What is the A+ Award?

At, our goal is to provide parents with resources to support their kids’ unique educational and developmental needs, and to make learning more fun. That’s why every year we pound the pavement and comb the aisles in search of the best toys, books, and games out there. Want to know what it takes to make the grade? These are our three main requirements:


Our reviews are grade-specific. Therefore, each product’s learning outcome is tied to a particular piece of curriculum, whether that be fine-motor skills in preschool, probability in fourth grade, or creative writing skills for high school. We also consider products that work on “whole child” learning concepts, such as confidence, sharing, or physical fitness.


We seek out products that have been tested for lead and phthalates, or those made of natural materials. We look for products that are developmentally appropriate for children, and skip over toys that promote aggression or violence.


The educational and developmental benefits are important, but they'll only happen if the product is fun, and by that we mean:

  • it engages the imagination.
  • it challenges a child without frustrating him.
  • it inspires a healthy amount of competitive spirit.
  • it has repeat play value.
  • the game is complex enough so that it grows with the child as his abilities improve.
  • it sparks creativity.

Check out our A+ Award winners.

What Sets Our Reviews Apart?

  • Each review includes information about the learning value of the product, whether it’s improved reading or on-the-fly math practice.
  • Neither marketing nor advertising has any input in which products are considered by our independent panel.
  • There is no charge to be considered for the A+ Award, nor is there a fee for using our A+ Award seal if your product is chosen.

The Selection Process

For every review, we go through a grueling research process. Our team of teachers, parents, curriculum specialists, and, of course, kids, puts these products through the paces. Each product is taken out of its package and evaluated for game play, learning potential, and the quality of the material. We give between 40 and 50 A+ Awards per year, based on what most impressed us.

Browse our gift guide

We’ve found the best products for each grade to help build your child’s brain, and they’re chock full of fun! Browse our recommendations.

Are you a member of the media?

Whether you’re covering early childhood development or the road to college, we have A+ Awards that align with that topic. Please contact for more details.