“Play Power Top 10;” The Readers Give Their Recommendations

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I have greatly appreciated the many comments and Top 10 recommendations recieved from readers as a result of the two "Play Power" blog postings.  (To read those click here and here. )They came in as comments to the posts as well as via Linked In and email.   

I have listed all the recommendations below.  Please note that I did not include things like paper, cardboard boxes and sand as they were not manufactured toys.  That will make for another great list of toys that are parts of nature like stick or repurposed like a box.   

So, for now, let’s stay with what we actually make so that we can focus on what constitutes great play value in a manufactured toy. 

Here, in alphabetical order,  is what you felt belonged in the Top 10:

Army men (shouldn’t that now be Army people?)


Board games


Bulk Legos


Checker Board

Deck of Cards



Football or soccer ball


Lincoln Logs


Model Kits

Pipe Cleaners

Popsicle sticks

Pick Up Sticks

Sidewalk Chalk

Stickers and Sticker books

Wooden Blocks


What strikes me about many of these toys is that they are play platforms.  They enable open ended play or variations of play.  For example, Army People allow children (and adults for that matter) to visualize and act out story lines.  A deck of cards allows us to play a staggering number of games while also engaging in social interaction.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see retailers feature high “Play Power” items in their stores?  Not because they sell the best (and many do sell well) but because they represent the very best in play value and therefore the industry at its very best.





2 thoughts

  1. I love the term “play platforms”! It captures the essence of what we try to do with our games…open-ended play that gives kids lots of ways to play with one game.
    Maybe one day, Think-ets will make the list. It is truly a play platform and recently Major Fun pointed this out to us when he referred to Think-ets as a toy and not a game since toys have many play options and most games are limited by specified rules.
    While StoryPlay Cards haven’t topped the charts, I would also add these to the list since it is really a deck of playing cards for the right side of the brain.
    Enough about us. I loved this post and wholeheartedly support games and toys with lots of Play Power!
    In fact, a 2005 survey of kids done by Playthings magazine got us on the track we are on. It said kids said a good toy:
    1. Makes me use my imagination
    2. Has many different ways to play
    3. Makes me want to invent a toy myself
    4. Does not break easily

  2. This is a fascinating thread. Just wanted to pass along a concept that stuck with me from “The Mister Rogers Book on Parenting” by Fred Rogers chapter about play. In a world where everything children do is dictated by adults, the concept of the child placing his/herself in a position of power is at the root of many play forms. This really shows in your lists. Dress up, block building(and destruction), dolls, action figures, cars, drawing, video gaming and so on allow the child total control of their personal microcosms. And kids battle over that control when pretending together! Adults also seek transformative play in entertainment, books, hobbies,sports etc. So have a great weekend being the masters of your own domains!!

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