Dates & Application

The Parents’ Choice Foundation® website hosts your award-winning product information for as long as the product is on the market. We highlight our award-winning products in blogs, newsletters, on our social media, and in the many requests we receive for holiday lists.
At no extra cost to the winners.

Parents' Choice Awards®

Call for Entries

 Sign-up here to receive the latest news and schedule information about all of our Awards.

Our Team

Meet the Team

The Parents’ Choice core team is a smart, talented, and fun-loving group that leads the experts and family testers with whom we are so fortunate to work. Whether at our desks, playing on the floor, walking the aisles of Toy Fair, attending conferences or reading up on industry trends, it would be rare to find a more dedicated and hard-working bunch.

Claire 2

Claire Green

PRESIDENT

In addition to helming the Foundation’s work, Claire is a member of the National Toy Hall of Fame® and Toy of the Year (TOTY) nomination committees. She lives with her husband Tom in the Maryland woods where they’re constantly searching for plants the deer won’t eat.

Krist

Krista Kane

Content Director

Before joining Parents’ Choice in 2016, Krista spent 10+ years researching, testing, and playing with all manner of toys, games and gadgets at FamilyFun magazine. Although she spends her days with the latest and greatest, the classics are what she loves best.

 

Karena

Karena Rush

Principal Investigator

Currently a psychology professor at Millersville University, Karena previously served on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and as a psychologist at Sheppard Pratt Hospital where she worked with children with special needs. 

 

Jennifer Wells

Jennifer Wells

Editor, Digital Toys

Jennifer has been developing kids’ digital products for 20+ years for organizations from Highlights Magazine to LEGO. As a child she and her group of imaginary friends went everywhere together, playing with refrigerator boxes-turned-spacecraft and an Apple IIc. But Fisher-Price’s Little People were always closest to her heart.

Contributing Editors

Our contributing editors help guide us through the ever-changing landscape of children’s media and toys. They evaluate and review with the eyes, ears, and experience of skilled professionals. Only a parent or once-in-a-lifetime teacher can provide the perspectives they share.

Lahri

Lahri Bond

Father, writer, music historian, designer and illustrator, and a professor of art at Holyoke Community College, Lahri lives in Massachusetts with his wife, two cats and way too many books.

Gina

Gina Catanzarite

Gina is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, and media consultant. Her work includes national documentaries for PBS. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and twin sons.

Emily Crawford

Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, three cats, and thousands of LEGOs.     

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Lynne Heffley

Lynne spent more than 20 years writing about the arts and children’s arts and entertainment for the Los Angeles Times. When not on assignment, Lynne is apt to be found strumming one of her seven ukuleles. 

Naomi Lesley

Naomi Lesley taught young adult literature for six years. After earning her Ph.D. from George Washington University, she’s now teaching at Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts.

Kemie Crop

Kemie Nix

Kemie, Children’s Literature for Children, Inc. founder, began teaching literature to children four decades ago. Since its inception, CLC has placed more than two million books in hospitals and schools around the globe.

Ann 2

Ann Oldenburg

Assistant Director of Georgetown University’s journalism program, Ann began her career at The Washington Post and went on to spend more than two decades with USA Today, where she covered pop culture. 

Don 2

Don Oldenburg

Director of publications and editor for the National Italian American Foundation, Don spent 22 years as a feature writer for the Washington Post. The coauthor of two books, his legendary muse continues to be his first baseball 

DS

David Shirley

David’s recent titles include A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park. His biographies, Every Day I Sing the Blues: The Story of B. B. King and Satchel Paige: Baseball Legend were honored as the NYPL’s Best Books for Teens.

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Stay Calm. Stay Connected. Stay Safe.

Stay Calm. Stay Connected. Stay Safe.

By Parents' Choice

Life has been turned upside down. Parents are working from home. Students are distance learning and unable to socialize in person.

Families have been thrust into lots of “together time” and patience is at a premium.

Parents’ Choice Gold Award® winner CalmConnect (formerly MeMoves) can help. With mountains of supporting research, CalmConnect will calm the body and mind, all in just a few minutes each day.  Simply choose a sequence and follow along.  Watch. Imitate. Repeat.

Through the generosity of PrioHealth, Parents’ Choice Foundation readers will receive a 15% discount through April 24.

Enter Coupon Code PCA when purchasing.

Stay Calm. Stay Connected. Stay Safe.

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Family Adventures in Maryland

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Parents’ Choice Awards® 2019 Toy Catalog!

Parents’ Choice Awards® 2019 Toy Catalog!

By Parents' Choice

We’re more than a little pleased to introduce the
1st Annual Parents’ Choice Awards® Catalog!

