Worst Toys of 2011

After reviewing 1,000s of toys this year, these particular products were rated the worst by our testers.


The Trash Pack. You collect tiny garbage cans. Honestly, that’s the game play. You collect  garbage. 







AppBlaster. You attach your IPhone to the plastic gun for a more hands-on virtual shooting experience.










True Heroes. “Nothing says Christmas more than automatic weapons and rocket launchers.”








Fake marshmallows and sticks. Come on. Would it kill you to buy the real thing?





Fake fish sticks. Bad enough we have to eat the real thing. 





Justin Bieber Real Hairstyle Doll. We kind of miss the molded plastic shag.


Real Construction Safety Nail Gun. Comes with 100 nails.  Really?







For a list of amazing toys visit www.toyportfolio.com

Classic Toys tomorrow on the Today Show: Take a Toy Inventory

While there is certainly room for novelty this time of year, it’s also important to bring home toys that have lasting play value. The toys that make the cut tend to be the classics–and often more open-ended. These toys place your child at the center of the play experience. So instead of dolls that do all the talking, dolls that say nothing will be enjoyed for a longer period of time because they will say whatever your child wants them to say!  (The doll to the left is from Corolle Doll’s Calin line). We’ll be talking balls,  blocks, trains, art supplies and games!

Take a toy inventory:

1. Does your child have a variety of playthings? Having a lot of one type of toy (whether it’s dolls or trucks) will often lead to a chorus of “I have nothing to play with.”

2. Gender Free- Is your child’s play experience only pink? only blue?  We want boys to know how to be nurturing parents–so dolls are an important part of role playing “dad”.  On the flip side, we want our daughters to excel in math– so blocks and construction toys should be part of their play world as well.

3. Art supplies – Encourage their creative side. With budgets being cut in many schools, kids have fewer opportunities for painting, using clay, and drawing. Whether it’s a juicy box of new Crayola crayons or an interesting set of watercolor pencils from Faber Castell or eeBoo– find a way to bring them back to the arts.

4. Games– One of the best ways to unplug your family is to play a game together. We have dozens of great suggestions on our list. Find a couple that become part of your family’s entertainment.  I’m personally really a fan of Connect Four Launchers and Joanne’s favorite is almost anything with letters. She’s a beast at Upwords.  (Never quite referred to my mother that way–but you know what I mean).