5 On Your Side

Educational Toys Among This Year's 'Fabulous 14' For Kids

Posted November 14, 2005

— It's that time of year where holiday shopping tops just about everyone's to-do list. And for many people, children are on the gift list. But finding the right toys can be overwhelming.

That is where the Great American Toy Test comes in.

This year, 90 toy makers submitted nearly 6,300 toys, which were then tested for several weeks in 64 cities by 12,000 children at 101 day care centers to see which toys have real "staying power."

The children and their teachers graded each toy for 10 important consumer concerns, including safety, quality, overall value, ability to hold interest -- and fun.

Out of a mountain of playthings emerged this year's list of "Fabulous 14" toys.

The

SmartGlobe

from

Oregon Scientific

is one of them.

Running for about $130, the SmartGlobe provides interactive learning with 30 different activities and games that cover topics such as country capitals, currency conversion and national anthems.

With its wireless stylus and high-quality sound, the SmartGlobe can be customized for three age groups ranging from age 5 up to college age. For family fun, up to four people can use it at the same time.

To keep SmartGlobe current, users can update it over the Internet just by connecting it to a computer.

Another top pick in educational toys for a little less money is

LeapFrog's

Leapster L-Max Learning Game System

.

For about $100, the Leapster L-Max is completely portable, but can also be plugged into a television for dual screen learning action where children, between ages 4 and 10, can interact with the handheld screen and see the learning unfold on the television screen.

Children learn to write letters on their handheld screen. Then, those letters appear on the television, starring in an animated story that teaches math, reading, spelling, science, writing, art, music and logic.

A couple other educational toys that did well, but are not part of the "Fabulous 14,: but still ranked high with kid testers include

Write & Learn Letter Book

by

V-Tech

and

Snappy Sounds Woof

book by

Silver Dolphin

.

The Write & Learn Letter Book, which costs about $22, is an interactive educational tool that teaches children ages 3 and older about letters, words, music and animals. For $13, the "Snappy Sounds Woof" book combines pop-ups with sound effects. There are several titles in the series, including ones about holiday stories.

Tune into WRAL's Morning News at 6:15 a.m. Tuesday as Five On Your Side's Monica Laliberte shares more top-rated toys from this year's Great American Toy Test.

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