Parents Best Toys 2022 Seal with two kids playing.

Best Toys Awards 2022

Our team of editors and their families played with every toy they could get their hands on to bring you 25 noteworthy toys to keep your kids entertained.

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The greatest toys whisk your children away into a world of make-believe where, ideally, they stay for long stretches of time. Occasionally, toys even inspire grownups to get on the floor with the kids and join the fun. But not all toys are created equal. Some toys contain thousands of parts that end up scattered throughout your home after 20 minutes and other toys fall into the single-use category, never to be played with again.

On top of that, many of us are trying to be intentional about our purchases and cut down on unnecessary stuff. So, to help you curate your toy selections, we conducted our annual toy testing to bring you 25 toys—six of which Parents' EIC, Grace Bastidas, highlighted on NBC's Today show— that are kid-approved and worthy of the Parents Best Toys 2022 seal of approval.

How We Chose The Winners

Just in time for the holidays, Parents editors put out a call to action for toy companies to submit their entries of the best toys on the market for 2022. After receiving 200 submissions, Parents editors narrowed down the list to about 60 toys, for which the editors did real-world testing with their kids at home. From there, only 25 received the Parents Best Toys 2022 award. 

What did we notice from all those submissions? A nod to simplicity. Sure, we included a few toys with some extra bells and whistles, but the list we landed on made way for toys that would last a little longer through stages, give a break from screens, and also spark some nostalgia from our own childhoods. 

  • Tested by Real Kids. Our editors are tough judges, so we asked them and their kids to get their hands on the latest and greatest toys. Testing with our own children allowed us to determine whether the toy was unique, durable, and could lead to independent play. Most importantly, only the toys that kept our kids’ interest made the list. 
  • We Kept Caretakers In Mind. We chose toys that are easy to store and require minimal cleanup. Toys that appealed to multiple generations also made the list, since we want grandparents and other caregivers to join in the play, too.  
  • Going the Extra Mile Paid Off. That meant extra points went to screen-free toys. Also to those that steered toward gender-neutral whenever possible, were made with eco-friendly materials or celebrated diversity.
  • It's All About Staying Power. “When you purchase a toy that lasts through various stages, you feel better about spending the money,” says Rachel Duda, VP of Learning at Childcare and Early Learning Center, Vivvi, who also advises caregivers to "look for toys that don't have one specific use. The more open-ended the toy, the longer lifespan they’ll have.” 
  • Price Mattered. Inflation has us all watching what we spend even more than usual, so while we did test some impressive toys with high price tags, when narrowing down our list, we thought best to keep budgets in mind; we left off anything over $125. 
  • We’re Not Above Shiny. We editors all recognized the same giant dollhouse and tiny cars that end up on other best-of lists—and while many of them were still no-brainers to include, toys that were unique or made our kids ooh and aah moved quicker up the list. These are toys, after all!

Each one of these toys will surprise and delight your kids, and the results are divided by age group for your quick reference. We’re excited to give your family a portal to playtime and make gift-giving as easy as possible this holiday season and beyond. 

Meet Our winners of the Parents Best Toys Awards 2022.

Best Toys Awards 2022: Baby

Infantino Busy Lil' Sensory Ball

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 Infantino Busy Lil' Sensory Ball


Why It’s a Winner: At around 3-4 months, babies become adorably curious about everything. Not so conveniently, this is also the time when babies start teething. The Infantino Busy Lil’ Sensory Ball is the ideal toy for this stage because it’s safe, easy to hold, and sturdy. And rest assured that the BPA-free teether provides a soothing biting surface for comfort and relief. Every side of this ball has something to open, pull, and discover. Babies will be fascinated by the mirror, rings, crinkle sound and, of course, the squeaker. It will also make a clever addition to any stroller, for playing (and chewing) on the go. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: One of our editors says their 6-month-old loves “exploring the different parts of this ball, especially the mirror and those that make noises!”

