How do we Test the Toys Submitted to us?

As of January 2020, all toys submitted to the Good Toy Guide which receive 9 and more stars across our:

  • Fun

  • Skill Development

  • and Ease of Use ratings

will inherit 'Recommended' status in the Good Toy Guide


We are unique in the way that we review toys and other products:

  • We gather feedback for each product from multiple children
  • Each product is also reviewed by an expert (we have experts in child psychology, user experience, teaching/education, play, toys and apps).

This ensures our reviews are expert, independent and based on real feedback from the target users, making them reviews both consumers and your internal team can trust.

In addition, we offer a range of more detailed review services, research and (if the product is approved) a range of endorsement services – please contact us for more details

Based on feedback from users and their expert review, our experts write the review and rate the product using our 5 star system. This takes into account fun, skills developed and ease of use. The details of our rating process are as follows:

Qualifying Toy Criteria


Qualification for Approved StatusQualification for Recommended Status



When a toy receives 9 or more stars across all criteria (without meeting the criteria for ‘recommended’ status) it will be approved and certified with our stamp of approval ‘Approved’ by the Good Toy Guide.




The toy has received 12 or more stars across all our criteria.

The ‘Recommended’ by the Good Toy Guide stamp is awarded and can be used for promotional use.





Re-Test: If for some reason we are unhappy with the data gathered, we may choose to re-test your product using more children, ensuring we are confident with our final review and rating.

Fail: Receiving less than 9 stars across all criteria.



Ratings Criteria

Fun RatingEase of Use RatingSkills Rating

The criteria for achieving ‘fun’ rated stars is:


This is awarded to the real favourites. Toys are required to provide entertainment for most of our children for longer than 10 minutes at a time.


This is awarded to toys that are enjoyed repeatedly by the majority of children for 5 minutes or more. At least some of the child testers will have remained keen to play with this toy regularly and may be very engaging for specific groups of children.


Many of the children enjoyed playing with the toy, and some for prolonged periods of time. It is not a favourite but still provides engagement and entertainment.


We award 2 stars to toys where the majority of children become disengaged quickly and choose not to play with it again. It has not become  favourite with any of the children.


If most children get bored quickly and are reluctant to play with the toy more than once, we give this a one star rating. There may be educational resources that are not engaging on their own but are still valuable as a teaching aid.



Toys are tested on their ease of use (sometimes referred to as usability or user experience rating), with the following criteria:

fundamentally-children-5-star-easy-rating This is only awarded to toys where we find no problems what so ever with their usage. Children will be able to work out how to use the toy to it’s full capacity with minimal third party intervention.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at fundamentally-children-4-star-easy-ratingToys will be simple to set up and easier for children to use and understand than other toys in their category. Children will generally be able to use this toy without third party intervention, apart from necessary input in setting up (e.g. construction of a large toy, or setting up suitable access for tech toys and tablets).

fundamentally-children-3-star-skills-ratingThird party intervention is sometimes required but the child can make good use of the toy on their own. The child may occasionally need help to set up the toy again, e.g. if small parts often fall off.

fundamentally-children-2-star-easy-ratingThe toy requires frequent assistance from a third party, but the child is able to use some features.

fundamentally-children-1-star-easy-ratingThe target age group is unable to use the toy without constant third party help (for toys appropriate for use by an unaccompanied child). Instructions are not clear enough to play with the toy/game (where applicable).


fundamentally-children-5-star-skills-ratingToys that actively encourage children to develop skills across 3 or more skill developmental areas (e.g. cognitive, creative and language skills) or are particularly good at developing one or more core skills, such as literacy or numeracy.

5 Stars are hard to achieve and are only available for toys we consider exceptionally good for learning and development.

fundamentally-children-4-star-skill-rating Toys that help children develop either in at least 1 developmental area with opportunity for children to progress the skills significantly, or that promote development across several areas with less progression. We are confident that parents and teachers/childcare professionals would consider this to be an ‘educational toy’.

fundamentally-children-3-star-skills-ratingA three star rating for skills developed indicates that the toy has substantial benefit to a child’s development in at least one area.

fundamentally-children-2-star-skills-rating 2 stars are given to toys that have potential to develop skills but they have limited learning outcomes. The skills they develop are typically less core or may be skills children have already mastered, so they test and refine skills rather than developing them. We suspect most parents and teachers/childcare professionals would not perceive this to be an ‘educational’ product.

fundamentally-children-1-star-skills-rating1 star is given when there is no obvious skills developed by using the toy. The toy is clearly focused on being fun rather than educational.





All toys are given a rating on how they facilitate development of the relevant skills children need, both academically and non-academically. They include:

Personal, Social and Emotional
Speech, Language and Communication<
Physical and motor skills
Understanding the world (including Geography, History, Science etc).

We particularly look for skills that are well pitched for the targeted age group and their key developmental area.

For example, toys targeted at children aged 1 may focus on encouraging walking and movement.

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