Good Housekeeping's Best Toy Awards 2012

(Photo: Mark Lund/Studio D)We know how much creativity, skill-building, problem-solving, and strategy go into playtime. That's why GHRI staff spent the last year selecting 135 promising new toys and games before turning them over to 140 kids, ages 3 to 13, for testing in our labs and in their homes. We parsed 1,000-plus surveys, subjected toys to a Drop Tester, and checked safety data to find the 24 best. Be sure to check our top board game picks for more family fun!

Block Party

The T.S. Shure ArchiQuest Architectural Elements ($30; ages 4+; contains more than 50 wooden blocks, in fresh shapes and bright hues, that young builders loved stacking up — and knocking down.

(Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D)Good Fortune

With Moose Toys Fortune Cookie Maker ($25; ages 5+; young bakers can mix and roll real dough, heat it in the microwave, and form it around fortunes they write. The best part: devouring their own creations.

(Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D)(Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D)Bugging Out

The portable Hexbug Hive Habitat Set ($35; ages 3+; lets kids customize a bi-level maze, then see mechanical bugs run amok. Its 35 easy-to-assemble pieces link with other sets to create an arena that will amuse for hours.

(Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D)Training Wheels

An affordable alternative to die-cast models, Jakks Pacific Power Trains Auto Loader City ($40; ages 5+; had boys and girls assembling 18 realistic-looking feet of track for a five-train motorized locomotive.

(Photo: Techno Source)Drawing Room

Techno Source's Glow Crazy Doodle Dome ($20; ages 3+; gives little Picassos magical privacy as they sketch on the tent's walls using a green light wand. When the mess-free art fades, it's time to start all over again.

(Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D)Cowabunga, Dude!

Pack the Playmates Shellraiser ($35; ages 4+; vehicle with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($10 each; sold separately) and send the reptiles on a wild, imagination-fueled crime-fighting spree. A new TV series is now attracting another generation.


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