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TOYS FOR SMART PLAY:  Dr. Toy's "100 Best Children’s Products for 2004” Award Report Now Available on the Internet—the Best Smart Products for Holiday Gifts for 2004--Toys, Videos, Audio CDs and Tapes, Games, Books, Software/CD-ROM’s and many other new, unique, quality, developmentally appropriate educational items are featured.


SAN FRANCISCO, CA. -- The 13th Annual report of "Dr. Toy's 100 Best Children’s Products 2004" awards announced today is now available to parents, teachers and others in the magazine, Dr. Toy's Guide, on the Internet's World Wide Web.  The Web Site address is  The free report is available by requesting a copy by sending a SASE #10 envelope to Dr. Toy.

            Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Children's Products” Awards Program 2004 was developed by noted child development authority, Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D. (a.k.a. Dr. Toy) as a service to consumers who desire to purchase safe, affordable, educationally oriented, and stimulating toys and products for children.

            "As a childhood specialist for over 35 years," says Dr. Toy, Director of the Institute for Childhood Resources, founded in San Francisco in 1975, "I have seen the continuous, essential need for more year-round resources for consumers to identify and choose the most appropriate, safe and engaging learning and developmental products for all children."

Dr. Toy reports that in the years the innovative on-line magazine, Dr.Toy’s Guide has been available “thousands of visitors daily from around the world have accessed its information.”  The site was the first on-line to evaluate toys and children’s products.

            The report, “Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Children’s Products for 2004”, is being released according to Dr. Toy to “encourage parents and teachers to focus on the value of play as essential to the learning process.”

She adds, “The smart play products selected from 100 companies across the U.S., Canada and other countries will provide children with exciting new learning tools that will help them not only to do better in school, but will also provide more constructive activities to do after school.”

The winning products include innovative toys, games, books, videos, audiotapes, software/CD's, crafts, socially responsible and other children's products.

Dr. Auerbach believes “parents and grandparents need help to get a head start locating new, diversified products that children will enjoy using while they increase learning skills, enhance instruction and expand creativity.”  The products are balanced from among large and small companies and range from low to high tech for “hours of constructive, educational, and stimulating fun.”

            “Children learn best through play,” says Dr. Auerbach, “and these smart products encourage children to maximize their potentials.”

            “By making a renewed focus on selecting the back-to-school time as an ideal one for choosing new products for children," adds Dr. Toy, parents improve their children’s development.  “This is a perfect time,” she says, “to ‘take stock’ and do an inventory of what your child is playing with, what is not used and what they need next in their process.”

           Dr. Toy's 100 Best Products” were carefully chosen from among hundreds that she has reviewed at toy fairs, catalogs, and through many other sources, and by using extensive criteria she has developed over many years.  Among the criteria used are: safety, age-appropriateness, design, durability, lasting play value, cultural and ethnic diversity, good transition from home to school, educational value, learning skills, creativity, improvement in the understanding of the community and the world, good value for price, and, naturally, fun.

            In addition to the “100 Best Products” Dr. Toy has created eight special award categories for products suitable for babies to older children including products ranging from handicrafts to hi-tech, priced from $5.00 to $100.

The winning products are affordable, well designed, and reflect the wide range of children’s interests.

Examples of the aspects of smart play of these outstanding smart toys and products and the companies recognized by these special awards include:

Creativity/Art - Color Scroller (Alex); Puzzle/logical thinking - American Native Flowers Scramble Squares® puzzle (b.dazzle); Learning/ Reading Readiness - Easy PC (Comfy), Reading Readiness - Geosafari Phonics Pad (Educational Insights); Mental Development - Power Touch Baby (Fisher Price); Construction Play - MGears™ Remote Control Racers (Learning Resources); Math Readiness/Logic Development - Light 'N Strike Math game (Learning Resources); Fantasy Play/dexterity - Nano Turbo Rally Racer (Megabloks), Dramatic Play/Language - 4Ever Best Friends (MGA Entertainment); Active Play - Wild Gertie (Small World Toys).


Complete information about these smart toys and other products are included in the full report.

Dr. Toy selects Ten Best Toys, Best Active Products, Audio and Video Tapes, Creative Products, Educational Products, Games, Socially Responsible Products, and Software/CD's/High Tech Products.

Winning products are manufactured by new, small and large companies from around the world including: Action Products, Alex, b. dazzle, Battat, Binney & Smith, Briarpatch, Comfy, Dad's Ink, Educational Insights, Fisher-Price, Folkmanis, Funrise Toys, Gamewright, Goldberger Dolls, HABA, Hasbro, International Playthings, Kimbo, Klutz, Learning Curve, Learning Resources, LEGO Systems, Made by Hands, MegaBloks, Mic-o-Mic Americas, MGA Entertainment, Ohio Art, Playmobil, Schoenhut, Scholastic, Small World Toys, Spinmaster, Toys R Us/Home Depot, VTech, Zapf Creation, Zen Baby, and many others.

Dr. Toy's annual report includes company customer service numbers, web site URL, age range, price, and full description of each product.  The award-winning, on-line magazine, Dr. Toy’s Guide, features full color photos of each product, links to companies to learn more, interviews with and articles by Dr. Toy, plus hundreds of "Best Classic" and “Best Vacation” products.  At this time over 3000 products are included plus links direct to companies, toy stores on line, toy history, parent resources and much more.

A new feature this year is a “Holiday Gift Buying Guide” powered by ().  Consumers will be able to easily purchase the items on Dr. Toy's website, and have them shipped or delivered by the closest retailer who has them in stock.  This new service will make it simpler to shop for consumers and also be beneficial to manufacturers and to retailers.

Dr. Auerbach, a long-time resident of San Francisco, originally from New York City, lived in Washington, DC while working for the Department of Education where she approved the first proposal for “Sesame Street” and established the first model day care center for children of federal employees.  In San Francisco she established the first “hands-on” toy museum visited by over 50,000 children.  She is the only Ph.D. evaluating toys and children’s products with extensive training, background, and over 35 years of experience evaluating, writing and speaking about toys and children’s products.  Dr. Auerbach is trained in education, child psychology, child development, and special education.  She is a parent educator, consultant, parent and grandparent.

In addition to easy access on the Internet, a free copy of "Dr. Toy's 100 Best Children's Products 2004" may be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped #10 business envelope (SASE) to "Dr. Toy," c/o Institute for Childhood Resources, 268 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA, 94104.


Additional Points:

  • Dr. Toy’s Guide links many related useful sites and resources.
  • Dr. Toy presents new products to teachers from around the world attending the 2004 annual conference of the National Association for the Education of Young Children () in Anaheim.  Currently she is on a national promotion tour extending over four months to share insights about the importance of learning through Smart Play/Smart Toys.  She will attend the US Marines Toys for Tots Kick off, present information to consumers at selected retail stores and at the first Parent/Kids Expo in Honolulu.
  • Dr. Toy is the author of Dr. Toy's Smart Play/Smart Toys provides tools to parents to enhance their child's PQ (Play Quotient) -- a concept Dr. Toy originated.  The book is published in China, Germany, Thailand, Korea and just released in Spain.
  • Interviews with and about Dr. Toy have appeared in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV across the country, and in Canada, and around the world.


Interviews regarding the book or the best products can be arranged with Angie Niehoff (561-868-0297) or Staci Scheibel (510-540-0111).


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