The toys, games and puzzles are arranged by age group, and the product titles click to our reviews.

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About the Awards

Read More. Play More. Learn More.

Read More. Play More. Learn More.

Read More. Play More. Learn More.

About The Awards Program

Established in 1978, Parents’ Choice Awards® is the nation’s oldest nonprofit program created to recognize quality children’s toys and media.

In a landscape awash with products marketed as “educational,” the Parents’ Choice Awards Program identifies those that live up to the marketing claims. Our selection process screens for originality of design and purpose, long-term learning value, long-term play value, fair market value, and fun. Parents’ Choice Award winners attest to the power of learning through play.

Trust. Integrity. Independence. Since 1978.

For 40+ years, the Parents’ Choice Award Seals have been internationally recognized and respected icons of quality.

As playthings and playspaces have changed over time, we’ve expanded the program’s original categories to stay current. The Parents’ Choice Awards categories now include books, toys, games and puzzles, subscription boxes, music and storytelling, magazines, mobile apps, podcasts, television and websites. 

The Parents' Choice Awards Program

Champions

...toys and media that prompt questions like How? Why? and What If?

Honors

...books that tempt even the most reluctant of readers.

Salutes

...well-crafted music that respects, not insults, children.

Applauds

...when learning is powered by play.

Celebrates

...products that bridge the classroom to the playroom.

Encourages You

...to Read More. Play More. Learn More.

Parents' Choice Awards are Trusted

Instead of having us talk about ourselves, here’s what some of our winners have to say.

Winning a Parents' Choice Gold Award gave the Money Savvy Pig instant, respected and independent credibility. We know that parents use the Parents' Choice Awards as a short cut to their own research on the benefits of a particular product; gift and toyshops do too.
Susan Beacham
Ceo, Money Savvy Generation
The Parents’ Choice Award consistently celebrates quality children’s books that are immensely appealing to kids and parents alike. We are so honored when our books are chosen – it means a lot to us!
Jaime Tan
Senior Publicist Candlewick Press
Parents' Choice Foundation offers smart, well-considered evaluations. I always recommend the Parents' Choice Awards program to my clients; each product receive a fair and expert review. A Parents' Choice Award offers a highly respected, invaluable boost for any new CD or DVD.
Beth Blenz-Clucas
Sugar Mountain PR

Our Award Panelists

The Parents’ Choice Awards program evaluation criteria set benchmarks; the integrity of our process has been highly respected for more than 40 years.

With the generosity of time and spirit, parents, grandparents, librarians, educators, writers, artists, musicians, performing artists, and yes, children from across the country participate in the rigorous review and selection process. We couldn’t accomplish our tasks without their help.

They test toys and games, read books, listen to music, play with apps and watch TV. Sound like fun? It is, but it’s also hard work. They invest considerable time and effort when evaluating products submitted to the Parents’ Choice Awards program.

Our panelists are as committed as we are to poking, and prodding, and thinking things through.

Awards Info and FAQ

What Makes A Parents' Choice Award® Winner?

The Parents’ Choice Awards program honors children’s toys and media that encourage children’s development, respects their intelligence, and offer many opportunities for learning through play.

Our judges are interested in how a product helps a child grow in many ways: socially, intellectually, emotionally, ethically, and physically. We’re not interested in products that encourage commercialism, racial or gender bias. Above all, products must not extol violence.

Parents’ Choice Award winners have long-term learning value and play value. They’re innovative in concept, appealing, skillfully produced, and fairly priced.

Why Parents' Choice?

Established

The Parents' Choice Awards is the nation's oldest and most respected nonprofit program created to recognize quality children's media and toysIt honors the best material for children: books, toys, music and storytelling, magazines, software, video games, television, websites and mobile applications.

Credible

The Parents' Choice Foundation's independent panels of educators, scientists, performing artists, librarians, parents and, yes, kids themselves, use long established criteria and field tested methodology to identify quality media and toys designed for infants to young adults of varied skills and interest areas.

Valued

Parents' Choice Award-winning products are valued by consumers, coveted by industry professionals and promoted by retailers. Displaying a Parents' Choice Award seal shines a highly respected spotlight on your products.

The Parents’ Choice Foundation® website hosts your award-winning product information for as long as the product is on the market. We highlight our award-winning products in blogs, newsletters, on our social media, and in the many requests we receive for holiday lists. At no extra cost to the winners.

Got Questions?

FAQ

Here are some of the most common questions, along with the complete answers from our support experts.

Product categories include: music, books (picture, fiction, non-fiction, audiobooks) toys and games (physical and digital), magazines, TV (broadcast, online, streaming), DVD, video games, podcasts, websites and mobile apps.

