ASTRA Play Awards

Nominations for the 2025 Astra Play Awards are now open! Click here to nominate.

Below are the criteria upon which the products were evaluated:

·       Is it New?  Astra Play Award nominees must be items introduced and available to the general retail market between September 2023 and September 2025. The committee must have a final product to review in February. No prototypes will be accepted for the review process.

·       Is it Unique? Astra Play Award candidates should have a novel design, either an original concept or a significant new rendition.

·       Is it Available? Astra Play Award products should be in good supply and ready to ship by September 2025 to all credit-worthy independent specialty toy retailers.

·       Is it Significant? Astra Play Award products should be meaningful within the industry whether it is thought-provoking or groundbreaking.

If you have any questions or would like to be on the Play Awards committee, please contact Kathy Trivisonno at or (773) 261-8707.

The 2024 Play Award Winners have been announced!

Arts & Crafts

Painter Box from Tiny Easel


RC Baby Plane from iPlay, iLearn


Baby’s First Book of 44 SOUNDS from SmartNoggin Toys


IQ Gears from Smart Toys and Games


Gecko Run: Marble Run Starter Set from Thames & Kosmos

Eco Friendly

Wave Stacker from PlanToys

Family Games

800 Pound Gorilla from Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

Family Strategy Games

DEDUCKTO from Gamewright

Geek Games

Inside Job from Thames & Kosmos


Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Castle and Grounds from LEGO®

Outdoor Play

NASA Collection from Stomp Rocket


Douglas Hugs(tm) Baby Fox from Douglas Company, INC

Preschool Games

Little Memo – Garden from DJECO

Pretend Play

Pretendables School Set from Fat Brain Toy Co.


Mayhem on the Moon 3D Puzzle from Ravensburger


Big Wheel Big Spin from Schylling


Air Toobz from Fat Brain Toy Co.


Furry Fidget Friends from Tangle®

Congratulations to our 2024 Astra Play Award Finalists!

A huge thank you to all of you who nominated this year. There were over 600 products for the Play Awards Committee to evaluate! As usual, they took their responsibility seriously but definitely had fun with the play process!

Astra is so proud to publish this curated list of play products chosen by Certified Play Experts.

Arts & Crafts

3D Tunnel Book Craft Kit – Outer Space…from Eye Connect Crafts

Spirograph Doodle Pad…from PlayMonster

Tiny Easel Painter Box…from Tiny Easel


RC Baby Plane…from iPlay iLearn

Fisher Price™ Shake and Go Bubble Maraca…from Little Kids Inc

Match & Push Spinning Tops…from Melissa & Doug


The Ultimate Book of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures…from Chronicle Books

Ready to Soar…from Penguin Random House -

Baby's First Book of 44 SOUNDS…from SmartNoggin Toys


By the Book…from FoxMind

Sudoku 5x5…from Ravensburger

IQ Gears…from Smart Toys and Games


TECTI…from Fun In Motion Toys

Gravitrax Junior Large Set: Jungle…from Ravensburger

Gecko Run: Marble Run Starter Set…from Thames & Kosmos


Blue Marine Toy Boat Sand Set…from Buzzy Kids - Dantoy

Wave Stacker…from PlanToys

Curious Kingdom Castle Playset…from Playper

Family Games

Oh No Volcano…from Buffalo Games

800 Pound Gorilla…from Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

Butts on Things…from Gamewright

Family Strategy Games

Wandering Towers…from Capstone Games

Deduckto…from Gamewright

Alice's Garden…from Goliath Games

Geek Games

Turing Machine…from Hachette Boardgames USA Inc.

Sky Team…from Hachette Boardgames USA Inc.

