An Independent Guide to the "Bestest" Kid-Tested Toys

Holidays 2017: Last Minute Gifts and Stuffers

Looking for a last-minute gift that won’t break the bank? Here are our 2017 suggestions, all under $25.

Sillibaby SilliBall

PlaSmart Inc. (0m+)

A simple toy with rubbery, textured protrusions that are easy to grasp and chew on. "My daughter (5 months) still chews on this toy every day, and prefers it over other teething toys." Swatee Jain

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The Orb Factory Limited (3+)

A novel new modelling compound with intriguing properties. Our kid testers loved how it molds solid and with super fine detailing, yet can also be fluffed into a soft flowing texture. Mesmerizing! "I like that you get to squeeze it and make stuff with it. It's nice to morph the morph, and feel how soft it is inside." Samantha (F6)

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Catch And Learn

PlaSmart Inc. (4+)

Scatter the metallic fish on the floor, then use the yoyo-like magnetic ‘hook’ to catch them. Create whatever games you want using these write and erase fish. "My kids (F4 & F6) liked pretending to fish. I like that there is room to grow with this toy, as the fish can be written on, cleaned off, and written on again." Sandra Wong

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Thumb Chucks

Zing Toys, Inc. (5+)

The light-up feature on these ball clackers was a huge draw for our testers, and most were happy just fidgeting with them. But there are also You Tube demonstrations of numerous tricks for kids interested in mastering the challenges. "You can do more things than you can with a fidget spinner - like cool tricks, and the lights are cool." Tiago (M9)

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Emoji Bracelets

Creativity for Kids/Faber-Castell (6+)

A basic beading craft, but our testers loved adding the beads stenciled with emoji designs to their creations. With 70 beads, 30 of then with emoji designs, there’s plenty to make a bracelet for yourself and four friends. "Mixing different emojis, like the faces with the food, is always funny. I like that there are a lot of beads to use and long stretchy strings." Siobhan (F6)

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Klutz My Super Sweet Scented Sketchbook

Klutz/Scholastic (6+)

A handy colouring activity for quiet times and on the go fun. Very popular with our play testing families. "I like being able to take it places with me easily, like in the car or at ballet between classes. It is a good craft booklet for a girl like me who loves art." Rebecca (F8)

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Tumble Tree

Blue Orange Games (6+)

Super fun and action packed! We love how engaging this simple game is, inspiring both cheers and groans. Best enjoyed by slightly older kids (at least 8-10+). " Tossing, slamming, teetering cards make this game a challenge for Zahra (F9) and us adults. Portable and sturdy, it's an excellent family game." Lisa Gohm

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Sticker Design Studio

Crayola (8+)

Our testers loved rolling out dots of paint, then pressing a sticker page over the rolled paint to create uniquely abstract designs on the stickers. "I like when I can make things "my own". Plus, my stuff will look different so no one will touch it ;-)" Lydia (F11)

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Go Nuts For Donuts!

Gamewright (8+)

Our play testers loved the cute donut pictures and that each type of donut represents a different action or scoring method. Great game! “I like that when you start going for one kind of donut, it’s hard to switch because you'll lose points. I also like that if you're both bidding for the same card, then no one gets it.” Ezra (M9)

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Best. Year. Ever.

Klutz/Scholastic (8+)

Super well designed and very, very popular with our play testers. Kids love that you can start it any month, and that it’s jam-packed with fun and interesting activities. Parents love that it’s engaging enough to reinforce good organizational skills. "I love, love, love this journal, especially the extra details like the kindness activities and reminders and goals. There are lists you can make, goals to achieve and letters you can write to your future self and past self, too! It is so cool." Meaghan (F12)

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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. 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.


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