How we rate toys

The Canadian Toy Testing Council

Since 1952, the Canadian Toy Testing Council (CTTC) has been assessing toys on the basis of design, function, durability and play value, to help parents choose good toys. We do this by putting toys right into the hands of children themselves.

In our program, children test toys in their own homes for a period of six to eight weeks. As nearly as possible, we try to duplicate the circumstances under which consumers will assess the value of a toy after it has been purchased. Our home testers treat the toys we give them as if they were their own–no special measures are taken either to encourage the children’s attention, or to prevent normal wear and tear.

After the evaluation period, information is gathered from the home testing families and analyzed by the CTTC. We then arrive at a rating and an age recommendation for each toy. We also convey our findings directly to the manufacturer or distributor of the toy, in order to help companies understand the expectations of children and parents, and to encourage toy-makers to keep these expectations in mind when they design other toys.

Many toys, ages, themes

The CTTC tests numerous toys, covering a variety of themes for a wide age range. It is our philosophy to encourage parents to select toys which will guide and enhance a child’s development and ability, while providing great play value at the same time. However, the Council does not place value judgements on any toys, nor distinguishes between one gender or the other, when testing toys within our evaluation program.

Our annual Toy Report has been designed to help you choose toys that will meet your child’s individual needs. Your toy dollars represent an investment in play satisfaction, and the Toy Report is designed to help you spend those dollars wisely.
Only you know your child. When choosing toys consider the child’s preferences, personality and special skills, and try answering such questions as:

  • What toys are already in the toy box?
  • Would you like your child to continue to explore more of the same play?
  • Would you like to introduce a new play interest, or simply provide a novel diversion?

How to read the Toy Report

The Toy Report is divided into chapters by age. Within each chapter, toys are listed under categories which include: Active Play; Arts & Crafts; Computer Software & Games; Construction Toys; Developmental Toys; Dolls, Houses & Accessories; Educational Toys; Games; Imaginative Play; Interactive Electronics; Interactive TV/DVD; Ride-on Toys & Wagons; and Wheel Toys.


*** Our highest rating of Three Stars goes to toys that are distinguished by excellence in design, function, safety, durability, and play value, as well as battery consumption (if applicable)
** Two Star toys have very good play value, but may present minor problems related to design, function and durability.
* One Star ratings may indicated good play value but toys may have serious flaws in other areas of ratings, or may have a good general assessment coupled with very narrow play value.
Novelty The Novelty rating is assigned to toys that do not represent a form of play that is sustained, but do offer short-term or occasional enjoyment.
Not Recommended Toys which are not recommended have major deficiencies in function, play value, safety or durability.

* Note, the graphics are current as of Report Year 2013, reports before then have different graphics.

Winner of the Children’s Choice Award

Winner of the Best Bet Award

This symbol indicates toys under $25.00 which we feel are good birthday gifts or which are appropriate for party loot bags.

This symbol identifies ‘toys-on-the-go’ – toys which are well-suited to travel because they are compact, lightweight and self-storing.

This symbol indicates toys with batteries.

Age range

The age range is assigned by the CTTC to help you determine the age appropriateness of a toy. In some cases we have adjusted the age range from that of the manufacturer to reflect the length of play satisfaction determined by our testers.

Toy descriptions

Toy descriptions offer principal strengths and weaknesses as determined during the toy testing period by CTTC toy testers.