The Noise on Toys play testing program is unique, both in giving voice to the kids' perspective on the toys as well as offering readers easy access to the original feedback posted by each family - parent and child comments. And, unlike most review sites, TNOT is privately funded to ensure complete editorial independence: manufacturers pay neither an administration fee to participate, nor licensing fees to use earned award logos.
Our 100+ volunteer families in the Ottawa and Toronto areas are regular consumers – just like you, except that we give them a chance to take the toy out of the box and play with at home. That alone makes their first impressions worth reading, but they continue to play and post ongoing feedback for a couple of months so they can also offer their perspective on long term play appeal. At the conclusion of the two month testing period, parents fill in an extensive report, rating and commenting on 27 different aspects of the toy - including the eight category ratings posted on the toy profile.
Our editorial staff then pools and summarizes testing family observations into an overall rating and review. When merited, toys are also given an award status. Our Seal of Approval identifies an overall recommendation, even if feedback wasn't 100% positive. An Award of Excellence is exactly what it suggests: well-designed, excellent quality toys that inspire solid, ongoing play appeal. Really excellent toys that also have a little extra WOW appeal get a Gold rating – an award given to about 8% of all toys tested. Less than 3% earn Platinum – these are our testers' top picks for the year, the toys that all testers agree offer superior design and outstanding play appeal.
There are currently over 2,000 toys profiled on The Noise on Toys website, with several hundred new toys each year. It's a large database, but our search tool makes it easy to find specific toys – or to generate a list of gift ideas to suit a child’s age and interests, as well as the purchaser’s budget.
Former Toy Editor for Today's Parent Magazine and past Chair of the Awards & Ratings Committee for the Canadian Toy Testing Council, Marcia MacQuarrie shares over 25 years experience reviewing hundreds of toys a year, to help parents find the best toys for their children.
Games, Educational, and Tech Toys
Literally living in a toy testing “lab” all his life, Cam has played with a huge variety of toys, and continues to enjoy playing board games with his friends. He currently works tutoring elementary school children for the local school board and is always interested in finding good educational toys that help kids grasp key academic concepts. Majoring in Computing Science, he's also interested in toys that do an exceptional job incorporating technology in ways that either create new ways to play, or enhance classic play appeal.
Outdoor Play and Construction Toys
A marvel to watch on his skateboard or snowboard, Matt is particularly interested in toys that get kids outdoors and physically active. But on rainy days, putting a LEGO set together has always been his favourite indoor activity. When he's not playing with toys, Matt works as a pilot, teaching others to fly small aircraft.
Photography, Electronic Gaming and Social Media
Conor also grew up in a toy testing “lab”, and while he enjoyed playing with a wide variety of toys, he has gravitated towards electronic gaming pastimes. A computer science major, he now spends his free time recording game play for newly released video games, uploading them to his Youtube channel, and then posting links through social media channels to ensure a good audience. We look forward to his help expanding our own social media presence.