Making a List

October 13, 2003

Here are some of the newest or highest-rated toys available for children this holiday season, as well as a list of Web sites to check out other options.
• Super Duper Music Looper: A step up from the pots-and-pans serenade your children offered when they were babies, this software program allows kids to compose their own music on the computer. They even can e-mail their compositions to friends and relatives (
• Object Mysteries: Using Investigative Questioning to Identify Thingamajigs, Doohickeys, and Gadgets: Big cards featuring pictures of tools and machines from the past, encouraging kids to figure out what they were used for. Published by Critical Thinking, which has an array of educational books and software (
• LeapFrog: the LeapStart Learning Table is designed for children ages 6 months and older, introducing them to musical instrument sounds, alphabet and numbers; LeapPad helps beginning readers; LeapFrog Phonics Writing Desk helps beginning writers; the iQuest handheld helps fifth-grade through high school students study for tests (
• Musini, by Neurosmith, lets children ages 3 to 8 listen to five different musical styles -- from classical to jazz -- with the added bonus of flashing light. It was selected Most Innovative Toy of the Year 2002 by T.O.T.Y. Awards (
• VTech's Smarty's Workshop and Smarty's Toolbox, for kids 3 and up, is great for the little carpenters in your life.
• Fisher-Price's Kasey the Kinderbot Learning System was the best-selling new preschool learning toy of 2002. The company's new PowerTouch Learning System, released this summer, works with kids as young as 3 on reading skills. The recently released Learn Through Music targets preschoolers as young as 18 months, using music to teach fundamental lessons (
• SET, a little-known card game for middle-school students through adults that helps with visual perception, teaching patterns and the relationships of objects (

Suggested Web Sites

• The AIMS Education Foundation specializes in hands-on math and science activities, including books, experiments, pattern blocks and telescopes.
• Discovery Toys offers safe, durable, educational toys for infants and older.
• Pieces of Learning offers great games and manipulatives that improve thinking and questioning skills and encourage creativity.
• free spirit Publishing specializes in books and other learning materials for kids of all ages, parents and educators.
• Profrock Press Inc. is a Waco publisher specializing in products for gifted and talented children including an independent study program.