October 4, 2005

Child Testers Choose Top 10 Toys

NEW YORK -- 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.