Selected by Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D. (Dr. Toy)

[ Product List ]

Toys for the New Millennium:
An Overview of The Best Toys of 1999 with a Look Towards the Future of Play for the New Millennium

Welcome to Dr. Toys Guide! To assist you with your gifts giving this holiday and into the new year we have a great selection of new products for you to consider. We have reviewed over a thousand toys and childrens products over this past ten years. It has been exciting and rewarding to see many new and innovative companies emerging, while many new and interesting improvements have been made among many established companies. Our 1999 products range across many different levels.

There is more to choose from today than ever before. It may also seem that way when you seek the right product for your child. By using Dr. Toys Guide, you will find helpful guidance as you look for that perfect product, the one that will benefit your child the most.

Here are a few suggestions:

1) Know your child and his or her interests;

2) Understand what she is studying in school and what she needs to learn;

3) Expand his interests and help him to develop a well-rounded approach to play;

4) Give her new experiences that stimulate and that challenge different abilities;

5) Help him develop both sides of the left and right sides of the brain, and help him to think and to be creative;

6) Challenge and build her strengths and help her to learn new information.

Dr. Toys selected toys this year have come from a wide diversity of excellent companies. By setting a limit on the number of products that receive our Dr. Toys Best award, we provide special recognition, and a seal of approval to a select group of products. Plus, we give you some new ideas to consider.

In our final report, I prepare toy evaluations to help you find that perfect new toy. I know it's not easy with all the many choices that exist in Toyland. You can imagine how frustrating this process can also be for me as there are so many wonderful possible products to consider in each category. We try to narrow down the options to give you a wide and wise selection.

Dr. Toy selects 10 products for each of the following categories:

Best Toys,
Best Educational Products,
Best Socially Responsible Products (to help children learn about their environment and themselves),
Best Software/High-Tech Products,
Best Games,
Best Audio/Visual Tapes and Related Auditory Products,
Best Creative Products, and...
Best Active Products.

I hope our report and the rest of the resources we provide on our award winning web site will assist you in many ways. We hope that these great products will help you focus on the type of great products available to help your child get the most from play.

We all hear about the HOT toys these days. Some of these are fun, silly or otherwise amusing. Others you may have to investigate further to question their ultimate value, cost, and even potential negative qualities. There are no easy answers when your child is pressuring you for that hot product, but in the long run we believe that children need toys that involve them in play, and are not passing fads. You must make the final decision. I can advise you, however, that it is worthwhile to think about your childs needs and then decide if there is a match.

Dr. Toys Best Classic toys are also posted on our website. These are toys that have endured for many generations and are well worth the investment. If you appreciate classic toys as much as I do. Please review and consider adding to your cherished books our new book, Toys for a Lifetime, published by Rizzoli and FAO Schwarz. You will find wonderful toys that you played with as a child and a preview of toys of the future.

We also have many products among the Best Vacation winners that are excellent choices to take along when you're traveling with children at any time of the year. There are plenty of excellent products to choose from.

May I remind you, once again, that play encompasses everything your child does. They need you to play with them. They need to learn simple games, and to have plenty of conversations. They need you to read stories to them, and they need to sing songs, play with puzzles, do crafts, and have fun. Whatever you and your child enjoy doing together is perfect.

Play is an integral part of the way children learn. Play should be a natural part of your family's activities every day. Certainly, when you travel this holiday, or at any time, you want to make sure that travel is as much fun as possible. And while you are traveling your child can learn. Look for some of the interesting tapes we have listed in our Best Audio.

Look for creative products to prepare for those times when there is a snow storm or rain fall and children are house-bound. This is the time to bring out those great creative products that have been packed away in storage. Open them on a bad weather day and the storm passes away while children are enjoying something satisfying.

Children can only focus on one toy at a time. Make toys something that you select year round to make their time interesting and challenging. Don't forget the products that help children with their activities, whether they are enjoying active play outdoors, or learning to do yoga or some other kind of physical activity.

Even play with pick-up sticks or marbles is physical and requires dexterity; the smallest activity brings the body into motion. Children like a variety of physical activity, so dont forget to add hula hoops, balls, and a bean bag toss.

Children also need time to play games, to think, to create, to use their imagination, and to learn strategy and how to figure things out. They need time to create, to play with dolls and puppets, and to use their skills.

As we move into the new millennium, we want to think again about how to prepare children for the future. You will want to find products that will help them become socially responsible and that will help them to understand themselves. Children should also learn how to get along with each other, how to cook and use other skills, and how to understand the world and the environment. Children should be able to play with products that teach them, and they should work closely with animals, science, their habitat, geography, and space exploration.

Educational products will help your child learn many of these skills. I have included a range of products. From learning to dress with the Lets Learn Basic Dressing cube, to products that will help your child learn the basics of phonics, science, chemistry, and business, there is something for every child and for every child's interest.

With our Best Toys, we have tried to create a balance of types of products that provide something for every child's interest, from the baby stacking links and rings to racing a car, to a new form of paper dolls with Woodkins, to soft, plush toys, from a different kind of kaleidoscope to a space phone. Traditional products like the Thomas the Tank Engine layout to the Fire and Rescue Set give children something that transports their imagination into the realm of fantasy play.

In the high-tech area, there is an abundance of new products. Some really excellent products to look for include the outstanding Multimedia Encyclopedia by Grolier. Also, JuniorNet will provide your child with an open and safe door to the world of the Internet. New advances in the technical developments of LEGO and Neurosmith are outstanding. To help your children be comfortable at the computer keyboard consider the Little Fingers Keyboard; it is a perfect new tool. There is something for everybody-including a robot, Emiglio.

These are the products we have looked for this year. We were looking for products with the potential to provide your child with learning and joy. During the next year, your child will have an opportunity to play and experience some of these toys directly. Be sure to look at our online review of toy buying services to find an array of different ways to purchase these products.

If you have a question about a toy, then Ask Dr. Toy. If you have an answer or know of the availability of products, help us by looking at our Ask Dr. Toy feature and responding. You'll be fascinated with all of the queries that have come in, and we welcome your help as we find answers for all of these questions.

Search through our site, come back often, and have a fun, playful, and safe holiday!

Please be sure to examine a copy of our new book, Toys for a Lifetime, that highlights over 50 classic toys from the past as well as the toys of the future. And look for our Dr. Toys Smart Play: How to Raise a Child with a High P.Q.(Play Quotient) to help you with ideas from baby to older children, plus 166 great ideas of ways to have fun with your children. What is most important is to have fun together as a family. Have a wonderful time with your child this holiday (and every day in the new year!). Lets play! 

Thank you for your interest and support over the past decade. I wish you and your family the very best, with plenty of time for play in the years ahead. 

Regards, Dr. Stevanne Auerbach, "Dr.Toy"

Monarch Butterfly

Find out more about Butterflies! 
[Click on  image]


 Updated March 21, 2000


(c) 1995 - 2000 Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D. San Francisco, CA.
This material may not under any circumstances be resold or redistributed for
compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author.