Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Toy Testing

My little volunteer is once again hard at work, although she has shifted her philanthropic focus from visiting seniors to monitoring toy quality.

This year we became members of the Canadian Toy Testing Council (CTTC), a non-profit organization that has been testing and reporting on toy quality for 60 years. As members, we get toys which Miya diligently tests over a 6-8 week period. It's hard work, but she selflessly gives of her time to evaluate the 'play value' of each toy we receive.

This weekend we were testing a cute little cupcake craft. Sorry, can't tell you the toy name, that's strictly confidential - but basically it's glorified play-doh in a cupcake theme. While there are some toys I have to encourage her to play with, there was no begging or pleading with this one. Squishing, pressing, mixing - then sorting into little paper cups - these are all activities my little 3 year-old loves. Luckily for me, she's too young to care that her 'cupcakes' look nothing like what's shown on the box

After making 13 little colourful treats, she hosted a cupcake party for 13 of her favourite stuffed animals. As she was setting up, she took Frog aside to tell him that now it was time to sit still and that he had to stop running and jumping around while he was eating. Now where would she have heard that before?

I used to worry that I was depriving my child, since the number of toys we have is woefully small compared to most of her friends in the Westboro 'hood. But now with a steady stream of new toys, I don't need to feel so bad. And my consumer-conscious side is still mollified since at the end of our testing period we get to take them back - something which is especially great for those big toys which she plays with for about 3 days and then ignores. 

At the end of the testing period, I answer the questions in the testing report, noting things like how well the toy stood up to regular play, whether or not anyone got hurt while playing with it, and how well it sustained my daughter's attention. I'm also one of the evaluators who compile reports from 5-6 families. And to top it off, I've also been hired by CTTC to write up the Toy Report this year. Toys, toys and more toys around here.

The next toy-testing season will begin in the spring of 2013 (testing season runs from about May-September so that evaluations can be compiled for a pre-Christmas release of the Toy Report). If you're a parent of kids under 16, perhaps you'd like to join?

And do you know of any other fun ways to get your kids involved in volunteering? I'd love to hear about it.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:21 PM

    Thank you Anita, I enjoyed reading your 'review'!