Melissa & Doug Market Basket Fill & Spill

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Melissa & Doug Market Bag

Melissa & Doug

Why It’s a Winner: You can always count on masters of play Melissa & Doug to deliver joy. Recommended for babies 6+ months, the Market Bag Fill & Spill is meant to be filled and spilled. Perfectly suited for a baby’s hands, this toy encourages sensory, fine motor, and problem-solving skills. Babies will sort, squeeze, and drool (quite literally) over the smiling plush vegetables. And the handy mesh bag keeps all the toys together, doubling as a built-in cleanup system, which will be a joy for parents. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Editor Amelia Edelman says it’s a great toy for grabbing on the go. And the material is high-quality:My 6-month-old loves squeezing them and playing with them—and of course putting the veggies in his mouth,” she adds.

Fisher Price, DJ Bouncin' Beats

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 Fisher Price, DJ Bouncin' Beats

Fisher Price

Why It’s a Winner: There’s a reason why the folks at Fisher-Price have been in the game so long: they know how to make children laugh. While the DJ Bouncin’ Beats Baby Learning Toy with Music Lights and Bouncing Action might seem a little too flashy for some families, 10 out of 10 babies will likely agree that this toy rocks their world. Load up the batteries and watch as your baby giggles and jumps along with the multitude of lights and sounds. An active baby is a happy baby—and makes an even happier parent.

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Editor Emily Rose admits, “I'm not a big fan of plastic, noisy toys, but this high-energy option has kept my 1-year-old engaged, and she's having fun smacking it to hear it play music and bounce along—plus, it doesn't take up that much room. With three different stages and lots of features, songs, and cute phrases, I have a feeling we'll be hearing ‘That was such a bop!’ for the foreseeable future.”

Lalo The Play Gym

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 Lalo The Play Gym


Why It’s a Winner: Parents can welcome their newborn home from the hospital with the Play Gym, a safe mat to place babies on as they grow. From tummy time to story time, this activity space checks all the boxes for developing cognitive and motor skills. Plus, it’s made out of sustainable materials and available in a variety of attractive colors, so it’ll be one of the toys you won’t mind leaving out in the middle of your living room. Adjustable accessories allow the mat to grow with your baby. It can also be converted to a play tent for the toddler years (which always seem to come much sooner than we expect). 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Our editor says her 6-month-old spends surprisingly long stretches of time lying under, it, swatting at the different toys, grabbing the rubber chains to chew on, and gazing at himself in the little mirror. She’s even added to it with some hanging toys from her travels. 

Miles & Stones by Monti Kids (Subscription)

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Miles & Stones by Monti Kids

Monti Kids

Why It’s a Winner: The first 3 years of a baby’s life are full of exciting milestones. And parents want to catch every single one. Miles & Stones by Monti Kids is a subscription series of education-based resources to help parents learn about their baby’s growth. Subscribers gain access to the Parent Learning Center—with exclusive videos and articles—and receive a monthly tool kit delivered at just the right time in your baby’s life. Packages feature toys, books, and activities for tracking milestone progress, so you and your baby are always on the same page. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Edelman appreciates that these toys are beautiful, educational, and eco-friendly. “My 6-month-old loves the combinations of wood and rubber, the high-contrast nature cards, the funny sort of wooden movie theater frame that keeps him entertained during tummy time—it was all a hit,” she says.

Best Toys Awards 2022: Toddler

LeapFrog® Wooden AlphaPup™

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 LeapFrog® Wooden AlphaPup™

Leap Frog

Why It’s a Winner: From a child’s perspective, the dreamiest toys are the ones that are playing with them. An updated version of the classic pull toy, the LeapFrog AlphaPup, now made of wood, has all the bells and whistles to become an interactive pal for kids. But, at its core, the AlphaPup simply helps kids learn letters and words while walking. Take this li’l doggy for a stroll and watch it wobble and light up with engaging phonics and music. With velvet-soft floppy ears, even the dog’s tail wags as it’s pulled along! This pup is educational, finely detailed, and super-cute, making it a go-to toy for bouncy toddlers. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Editor Melissa Bykofsky has seen an improvement in the AlphaPup from previous versions: “This latest version is so much more chic and eco-friendly (for parents who prefer wooden toys)—and the tail wags, which was definitely lacking on the original version.”