Annual Parents’ Choice Awards Calendars are published here. All “Call for Entries” emails clearly state submissions deadlines. If you are not subscribed to the Call for Entries emails, please click here.

For more than 41 years, the Parents’ Choice Awards program has used a multi-tiered and multi-layered evaluation process. We examine the package as well as its contents. We look for well-conceived and well produced age appropriate products that help a child grow in many ways: socially, intellectually, emotionally, ethically, creatively and physically.

We look for long term educational value and play value. We consider how innovative a product is and if the price is fair. And of course, the product must be fun to use.  

The evaluation process begins and ends with the core team. Parent testers participate in the weeks-long testing period, using a proprietary survey as a guide to our the rigorous criteria.

No, products that are NOT awarded a level of commendation are not eligible to be resubmitted.

  • The Parents’ Choice Awards program does not evaluate education franchises, curriculum or teacher materials. 
  • Toy or game prototypes, Beta versions of digital media, or unpublished manuscripts are not eligible for submission.
  • CD and DVD submissions must include all credits and liner notes.
  • Eligibility dates (publication and product release dates) are noted on “Call for Entries” emails and submission forms.
  • And above all, products submitted must not extol violence or bias.

Parents’ Choice Foundation send email notification letters to all Awards applicants regardless of outcome.

We do not release feedback about why a product was not selected as a Parents’ Choice Award winner. This policy ensures that testers and judges will always be free to give honest answers and opinions. 

There are specific guidelines for the legal use of the Parents’ Choice Award images, whether in advertising or to place on the packaging.

A licensing fee is associated with the use of the Parents’ Choice Award seals, which are trademarked property of Parents’ Choice Foundation.

To request the Seals Use Guidelines and Seals Order Form, please direct an email to: seals@parents-choice.org. Please include your name and email address, company, product, year and level of commendation.

The Guidelines also include approved wording that you may use, without charge, in descriptions of your winning product.

These measures are in place to protect your Parents’ Choice Award-winning products as much as the Foundation’s intellectual property.

If you have additional questions about the use of the Parents’ Choice Award seals, please contact seals@parents-choice.org

Parents' Choice Awards®

Call for Entries

 Sign-up here to receive the latest news and schedule information about all of our Awards.

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Parents’ Choice Foundation/Michael Cohen Group Survey

Parents' Choice Foundation & MCG Survey Shows Similarities in How Parents Select and Choose Toys

Findings from a recent Parents’ Choice Foundation/Michael Cohen Group survey highlight the similarities in parental and caregiver concerns about their children – and their recognition of the positive role of toys and play in their children’s’ development and learning.

By Parents' Choice

Timonium, MD — February 12, 2019 – Parents’ Choice Foundation and the Michael Cohen Group (MCG) have released the findings from an online quantitative survey of 332 primary caregivers (parents, grandparents and teachers) of children (ages 1-10) conducted in December 2018. Focused on toys and learning, the survey findings reveal a striking consensus regarding parental concerns about their children, the role of toys, and toy purchasing behaviors. Key findings include the following.

Shared beliefs, concerns, and purchase behaviors across all demographic variables


A major finding is that the vast majority of parents – regardless of age, locale, or household income – share similar concerns about their children, have similar expectations and goals for the toys they buy, and report similar shopping and purchase behaviors.

Shared emphasis on safety, fun, and learning

The top three criteria that parents and caregivers use when selecting toys for their children are “toys that are safe” (90%), “toys that are fun” (80%), and toys that “help children learn” (72%).

Widespread belief that toys contribute to learning 
The vast majority of parents (over 80%) believe that toys facilitate their child’s learning of important skills and knowledge. Seventy percent (70%) classify the toys that they purchased during the past year as “educational” or “learning” toys. Overall, parents report the highest interest in toys that facilitate the acquisition of problem-solving skills (72%) and engender positive social-emotional development (69%).

A growing concern about children’s social and emotional development
Two-thirds of parents (65%) report that the development of “social and emotional skills” represents their greatest concern regarding their children’s learning and development, followed by “problem-solving skills (51%), “school-related language and early reading” (35%), and “school-related STEM” (30%). These findings support other recent MCG research findings highlighting parent and educator concerns regarding young children’s social skills and social-emotional development.

Widespread interest in third-party labeling
The majority of parents (71%) report that they would welcome a “third-party labeling system that displays the learning value of toys.” Two-thirds of parents (63%) report a preference for third-party labeling displayed directly on the packaging. This finding supports the recent activities and efforts of Parents’ Choice Foundation to meet this need.

