Going to the toy store is a magical experience and a real treat for kids. Local toy stores often have impressive displays of stuffed animals, dolls and trains. My son’s favorite spot is the train table at our local store.
While he plays happily with Thomas the Tank Engine and friends, I have the opportunity to discover some high-quality toys unavailable at the big box stores. And I can count on the friendly store owner to provide expert advice on the best gifts for the kids on my holiday list (and free gift wrapping on my purchases).
Another helpful source of shopping advice is the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) 2009 Best Toys for Kids Award Winners. Over 500 of America’s top independent and neighborhood toy retailers selected the Best Toys for Kids based on their experience and understanding of what kids like. The winners are:
- Infant Play (0 – 12 months): Sophie Giraffe by Calisson Inc and Natural Skwish by Manhattan
- Toddler Play (1 – 3 years): Twilight Ladybug by Cloud B and Wee Wedgits by ImagAbility
- Pretend Play – Role Play: Tea Set from Recycled Milk jugs by Green Toys and Shopping Cart by Melissa & Doug
- Pretend Play – Fantasy Play: Reversible Knight/Dragon Cape and Reversible Knight/Dragon Hood by Creative Education of Canada and Egyptian Pyramid by Playmobil
- Constructive Play: Automoblox Vehicles by Manhattan Toy and Magformers Multicolored 30pc Magnetic Building Set
- Creative Arts Play: Create Your Own Pop-up Books by Creativity for Kids and Sticky Mosaic Twinkle Tiaras by The Orb Factory
- Scientific Play: Snap Circuits Green by Elenco and Power House Green by Thames & Kosmos
- Active Play: Ezy Roller by Ezy Roller and Original Djubi by PAV/Moonracer
- Game Play (3 – 7 years): Chickyboom by Blue Orange
- Game Play (8+ years): Bananagrams by Bananagrams
- Just For Fun: Mini collectable Eraser by BC Office
- Classic Play (Older): Doinkit Darts by Marky Sparky
- Classic Play (Younger): Magnatiles by Valtech
Many of my favorite toys are on this list. As an infant, my son loved his Skwish and Sophie the Giraffe teether, and he falls asleep nightly to the soft glow of his Twilight Turtle. And Bananagrams is my favorite travel game. Since the ASTRA picks seemed so high quality, I was inspired to try the Wee Wedgits by ImagAbility.
My toddler has spent hours playing with these soft blocks. He can stack them, chew on them, play with them in the bath, throw them and even wear them as bracelets. Wee Wedgits have smooth, rounded edges and are made from non-toxic, phthalate free poly-vinyl material. Children (and even adults) will enjoy building amazing geometric designs as well as simple stacking pyramids.
Thanks to ASTRA and the folks at ImagAbility, we have a set of Wee Wedgits available to giveaway on Mamanista.
WANT IT: Buy Wee Wedgits at your local ASTRA store. Click here to find a store near you.
WIN IT: ImagAbility is giving away one Wee Wedgits (30 piece set) to a Mamanista reader to spread the word about the ASTRA Best Toys for Kids List.
- Required Entry: Please visit ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids page and leave us a comment on this post telling us the name of your local ASTRA toy store. (There’s a store finder map on the page.)
- Additional Entries (up to three): You can receive up to three additional entries by linking to and/or sharing our Hottest Holiday Toys Guide (see rules at the bottom of the guide) and leaving separate comments on this post for each mode of entry.
Contest on Mamanista.com ends December 3, 11:59 PM EST. Open to U.S. Shipping Only.