The Best Toys for Kids 2013 List

My daughter recently celebrated her 10th birthday and I wanted her to be able to celebrate with unique, quality toys. I knew I would never be able to locate high-quality, boutique and specialty toys at the big box stores in my area. Thankfully, I have an amazing neighborhood toy store in my area.

My daughter tends to gravitate towards toys that help her play creatively and I really like her to play with toys that are play-to-learn toys. At my local neighborhood toy store, I can find both of these, as well as other amazing toys that are the best toys, made by the best companies.

Shopping locally helps my community by providing economic stability to my area. Also, my local neighborhood toy store always carries these wonderful specialty stores that I simply can not locate anywhere else.

I'm happy to partner with ASTRA again this year to bring you the 2013 List of the Best Toys for Kids.  These winning toys were selected by a pool of 650 experts based on a toy's ability to promote open-ended creative play and a toy's innovative design feature as well as a toy's exceptional safety standards.

This year, the list include 21 toys for kids of all ages. Picks include the Green Toys Seaplane, the Potholder Pro, Original Spirograph Deluxe Kit, the Q-BA-MAZE Mega Stunt Set and many more.

My children had the amazing opportunity to try out the following toys that were also on the list for the 2013 Best Toys for Kids. These are the toys that we received from ASTRA that my children have been enjoying.

Snap Circuits

Snap Circuits SOUND ($84.99 MSRP; Ages 8+)

Snap CircuitsSnap Circuits SOUND offers more than 185 exciting projects and over 40 parts along with a colorful illustrated instruction manual.Snap Circuits SOUND is an electronic circuit board kit that invites kids to build exciting sound projects. This easy-to-assemble kit teaches children the details behind how electricity flows through circuits to create lights and sounds.

Make exciting projects including: Sound Energy demonstration, Voice Changer: record voice or music and play it back at different speeds, Echo Effects, Keyboard with Optical Theremin: Sound-activated color changing light.

Connect to your smart phone and analyze sound with apps and much more! Enjoy hours of educational FUN!

Ring Stix LiteRingStix Lite ($14.99 MSRP; Ages 6+) 

RingStix LiteRingStix is a simple and innovative variation of the most common game in everyone’s childhood, the game of catch. It uses two Stix shaped like inverted swords to propel a ring at ones partner, who catches the ring and throws it back using his Stix.The game is easy to learn and can be played from 30 yards away. Hours of fun awaits you with this awesome game.

RingStix is played with the slightly curved 21 inch sticks and a 5 inch ring. With a stick in each hand - crossed, and the ring over both sticks, players simply flare out their arms to propel the ring spinning forward toward the other player. That player then uses the point of one or both of the sticks to catch the flying ring and sends it back again in the same manner. The faster and harder a player flares the sticks the farther the ring will fly, sometimes up to 30 yards or more.

This unique sport offers an entertaining new form of exercise improves agility and hand-eye coordination, gets kids and adults off the couch and away from sedentary technologies like computers, TV and video games. RingStix can be used in yards, parks, at the beach and more. The patent-pending RingStix product line is made of light yet durable material that meets all CPSC standards. Both the Stix and the Rings float, and one ring even glows in the dark adding a fun twist for night time play.

Each game contains a full set for two players: 4 Stix, each different color 1 Red Ring. Simplified instructions are on the back of the packaging for a closer look check out the “How to Video”.

DiversityTimeline Diversity ($14.99 MSRP; Ages 8+)

The invention of the tank, the 1st appearance of a Superhero, and the invention of the coffee maker… Can you put all these events correctly on the timeline? With Timeline, learn the answer to this question and thousands more. Each card has a different event and on the opposite side its associated date.

To begin, one card is randomly selected from the draw pile. This is placed in the middle of the table, date-side up and is the starting point of a chronological line which will slowly be built by players. The first player then chooses one of their cards and places it before or after the initial card. The player's card is then turned date-side up. If the player was right, it remains on the table. Otherwise, the card is discarded and a new one must be drawn to replace it. The more cards which are correctly played, the harder it is to correctly place new ones! The first player to get rid of their cards wins.

Presently ASTRA is kicking off the " I Heart My Neighborhood Toy Store" campaign to celebrate the fun of shopping for toys at your local toy stores.  Now through November 8, 2013, simply log onto www {DOT} yourneighborhoodtoystore {DOT} org and enter to win the following:

 A Grand Prize Vacation Package – sponsored by Thomas & Friends and including a stay at a Hard Rock Hotel in Mexico or the Dominican Republic.

Featured Prizes – Enter to win one of several high-value gift baskets by companies including Kidozi, Calico Critter, Early Years, Playmobil and assorted Best Toys for Kids winning product.

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Disclosure: I received products courtesy of ASTRA for this review; all thoughts and opinions are my own.