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Toy News

October 23, 2005
Hamley's Prize for Best Toy
CreAtiles Wins Top Toy Award Hamley's Prize for Best Toy

Tiny North London firm beats toy firm giants Creative play and imagination triumphs over technology. The prize has a track record for predicting the Christmas bestsellers.

Jonathan Ross announced the winner of the Hamleys Prize for the Best Toy 2005 today, October 23, at the flagship Hamleys store on Regent Street, London. creAtiles, from Fiesta Crafts, was chosen from the seven category winners as the best toy of 2005.

creAtiles is a unique set of 49 soft brightly coloured 'tiles' and accessories that will provide hours of creative play for imaginative children. 'We made dolls houses, trains, puppet theatres, boats...The ideas went to infinity and beyond!' says 8 year-old Sebastian King, from one of the family testing panels.

creAtiles, a low-tech, high imagination play set, is in stark contrast to last year's high technology winner, Robosapien. It is also at odds with the British Toy Retailers' Associations list of predicted Christmas bestsellers which reflected a trend for hi-tech character toys.

Fiesta Crafts, a small north London based company, is run by brothers Andrew and Richard Bacon. creAtiles was a team effort with the 12 employees of the company all involved in its creation and development. The company has been running for 15 years and specialises in a niche market of unusual fabric and wooden toys.

Andrew Bacon, Director of Fiesta Crafts, comments: 'Designing creAtiles was by far the most fun we ever had developing any of our toys. It is hard to convince people that what we do is work, when we are dressing each other up as robots or sitting in the middle of our office in a pretend boat or house. The more we 'worked' on creAtiles, the more we found new things that could be made - and I am sure we still have not discovered half of the possibilities yet.'

creAtiles beat a shortlist of six other category-winning toys, ranging from a camcorder for kids to a nine mph go-kart. The seven winners were whittled down from over a hundred toys submitted. The toys were rigorously tested by the toughest judges of all - children. Six family panels from throughout the UK had the enviable task of play-testing the toys all summer and drawing up the shortlists. The celebrity judging panel selected the category winners and the overall winning toy from these shortlists in a hotly-debated meeting which was chaired by toy enthusiast Jonathan Ross. Jonathan was joined by an impressive line up of fellow panellists: journalist and author, Rebecca Abrams; designer, Wayne Hemingway; psychiatrist, Dr Raj Persaud and award-winning children's author, Jacqueline Wilson.

Jonathan Ross, chair of judges, comments: 'I've had a brilliant time testing all the best new toys for the Hamleys Prize this year. We had a laugh playing with all the toys which made the job so amusing. We all loved creAtiles - perfect for inspiring young imaginations.'

Nick Mather, CEO of Hamleys, comments: 'I'm delighted to see such an original and creative toy win this year's Hamleys Prize. This is exactly the kind of innovation Hamleys seeks to showcase and it's also wonderful to see a toy that encourages children to play in a more traditional way. It's great to see a small manufacturer punching above their weight.'

THE CATEGORY WINNERS

  • The One of a Kind Toy for the most original and quirky toy.
    CREATILES (Fiesta Crafts) OVERALL WINNER
    Unique fabric and velcro tiles to create theatres, houses, transport, parks, robots, planes - a new toy everyday, just add imagination

  • The Bright Young Things Toy for the best educational or developmental toy.
    THOMAS AROUND THE RAILS GAME (Ravensburger)
    A pre-school boardgame featuring the ever-popular Thomas the Tank Engine, with a train that goes round a track rather than a counter moving along a board.

  • The Toy for Tomorrow for the best use of technology
    I-VIDEO (Vivid Imaginations)
    A digital video camera specially for kids, which can be plugged into the TV to edit and watch the films they have made

  • The Toy That Makes You Turn Off the TV for the toy with family fun appeal
    MAKE N BREAK (Ravensburger)
    A pressure-packed game in which the family is challenged to make wooden structures against the clock.

  • The Twelfth Night Toy for longevity and play value - a toy that will still be played with long after the Christmas tree has come down
    BILLY KART (Character Options)
    A 24 volt electric powered kart with a unique steering and accelerator system and high tensile steel frame.

  • The Wonderland Toy for the toy which most encourages imaginative play
    DRAGON MOUNTAIN (Mega Bloks)
    A giant mountain playset which can be built into many configurations, with plenty of dragons?

  • The One They Thought Was Just Magic for an extra-special toy that defies categorization
    STREET GLIDERS (Hy-Pro)
    A new generation of skates, consisting of just two light-up wheels (no batteries...), they slot onto the heel of any shoe.

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