Best Children’s Products: Toys and Puzzles

Nov 1, 2013 | Blog, Cozi Recommends

Here are the winning children’s toys and puzzles from the 2013 National Parenting Publications Awards.



Zoomer250SPIN MASTER, $99.99, Ages: Fun for the entire family

Why we like it: Zoomer is such an endearing Dalmatian that it’s hard to believe this eager-to-please pooch is robotic. Kids can teach him to speak, sit, lie down, roll over or shake in English, Spanish or French. This interactive puppy yips, pants and wags his way into affection, staying allergy-free and housebroken at all times.



Tummy Time Activity Floormat

TummyTime250Mamas & Papas, $39.99, Ages: Babies: 0 – 18 months

Why we like it: Roll out the welcome mat to development! This roll and mat combo is a perfect place for kids to lie on their tummies and lift up to explore the colors, textures and stitching. Tummy time helps develop neck, arm and core muscles. Attached teethers allow little ones to take a development break and nap in its cozy comfort.



Razor Crazy Cart



Razor USA LLC., $399.99, Ages: Tweens & Teens: 9 – 15 years

Why we like it: Crazy Cart takes driving to a whole new dimension by adding sideways and diagonal to traditional forward and reverse options. 360° steering allows drivers to spin in circles and take turns tightly. Foot pedal acceleration speeds up to 12 mph. Rear features include stabilizing drift bar and adjustable caster technology.



Quick Attach Microscope

QuickAttach1250Skyrocket Toys, $14.99, Ages: Fun for the entire family

Why we like it: Capture every minute detail! Attachable microscope slips over the camera lens of your iOS or Android device. Turn on your camera and snap a magnified photo of skin, clothing fibers, bugs and more! Magnifies 30x – kids are amazed to see everything enlarged so clearly! No software or downloads needed!




imat1LEAD250Creative Baby Inc., $79.99, Ages: Toddlers to Kindergarten

Why we like it: Lay down for learning and literacy! Kids roll around a host of global animals, touch them with a stylus to hear a response or play a find-it game. The interlocking foam floor tiles and talking pen include two games and explorations and converse in English, Spanish and Chinese.



Musical Owl

MusicalOwl_580_0ALEX Toys LLC, $35.95, Ages: Toddlers: 18 months – 2 years

Why we like it: Capture this eye-catching musical owl and tots can treat themselves to a jam session complete with xylophone, drum, cymbal, washboard and 2 mallets. This creative owl face invites young hands to explore all the colorful elements, and young ears to hear the contrast from the ting of the cymbal to the beat of the wooden washboard.



Learn to Write with Mr. Pencil

MrPencil250LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., $19.99, Ages: Ages 4-7 years

Why we like it: Techno-teacher with a passion for writing! Use this playful character with downloadable app to explore 85 writing activities that work on iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches. Easy to grip and instant feedback from this oversized stylus teach kids to write letters, numbers and shapes in stroke-by-stroke proper sequence. Won’t scratch screens!



LeapPad Ultra

LeapPadUltra250LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., $149.99, Ages: Ages 4-9 years

Why we like it: Ultra-perfect learning tablet for little learners! Tablet is sized right for kids and houses 8 GB of memory. Play the 11 learning apps on the 7” screen with a finger or attached stylus or search the kid-safe web browser, LeapSearch by Zui, for more fun. Graduated learning levels help kids advance their skills.



HEXBUG Nano V2 Black Hole

HEXBUG250Innovation First International, $7.99, Ages: three and up

Why we like it: Like a Habitrail for bugs, this set has rubber techno insects climbing up, free falling and constantly finding new courses. Moving like real bugs these two busy Hexbugs with newly redesigned exo-skeletons scurry along clear tubes, tumble through a black hole or tackle obstacles built with added accessories.



Air Hogs Elite: Helix X4 Stunt

AirHogs250SPIN MASTER, $79.99, Ages: Fun for the entire family

Why we like it: Pilots will discover this Air Hog’s amazing control with its easy-to-navigate floor to ceiling flight capabilities. Able to hover in space, execute barrel rolls and accomplish backflips this Quad Copter is constructed from dense foam for durability. Made to deploy indoors and built to survive crashes this amazing aircraft performs for novices and experts alike.



