Top 5 Creative Activity Toys To Buy Kids- Toy Of The Year Winners

Each year Toy Industry Association, Inc. hands out their Toy of the Year Awards. For the past 15 years toys have been given the distinct honor of being the best in their category, based on the high standards set by TIA. From Specialty Toy and Innovative Toy to People’s Choice Award, no toy is left unexamined.


If you are looking to keep your child engaged in creative activity, check out the following guide which highlights the last five years’ worth of winners for the best Activity Toy of the Year. These creation-centered toys promote inventive and artistic playtime through building, doodling, and creating.

2015: The Crayola Paint Maker

The Crayola Paint Maker is this year’s top Activity Toy of the Year according to the Toy Industry Association. The paint making kit is surprisingly easy and not nearly as messy as it sounds. Crayola created what they call Paint Strip Technology, which seems to be dehydrated paint. After adding the strips to a base paint and then shaking, kids ages eight and up can create 15 different paint colors by using the included guide or their artistic instincts.

The Crayola Paint Maker comes with 15 mini-paint pots and labels, so your child can create their paint and a unique name to go with it. All of the color combinations are made using just three colors—red, blue, and yellow—so your child will earn an art lesson too when they are trying to decide what colors to create. And making the paint is just the beginning. Once the palette is set, the artwork and creations can come alive on paper or canvas.

2014: Rainbow Loom

Who knew rubber bands could be so exciting? Millions of kids, making endless supplies of jewelry, knew. The creative hours spent making bracelets earned the Rainbow Loom the 2014 Activity Toy of the Year Award.

A metal hook, loom, C clips, and over 600 assorted rubber bands not only created unique styles of bracelets, but a world-wide phenomenon. Kids everywhere were making, trading, and wearing products made on the Rainbow Loom. And if the included 600 rubber bands should be used up, thousands more were waiting in a variety of colors and styles.

2013: LEGO Friends

As universally inspiring as the iconic LEGO toys are, and as universally satisfying as it is to play with gender-neutral toys such as building blocks, LEGO has typically targeted and appealed to boys. Not anymore. The 2013 Activity Toy of the Year goes to the LEGO Friends series of LEGO sets, meant to target young female builders. As the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are becoming more populated by women, they are still male dominated fields. Toys which encourage and strengthen skills needed for these fields often lead to an interest in studying STEM fields in college. From colors to marketing, most toys which fit this description are geared toward boys.

LEGO Friends sets like the Downtown Bakery and Olivia’s Tree House are geared for ages 6-12 and are specifically meant to appeal to girls. Or anyone who likes pink, purple, baking, or small animals in trees.

2012: LEGO NINJAGO Fire Temple

LEGO won the Activity Toy of the Year award in 2012 with another building set. This one is from their Ninjago series. Ninjago is the colorful title that LEGO gave to their expanded Ninja themed building sets where good ninjas battle skeleton warriors, snake people, monsters and bad ninjas.


Story aside, it’s easy to see the appeal of the Fire Temple. The Temple is large and complex, so kids will feel a sense of accomplishment after building the fiery temple, and the set comes with a variety of fun characters and toy weapons used to save the Dragon Sword of Fire from the Skeleton Army. The ultimate weapon is the build-it-yourself, fire ball spitting Fire Dragon, who protects the sword and fights off the evil Lord Garmadon.

The Fire Temple is popular and thus expensive to purchase. But the Lego Ninjago line of toys has many other wonderful toys to consider that are much more affordable here

2011: Crayola Color Wonder Sound Studio

Crayola Color Wonder products allow kids to use markers and paint without the mess. No more paint on the couch, the dog, or your kid. No more scribbles on the wall, the floor, or your kid. Color Wonder markers and paint only show up on the Color Wonder paper, so your child is free to be creative anywhere they want, wearing whatever they want. The Crayola Wonder Sound Studio won the 2011 Activity Toy of the Year Award and builds on this mess-free feature by adding sound to your child’s artwork


The Sound Studio comes with an interactive doodle pad and sound cards which can be used to add sounds to specific parts of the image, such as a roar when you press on the cat’s face, or a giggling when you tap on the dolphin. Up to 60 sounds can be added to each coloring page. The people at Crayola were smart when they added a quiet mode too. And because kids rarely turn anything off, the Sound Studio will turn off after ten minutes of inactivity.

If you would like to learn more about these award winning toys and their reviews and related products, I have include links to Amazon. If you buy one using our link, we may receive a small commission. You can also find these toys at most other major toy stores. 

NOTE: This post has been updated since Arnold Carriero’s original article on this topic. To see more award winning toys, check out it out here.


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