Posts Tagged ‘ best toys 2013 ’

Parents Goody Giveaway: Win a Barbie Dreamhouse!

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

This is a season of girl-power toys. But I take issue with GoldieBlox, which has an entertaining commercial (mostly featuring toys from other companies) and not yet a great product, IMO…here’s hoping they come out with something better next year. My colleague agrees, and also the Toy Industry Association nominated them yesterday for  ”Most Innovative Toy” but not for “Best Girl Toy,” I suspect because they need to up the fun factor a bit. 

One thing that was nominated for “Best Girl Toy” is a Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker bow. Yep, we’re breaking ground by giving girls sophisticated weapons, just as we do with boys. We declined to include weapons (except for the ones in a Lego set) in our Parents Best Toys story, but as a mom, I do know that toy weapons make it into the toybox…my son has a bow and arrow set, a Minecraft sword, and so on. I still balk at calling them a “best” toy.

All this makes me want to go back to an oldie but goodie. Several of us here swoon when we look at the two Barbie Dreamhouses sitting in the toy closet. What an awesome toy! Setting up the Dreamhouse is not an exercise in domesticity (who makes Barbie clean or cook?) but a fantasy of living on one’s own. Barbie is not a baby doll who needs to be mothered. She’s a grown-up and when I watch my daughter use Barbies, it’s to try out grown-up roles: Barbie is waitressing, she’s fighting with a friend and making up, she’s meeting a gal who is a mermaid. (There’s some practice in acceptance for you!)

It makes me wish that my son had a toy that could similarly let him try out social situations. Or that there was a more gender-neutral alternative to the Dreamhouse. The best we found for out Best Toys story is this awesome little Lego Treehouse.

In the meantime, these two beautiful Barbie Dreamhouses need to be with children who will love them and play with them. We’re happy to mail a Dreamhouse each to TWO lucky winners after the Thanksgiving break. Each is worth about $185. To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and Monday, December 2, and don’t forget to read the official rules. Be sure to check back on December 3 and scroll to the bottom of the comments to see who won. We also reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!

Congrats to our winners Tonya Munque and Mary Happymommy!


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Are They Making Their Lists? Are You Checking Them Twice?

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Holiday catalogs started arriving at our house last week. My kids are pouring over them, and their little minds are clicking with ideas of what they want for Christmas. I, like most parents, want to shout, “Can’t we get through Halloween first?!” But no, kids and toy companies have their eye on the prize, which seems to be a big pile of wrapped gifts at the end of the year. 

I “help” my kids edit their lists. If they’re trying to put, say, an iPad Air on there, I jump in and say that Santa doesn’t build those. And I try to make sure that the toys they’re picking out aren’t total junk. We have SO many toys already, we don’t need anything if it won’t really get played with!

Fortunately I get a sneak peek at all new toys by running the Parents Best Toys program. Each summer Parents, American Baby and Family Fun test some hundreds of toys. So if you want to match up what your child is circling in those catalogs with what we found to be great, take a look! Parents Best Toys includes 50 ideas divided up by babies, toddlers, preschool kids, school-age kids, and big kids. Family Fun’s Toys of the Year names a top-ten list of 2013 toys, plus twenty other faves. American Baby’s Best Baby Toys list hones in on fifteen great gifts for babies, especially those 12 months and younger. There’s some crossover in our three lists (great minds think alike!) but all in all, a huge range of ideas. You’re bound to find things your kids want, you can afford, and that tested well with one of our mags.

Are your kids already talking about holiday gifts? Let us know what they’re asking for! And just for fun, here’s a short video about our toy-testing. It’s a lot of work, so we hope you find our guides helpful!


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