NAPPA 2003: Toys for Infants and Toddlers
By Ellen Metrick

Nappa Gold Winners
For toys to be true hits with kids and parents alike, they have to be fun right out of the box, but they have to have staying power, too. This year’s top picks in the Toys and Tech Toys categories will educate, entertain and hold kids’ attention over the long haul.

Gold Award Winners

The Original Bubble Tumbler, Little Kids, $5.99;, 800-545-5437; ages 18 months and up. Kids can delight in bubble fun without the sticky mess of spilled bubble solution. The tall tumbler has a small slot in the top to slide the bubble wand in. The top’s design enables children to slide the wand in the bubble solution easily, pull it out and blow without spilling any.

Lullaby Gloworm, Hasbro, $9.99;, 401-725-TOYS (8697); newborns and up. A gentle hug lights up the Gloworm – and baby, too! Celebrating 20 years, this classic now entertains children with seven soothing songs in addition to the gentle glow of his face. The cloth body, gentle brightness and soothing music make this an ideal crib pal for your baby.

Baby Einstein Discover & Play Color Blocks, Kids II, $12.99;; infants and up. These four boldly colored cloth blocks keep kids entertained and motivated to learn and develop. Each side provides tactile exploration as different textures, embroidered color names, and simple photographs greet your child as she picks up a block.

Lamaze Sing & Spin Bugs, RC2, $24.99;, 800-704-8697; ages 6 months and up. Three large, adorable plastic bugs sit on top of a flower base. When the button is pressed, music plays and the bugs spin and dance. The flower is embellished with crinkly fabric petals to entice tactile play. Bugs maintain balance with an internal magnet, but can be taken off the flower and played with independently.

Ribbon Rascals, Sassy Inc., $5.99;, 616-243-0767; ages 3 months and up. Soft machine-washable pals are adorned with rows of ribbon loops and feet or fins. Ribbons are soft and inviting to touch and can be used for finger exploration and sensory stimulation on a child’s bare skin. Feet and fins are perfect for teething.

P>Me in the Mirror, Sassy Inc., $12.99;, 616-243-0767; newborns and up. This foam-framed mirror can hang flat on a crib, angle down for baby to see when lying down or be used on the floor. Attached manipulative toys, bold colors and patterns capture and maintain attention. The flipside has a stitched cloth frame in which you can feature favorite photos.
P>Air-tivity Ball Popper, Hasbro, $19.99;, 800-752-9755; ages 9 months and up. Electronic, air-powered, ball-poppin’ fun! Place the balls in, press the plunger and watch as balls roll down the tracker, shoot up and pop out. Most balls will fall right back into this sequence; however, some may pop out onto the floor, encouraging children to move and retrieve the balls.
P>Honors Award Winners
P>Bath Mobile, Sassy Inc., $19.99;, 616-243-0767; for newborns and up. This versatile mobile can be clipped to an infant tub, suctioned to a regular tub or used manually to scoop, pour and squirt.
P>Critter Cubes, Sassy Inc., $16.99;, 616-243-0767; for ages 9 months and up. Soft cloth blocks serve as homes for six critters.
P>Huggy Sport Horseshoes, Hooray!, $24.99;, 914-644-8799; for ages 2 and up. Durable flocked rubber horseshoe game in bold rich colors.
P>Lamaze Play & Grow Collection, RC2, $11.99;, 800-704-8697; all ages. This plush guppie has differently designed and textured fabric fins and tail, as well as beads to move and rattle, and crinkles to hear. Various styles are available.
P>Lamaze Touch and Kick Butterfly, RC2, $19.99;, 800-704-8697; for ages 3 months and up. This plush butterfly has four differently designed and textured cloth pads to touch and receive an auditory and visual response.
P>Little People Ramps Around Garage, Fisher-Price, $29.99; www.fis; for ages 1 and up. This plastic activity garage has two ramps and sound effects.
P>My First 1-2-3 Puppets Book, Folkmanis, $35;, 800-654-8922; for ages 6 months and up. Learn numbers with this interactive plush book that is embellished with tactile enticements and attached finger puppets.

My Musical Farm, Mega Bloks Inc., $20;, 800-465-MEGA; for ages 1 and up. Press down on many objects to hear delightful farm-related sounds and songs. Mega Bloks are included to help construct imagination.

Oball, Rhino Toys Inc., $6.95;, 831-458-5118; for all ages. Colored rings formed together make for a flexible fun-filled, latex-free hollow ball.

Place & Trace, Discovery Toys; $14.99;, 800-426-4777; for ages 2 and up. Three plastic frames have four object pieces each of which can be used as a puzzle, traced or as a play-dough cutter.

Three Little Monkeys, Sassy Inc.; $14.99;, 616-243-0767; for ages 6 months and up. Electronic plush bed plays the "Three Little Monkeys" rhyme whenever one of the three bouncing monkeys is put into bed.

Unbelievably Soft Baby, Goldberger Doll Manufacturing Co. Inc., $19.99;, 718-366-5800; for ages 2 and up. Patented Miracle Softskin and an adjustable air pillow tummy create a unique and realistic doll to love.

To see winning toys for other age groups, return to NAPPA 2003 Award Winners: Toys.

See also: NAPPA 2002 Award Winners: Toys

Ellen Metrick is a toy specialist with the National Lekotek Center.