Kid Culture features fun and educational books and toys for children. Toy recommendations are based on independent research conducted by The Toy Research Institute.

Dino Construction Company Wrecker the T-Rex Skid Loader by Educational Insights


Ages 3 and older

Toy Tips: A

Fun: A

Movement: A

Thinking: A

Personality: A

Social Interaction: A

This wrecker truck leaves dinosaur track tread footprints in sand and dirt. It features a chomping, movable jaw, gleaming teeth and swinging tail. All are powered fully by a child’s imagination for creative discovery and role-play. With no electronic parts or metal pieces, this non-tech toy can move a pile of blocks and sand and turn into a giant creature from another planet. A child’s mind steers the play pattern and stimulates intellectual thinking, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Ideal for indoors or outside, it also can work in a water table and in snow. Playing with other children encourages turn-taking and sharing, building positive character skills. Tester’s tip: “For classroom use and at home. This is also ideal as a winter snow toy appropriate for preschool and kindergarten recess time.”

16-foot Tracer Racers Set by Skullduggery


Ages 6 and older

Toy Tips: A

Fun: A

Thinking: A

Personality: B+

Social interaction: A

Glow-in-the-dark toys amaze and entertain. Once they capture attention, it’s up to the user to stay interested. Toy Tips has tested many glow-in-the-dark toys over the years, but this one we could not stop playing with. The Light Trail technology shows streaks of light on glow-in-the-dark tracks. Each Tracer Racer beams down purple light rays from its undercarriage onto track specially engineered to emit a glow after the racer has passed. These need to be played with in a dimly lit room to work. However, our testers were eager to keep the lights low just to play over and over again. Play encourages visual stimulation, concentration, fine motor skills and a sense of excitement. Ideal as a family gift for multiple children in one household. Tester’s tip: “For low-vision children or children with frequent seizures, check with your pediatrician first concerning playing with glow-in-the-dark toys.”

— Recommendations from Marianne M. Szymanski, publisher of, Toy Tips Magazine and co-author of “Toy Tips: A Parent’s Essential Guide to Smart Toy Choices.”