You are here

Toys of the Year 2007

  • Attention shoppers: Don't hit the mall without reading this first! These 26 toys are the year's best -- we're sure of it because we asked kids around the country to test more than 100 playthings for us, and these were their favorites. We also listened to their moms, who rated their kids' picks for safety and durability (and clued us in if anything was too tough to assemble or made annoying noises. Next!)

    Here, Parenting's roundup of what's tops for '07.

  • When your baby presses the fabric activity board, he'll be rewarded with intriguing (but not, for you, nerve-racking) sounds like boings and drumbeats. It's a terrific way to teach cause-and-effect and -- oh, who are we kidding? It's just fun to hit stuff and make noise. (9 months and up; $25; Manhattan Toy; manhattantoy.com)

    "The bright colors grab my son's attention, and unlike other, similar toys, it's very clear where he needs to push to make sounds."
    --Jada Davis, mom of Cohen, 15 months, Sioux Falls, SD

    Buy it!

  • Babies have a roaring good time on this ride-on -- especially once they discover that pressing the lion's nose makes him laugh, purr, or play music. Moms love the volume control and the pull-up handle in the back, which lets kids use their pal as a push toy as they take their first steps. (9 to 36 months; $35; Fisher-Price; fisher-price.com)

    "It's my son's favorite toy -- I really enjoy watching him stand up and dance to the music it plays."
    -- Erin Skehan, mom of Zacharie, 9 months, Farmingdale, ME

    Buy it!

  • This plush mat's the most versatile one we've seen: Fold up the sides -- they fasten with Velcro -- to keep your baby from rolling off, then lay them flat to set up a tummy-time station. Later, once your child's a crawler, you can create a tunnel. Comes with eight detachable toys and links, two adjustable overhead bars, and a carrier. (Birth and up; $80; Bright Starts; brightstarts.com)

    "There's always something new for Sam to look at, and it's easy to rearrange to keep things exciting."
    -- Kathy Sproles, mom of Sam, 5 months, Little Rock, AR

    Buy it!

  • They're modern-looking and make nice jingling and rattling noises. But here's the main attraction: Magnets safely sealed inside each block allow little hands to stack 'em easily. Never fear, though, they're still a cinch to knock right back down. (9 months and up; $30 for a 20-piece set; Geomag USA; www.geomagsa.com)

    "These keep my daughter occupied for a long time and help her develop her motor skills." --Michelle Bertaut, mom of Natalia, 12 months, Colorado Springs

    Buy it!

  • Moms told us they love how this fuzzy monster captivated their kids with his cool textures, jingling midsection, and rattling feet. Sweetest of all, the arms join in an infant-size embrace. (Birth and up; $19; Kushies; kushiesonline.com)

    "It's adorable! Luke likes shaking it to make noise and putting its long legs in his mouth." -- Patricia Rush, mom of Luke, 8 months, Winter Springs, FL

    Buy it!

  • Even if your child's too young to match the sweet baby animals to their slots, he'll have tons of fun squeezing them (they squeak!) and playing with the soft sorter's features, like its mirrors and crinkly patches. (9 months and up; $25; Earlyears; intplay.com)

    "It's excellent for car trips, and the sorter's handles make it easy for Hannah to carry."
    -- Rebecca Siegel, mom of Hannah, 11 months, Longview, WA

    Buy it!

  • Now your 2-year-old can ride tall like his big sibs do. This cool plastic scooter requires zero assembly, folds shut for storage, and is super-sturdy, with an extra-wide platform for your child's feet. (2 to 5 years; $40; Radio Flyer; radioflyer.com)

    "Connor is so proud to be able to ride this! And I like how lightweight it is; I can pick it up even when I'm also carrying my 1-year-old." -- Brooke Bolyard, mom of Connor, 2, Morgantown, WV

    Buy it!

  • Remember how much you loved these cars as a kid? You rolled them in reverse, let them go, and they shot across the room. You'll be amazed at how much farther these new vehicles (a taxi, police car, fire engine, and school bus) can go -- up to 20 feet! They're even machine washable, and come in a handy zippered case. (12 months and up; $28; K's Kids; ohioart.com)

    "My kids have raced these cars for many days in a row, and I don't have to worry about them hitting my walls -- they're so soft, they won't scratch a thing." -- Adri Murdock, mom of Kate, 2, North Ogden, UT

    Buy it!