Moonlite Gift Pack

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Moonlite World Eric Carle Gift Set


Why It’s a Winner: The greatest stories stand the test of time—but also move with the times. Moonlite turns your smartphone into a storybook projector, giving you a tech-savvy way to bring classic children’s books to life. Projecting magical storybook images onto the ceiling or wall is a lovely and genius way to change up story time. Kids will love the added music and sounds, and grownups will love the simple setup and easy-to-use app. The Moonlite starter packs make storytime even more special. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Our editor let us know that this toy needs 100% parental assistance, but the smartphone setup is simple. “It was like magic for my 2-year-old!” she says. “This really brought his favorites (Hungry Caterpillar & Brown Bear) to life. He was so surprised that they were on the wall and ceiling. He kept saying, ‘That was so fun, read it again!’” 

Hugimals World

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Hugimals World


Why It’s a Winner: Plenty of kids will tell you there’s no such thing as too many stuffed animals. Of course, some stuffies rise through the ranks to favorite status faster than others. Any selection from Hugimals is sure to become an instant fave after one night’s sleep. These lovable, weighted stuffed animals are designed to “hug you back,” lowering stress and creating a calm atmosphere. Each machine-washable animal has a removable weight pack and has been lauded by parents and teachers alike for regulating big emotions and helping with sleep. And parents will concur that a toy that helps kids sleep more soundly is worth its weight in gold. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Our 4-year-old tester has Charlie, the weighted Hugimals puppy, and it quickly became his favorite stuffie. The extra-cuddly toy is the perfect fix for his BIG feelings and in times when his anxiety is peaking.

Baby Einstein Together in Tune Instrument Set

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Baby Einstein Together in Tune Instrument Set

Baby Einstein

Why It’s a Winner: Children love to make sounds, and it takes them zero effort when left to their own devices: hands, feet and, of course, their voices. So, when you give them actual instruments to use, they’ll be over the moon. The Baby Einstein instruments are very on brand as being interactive, educational, and irresistibly fun. Equipped with a wireless, wooden piano and guitar, the set works like a walkie talkie via radio signals, perfect for collaborative playing. Babies will find it very easy to use and love making their own tunes. Even older siblings will want to join in the fun, making this a great toy for families with kids of varying ages. And the music isn’t too loud or obnoxious, we promise! Giving this set will definitely earn you a standing ovation. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Our tester says that Baby Einstein’s music magically seems less annoying than other musical toys. She also noticed that the touch technology makes it easy for her 15-month-old to grasp the instruments, and the design is super easy to store and clean. 

Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Grocery Cart

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Melissa and Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Grocery Cart

Melissa & Doug

Why It’s a Winner: Kids who are into pretend play—which is to say, 99% of the kid population—will love the Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Grocery Cart. From the moment it comes out of the box, this cart is ready to go. It’s easy to assemble and comes with food pieces, shape-sorting games, and puzzle activities. The standout hit, though, will be the plastic coffee cup, which is every toddler’s dream. With so many options, it allows independent play, encourages creativity, and gets toddlers moving. You’ll want to add this cart to your cart as soon as possible. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: “I always love a wooden toy,” our tester says, “and there are few things cuter than the play coffee cup to look just like the grown-ups when they shop. At this high of a price point, I also appreciate that this is a toy that can grow with the child with multiple components. For example, my 15-month-old loves to push it and toss the small blocks in and out of the cart, but I know as she grows, the puzzles and shape and color sorting will also become intriguing!”

