If you are not familiar with it, the Canadian Toy Testing Council is a 55-year-old non-profit that enlists the volunteer aid of families to subject toys to the most rigorous testing possible – at the hands of kids.
The council’s philosophy is to evaluate each toy from a child’s perspective and gain their input. Each toy is evaluated based on its design, function, safety, durability, battery consumption and play value.
My wife and her sisters were toy testers for many years. We were given toys based on the kids’ genders and ages, they would play with the toy for several weeks and the parents would submit written evaluations.
Each year, these efforts by the various testing families are distilled into a report, just in time for the holiday shopping season, with the council’s recommendations for the best toys.
This process falls into the category of exploratory qualitative research, something for which a client of ours, Macadamian, is a tireless proponent.