  • Carle's famous illustrations have gone to pieces -- nine of them -- in this toddler-friendly wooden puzzle. Put it together with your child to reveal the animals from the classic book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Bonus: the lovely wooden storage box. (2 and up; $20; Small World Toys; smallworldtoys.com)

    "My daughter has done the puzzle five times in a row. We got a copy of the book afterward, and she loves reading it with me." -- Lisa Russell Kramer, mom of Victoria, 2, Apopka, FL

    Buy it!

  • Your child will be over the moon for this play set, which comes with two astronauts, their dog, a friendly green alien, a moon crater, and a moon mobile, most of which fit in the rocket itself. A button on the ship even provides a countdown. (At the Parenting photo shoot, this was the kids' hands-down favorite.) (18 months and up; $40; iPlay; intplay.com)

    "This really held my son's interest -- he kept pressing the button to hear the rocket talk, and rearranging the toy figures in the different rooms." -- Kim Lee Toughey, mom of Carson, 2, Las Vegas, NV

    Buy it!

  • With funky colors and patterns and unique decorations (think yellow tassels), this 25-piece wooden construction set would be equally at home in a modern art museum as in your child's toy box. Luckily, kids are welcome to touch these, and they'll love to create their own masterpieces. (3 and up; $48; Zolo; zolo.com)

    "My son wants to take these in the car, to the dinner table -- everywhere." -- Amber Whitlatch, mom of Jubal, 3, Tulsa

    Buy it!

  • This retro toy's a guaranteed giggle-getter: Children sit on the grinning plastic caterpillar and push off with their feet to roll across the floor, or bounce up and down to pretend they're inching across the lawn. (2 and up; $35; Hasbro/Playskool; hasbro.com)

    "What a nice update on the classic inchworm toy of my own childhood." -- Tracey Truesdale, mom of Thomas Smith, 2, Oak Park, IL

    Buy it!

  • Your child's memory and color-matching skills will improve by leaps and bounds as he jumps his frog across this game's lily pads. Fun for the whole family, from tadpoles to old toadies. (4 and up; Blue Orange Games; $25; blueorangegames.com)

    "Ideal for any child who's just learning colors and numbers -- each time we play, it's just as exciting." -- Neba Der Sarkissian, mom of Cydney, 4, San Marcos, CA

    Buy it!

  • Plug this bike into your TV, and select one of the educational video games that pops up. In order to get anywhere in the virtual world onscreen, your child must pedal -- and believe us, he will. A brilliant blend of exercise and entertainment -- where do we get a mom-size one? (3 to 6 years; $100; Fisher-Price; fisher-price.com)

    "Shaan was beyond excited about this. He wants to play constantly, and figured out how to navigate the games before we could." -- Summi Ahuja, mom of Shaan, 4, Cincinnati

    Buy it!

  • Painting by numbers is fun, but creating 3-D stuff with them is even cooler. That's just what this kit lets kids do: It comes with two grids, 598 little bricks, and patterns to build a butterfly, crab, robot, or 6 other things. (4 and up; $20; LEGO; lego.com)

    "It's so great for Cory to see her hard work pay off in her own piece of art." -- Amy Hiller, mom of Cory, 4, North Woodmere, NY

    Buy it!

  • This game generated a lot of buzz among our kid testers! They loved wielding the paddles to swat at the quiet, motorized bumblebee that flies around the board. The goal: to keep it from bugging your honeycomb -- and get it to make a beeline for someone else's instead. (3 and up; $17; MEGA Brands; megabrands.com)

    "It's so simple, cute, and fun that it's replaced most of my kids' favorite toys." -- Elise Nye, mom of Craig, 4, and Annika, 3, Los Alamos, NM

    Buy it!

  • You just may want to renovate your own, once you get a load of how posh this wooden tabletop kitchen is! It comes with fun "groceries," including carrots and bread your child can cut with a toy knife -- the slices are held together with Velcro. Yes, it's pricey, but it's so durable, your kids (and even theirs) can play with it for years to come. (3 and up; HaPe; $80; hapetoys.com)

    "My daughter loves serving me the fried egg." -- Megan Taylor Sperandio, mom of Kennedy, 3, Houston, TX

    Buy it!

