DreamTown Rose Petal Cottage
We've seen so many incredibly clever and complex toys this year, as ever, and yet when it came to the Editor's Choice Award, my mind kept coming back to this simple, imaginative toy. Winner of our 'Best Role-play Toy' category, the cottage stood out for me for several reasons.
First of all, it came with incredibly clear instructions for assembly and even a video to follow (an important factor for those of us who quake at the idea of 'self assembly' products). The materials all seem to be really high quality and able to withstand active play by quite a young age group.
Most of all, though, the reason that this had to be my choice this year is because of the testers' reaction to the toy. The thrilled expression on their faces when they saw the product for the first time is the kind of sight we'd like to help reproduce in houses all over the country on Christmas morning! The shine doesn't wear off either: they play in it for hours. Thanks to the really lovely illustrations on the sides of the cottage, imaginations are constantly stimulated and it feels like a beautifully decorated, fully furnished house without taking up any of the space inside it. The nice little cooker is an added bonus and makes the price seem even more reasonable as you get such a lot for your money. We need more of the same please, Worlds Apart!
There are a lot of scooters on the market - a LOT. So why did this one stand out enough to be winner of the 'Best Outdoor Toy' category and Highly Commended for the 'Editor's Choice Award'? The unusual method of propelling it with a 'ski' motion is just really, really fun. I can't praise it highly enough and I particularly loved that I was under the weight limit to use it so I could beg my seven year old son, who was testing it, for a go! You really have to work to build up some speed - it's a bit like being on a cross trainer at the gym and I can imagine that if you had the stamina to do this for more than a few minutes at a time (I don't) you would give your thighs a serious workout. More to the point, it encourages children to go outside and to move their bodies, shrieking with laughter and grinning as they whizz around as if by magic, never touching foot to floor.
Eleanor de Bruin