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Play Offers More!
Plenty of Safe and Smart Toys Available Now

San Francisco, CA – (November 26, 2007) – Recent toy recalls are alarming, but should not thwart youngsters’ play nor adults’ ability to locate good toys this holiday season. “Life is not always fun and games, but with toys it can be more playful,” says toy and play expert, Stevanne Auerbach, PhD, better known as Dr. Toy.

According to Dr. Auerbach, Director of the Institute for Childhood Resources, founded in San Francisco in 1975, “Plenty of safe, satisfying and beneficial playthings are available for this year’s gift-giving season.”

As a childhood specialist for over 35 years, Dr. Toy has been providing a continuous and accessible response to the need for resources about the most appropriate, safe, and engaging learning and developmental products for children.

“Many parents and grandparents often need help locating new, diversified playthings that their children will enjoy as they increase skills, enhance learning, and expand creativity,” Dr. Toy explained that she believes in guiding consumers to those products that will likely provide “hours of safe, constructive, educational, and stimulating fun.”

In addition to parents and caregivers being concerned for safety by inspecting toys, making sure there are not any broken parts on current toys, and separating small pieces away from young children, Dr Auerbach recommends toys that foster “smart play” experiences and support important areas of development, including:

Examples of different types of toys that provide many of these benefits are:

Active Play – Select toys such as the Baby Tangle (Tangle Toys) or the Jump ’n Jam Talking Floor Mat (Learning Resources) or Throw & Tell Talking Flying Disc (Duncan Toys)

Creativity, Music & Art – My First Airplane Kit (Scientific Explorer) Peter and the Wolf (Magic Maestro Music)

Puzzles & Logical Thinking Games – Teachers Scramble Squares® puzzle (b.dazzle); Newton’s Apples (Briarpatch)

Learning Math & Reading Readiness – Adventures in Numberland (Comfyware) We Both Read (Treasure Bay)

Language & Mental Development – Write their ABC’s (Steps4Kids) Geosafari Talking Microscope (Educational Insights) Word Sweep (Intellinitiative Game)

Construction Play – Simple and Complex Machines (Engino) Dado Cubes (Fat Brain Toy) Dwellings (Learning Materials Workshop), MegaBloks, Ultimate LEGO® Building Set (Lego Systems)

Social & Dramatic Play – Kitty Keyboard (Parents by Battat) Art Lab Fashion Studio (Smart Lab Toys)

Socially Responsible Products – Galapagos Tortoise Puppet (Folkmanis) Natural Classic School Bus (Maple Landmark)

Dr. Toy says, “A wealth of information exists for parents, teachers, and others to help locate the toys that will best match any child’s abilities, interests and needs.”  She suggests that any potential purchasers of a toy consider these issues and questions:

Recently, Dr. Toy attended The Association for Play Therapy National Conference in Hollywood California, where attendees discuss the latest product development uses and play therapy techniques. As part of the interactive product demonstration area, Dr. Toy discussed the practical application of different play techniques and different types of products that can be used for play therapy, as well as the latest product innovations to enhance experiences for the child.
There are many excellent, safe and educational products on the market that can be extremely useful in aiding a child’s emotional well-being, gross and fine motor skills, and social development. It is important for teachers and parents to be knowledgeable about products that engage the child and help him or her learn and connect, while having fun too.”
She cautions adults to check existing toys, to discard damaged or unused toys, to be watchful of small children and especially to remove any potential dangers within the reach of little hands.
Dr. Toy offers to assist parents and teachers with gift selections with her latest report, Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Products 2007 Guide, available in its entirety in the online magazine, Dr. Toy's Guide, at

Among the great new products are fantastic, lifelike puppets from Folkmanis, logic and memory puzzles from b. dazzle, talking microscope from Educational Insights, Newton's Apples game from Briarpatch, Brian the Brain and various construction products from MEGABrands, Little Tikes Smarter Cook and Learn Kitchen by MGA Entertainment, Baby Tangle, and a Talking Floor Mat from Learning Resources and much more.

“I want educators and parents to be partners in supporting the world at play, and to appreciate that play—especially play with the assistance of toys, books, construction toys, puppets, and puzzles—can help children express emotions and creativity that they may not otherwise be able to express.”

Dr. Toy continues, “If parents can learn how to encourage interaction, they can notice things that elicit positive responses and help children to be emotionally, as well as developmentally, healthy. We can help prevent or resolve physical, psychosocial, and behavioral difficulties, and help the child achieve optimal growth and development, as well as rehabilitation. Play is essential for all ages and for all reasons.” She encourages a playful and safe holiday season. 

About Dr Toy
Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D., aka “Dr. Toy” has been evaluating and speaking about toys and children’s products for more than 30 years. She was a teacher, and staff member of the U.S. Department of Education and the Office of Economic Opportunity, where she evaluated educational programs, approved the first grant to “Sesame Street,” organized the first in-house child care center for federal employees’ children, and developed a federal research program on child care.

Dr. Auerbach is trained in child development, education, child psychology and special education. She is a parent educator, consultant, parent and playful grandparent. She founded the San Francisco International Toy Museum, the first “Hands On” Toy Museum, the first web site on toys (Dr. Toy's Guide: and is the author of 15 books and hundreds of articles, including her best-selling book, Smart Play/Smart Toys How to Raise a Child with a High P.Q. It is published in many languages and is internationally available in Croatia, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Russia, Spain and Thailand.

Dr. Auerbach is director of the non-profit Institute for Childhood Resources in San Francisco. Her awards programs featured on recognize best educationally oriented, developmentally appropriate and skill-building products. Dr. Toy's Best Vacation Products 2007 report on includes company customer service numbers, web site URL, age range, price, and a full description of each product.

In addition, Dr. Toy award-winning, on-line magazine, Dr. Toy’s Guide ( features full color photos of each product, links to manufacturers, interviews and articles by Dr. Toy, plus hundreds of other Best Products including high to low tech and products for all reasons and seasons plus Ask Dr. Toy Feature and much more.

At this time over 4000 products are included on the site with direct links to companies, stores, toy history, and parent teacher and other resources. A FREE copy of the report is available at or by sending a SASE envelope.

Home Copyright 1995 - 2008 Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D. San Francisco, CA
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