“For the past five years, we’ve been developing and refining the PlayAbility Scale ™, a scientifically based measurement tool – akin to nutrition labeling – for toys and games. We’re delighted that the survey data confirm parents’ interest in using the PlayAbility Scale to help with toy and game purchasing decisions.”

Claire Green, Parents’ Choice Foundation president

“These findings highlight several important trends. The first is that parents – no matter where they live or where they fall on the income scale – are more like each other than not — they share similar concerns. The second is parents’ universal appreciation of the role of toys in their children’s development and learning. The third provides confirmation for the increasing concern about young children’s social-emotional development. The fourth is parents’ desire for third-party assessment and package labeling of toys’ play and learning value.”

Michael Cohen, PhD, President, MCG

Note on the sample for the survey: The survey was conducted with 332 U.S. primary caregivers (including parents and grandparents), representing toy purchasers for 453 children. The sample, which was recruited from Parents’ Choice Foundation’s subscribers and followers represented the full range of socioeconomic status; locale (urban, suburban and rural); children’s ages from 0 to 10; familial configurations (single-parent and dual-parent households); number of children per household (1-5); and preschool and non-preschool attendance.

About Parents’ Choice Foundation
Established in 1978 as a 501c3, Parents’ Choice Foundation is the nation’s oldest nonprofit guide to quality children’s media and toys. Best known for the Parents’ Choice Awards® program, the Parents’ Choice Award® Seals are the Foundation’s internationally recognized and respected icons of quality. The PlayAbility Scale ™ is a scientifically based tool that measures the skill building properties of toys and games.

About the Michael Cohen Group, LLC (MCG) 
The Michael Cohen Group, LLC (MCG) is an applied research, evaluation and consulting firm headquartered in NYC. MCG has conducted research in over fifty countries with children, parents, and educators on a range of topics, including: toys & play; education & learning; media: entertainment; and health & safety. MCG clients include The U.S. Department of Education; YouTube; LEGO; The New York State Department of Education; Nickelodeon; and Hasbro.

For additional information please contact:

Claire Green
President, Parents’ Choice Foundation
www.parents-choice.org
claire@parents-choice.org
+1 410-308-3858

Michael Cohen, PhD
President, Michael Cohen Group LLC
www.mcgrc.com
mcohen@mcgrc.com
+1 212-431-2252

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Tips for Teaching Kids to Enjoy Reading

Tips for Teaching Kids to Enjoy Reading

Look below for 10 timeless tips to help your kids to enjoy reading. 

By Kristi Jemtegaard

  1. The key to reading is words: hearing them, saying them, seeing them, and connecting them to everyday life. Simply talking—in the grocery store, on the way to school, before bed—guarantees a richer vocabulary for your child.
  2. Set aside a special time each day to read together. Find a quiet place where you can focus on the book. Pretty soon, your child will make the connection between the pleasure of undivided attention and the pleasure of reading.
  3. Expect disasters. Sometimes reading just isn’t in the cards. Don’t push it. The last thing you want is to turn it into a battle. But be prepared to grab unexpected opportunities. Always have a book with you—in your bag, in the car, at the pool: waiting is a lot easier on everyone if there’s a story to share.

“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.” – Kate DiCamillo

  1. Read books you like. Your enjoyment will be infectious. Read books your children pick themselves … and praise their choices.
  2. Stop occasionally to ask your child questions about the pictures or about what they just heard. Try to ask questions that require more than a yes or no answer. “What do you think is going to happen next?” “Who do you like best in this story?”
  3. Connect stories to things that happen in your daily life. If you just read a story about a dog, point out all the dogs you see and talk about them: How big? What color? Who do you think they belong to? Make up a new story together about the dog … then find someone else to tell it to.
  4. Stop occasionally and point out an interesting word with your finger. Say it and have your child repeat it. Pre-readers don’t need to learn it … yet … but this reinforces the idea that those funny black lines on the page actually contain the magic of meaning.

“One of the greatest gifts adults can give—to their offspring and to their society—is to read to children.” – Carl Sagan

  1. Capitalize on your child’s interests. If he or she likes bugs, find all the bug books you can. Read fiction and fact books. If they ask you a question, go together to a book to look for the answer—even if you know the answer already.
  2. Watch television together and talk about it. Compare what you see on the tube to real life and to real books. Ask questions. Make connections. Find books about things you’ve seen and read them as a follow-up.
  3. Visit the library. You don’t have to be rich to have a house full of books. Attend storytimes. Ask the librarian for books suggestions. And check out a book for yourself. You’re the best advertisement for reading there is!