Lovevery The Block Set

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Lovevery The Block Set


Why It’s a Winner: There’s a reason why this toy is called The Block Set: It’s the only set of blocks your toddler will need. The Block Set by Lovevery encourages open play by offering endless possibilities of shapes, colors, and activities. The set also features a shape sorter, a family of peg people, a bead threader, and a block box that converts into a pull car. And, because the creators thought of everything, there are no small parts with choking hazards. So you can feel comfortable letting your toddler pass blocks to your baby (these blocks are built to last, so they’ll be playing with them together soon enough). Festive colors and beautiful packaging make it the perfect gift. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Levi, one of our 2-year-old testers, says: “Momma build these with me! Me play with these blocks now!" 

Best Toys Awards: Preschooler

Crayola Clay Sculpting

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Crayola Clay Sculpting


Why It’s a Winner: One thing kids are missing out on while on screens is using the natural dexterity in their hands. The Crayola Clay Sculpting Station is a great way to not only distract kids from their tablets but also get them working with their fingers. It comes with a pottery wheel—how cool is that?—and loads of tools and supplies that’ll allow kids’ imaginations to run wild. The clay is air-dry, which means you don’t have to bother with an oven, and the storage case doubles as a work space for relatively easy cleanup. Maybe you’ll even get lucky and they’ll make some gifts for you to cross off your list. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Parents editor Grace Bastidas likes that the clay is nontoxic, self-contained and dries on its own. And her kids loved that they can use their imaginations to bring their own ideas to life or use the handy booklet for inspiration. 

Connetix Magnetic Tiles Mini Pack

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Connetix Tiles Mini Pack


Why It’s a Winner: Sometimes, the fewer the rules, the better. Connetix Magnetic Tiles Mini Pack introduce kids to STEAM learning by giving them a taste for open-ended construction. Made for ages 3+, this is definitely the kind of toy your family will have for years and years. Bonus: These tiles are also irresistible for parents and grandparents, who will most likely end up on the floor building castles and towers alongside the kids. Solid and high-quality, these magnets are stronger than any other magnetic tile sets. We love that the new mini pack offers a lower price entry point for people unsure about whether magnetic tiles are right for their kid—and a perfect option for families to add to an existing set. When it comes to building, we all want our kids to know the sky’s the limit.

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: One tester admitted, “One night I waited for my child to go to sleep just so that I can play with this toy by myself.”

Modi Toys Durga Devi Plush Toy

 Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Modi Toys Durga Devi Plush Toy

Modi toys

Why It’s a Winner: Modi Toys was founded by Hindu siblings who wanted to pass down their faith to their first-generation American kids. Their lovable line of plush toys comes with books to help share Hinduism through the stories of its deities. As the Hindu goddess of power and protection, Durga Devi is the feisty divine female energy we all need. Kids press her belly to awaken the lioness as she sings five mantras. Durga Devi also comes with her trusty super-soft lion. And there’s a Velcro strap, which can easily be attached to a bag or car seat so toddlers will never lose their lioness spirit. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Our tester loved the company’s message and adds that “these dolls are cute, well-made (especially love the dresses), and unlike many other noisy music toys for toddlers, play beautiful mantras that actually make me feel calmer amidst the chaos.”

Play Maysie Portable Dollhouse

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Play Maysie Portable Dollhouse

Play Masie

Why It’s a Winner: Created by an Ohio mom with other parents in mind, the Play Maysie Portable Dollhouse is an absolutely adorable crossroad of fashion and function. Each dollhouse looks like a lunchbox from the outside and is decked out with its own scene and set of accessories on the inside. Minimal pieces allow for open-ended play that’ll never result in a massive mess left out for weeks at a time. And Maysie dolls are diverse and made out of soft canvas. This toy is designed with brilliance and imagination, as only a parent could. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: "It's fun because it's a suitcase and you can carry it anywhere and also it's really fun to play with,” says Silas, one of our kid testers. “I like that it has a door or cabinets that really open or close. I like the dolls because they actually stand up on buttons!”

