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K-5th Grade
5th-7th Grade
I keep seeing award stickers on toy packages. If I buy a toy that has an award sticker on the box does that mean other similar toys are not as good? What guidelines can I follow for choosing a good toy?

Lauren, Miami, FL
Mom of Rachel (7), Sofi (6) and Naomi (2)
Use them as a guide and follow 3 easy steps before making a decision on what to buy?

1.Analyze: What does the child have already? (Stacks of board games, tubs of building blocks, shelves of books) Take a quick INVENTORY of your child’s collection and see if there is a type of toy missing from the playroom. A new kind of toy will trigger interest and intrigue once opened!
2.Simplify- Parents “think” kids need a lot of toys, then regret having so many around the house! It is best to have a variety of TOY TYPES, so a child uses a range of developmental skills.
3.Magnify: It is imperative that toys are chosen which are age-appropriate and are of interest to a child. Choose toys that "MAGNIFY’ a child’s current skills and challenges those they need to work on.


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Software Study

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Toy Tips tested software using the Toy Tips methodology in classrooms with teachers and children age 5-12. Surprisingly only 46% of our total sample of software reviewed tested as positive as having appropriate content, being enjoyable to play, educational and easy to understand. Each title was tested for thinking skills as well as social interaction and only the titles which had positive messages and learning benefits were considered to be part of our study,

Each child was asked to rate the program and the teachers observed the children as they played with the software to see if the content and graphics were age appropriate.

When choosing software titles for children, keep in mind that the content and/or characters must be appropriate for both age and developmental level. Each child progresses on an individual pace and we found that those titles with progress levels were efficient to see how a child is learning.

Below are the results of our software study. Each title includes our review notes indicating what is the most educational feature we found.

School Age 7-10
Recommended as an introduction to teach the game of chess. The graphics may be too juvenile for children over age 10.

Knowledge Adventure
Bear's Imagine That
There is a variety in the choice of activities. Includes sing-along music and the graphics are colorful and imaginative. Reinforces creative skill while stimulating thinking skills.

Knowledge Adventure
Jumpstart 1st Grade
School Age 5-7
Non-readers can follow the software. The music, voices and graphics were all uplifting. Kids participate in a treasure hunt by solving puzzles, answering questions stimulating analytical skills.

Knowledge Adventure
Jumpstart 4th grade
School Age 8-10
Child becomes an active player in an adventure. Requires the use of sequencing skills and logical reasoning. Child follows a series of activates to uncover clues to find a sapphire treasure mine. Stimulates logical reasoning as players compose a journal as they solve puzzles. Includes a progress button so parent and/or child can check the progress.

Disney Interactive
Winnie The Pooh Activity Center
School Age 5-7
Featuring recognizable Disney characters and music, children can click on individual frames to enter learning activities promoting thinking skills and interaction.

Disney Interactive
Adventures in Typing
School Age 5-9
Features a variety of games that teach typing skills. This is very important to teach to school age children to assist with their skills of using a computer. The graphics were appealing to keep kids involved. Kids/parents can check on a child's progress by opening screens with progress reports.

Disney Interactive
1st Grade
School Age 6-7
Through interaction with characters from Toy Story, kids play games that reinforce math, reaqding, writign and logical reasoning skills.

Humungous Entertainment
Blue's Reading Time
Children are guided through many reading skills while putting together a newspaper. Words are paired with pictures and stories are read aloud. Featuring repetition and simple play, children use analytical and memory skills.

Humungous Entertainment
PJ Sam's One Stop Fun Shop
The graphics and voice of Pajama Sam is appropriate for preschoolers. An art collection for children. They can make party hats, invitations, placemats, stationary, cards, a growth chart, picture frames, door hangers, puppets, makes and paper airplanes. Enhances thinking and creative skill.

School Age 10+
Reinforces analogy training and creative thinking skills. Promotes social interaction and competition Providing practice with trivia, players can play either against each other or a computer opponent. While the time clicks off the seconds, players must answer trivia questions by entering answers choosing from three multiple choice answers provided or determining how three items are connected. A player can also challenge another player's answer which leads to lively play and laughter.

School Age 8+
Provides practice with special skills and strategy while stimulating think gin and logic skills. Player must move the marbles in such a way to knock the opponent's marbles off the board. Child can play against an opponent or against the computer.

Hasbro Interactive
Roller Coaster Tycoon
School Age 10+
Allows creative thinking and social interaction. Introduces complex thinking skills. The user creates third own theme parks. Using typed in or multiple choice answers assists in reinforcing spelling skills.

Hasbro Interactive
The Next Tetris
School Age 6+
Features colorful graphics, multiple difficulty levels and single player/multi player options. The user assembles the puzzle blocks using logical reasoning skills and quick reaction time. The user progresses through levels of difficulty and increases in the ranking as each level is completed.

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