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K-5th Grade
5th-7th Grade
Dear Marianne:

We have tons of toys in our house. How can I organize them so my kids get the most play value from them?

Erin, Pittsburgh, Mom of Katie (9), Lizzie (8) Mary (6) Ben and Jacob (4)
The best way to get the most play value is to organize them so that they ARE played with. For example, board games are fun but you really need to have them in sight as a reminder to play oftern. Stack boxes by age groups on a shelf in a room that will encourage social play. Consider the kitchen and family room. Keep them in the box and neatly tape all 4 corners on both the top and bottom of the box. This will help to reinforce the box after multiple uses.


Our Founder

Marianne M. Szymanski
Founder & President

Marianne Szymanski is founder and president of Toy Tips, Inc., an international child development research group that conducts independent on-going academic and scientific research on products from the toy and juvenile product industries. A national author, entrepreneur, speaker, lecturer and media personality, Marianne has led her organization's unbiased tests of over 45,000 products from more than 1450 manufacturers for the past seventeen years.

A former retail sales representative for an international toy manufacturer, Marianne saw the opportunity to provide parents with unbiased information they can trust on how to select products that enhance a child's development. This inspired the 1991 formation of The Toy Research Institute, a year-round program of toy evaluation and testing that does not accept revenue from manufacturers. (

In 1996, she launched Toy Tips Magazine to provide parents with unbiased information about toy reviews, toy safety, durability, learning value, age appropriateness and enjoyment. To date, seventeen million copies have been distributed through retailers, hospitals, pediatricians and educators. Now renamed, Toy Tips & Parenting Hints, the publication has grown to include research on parenting, child safety and juvenile product reviews. An online version of Toy Tips & Parenting Hints is available free on the company website at

In 2002, in order to serve her local community with toy lending, Marianne created the Toy Tips Toy Lending Library in conjunction with the Franklin Public Library in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

For the last fourteen years, Marianne's research has been regularly featured on Oprah, CNN, The Today Show, The Discovery Channel, FOX, Lifetime, HGTV, Oxygen, Living It Up with Ali and Jack, The History Channel, the Jane Pauley Show, PAX, CBS THe Early Show and close to 300 local new stations across the country.  From 1992-1998, she was the resident toy guest on ABC's Good Morning America, and logged 53 segments.

Marianne is the 1996 recipient of the Wisconsin Small Business Association Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and a delegate of the 1995 White House Conference on Small Business in Washington, D.C. She is a past adjunct Associate Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at The USC Marshall School of Business and guest lectures at a number of colleges and universities worldwide. Marianne's work has been published in research journals in the United States and the United Kingdom. She currently hosts her own Toy Tips segment on WITI -TV 6 FOX News in Milwaukee and the "Kid Tips Report with Marianne," a monthly feature segment for a variety of FOX news stations across the U.S..

Marianne is on the marketing commitee of the Betty Brinn Children's Museum, the chair of the foundation for St. Francis Hospital Foundation and a past auxillary board member of the Boys and Girls Clubs in Milwaukee, WI. She holds a dual degree in psychology and marketing from Marquette University. She is married to Garo Hartounian and is the mother of Maximillian and Mia.

To view Marianne on her various television appearances <click here>.

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