Selected by Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D. (Dr. Toy) and Jennie Ito, Ph.D.  

San Francisco, CA  –  (June 26, 2014) – The report of winning toys for Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Children’s Products for 2014 is now available to parents, teachers and others interested in play and toys on Dr. Toy’s Guide.

The information is designed to assist children to play and learn at home and while on vacation.   Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Children’s Products Awards were developed by noted child development authority, Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D. (a.k.a. Dr. Toy), and joined this year by Dr. Jennie Ito as associate to evaluate products, providing a valued service to consumers who desire to purchase safe, affordable, educationally-oriented, and stimulating toys and play products for children for vacation time for use at home or on the road.

“As a childhood specialist for more than 40 years,” says Dr. Toy, “I have seen the continuous, essential need for more year-round resources for consumers to identify and choose the most appropriate and timely products for all children.”   Dr. Toy reports that in the years the innovative on-line magazine, Dr. Toy’s Guide, has been available, “Many thousands of visitors daily from around the world have accessed its information.” The first web site to evaluate toys and children’s products, and is now updated. The report is being released, according to Dr. Toy, to “encourage parents and teachers to focus on the value of play during the summer (and year round) as essential to the overall learning process.”

She adds, “The Best Vacation Products are a balanced selection from large, small, new, and established companies across the U.S.A., Canada, and around the world, and will provide children with exciting new learning tools that will help them not only do better in school, but also will provide more constructive activities while traveling or at vacation destinations.”

The award winning products include innovative toys, books, crafts, games, puzzles, and many other play products for children of all ages and interests.   Dr. Toy believes “parents need more help to get a head start locating new, quality, diversified products that children will enjoy as they increase learning skills and expand creativity.” The products range from low- to high-tech for “hours of constructive, educational, and stimulating fun.”

“Children learn best through play,” says Dr. Auerbach, “and these Best Vacation Products encourage children to maximize their potential and make the most of Smart Play. By making a renewed focus on summertime as a special time for choosing new products for children, parents help to improve their children’s development. This is a perfect time for parents to ‘take stock’ of the inventory of what their children are playing with, what is not being used, and what they need next in their development.”

Using extensive criteria she has developed over many years, Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Children’s Products are very carefully chosen from among hundreds she has reviewed at toy fairs, in catalogs, and through many other sources.   The criteria includes: safety, age-appropriateness, design, durability, lasting play value, cultural and ethnic diversity, good transition from home to school, educational value, learning skills, creativity, improvement in the understanding of the community and the world, good value for price, and, naturally, fun.   These are products suitable for babies to older children, include products from hand-crafted to hi-tech, and range in price on the average from $10 to $50. The winning vacation products are affordable, well designed, and reflect the wide range of children’s interests. Complete information about these and other products are included in the full report.   Dr. Toy’s report includes company customer service numbers, web site addresses, age range, price, and a full description of each product. The award-winning, on-line magazine, Dr. Toy’s Guide, features full color photos of each product, links to companies to learn more, interviews with and articles by Dr. Toy, plus hundreds of other Best Products for all reasons and seasons. At this time over 6000 products are included in Dr. Toy’s Guide with direct links to companies and toy stores on line, plus toy history, parent resources, and much more. See also the new iPhone App, “Dr. Toy’s Best Gift Guide,” for handy guidance as a practical take-along shopping tool.

About Dr. Toy
Dr. Auerbach, a long-time resident of San Francisco, originally from New York City, lived in Washington, D.C., while working for the Department of Education where she approved the first proposal for “Sesame Street” and established the first day care center for children of federal employees. In San Francisco, she established the San Francisco International Toy Museum, the world’s first “hands-on” toy museum visited by over 50,000 children. The author of 15 books, including The Toy Chest, Toys for a Lifetime, The Whole Child, Choosing Child Care, and hundreds of articles on toys and play, she is the only Ph.D. in Child Development evaluating toys and children’s products with extensive training, background, and over 40 years of experience evaluating, writing and speaking about toys and children’s products. Dr. Auerbach is trained in child development, education, child psychology and special education. She is an educator, consultant, parent, and playful grandparent. Her book, Dr. Toy’s Smart Play/Smart Toys: How to Raise a Child with a High PQ (Play Quotient), which is published in 12 countries, may be obtained through, and at other book stores. Dr. Auerbach, founder of the popular web site, Dr. Toy’s Guide, has welcomed Jennie Ito, PhD, to her team. They comprise the only PhD duo in Child Development evaluating the best developmentally appropriate toys and children’s products. Through the Dr. Toy Award Programs they recognize the best toys and play things in many categories including, Best of the Year, Best Picks, Best Classics, Best Vacation, and Best Green. The website has links to the product makers and retailers and other useful sites for parents, teachers, children, and toy enthusiasts. Dr. Toy’s Guide  provides all pertinent information and includes photos, complete product descriptions, links to company sites, and consumer information. Interact with Dr. Toy on social media through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Additional Points:

  • Dr. Toy’s Smart Play/Smart Toys: How to Raise a Child with a High PQ (Play Quotient) is a unique guide that provides tools to parents to help them enhance their child’s PQ (Play Quotient) — a concept Dr. Toy originated. The book is also published in China, Croatia, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Russia, Spain, Thailand, and Turkey, and other countries.
  • Articles about and by Dr. Toy have appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country, in Canada, and around the world. Also read other articles on play and toys by Dr. Toy on The Huffington Post.
  • Check also Dr. Toy’s Best Gift Guide App

