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Gold Star Winners: Best Toys of 2014

We reviewed hundreds of new toys for our second annual awards. Then our toughest testers (kids!) played with ’em. Meet the best of the best.
 

Learning Benefits

Check out this year's list of Gold Star Toys winners!

 

Ages 1 to 2

Tree Top Adventure
Littles will be mesmerized by this ultra-tactile, four-sided wooden activity center. Manhattan Toy, $100. Ages 1 and up. Buy it here



 

First Builders 1-2-3 Learning Train

Introduce your tot to counting by assembling this locomotive, which reinforces numbers 0–9. Large pieces are ideal for tiny hands. Mega Bloks, $20. Ages 1 and up. Buy it here

Y Velo Junior Balance Bike

Toddlers won’t teeter on this sturdy ride. A third wheel helps with balance and is easy to remove when they’re ready for a two-wheeler. Yvolution, $60. Ages 18 months and up. Buy it here

Wee M.D.

Your tiny doc will see you now! He’ll love making house calls toting this kit containing a thermometer, stethoscope, and blood pressure cuff. Battat, $22. Ages 18 months and up. Buy it here

Doorway Puppet Theater

An easy-to-assemble curtain turns any threshold into a stage. Haba USA, $50. Ages 18 months and up. Buy it here

Green Start Play Blocks

These playfully patterned stackables are made from eco-friendly cardboard. innovativeKids, $25. Ages 2 and up. Buy it here

Ages 3 to 4

My Tape Party

Craft ten stylish projects, including crowns, shades, and a goofy bow tie! Alex Toys, $18. Ages 3 and up. Buy it here

Tropicleania

Our testers went wild for this colorful sweeping set starring a peacock and toucan. Battat, $16. Ages 3 and up. Buy it here

Play-doh Cake Mountain

Work the dough into a party-ready confection. Hasbro, $20. Ages 3 and up. Buy it here

Geosafari Jr. Microscope

Little scientists can magnify objects up to 8X with the help of this tool. Educational Insights, $22. Ages 3 and up. Buy it here

Record & Learn Kidistudio

Kiddie crooners can sing along to melodies or record a tune. VTech, $40. Ages 3 and up. Buy it here

Primary Science Color Mixing Set

Explore the full spectrum of activities (just add food coloring)! Features a kaleidoscope, spinning top, and more. Learning Resources, $30. Ages 3 and up. Buy it here

Imagine I Can Character Mix-Up

Dream up countless scenes with 100+ magnets. Manhattan Toy, $25. Ages 3 and up. Buy it here

Peppa’s Ballet Bag

Help the pig and her pal rehearse their prima choreography for the big recital. Fisher-Price, $15. Ages 3 and up. Buy it here

Ages 5 to 7

Smaland Dollhouse

Kiddos can deck out the funky Swedish-designed abode with mod furniture and furry friends(sold separately). They’ll love the homey flooring, cheerful wallpaper, and (functional!) light fixtures. Lundby, $100. Ages 4 and up. Buy it here

Lego Juniors Construction

Build hand-eye coordination with a demolition-themed set. Bonus: The kit comes with its own case, for super-easy cleanup. Lego, $15. Ages 4 and up. Buy it here

The Magic School Bus Engineering Lab

Experiment with solar panels, buzzers, wires, and more! The Young Scientists Club, $40. Ages 5 and up. Buy it here

Grow ‘n’ Glow Terrarium

Watch seeds sprout in this tiny world inspired by fairy gardens. Creativity for Kids, $15. Ages 6 and up. Buy it here


Wubble

Dribble, kick, or bounce this jumbo-sized ball: There’s a lifetime warranty if you burst your bubble. NSI International, $20. Ages 6 and up. Buy it here

Ages 8+

Badminton Set

Game on! Set up anywhere — no stakes required — thanks to a freestanding base. Zume, $100. Ages 8 and up. Buy it here

Dance Charades

The classic game gets a twist, courtesy of cards that encourage players to bust a move. Pressman Toy, $25. Ages 8 and up. Buy it here

13 Interchangeable Kinetic Space Lab

Create custom paths for the ball to roll down. Once it hits the launchpad on the bottom, the rocket blasts off! Discovery Kids, $30. Ages 8 and up. Buy it here

Sketch Wizard

This gadget projects images of 3-D objects so kids can trace what they see. Crayola, $25. Ages 8 and up. Buy it here

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 10-Second Challenge Game

Master offbeat dares in this game inspired by a kid-lit fave. Pressman Toy, $20. Ages 8 and up. Buy it here

Plus, Best Toys of 2014:
The Best Holiday Toys for Babies and Toddlers
The Best Holiday Toys for Preschoolers
The Best Holiday Toys for Big Kids

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