Billy Beats Dancing Piano by Mega Bloks First Builders

BillyBeats2250MEGA BLOKS, $39.99, Ages: One and up

Why we like it: Choose to watch Billy be-bop to a song and sing along or make your own music by following the lights and learning to play the keys. Select from piano, animal sounds or funky DJ to mix up your beat. Sticker sheet music sticks to bricks to build the melodies on Billy. Colored notes on stickers match the colored keys on Billy. When music session is done, all blocks store inside Billy.



SmartMax Lighthouse

smartmax250Smart Toys and Games, Inc., $59.99, Ages: three and up

Why we like it: Light, magnets and blocks make this towering lighthouse a brilliant set for young kids to practice simple construction. Easy to grasp pieces (27) include two that light up the night – LED style. These colorful blocks are oversized and stick to each other helping kids create impressive structures and reach new heights of success!




Busy Beads Maze – Mermaid Adventure

BusyBeads250ALEX Toys LLC, $82.95, Ages: 10 months and up

Why we like it: Made on a beautifully-designed curved bentwood table, the bright bead mazes and playful sea creatures (or planes and automobiles) encourage tots to dive into development. Looping tracks go up and under tabletop encouraging hand-eye coordination and cause and effect learning. Set is attractive, entertaining and engaging.



Pop! Pop! Piano

MirariPopPiano_250Patch Products, $24.99, Ages: Toddlers: 12 months and up

Why we like it: This piano delivers a popping performance as stars shoot up when keys are played. Piano tones and fun sound effects add to the sensory experience for eyes and ears alike. Remove clear dome to send the stars sailing encouraging children to crawl after and reach for the stars!



Kixi® Scribble™ three-wheel chalk scooter

Kixi250Razor USA LLC., $39.99, Ages: Preschool and Kindergarten: 3 – 5 years

Why we like it: Extra wide three-wheel design and a “tilt to turn” feature provide the sure footing kids need to learn to balance and ride a scooter. Chalk bar in tow lets you leave a trail of your ride. Soon you’ll be so quick, you’ll leave others in your dust – chalk dust that is!



Large Furnished Hotel

PlaymobilHotel250Playmobil, $164.99, Ages: Ages 4-10 years

Why we like it: From the lobby and concierge to the game room and guests, enjoy all the amenities you’d expect in a luxury five-star stay without leaving the comforts of home. Use your room key to unlock the fun. This luxury accommodation is just awaiting your reservation. Many accessories add to the realism of this super staycation!



Little Passports: USA Edition

Presale ImagesLittle Passports, $11.95 per month, Ages: Early Elementary to Teens

Why we like it: Sightsee the states and discover the USA! A monthly membership has you travelling the States each month, learning geography and history. Personal delivery arrives revealing your next destination packed with souvenirs, stickers, photos and activities – both hardcopy and online, heightening the adventures of your traveling staycation. Also available is the World Edition so that little explorers can go beyond their backyard.



Little Passports: World Edition

LittlePassportsWorld250Little Passports, $11.95 per month, Ages: Preschool through Early Elementary

Why we like it: Your bag is packed for a world-wide tour! A monthly membership has you hopping to a different country each month, learning geography, history, culture and language. Personal delivery arrives revealing your next destination packed with souvenirs, stickers, photos and activities – both hardcopy and online, heightening the adventures of your traveling staycation. If domestic travel is more to your liking, Little Passports USA Edition has you sightseeing the states.



Marker Maker

MarkerMaker250Crayola, $29.99, Ages: 10 and up

Why we like it: Add panache to your paper! Ink, marker tubes, caps, tips and plugs along with tools to use help kids color their world with individual flair. Follow the mixing guide or experiment with your own concoction of color to create 16 customized markers. Add a label and your masterpiece to create masterpieces is complete!




Make ‘N’ Break Party

MakeNBreakParty250Ravensburger USA, $30.99, Ages: 10 and up

Why we like it: Describe to build! Players work together to create block structures according to teammates descriptions. Watch out! Game board throws curve balls when players land on “taboo” or “blindfold” making building more challenging by omitting specific descriptor words and even sight!