Interviews regarding recommended best smart toys and play products can be arranged through Greg Walsh, Walsh PR (203-292-6280)

 DR. TOY’S BEST Vacation Children’s PRODUCTS 2014

Selected by Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D. (Dr. Toy)


# Company Product Type Price Age Phone Website
1. Battat Owl About Waterfalls AE AP OP OT $14.99 18mo-8 866-665-5524
2. Blue Orange Spot it! Splash CG OP TR PT $14.99 7-12 415-252-0372
3. Edupress Faction or Fiction? Game ES LA GE CG $12.99 8-12 800-835-7978
4. Edupress That’s Baloney! Family ES LA SC GE $14.99 8-12 800-835-7978
5. Foreign Languages Spanish Vols. 1 & 2 ES LA DV CT $49.99 3-12 301-299-8000
6. FoxMind Games Last Mouse Lost ES MA GE BG $7.95 5-12 866-369-6463
7. Fun and Function Discovery Putty AE CP AC ES $12.99 4-12 800-231-6329
8. Fundamentals Toys DIY Face Paint Kit CP AC GN AP $24.95 6-12 877-617-1563
9. Fundamentals Toys DIYMini Bath Fizzie Kit CP AC SR GN $10.95 6-12 877-617-1563
10. Fundamentals Toys DIY Mini Glycerine Soap KitCP AC GN AP $9.95 6-12 877-617-1563
11. Fundamentals Toys DIY Mini Lava Lip Gloss Kit CP AC SC GN $11.95 6-12 877-617-1563
12. Galison/Mudpuppy All Around World Double Draw AC CP GG TR $9.99 4-12 212-354-8840
13. Galison/Mudpuppy Mosaic Animals Magnetic Build-It AC CP GG AP $16.99 6-12 212-354-8840
14. Gamewright Dodge Dice GE TY TR $10.99 8-12 800-924-6006
15. Gamewright Over/Under CP ES GE TY $9.99 10-12 800-924-6006
16. Gamewright Qwixx MA GE TY TR $10.99 8-12 800-924-6006
17. InRoad Toys PlayTape AE CP AS TS $1.99 3-12 888-311-7165
18. Jay at Play Seat Pets TY PL TR $19.99 3-12 888-481-0235
19. K’s Kids Cars in Town AE CP ES TY $36.99 6 mo-3 800-387-2587
20. K’s Kids Listen, Clap & Sing ES OT ML TY $29.9 6 mo-3 800-387-2587
21. LEGO Systems LEGO City Camper Van TY CO TR $19.99 5-12 800-453-4652
22. Luca Lashes First Swimming Lesson EL ES MM SR $2.99 0 mo-6 847-840-7277
23. Material Matters Hello Sweet Potato ES GE SR CT $19.95 5-8 617-868-7060
24. Melon Rind Clumsy Thief ES MA GE CG $13.99 8-12 650-579-0128
  Micro Kickboard Mini Micro AE OP TS AP $79.99 3-5 616-242-0044
26. NumbersAlive! Hello Numbers Discovery ES BO MA PL $62.00 1-8 202-652-1820
27. OgoSport Ogo Beacher AE OP CP TY $45.00 5-12 718-554-0777
28. OgoSport Ogo Parker AE OP TY GE $45.00 5-12 718-554-0777
29. Rock ‘N Learn Learn a Language DVD ES LA MM CE $19.99 2-6 800-348-8445
30. Schylling Create Your StyleModel AC CP FP CT $7.99 6-12 978-948-3200
31. SimplyFun 15 to Zero ES MA GE CG $22.50 7-12 877-557-7767
32. SimplyFun Get 4 & Score ES LA GE TR $32.00 7-12 877-557-7767
33. SmartLab Toys Room Defender CP EL EG SC $39.99 8-12 866-319-5900
34. SmartLab Toys Smartphone Science ES SC MM TC $19.99 8-12 866-319-5900
35. Sockeye Media Jump Up and Rhyme AE CE DV ES $13.95 0 mo-8 212-376-8459
36. Toysmith Beamo 30″ AE OP $19.99 5-12 800-356-0474
37. VTech Lil’ Speller Phonics Station ES LA GE TC $24.99 3-6 800-521-2010
38. VTech Write & Learn Touch Tablet EL ES LA CP $19.99 3-6 800-521-2010
39. Waboba Waboba Surf AE AP OP TY $7.99 6-12 919-422-8595
40. Whistlefritz Allons Danser! (Let’s Dance!)LA CT CE ML $14.99 1-7 866-944-7859
41. Yamie Chess Yamie Chess School Assistant BG CP ES MA $29.95 5-12 702-509-7040
42. Yvolution Y Velo Junior Balance Bike AE OP AP TS $59.99 18mo-4 310-782-7003

AC = arts & crafts
AE = active
AP = activity product
AS = accessories, decorations, furniture
BG = board game
BO = book
CE = children’s entertainment
CG = card game
CO = construction
CP = creative product
CT = cultural
EG = electronic game
EL = electronic product
ES = educational skills
FP = fantasy play
GE = game
GG = geography
GN = green
LA = language
MA = math
ML = musical
MM = multi-media
OP = outdoor play
OT = other
PL = plush
PT = pool toy
SC = science
SR = socially responsible
TC = technology
TR = travel
TS = transportation
TY = toy