NAPPA's awardees this year include brain-teasers, spacial games and (of course) the new American Girl dolls. This slide show start with toys for younger kids, then goes up in age.
Ellen Metrick consults with major toy manufacturers on product design. She has created systems to research and evaluate toys' impact on childhood development and their therapeutic value for children with special needs. She has written extensively on creative applications for play products, including a bi-monthly column for ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailers Association). The lead evaluator for the Toys 'R' Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids for 15 years, Metrick currently serves as manager of business development at the National Lekotek Center, a nationwide nonprofit that focuses on accessible play for children of all abilities.
Reinvented stacking cups extend traditional play to include problem solving, muscle strengthening and the beginnings of reading readiness. Funnel top, balls and a hole in each cup keep kids' interest long after their tower is built. International Playthings; $24.99; intplay.com; ages 1 and up.