  • Hook up the console into your TV, and a cute dog will cheer your child through a series of educational games. She'll learn about letters, numbers, and colors, and master some basic computer skills too. The puppy-shaped mouse pad switches to either side of the keyboard so it's comfy for both righties and lefties. (3 to 6 years; $60; LeapFrog; leapfrog.com)

    "Cooper plays almost every day. I was amazed to see him type his name and handle the mouse so easily." -- Micaela Caiozzo, mom of Cooper, 4, Lunenberg, MA

    Buy it!

  • There are lots of rules to this numbers game, but learning them's part of the fun. Your whole family will enjoy taking turns trying to accumulate duck cards before Bruce the dog nabs 'em. (6 and up; $10; Gamewright; gamewright.com)

    "It helps children learn math; they even have to count their points at the end." -- Angie Patel Rehm, mom of Philip, 6, Boiling Springs, SC

    Buy it!

  • Guitar toys are the rage this year, but this one really struck a chord with our half-pint John Mayer wanna-bes. When it's plugged into your TV, onscreen characters teach your child the basics, then coach her till she's jammin'. (6 and up; $100; Fisher-Price; fisher-price.com)

    "Charlotte absolutely thought she was a rock star." -- Samantha Nielsen, mom of Charlotte, 6, Germantown, WI

    Buy it!

  • Scramble to pack the plastic objects (everything from a spare tire to, quite literally, the kitchen sink) into this truck's trunk. Slam it shut before the buzzer sounds or everything will come flying out -- a sight so entertaining, your kids may enjoy losing more than winning. (6 and up; $20; Cranium; cranium.com)

    "My son puts a lot of thought into arranging his items in the trunk. He even helped other players on their turns." -- Beth Singer, mom of Sean, 5, Edgerton, KS

    Buy it!

  • It's like Scrabble for beginners: Kids roll the 6 dice, then form words from letters that come up. The more letters they use, the faster they'll make it across the board -- first one to the end wins! (6 and up; $25; Talicor; talicor.com)

    "It's educational without seeming like a learning game." -- Ginger Kelly, mom of Samantha Hoppe, 7, Healdsburg, CA

    Buy it!

  • Your child can create 5 different vehicles from this one kit, which even includes the tools needed to get the job done. The construction pieces are pliable and rubbery, perfect for a kid's hands. (5 and up; $45; Nikko; nikkoamerica.com)

    "This set kept my son entertained for days. The cars can really be driven and don't fall apart." -- Tiffany Smith, mom of Porter, 8, Salt Lake City

    Buy it!

  • Plug this high-tech microscope into your TV, and it'll magnify objects a whopping 200 times onscreen. Your kids (and you) won't be able to stop waving it over everything you can think of, from salt crystals to your own skin. (Hint: Try a $20 bill for codes hidden to the naked eye.) (6 and up; $50; JAKKS Pacific; eyeclops.com)

    "It's awesome. My husband played with it for an hour after our daughters went to bed." -- Christina Frank, mom of Olivia, 10, Brooklyn

    Buy it

  • This kit's an artsy girl's dream come true. It's got everything she'll need to make a door hanger (it reads "No parents allowed!"), magnets, a mirror, and more, then decorate them with stickers, paint, and other fun stuff. (7 and up; $30; Creativity for Kids; creativityforkids.com)

    "Isabel was able to use this all by herself, and was so proud of her creations." -- Melissa Ann Scrabis, mom of Isabel, 10, Coraopolis, PA

    Buy it!

  • Arrange the 5 colored, numbered discs on your floor or lawn, then watch your child run to the ones that the electronic joystick tells him to tag (a sensor determines if he gets it right). The most challenging of the 4 difficulty levels makes kids do mental math to figure out which number disk to head for. (6 and up; $25; Wild Planet; wildplanet.com)

    "It got my daughter up and running, while still making her think." -- Susan Coakley, mom of Morgan, 8, Pasadena, MD

    Buy it!

comments