Lakeshore Learning Play & Explore Rover

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Lakeshore Learning Play & Explore Rover

Lakeshore Learning

Why It’s a Winner: If your children are just getting started in the moving-vehicle phase of toys, settle in, because it’s a long one. Giving them trucks with characters helps them grow beyond just spinning wheels to imaginative play. Lakeshore’s Learning Play & Explore Rover comes with two astronauts and a robot, giving kids the chance to create their own narratives for hours of play. The rover unfolds to reveal an entire cockpit full of tools, a command center, and a robot charging station. But the pieces aren’t so small that they’ll get lost in space. Overall, this toy is out of this world. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Editor Sugey Palomares loved everything about this toy. “There was no assembly required!” she raves. “It doesn't make noise (yay), and my toddler really enjoys playing with

Nakira's World Decoder Puzzle

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Nakira's World Decoder Puzzle

Nakira's World

Why It’s a Winner: Nakira’s World puzzles are not your average puzzle. Kids follow Nakira and her friends on a journey to explore STEM all around us. Each Decoder Puzzle comes with a companion story and two sets of 3D glasses. Kids will be extra motivated to complete the puzzle so they can put on the glasses and uncover the hidden mystery items in each illustrated scene. The Nature Hike Decoder Puzzle shows kids the creatures, plants, and tools the characters interact with, bringing STEM out of the laboratory and into play. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Our editor's loved that this was a Black-owned company that believes in the power of representation. Our kid-tester was already a fan of puzzles and loved the bonus of using the 3D glasses to find extra images after completing the puzzle. 

Micro Kickboard Mini Deluxe Eco

 Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Micro Kickboard Mini Deluxe Eco

Micro Kickboard

Why It’s a Winner: A good scooter is often a much-beloved  part of a child’s toy collection. The Mini Deluxe ECO scooter does one better: made from recycled fishing nets and plastic, it also allows you to take part in keeping plastics out of the oceans. Durable and sturdy, the Mini Deluxe Eco is easy to ride, giving kids the chance to focus on balancing and scooting without worrying about falling over. Designed for ages 2–5, it’s meant to last a long time, much like our planet. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Editor, Celeste Little, asked her 2-year-old: “Why do you like your scooter?” 2-year-old: "Because I want to ride it. Because I love it."

Yoto Player

 Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Yoto


Why It’s a Winner: Turns out, parents can have it all. The Yoto Player is a super cool cube-shaped speaker that uses physical cards to play audiobooks and music. In case that weren’t enough, it also includes a sleep trainer, clock, and nightlight. But the biggest draw here is that there’s no camera, microphone, or ads. And it’s so easy to use, even a 3-year-old can figure it out. The cards come in an extensive catalog of music, literature, and poetry, and the pixel display is a stylish touch. Your household will soon come to rely on it for a variety of reasons, making the Yoto Player the toy you didn’t know you needed. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Our 5-year-old tester was immediately excited by the Yoto and loved how easy it was to play the Beatles all by himself. Our parent tester appreciated that nobody had to reach for a screen device to make the Yoto Player work.

Best Toys Awards 2022: Big Kid

Skillmatics Guess in 10: Marvel

 Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Skillmatics


Why It’s a Winner: The best toys draw families in to play together. Guess in 10 is a wildly popular trivia game that invites interaction among players. In the special Marvel edition, players ask up to 10 questions to guess the Marvel character on the game card. Even casual Marvel fans will find it easy to participate, and those who do know the characters intimately will love the attention to detail. The box size is portable and travel-friendly, making it a nice addition to any road trip or situation where families are spending a lot of time together. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Parents gave kudos to the series of Skillmatics Guess in 10 games for its ability to get their kids to think while having fun. The latest Marvel version got immediate "woaaahhs" from the kid-testers, and they had a great time putting their Marvel knowledge to the test round after round. A must for any Marvel lover in your home.

