Wednesday, November 14, 2012

CTTC Toy Report Released

Miya with one of the 'Best Bets' of the year.
Photo courtesy of Post media.
This summer, I wrote about how Miya was busy testing toys for the Canadian Toy Testing Council. Yesterday, with much fanfare and media buzz, the Council released its annual Toy Report.

The Ottawa Citizen describes the Toy Report as "a barometer of children's changing play preferences and toy trends from year to year." The Ottawa Sun calls it something to "help shoppers make 'smart toy purchases'. Global News even sent a reporter to get the low-down from some of the testers at the media launch.

It's rather satisfying to see the attention this report is getting, not simply because Miya's input is among that of roughly 400 kids who tested and evaluated toys - but because I wrote the report.

I have spent the last few months writing up approximately 420 toy descriptions for this report. Each description is about 100 words - a small space to try to convey a description of the toy and a summary of the key strengths and weaknesses reported by testing families. It was an interesting exercise in writing - especially since my editor did not allow the word 'fun' as an adjective - and toys and games were often described by testers as, you guessed it, 'fun'.

So if anyone is looking to buy some new toys for kids this Christmas, you may want to check out the report. There are a lot of manufacturers and distributors out there making recommendations for the best and most popular toys. But what is unique about CTTC's report is that the non-profit organization behind it has no vested interest in toy sales. So if a toy really doesn't perform, we're not afraid to say so. You'll also find helpful info about toys such as ones that work well on-the-go, ones that encourage active play, and those that require a lot of batteries.

Here at home, we're big fans of the cooperative games from Peaceable Kingdom - like 'Snug as a Bug in Rug' which Miya is playing with in the above photo. With everyone working together to a common goal, there are not individual losers. Quick to play and easy to learn - they're perfect for preschoolers.

So what do you think are the best new toys of the year?