Inside Job…from Thames & Kosmos


Magnetic Masterpieces 12 pcs…from Geomagworld SA

LEGO Hogwarts Castle Grounds…from LEGO

Swing ball Reflex Tennis Pro Trainer by Mookie…from NSG

Outdoor Play

Outdoor Art Easel…from Hape

Fisher Price™ 3 in 1 Portable Sprinkler…from Little Kids Inc

NASA Collection…from Stomp Rocket - D&L Company


Baby Cuddle Hug Fox…from Douglas

Bumpas Oz…from Good Soul Brands

**Living Puppets - Murray 17"**…from Thin Air Brands

Preschool Games

Little Memo…from DJECO

Rainy Ranch…from Ravensburger

Story Time Backgammon…from Story Time Learning

Pretend Play

Pretendables School Set…from Fat Brain Toy Co.

Jet Pilot Interactive Dashboard…from Melissa & Doug

Baby Doll Girl with Vitiligo 15\”…from Miniland


Wheels & Wonders Puzzle…from Hape

Life-Size King Penguin 50-Piece Puzzle…from Large as Life

Mayhem on the Moon 3D Puzzle…from Ravensburger


Perler Deluxe Box: Squishmallows…from Anker Play/Perler

Jumpsies…from Klutz

Playskool Weebles My Smart House…from PlayMonster

Big Wheel Big Spin…from Schylling


Air Toobz…from Fat Brain Toy Co.

LEGO Gravity Drop…from Klutz

**Microscope (with Smartphone Adapter)**…from Thames & Kosmos


**Sunny "The Sensory Sea Turtle"**…from MEAVIA Toys

**Calming Cards Yoga, Breathing, & More!**…from Open the Joy

Tangle Furry Fidget Friends…from Tangle, Inc.

“Best Toys for Kids” awards are now the “Astra Play Awards”


As our committee worked on sorting through all the nominees, they were often hindered by two words: Toys and Kids. Defining what exactly a toy is and is not proved challenging.  Are the products we sell in our neighborhood toy stores only for kids? And what ages are even considered kids? After great deliberation, the committee brainstormed new names that could encompass what we are all about; fostering good play for all ages. The name ASTRA Play Awards became the obvious choice.

The 2023 Play Award Winners!

Anywhere Sports - Trampoline Pong by Thin Air Brands

Inspirational Nature Plant Press by DJECO

Spill Again by Fat Brain Toy Co

Safari Park Jr. by Smart Toys and Games, Inc.

Dino World XL by Magna-Tiles®

Cheese and Charcuterie Board by PlanToys

100 Pics, Countries by Asmodee

Sleeping Queens 2 - The Rescue! by Gamewright

Big Potato - Herd Mentality by Gamewright / Big Potato

Vinnie Banana Slug Macaroon by DOUGLAS CO., INC.

Indoor Scavenger Hunt by eeBoo

SmartMax - My First Pirates by Smart Toys and Games, Inc.

Great Pretenders - Green Dragon Set by Creative Education of Canada

Hydraulic Boxing Bots by Thames & Kosmos

The 2023 Play Award Complete List Of Finalists!


  • Mystery Key Treasure Chest by Goliath
  • Bubble Blitz by Odyssey Marketing LLC
  • Cobra Strike by Starlux Games
  • Ghosts in the Graveyard REDUX by Starlux Games
  • Trampoline Pong by Thin Air Brands
  • Bubble Blade by US Toy


  • Inspirational Nature Plant Press by DJECO
  • My Painting Pad, Jungle by Floss & Rock
  • Air Dry Clay Set by Kid Made Modern
  • Dippin’ Designs Enchanted Egg Wraps by Little Kids Inc.
  • Magic Friends Hidden Colors Magic Paint Sheets by OOLY


  • Spill Again by Fat Brain Toy Co
  • Puffaboo Elephant by Fat Brain Toy Co
  • Baby RC Airplane by IPLAY ILEARN INC
  • Dino Garage by JURATOYS US
  • Ride-OnDino Portosaurus by JURATOYS US
  • Peggy Gears by Quercetti


  • Logic! CASE Starter Puzzle Set by HABA
  • Genius Gems by MUKIKIM
  • Free Fall by Ravensburger/ThinkFun
  • Safari Park Jr. by Smart Toys and Games, Inc.
  • Tower Stacks by Smart Toys and Games, Inc.