Mega Bloks Barbie Build n’ Play Super Star Stage

MegaBloksBarbie250MEGA BLOKS, $59.99, Ages: four and up

Why we like it: Rockin’ out with Barbie! Join Barbie’s backstage crew to build her set and control the music! Two story stage ensures fans can see Barbie at any vantage point. In true concert form, hear fans screaming and chanting. Visual effects include lights flashing to Barbie’s beat or your own music. Includes Barbie, Raquelle and Teresa figures!



Read With Me Scout

ReadWithScout250LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., $34.99, Ages: 2-5 years

Why we like it: Reading is influenced a lot by capturing interest and keeping attention and those are two tricks this cute interactive puppy is particularly good at. Scout has learned 5 board books and 70+ comprehension questions to engage young readers and heighten learning. Five active touch points make this pooch the perfect teacher and companion combination.



Spy Gear Spike Mic

SpyGear250SPIN MASTER, $24.99, Ages: Fun for the entire family

Why we like it: Spy ears masqueraded as a dart on the wall. Embedded in the suction cup dart is a high-powered remote listening device with a built-in microphone. Launch the dart into a room of unsuspecting conversationalists to eavesdrop with ease and excitement.



Switch & Go Dinos Blister the Velociraptor

BlisterTheVelociraptor250VTech Electronics North America, $24.99, Ages: 3-8

Why we like it: This twosome toy transforms from rocket-launching helicopter to prehistoric predator and plays each role with passion. Flying sounds and spinning propellers ramp up the drama as this copter blisters through the air, searchlights blazing. A few simple steps later it’s a Velociraptor with blazing eyes and deadly dinosaur claws. 70 different sounds and phrases can gently teach and terrify!



Step Ups! 4-In-A-Box 123

StepUps250The Learning Journey International, $9.99, Ages: Toddlers to Kindergarten

Why we like it: 2, 4, 6, 8 what do we appreciate? A box set kids will want to get! 4 individual puzzles have 2, 4, 6 and 8 pieces, respectively. Easy to sort pieces have numbered backings to determine how many pieces to find. Flip them over and interlock to reveal the design. Chunky cardboard pieces are perfect for small hands and help hone fine motor skills.



Wing Control Dusty Crophopper Radio Control Plane

WingControl250Mattel, $39.99, Ages: three and up

Why we like it: It’s a bird, it’s a plane – no, it’s Johnny controlling Dusty! Pretending to be an airplane is more fun when someone, or something, imitates you right back! Hold onto the hand-held wing controls, arms out and take flight! Easy press buttons have the crophopper spinning his propellers and following your moves. Sounds and phrases fuel the fun.




Sphero250Orbotix, $129.99, Ages: Fun for the entire family, great for special needs

Why we like it: Smartphone controlled, this robotic orb rolls through obstacle courses, navigates hand-drawn screen squiggles and even taunts the family cat. Highly responsive, you can control it with the tilt of the phone or use the screen image of a joystick or traditional remote controller. Encapsulated multicolored LED lights change Sphero to any color under the sun. Free app lets you record its movements or convert into a golf ball on a course you create. This is sure to be a hole in one! Compatible with Android and iOS devices.



2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset

VTechShopCook250VTech Electronics North America, $49.99, Ages: Ages 2 – 5

Why we like it: This takes kitchen conversions to a whole new level! A meal from store to table in a matter of moments. Play food, utensils and cookware help kids get into the role of shopper and chef. Several activation sensors add a sprinkle of sounds to the play. Three modes teach about food, colors, numbers, music and following directions.



Despicable Me 2 Minion Dave Talking Action Figure

2012-12 045

2012-12 045

Thinkway Toys, $42.99, Ages: Preschool to Tweens & Teens

Why we like it: Whether you are laughing at them or with them, these goofy little guys that look like Twinkies with personality can get even the grouchiest of curmudgeons to crack a smile. With over 40 phrases – some articulate and others clearly in Minion-ese, these talking, fart-making friends may have you laughing so hard you’ll pass gas!



Despicable Me 2 Minion Stuart Laughing Action Figure

2012-11 168

2012-11 168

Thinkway Toys, $42.99, Ages: Fun for the entire family

Why we like it: Whether you are laughing at them or with them, these goofy little guys that look like Twinkies with personality can get even the grouchiest of curmudgeons to crack a smile. With over 40 phrases – some articulate and others clearly in Minion-ese, these talking, fart-making friends may have you laughing so hard you’ll pass gas!


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