Founded in 1990, NAPPA (National Parenting Publications Awards) is currently one of the nation’s largest consumer awards programs, bringing recognition to the best that the field of children’s media has to offer, including books, toys, music, DVDs/videos and software. Their panel of judges (which includes teachers, psychologists, authors, and play specialists) evaluates hundreds of entries each year before choosing approximately 70 products across age groups ranging from infants to elementary school children. Only a fraction of these are Gold Award selections.
The Parents' Choice Awards program honors the best material for children: books, toys, music and storytelling, magazines, software, videogames, television and websites. Parents' Choice Foundation's panels of educators, scientists, performing artists, librarians, parents and, yes, kids themselves, identify the very best products for children of different ages and backgrounds, and of varied skill and interest levels. The Parents’ Choice Awards committees look for products that entertain and teach with flair, stimulate imagination and inspire creativity. Judges are interested in how a product helps a child grow: socially, intellectually, emotionally, ethically, physically.
Dr. Toy's Best Products Programs provide a unique, original, copyrighted review of children's products. One program, Dr. Toy's 100 Best Children's Products, was featured in Early Childhood News (1992-93), Family Circle (1986), Parenting Magazine (1987), King Features Syndicate (weekly for 5 years), and every year since 1994 on www.drtoy.com. Dr. Toy's Guide on the Internet is visited by over tens of thousands of visitors per day. Dr. Toy's annual programs include: Best Classic Toys, Best Green Toys, Best Vacation Products, 100 Best Children's Products, and Best Picks. All products listed are products of excellence.
Product Review by: Kim Kautzer
[Ready Set Resources] has a big idea—decks of “quick and creative idea cards” for the preschooler near you. The decks, Bright and Ready, come in four age ranges: 0-12 months, Age 1, Age 2, and Preschool Ages 3-5. Each pack contains 52 high-quality idea cards with “smart and simple activities to do with your child.” Large and cheerful, each 3″ x 4½” card offers a full-color illustration of an activity on the front and short, simple instructions on the back. Often you can figure out the activity without even reading the directions. Best of all, there’s no need to shop for supplies—most materials can be found at home.
Providing “interactive, creative play,” these activities stimulate a child’s intellectual development; coordination and motor skills; language and listening skills; color and shape recognition; and creativity and imagination as you and your child have fun together. For example, fill a muffin tin with small toys and let your baby explore. Show her how to transfer toys from cup to cup, conceal the toys with a scarf, or flip the muffin tin over so she can discover the toys hidden beneath. Or play “Sock Slam Dunk” with your one-year-old using balled-up socks and a paper bag. Your two-year-old will enjoy “Hammer Whammer” as he pounds golf tees into a block of Styrofoam with a toy hammer, or “Art Collection,” where together you look through museum postcards of well known pieces (discussion ideas are suggested). With a preschooler, activities such as “Seeds, Soils, and Sprouts” open her up to the wonders of green growing things. A game like “Alternate and Replicate” encourages visual discrimination, problem solving, and small motor skills as she learns to make patterns with colored blocks.
Many home schooling families wonder what to do with their little ones This clever creation will help tots feel like they’re “doing school” too! And most activities are simple enough that an older child can pull a card and keep little brother or sister occupied while Mom reviews fractions or grammar with another child. But these decks are not just for young families alone—I know one person who has happily added to her collection of “Fun Things to Do at Grandma’s House”!
At 19 cents per activity, each $10 deck is a bargain.