Tops For Tots: ASTRA Reveals 2022’s Best Toys of The Year


Build & Grow Tree House by Faber-Castell/Creativity for Kids was named a top toy for 2022.

It’s that time of year when specialty retailers weigh in on their favorite playthings. ASTRA released their 2022 Best Toys For Kids recentlyWith 12 winners in 12 categories,. Here’s a sampling of which ones made the cut and will continue flying off store shelves in the months ahead. Consider adding these games, as well as the Toy Foundation’s Toy of the Year Award winner, to attract customers; oftentimes parents are still willing to buy new items for their children, even when inflation calls for budget cuts.

The Active Play category won the top honors. Dueling Stomp Rockets From Stomp Rocket SetTwo race cars, two launch platforms, a jump ramp and decorative stickers are included. The air-powered cars activate by stomping on a launch pad, much like the original Stomp Rocket. “It’s a great toy for two or more kids (ages 5 and up) to play together,” said Stomp Rocket general manager Seth Ramirez. “It encourages healthy competition and provides hours of outdoor and indoor fun.”

Super Cityscape Transport Bucket Set, from Hape, was awarded the Pretend Play Category Winner. This 80-piece set includes a battery operated wooden railway, airport, and construction vehicles. Retailers can demonstrate the play value of the train set by assembling it in-store. Senior marketing manager Freddie Jordan says a fully-constructed model measures four feet long and makes use product packaging for easy storage.

Another big winner is Plus-Plus’s 800-piece Earth Puzzle By Number. “Puzzles and other vintage toy play patterns have been a strong trend over the last few years,”Bret Faber, the head of sales, said that. Plus-Plus has transformed its original pieces, which were used to build cars and other creations, into an 800-piece puzzle using a paint-by number design. “It’s a great way to expand our reach and add new options for our fans,”He concluded. Participating retailers will receive a holiday hanging merchandiser and a demo in-store with their order.

Earning top honors in the Arts & Crafts and Sensory categories, respectively, are Build & Grow Tree House and Sensory Bin Mermaid Lagoon by Faber-Castell/Creativity for Kids. These kits allow kids to express themselves creatively through imaginative play. Build & grow Tree House allows children 6 and older to create their own treehouse using chia seeds or soil-free mats.

“It does a remarkable job combining both the gardening and STEM aspects of our GROW line with the creative aspects of our other products,” said brand manager Michelle Seeber. The company’s Sensory Bin Mermaid Lagoon is the latest addition to an existing line that taps into the popular underwater theme. The set includes colorful water beads, foam Mermaids, jewels, and scoop for ages 3 to 5.

“Caregivers love the fact that our sensory bins are full of safety-tested materials, and they can pop the lid on and put it away when play time is over,”Seeber added

Ultra Bionic Blaster (from Thames & Kosmos) won the Science category’s top prize. This toy was inspired by the company’s recently released Mega Cyborg Hand that serves as companion kit. A glove measuring 11 inches that launches foam darts is made by budding scientists aged 10 and up.

“It’s through this process of building the blaster and troubleshooting its mechanisms that kids will be exposed to a whole world of scientific learning,” said CEO Andrew Quartin. Retailers are provided with replacement parts at no cost, and are encouraged to view Thames & Kosmos’s assembly and troubleshooting videos for additional support.

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