Great American Toy Test

By: Ryan Duffy
By: Ryan Duffy

November 18, 2005
It’s that time of year again, when there is one thing on the mind of kids everywhere, toys. That’s why News 12 and the Great American Toy Test have sent thousands of kids across the country more than 6,000 toys. Being the experts, they tested them out and told us what they thought. 12 On Your Side has the results of the Great American Toy Test.

For this year’s Great American Toy Test, we created large sets of toys from the 6,300 toys submitted by ninety toymakers, large and small, toys worth $165,000.

To make it a truly national toy test, we sent the toys to 64 cities where 12,000 children at 101 daycares and after school centers played with the toys for several weeks.

To make sure the electronic toys had sufficient batteries, Energizer donated 10,000 alkalines.

The kids and their teachers then graded each toy for 10 important consumer concerns including quality, overall value, ability to keep holding the children’s interest, safety and just plain old fun.

“So they know if it’s cool or not,” said Wendy Garter, childcare director.

To ship the toys nationwide, U-Haul generously donated hundreds of wardrobe boxes, which we carefully packed with a treasure trove of toys. Southwest Airlines, the long-time official cargo shipper of the Great American Toy Test, flew the toys all over the nation from Tampa to Tucson, Bakersfield to Boston, Reno to Rochester, and everywhere in between.

Out of that mountain of playthings emerged this year’s fabulous fourteen, including the Smartglobe from Oregon Scientific. It provides interactive learning with thirty activities and games including country capitals, currency conversion and national anthems. With its wireless stylus and high quality sound, it can be customized for three age groups, beginning at age five and going right into college. And for family fun, up to four people can use it at the same time. From Oregon Scientific, the Smartglobe, for kids five and up, is a pricey $130. But this is truly a great, fun learning tool that will last for many years to come.

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