With a new website launching in September and several key partners already on board, the return of the Good Toy Guide is eagerly awaited by the trade. Amanda Gummer explains...
The last 12 months have seen the Good Toy Guide turn from an idea I originally approached Pauline Henniker of Play Matters with at a National Toy Council meeting, to a hugely exciting project.
It is promoting play and toys, with an impressive array of partnerships already secured and more in the pipeline.
The new web-based Good Toy Guide will be the go-to site for advice on play and toys.
With authoritative product evaluations, information on how different toys promote child development and ideas for free play, parents, teachers and retailers will be drawn to the site.
Toys will be evaluated at venues across the UK with observations made on four separate occasions, ensuring a natural and reliable testing environment.
There will be a monthly ‘Spotlight on…’ feature examining different types of play in more depth, and the site will be continually updated as new toys get evaluated. The guide accepts entries all year and the submission form and guidelines are available from www.goodtoyguide.com.
So what exactly does it take to get a site like this up and running, and what have the main achievements been to date?
Last month, The Entertainer was chosen as the main retail partner of the Good Toy Guide. We are not a retail site and we are committed to protecting the integrity of the Good Toy Guide, but we’re keen to make it easy for parents and consumers to find the good toys, so an affiliate scheme works well for us.
It was very important that our retail partner shares our ethos and we’re delighted to have The Entertainer on board. We have also piloted our testing procedures rigorously using a fantastic after-school facility run by Fusion Childcare services.
We were delighted that the partnership with the Good Toy Guide was mentioned in Fusion’s recent outstanding Ofsted report and are keen to partner with more organisations that share our approach to play and child development.
Having recently left Play Matters after a restructure within the National Children’s Bureau, Pauline Henniker has agreed to head up the training and development arm of the Good Toy Guide.
This will protect the legacy of the old Play Matters’ Good Toy Guide by supporting toy libraries and offering training in child development, play and observation with the aim of partnering with toy libraries as testing venues.
Henniker says: “I’m thrilled that the Good Toy Guide name is being revitalised and I’m committed to preserving the legacy, as well as helping to make it a force for good within the play and toy sectors. It’s such an exciting project and I’m so happy to be involved with a Good Toy Guide after all these years.”
With an aggressive PR campaign being planned for the launch in September, as well as a showcase event at the Toy Fair in Olympia next January, we’re confident that the Good Toy Guide will really hit the ground running.
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