Previous Blog Posts

Music for Tiny Humans

Coy Bowles is a singer, guitarist and organist for the Zac Brown Band, as well as his own Atlanta-based group The Fellowship. On his first full album for children, Bowles and saxophonist/fellow songwriter Carlos Sosa combine their superior songwriting and musicianship and open Music for Tiny Humans with the South African influenced rhythms of “Coming Home.” Emotions are explored in the ragtime rendered “I’ve Got Feelings,” and solidarity is celebrated in “All in This Together,” which is marinated in a Memphis soul stew of horns and organ. The rocking strains of “The Sickness Song” makes feeling unwell a lot more tolerable, and little paleontologists will love to boogie to the syncopated sounds of “The Dinosaur Dance.” Grumpiness is transformed into fun with the reggae tinged “The Sun Shines Every Day,” astronomy is investigated in the rocking “Outer Space,” and the album’s title is reprised in the optimistic and encouraging anthem “Brand New Day.” Echoes of The Beatles can even be heard in the marching rhythms of the imagination celebrating “Behind The Little Red Door Song,” and the album closes with the beautiful, cello enveloped lullaby “Lie Down.” Bowles’ songs are witty, intelligent and well crafted, and he possesses a powerful, clear voice, capable of everything from a sensitive purr to a good rock anthem shout; mostly he sounds like your friendly, fun, and loving uncle, whose arrival signifies the start of good times.

 

Lahri Bond ©2020 Parents’ Choice

Lahri Bond is a father, a writer, music historian and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.

TERMS & CONDITIONS FOR PRODUCT SUBMISSIONS

ENTRANTS MUST READ & AGREE TO THESE TERMS & CONDITIONS: Entrant company, or it’s duly authorized representative, certifies that all of the information submitted in this entry form is true. Entrant has read and accepts all of the provisions in this entry form (including but not limited to the Legal Information below).

Entrant understands and agrees that the Foundation has the right to grant or not grant awards in its sole and absolute discretion, which Entrant agrees not to challenge in any forum or setting, whether public or private.

Entrant certifies that each product that it submits to the Foundation in connection with this entry form complies with all mandatory and voluntary safety standards. Entrant understands and agrees that: (a) any review that the Foundation conducts will be limited solely to the General Criteria outlined above for the sole benefit of the Foundation; and (b) the Foundation’s review, analysis, commentary, and/or the grant of an award shall under no circumstances be deemed to constitute any opinion, representation, or warranty as to the safety of the products by any at the Foundation, its officers, trustees, directors, agents, and employees.

Entrant agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Foundation as well as all of its officers, trustees, directors, agents, and employees, successors and assigns, from and against any and all Damages and Claims. “Damages and Claims” are understood and agreed to mean: (a) damages caused by products submitted to the Foundation; and (b) claims, demands, causes of action, debts, liabilities, losses, or costs (including but not limited to lawyers’ fees and costs), however designated, that relate to the products Entrant has submitted to the Foundation and/or any awards granted by the Foundation to the Entrant.

Entrant certifies to the Foundation that it owns all intellectual property rights in and to the product submission, and that the submission does not infringe upon any other party’s intellectual property rights.

By checking "yes," I hereby certify that I am duly authorized to sign this form on Entrant’s behalf and to bind the Entrant to these terms.

Legal Information: Under no circumstances shall Parents’ Choice be liable to any party on account of use of the products listed in this entry form. Such limitation of liability shall apply to prevent recovery of direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special and exemplary damages, arising from any of use of the products listed. By submitting this entry form, you agree to be bound by the guidelines concerning the use of the Parents’ Choice Award seal or commendation, should you be a recipient of an award.

Our History

Our History

In 1978 Diana Huss Green, mother and children’s book author, sensed a need. Parents were looking for guidance on children’s books and toys. They wanted to read beyond the hype and learn which products would be best for their children.

From the start, the mission was clear: to search out and recommend books and toys that help kids grow – imaginatively, physically, morally and mentally; fairly-priced products that are fun, safe and socially sound.

A hard-working grass roots army was formed to help test, review and critique. Children’s book authors, illustrators and critics. Musicians and storytellers, doctors, educators, librarians, scientists and engineers. Parents’ Choice Foundation was established as a 501c3 in March 1978. Within a few years the Parents’ Choice Awards® list was shaping librarians’ purchases and toy store offerings. Parents’ Choice Foundation soon earned the respect of parents, publishers, newsmakers and industry leaders.

Parents’ Choice Foundation was first to create a program to recognize and celebrate quality children’s media and toys.

Forty years later, we’re still first in our field.

Claire S. Green

 

Nature Cat

Gina Catanzarite ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster’s Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.