Local preschoolers become toy testers ahead of the holidays

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It looks like play time at The Goddard School in south Reno as a classroom full of four-year-olds and five-year-olds huddle around different games. However, the preschoolers are actually in the middle of an important task: they are testing out some of the newest toys to hit the market this year. What they think matters to those who manufacture them.

"It's super unique; I think that these kids get this opportunity to have their input matter," says Lauren Wendell, who teaches the class.

The kids are part of the annual Goddard School Toy Test. Manufacturers from around the country have given the school more than two dozen toys for the kids to try out.

"Our teachers will monitor and supervise how the children play with those toys and ask open-ended questions about how the children are enjoying them," says Ryan Motherway, owner of The Goddard School in south Reno.

Four-year-old Colton Weeden says, so far, his top choice is the Make-A-Pet toy.

"I made a cat and a dog and I put tails and heads and ears," he says, referring to the game that encourages kids to be creative when using magnets to construct animals on a board.

"A lot of these games require a lot of thinking," says Wendell. "For instance, in the lemonade game, they have to do a lot of thinking in terms of memorizing patterns, so a lot of these games are very thought provoking."

In the older kids' classrooms, kids will be voting for their favorite games. For the younger kids, teachers will be monitoring their engagement. So far, the xylophones seem to be a big hit in the class that's mainly made up of one-year-olds.

"I know at this age, they're not really understanding how their input could matter yet," says Wendell. "But they're having a lot of fun in the process and I think that's what's really important."

About 50 Goddard schools from around the country are participating in this toy testing. Their results will be compiled and the Top 10 Preschooler-Approved List will be released in November.