  • Zip Linx Triple Tower Blast by Blip Toys
  • Scorpio Grip x Sting by C-bionic
  • Dino World XL by Magna-Tiles®
  • Mini Waffle City – Café by Marioinex
  • Gravity Blocks by Popular Playthings
  • Knight Bus™ by UGears


  • Mini Greenhouse Set by Dantoy/BuzzyKids
  • Outdoor Kitchen by Hape
  • Cheese and Charcuterie Board by PlanToys
  • PlayBio Kubo Shape Sorter by Quercetti
  • Jumbo Recycling Truck by Viking Toys LLC


  • 100 Pics, Countries by Asmodee
  • Wooden Stacking Blocks by Bimi Boo Kids
  • Writing Lab Montessori by Headu
  • Amelia Earhart interactive plush doll by Little Rebels


  • Beat The 8 Ball by Blue Orange Games
  • Tetris by Buffalo Games/Gamewright
  • Sleeping Queens 2 – The Rescue by Gamewright
  • Shout it Out! By MUKIKIM
  • Flashback: Zombie Kidz by Scorpion Masque
  • High Score by Thames & Kosmos


  • Herd Mentality by Gamewright/Big Potato
  • Fire Tower by Goliath
  • Reign of Dragoness by Grandpa Beck’s Games
  • Ole Guacamole by Scorpion Masque
  • Zero to 100 by Scorpion Masque


  • Weighted Giving Bear by DEMDACO
  • Vinnie Banana Slug Macaroon by Douglas Co.
  • Phoenix Wristlet Puppet by Folkmanis, Inc.
  • Bumpas, Oz by License 2 Play
  • Style 4 Ever Airbrush Plush Dino by License 2 Play/Canal Toys
  • Snuggle Puppy Hero by Snuggle Puppy


  • Sliding Toucan by Blue Orange Games
  • Indoor Scavenger Hunt by eeBoo
  • Silly Science Fine Motor Sorting Set by Learning Resources
  • Jump Jump Joey! By MW Wholesale


  • Tree House Play World by Bababoo and friends
  • Green Planet Explorers Panda’s Bamboo House by Hape
  • Holiday Camper Van by Le Toy Van
  • Shadow Theater by Papaton LLC
  • My First Pirates by Smart Toys and Games, Inc.


  • Green Dragon Set by Creative Education of Canada
  • Super Bricolo by DJECO
  • Pretendables Lemonade by Fat Brain Toy Co
  • Little Chef Cooking and Steam Playset by Hape
  • My First Baking Oven by Hape


  • Glow-in-the-Dark Rainbow Volcano Lava Lab by Learning Advantage
  • Dig It Up! Bubbling Ice Age Discovery by MW Wholesale
  • Hydraulic Boxing Bots by Thames & Kosmos
  • Trainbots: 2-in-1 STEAM Maker Kit by Thames & Kosmos
  • 2 in 1 Microscope Habitat by Thin Air Brands

Past Winners


Games 5-7: Cowpie Catapults, The Good Game Co

Games 8-10: Forklift Frenzy, Fat Brain Toy Co

Arts & Crafts: Build & Grow Tree House Faber-Castell/Creativity for Kids

Pretend Play: Super Cityscape Transport Bucket Set, Hape

Puzzles: Puzzle By Number® - 800 PC Earth, Plus-Plus

Building: Builder Set, Magna-Tiles

Preschool Games: Pancake Monster, Blue Orange Games

Science: Ultra Bionic Blaster, Thames and Kosmos

Sensory: Sensory Bin Mermaid Lagoon, Faber-Castell/Creativity for Kids

Preschool: Roboflex, Smart Toys & Games

Educational: Dig it Up! Glow in the Dark Dinosaur Eggs, MindWare

Active Play: Dueling Stomp Rockets, Stomp Rocket