October 4, 2005

Young testers choose top 10 toys

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A low-tech knight's castle, a Slurpee
maker and a set of kid-friendly cell phones are among the top
10 toys this year, according to kid testers surveyed by
FamilyFun magazine. The list of top toys, unveiled at the
Children's Museum of Manhattan on Tuesday were chosen after
testing by more than 1,400 kids. This year, 170 manufacturers
submitted more than 500 toys for review. Of this group, 63 were
chosen as finalists and tested for three weeks at 17 KinderCare
Learning Centers in the United States.

Parents look to toy lists and rankings like these to
navigate the holiday toy marketing blitz. Getting a spot on a
"hot toy" list can mean stronger sales during the Christmas
shopping season for toy manufacturers.

The U.S. toy industry is grappling with years of intense
price competition, slipping revenues, higher costs, store
closings and high-profile bankruptcies.

Last year, U.S. toy sales continued their slide, falling 3
percent to $20.1 billion according to NPD Group, a market
information company.

Submissions for the Toy of the Year award were considered
in categories - including Learning Toys, Playmates, R/C Toys,
Arts and Crafts, Building Sets, Games, Role Play, Playsets, and
Tech Toys - in four age groups.

The finalists and winners are featured in the November
issue of FamilyFun magazine.

After 30,000 hours of play testing, the "Top 10 Toys" on
the FamilyFun list are: 1. Knights' Empire Castle: A large
build-it-yourself castle with a moat, drawbridge and secret
trap door, by Playmobil. 2. 3-D Pool Table: A pool game where
balls can be hit down or up to different levels, by Zocker
Toys. 3. Shake 'N Go! Speedway: A racetrack for ages 3 and up
with cars that are revved up by shaking, by Mattel Inc. unit
Fisher-Price. 4. ChatNow: A "cell phone" set that allows kids
to talk and text message within a two mile radius, by Hasbro
Inc. unit Tiger Electronics. 5. Slurpee Drink Maker: Makes the
classic frozen drinks, by Spin Master. 6. Darth Vader Voice
Changer: A helmet that changes a child's voice to that of the
famous Star Wars villain, by Hasbro. 7. Go Go TV: A video game
system that combines video camera technology with infrared and
motion sensors to put the child in the game, by Toy Quest. 8.
Pyrates Dread Eye's Phantom: A kit to build a pirate ship with
firing cannons, trap doors and a dungeon for prisoners, by Mega
Bloks. 9. Nylint Rock Crawler: A remote control 4-wheel drive
vehicle, by FunRise. 10. Card Kit: Kit to make greeting cards,
by Mattel unit American Girl.