Spin Master PixoBitz Studio

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Spinmaster PixoBitz Studio

Pixobitz Studio

Why It’s a Winner: Many parents want to provide a home for their kids where crafts are always welcome. But even the most craft-aspirational among us don’t always welcome the messy aftermath. PixoBitz Studio is a creative, mess-free 3D crafting tool that requires minimal grownup assistance. Bitz are cube-shaped water beads that stick together to create shapes, animals, and characters. A handy carrying case makes for easy storage, and refills are available for hours of tinkering. This craft will be appreciated for the creative—yet tidy—freedom it provides for young minds. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Parents loved that this toy isn’t messy, since the aqua beads stick together with just water—this also helps kids feel like they're creating something special. Also, because the drying time is long, it's a nice exercise in patience for kids. Stella, age 7, says, “I like the carrying case of the Pixobitz, and all the fun characters I made to play with.”

Crayola Tie Dye Color Chemistry Lab Set

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Crayola Tie Dye Color Chemistry Lab Set


Why It’s a Winner: Crayola’s Tie Dye version of its Color Chemistry Set that is sure to pack a wow factor with kids ages 7 and up. This kit is such a nifty cross section of science and art. And it comes with enough supplies and materials to do 50 experiments, which means you won’t be running around gathering all the random components yourself. Winning experiments include the volcano, slime, glow worms, and snow globe. Or kids are free to do their own thing, making this an awesome toy to give them a sense of accomplishment while having fun. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Editor Grace Bastidas said that while the activity does require a grownup’s help, it also offers hours of fun. And her daughter, age 9, said, “I like that this toy teaches you science and other stuff I didn't already know. The slime I made was bubbly and transparent." 

Lego Classic 90 Years of Play

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Lego Classic 90 Years of Play


Why It’s a Winner: You simply cannot beat the simplicity of LEGOs. Quite possibly the greatest toy ever invented, LEGOs are the perfect gift for kids of all ages. The Classic 90 Years of Play box has everything budding LEGO masters need to make 15 iconic builds, plus tons of extra bricks for free play. Leave this set out in the living room and kids, parents, and other caretakers are bound to wander over at some point to dabble in the joy of LEGO. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Editor Amelia Edelman was relieved to have this LEGO set when she was working from home while her 7-year-old was out of school. “To say that it ‘saved the day’ would be an understatement—it saved multiple days!” she explains. “My son had so much fun creating, destroying, and recreating dozens of LEGO sculptures and settings.”

Jurassic World Dominion: Uncaged Ultimate Pyroraptor

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Jurassic World Dominion


Why It’s a Winner: Lots of kids dream of having a pet dino, so now’s your chance to make that a reality. The Jurassic World Dominion Uncaged Ultimate Fire Dino is equal parts endearing and terrifying. The robot is robust and well-made, with three different modes: wild, play, and tame. The eyes change color depending on the mode, and each function requires a human interaction. For instance, when it’s in play mode, you rapidly tap its nose and it starts dancing. Kids will be rewarded for reading the instructions, or they can figure out the various training techniques as they go along. Dreams really do come true. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Writer Toby Lowenfels says her kids had never seen a toy like this—it was fun for all three of them (ages 4,7, 9). She was worried it’d be too scary, but her kids were too excited by the robot’s tricks to be scared. 

Healthy Roots Dolls Curl Friends

Parents Best Toys Awards 2022 - Healthy Roots Dolls Curl Friends

Healthy roots

Why It’s a Winner: We’ve come a long way from Cabbage Patch dolls with their boring old yarn hair. Healthy Roots Dolls have gorgeously textured hair and stylish clothes to boot. The Black-owned business was started to provide representation and diversity, as well as to teach kids how to style and care for beautiful curly hair. The impeccably designed dolls have washable hair and can be ordered with a styling set that includes curlers, a spray bottle, brush, beads and hair clips. Gaina and Marisol are the latest addition to the party and will be an instant hit in any doll lover’s home. 

What Our Parents and Kids Had to Say: Our kid tester was so excited: "I love it!” they said. “It's brown just like me! And it has Black hair, just like me. That's why I love it."

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