourful activity. The kit comes with red, yellow and blue ink, as well as measuring tubes, a mixing chart, tweezers and 16 ready-to-fill makers. Our testers loved creating customized colours, thinking up unique names for each one. They also appreciated the quality materials and liked putting their creations to use. There is plenty of ink, and more can be purchased separately. Parents appreciated that everything is self-contained for quick, easy storage, and there is very little mess.
Snap Circuits Light
Elenco
8 +
This circuit board was a real “de-light” with our testers. The neatly packaged kit comes with over 55 parts to build more than 175 fascinating projects. Our testers lit up with excitement over features like the spinning strobe light and the glow-in-the-dark fan. Seeing the circuit light up was rewarding, and they were very proud of their creations. The background and technical information provided in the booklet added to the educational value of the toy and was especially appreciated by those studying the electricity unit in Grade 6. Testers who had parents with technical backgrounds particularly enjoyed this toy.
Space Scooter
Space Scooter
8 +
Cool ride, dude! This innovative scooter can be ridden like a regular kick scooter or propelled forward by an up and down teeter/totter motion. Our pre-tween and tween testers got a kick out of the sleek and sturdy design (including hand break, kick stand, and a great grip pad on the base). They liked how easy it was to learn how to use it and were soon zooming around and able to keep up with their family on bikes. Families appreciated that the scooter is adjustable to different heights, is collapsible for easy storage and portability, and encourages active outdoor play. Safety is paramount, so families are encouraged to follow all instructions, have children wear appropriate safety gear, and keep the scooter lubricated. Maximum weight is 90 kg. Said one appreciative tester, “This scooter is way cool!
What’s It?
Peaceable Kingdom
8 +
In this non-competitive game, players try to guess what image is shown on a doodle card. Collective points are scored for matching answers, but lost for differing ones. No spelling or counting required, so this is a good game for 2–6 players of different ages. Our testers quickly grasped the concept of play and enjoyed the imaginative, fast-paced game.

Leonardo da Vinci Catapult and Medieval Siege Tower with Catapult
Pathfinders Design And Technology
12 +
These detailed, all-inclusive activity kits allow tweens and teens to build functioning catapult models with quality, pre-cut wooden pieces. Our testers appreciated the easy-to-follow instructions and were very pleased with the results. They enjoyed experimenting with launch distances using various materials such as Play-Doh balls. Building time for each model takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours and can be worked on over several sessions.