Preschool kids play to determine best toys of 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Children scurried about their classrooms, scrambling to get to their favorite toys.

Kids assembled tiles on the floor into a maze, dipped their hands into buckets of water to play with colored beads and wrote down orders at a kitchen set.

It was all part of the ninth annual Goddard School Preschooler-Approved toy test, which took place last week.

The nationwide event featured students at 50 selected schools, including The Goddard School-Cascade in Grand Rapids, testing the toys provided by toy manufacturers and choosing their favorites. As the kids played, teachers would observe how well the toys were received.

For some kids like Sophia, 4, the favorite toy was the Melissa and Doug Star Diner Restaurant Play Set. She said she liked the bell and the menu and everything in the set. For others like Jackson, 2, it was just too hard to pick a favorite toy.

The toy-testers ranged from 6 weeks old to 6 years old. The Goddard School-Cascade owner Kellie Custer said the judging for the younger “bugs” was a little subjective. Older kids, however, could tell the educators which toys were their favorites. The toys were divided among classrooms into age-appropriate levels.

The test helps educators get input from preschoolers on what toys are most popular, which ones seem to inspire more creativity and more.

All of the toys were intended to be educational in some way, whether it empowered preschoolers with decision-making skills or taught junior kindergartners money and word skills.

Once all of the children’s input is gathered, the corporate office will compile the information and reveal the final Preshooler-Approved Top 10 Toys of 2017. That list is expected to be released ahead of the upcoming gift-giving season.

About 178 students in the school got to play with the toys. In the case a student was absent the whole week, the toys were added to classroom centers so they would have a chance to play with them when they returned.

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