Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Fall 2011 Toys
Ages: 1 & Up
Manufacturer: Fat Brain Toys
Price: $24.99

If this toy came in stainless steel, it would be the hot new office accessory, replacing all of those Zen gardens and Newton's Cradle Pendulum Sets sitting on executives' desks. That's because it not only looks interesting, but playing with it is addictive.

Most simply explained, Tobbles is a sleek, modern take on stacking blocks. Only instead of blocks, these are balls that have a scoop shape cut out, allowing each ball to sit within the one below it. Each ball has a dual-texture-one smooth and one that's sort of rough. More importantly, each ball is weighted, which makes it possible to configure them into a carefully balanced, wiggly, leaning tower.

Toddler testers have found a ton of things to do with these Tobbles. They stack them, knock them down, spin them, roll them, carry them around and, yes, throw them. From a learning perspective, this toy encourages everything from sensory exploration and hand-eye coordination to motor skills and visual spatial awareness. And when the kids eventually outgrow them, I just might have to swipe them for my office desk.

Angelique Rewers   ©2011 Parents' Choice

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