Toy testing toddlers turn work into play

Published on Wednesday, 26 September 2018 14:01
Written by Erica Drzewiecki


NEWINGTON - Toddlers at one school in town spent the week doing official national business.

They played with toys.

The Goddard School of Newington was one of 50 in the nation to be recruited by its parent company for the 2018 Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Toy Test. Now in its eleventh year, the competition vetted 30 different playthings against each other in a battle for favoritism by infants to kids up to six years old.

A top 10 list is expected to be announced on Nov. 1, just in time for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends to complete their holiday shopping.

“They’re from all different brands and for all different age groups,” Newington owner Ron Mavumkal said, picking up empty boxes from the collection unveiled Tuesday morning.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” he added. “I know as a child I would have loved to test toys.”

The company, which has 500 U.S. locations and counting, dubs the event, “Every Child’s Dream Job.”

Mavumkal’s two daughters are among the school’s 81 students and took part in the fun with their classmates.

Toys were unwrapped, some put together, and all put out for kids to explore as they headed into their classrooms.

“Teachers observe the students and take notes on the toys they gravitate towards,” Mavumkal explained. “The results are sent back to Goddard.”

Carmel Marquis, 3, was perplexed by Toomies Flappee Stackees, toy animals that “come alive” as they are piled together. His little hands worked to connect an elephant’s tail and trunk to its body as the creature began tweaking. After it resembled the king of the Kalahari Desert, the last piece fitted into a wheeled car and drove away.

This one was popular with all the kids, teachers reported.

“The elephant you push down and drive around,” preschool teacher Melanie Matos said when Mavumkal asked her the morning’s coveted selection. “The kids love it.”

SmartMax’s My First Farm Animals were also among the most played with toys this week. These click together with magnetic force and are suitable for kids ages one to five.

Then there was the Pop Oh Ver Deluxe Kitchen Stove Set, which was sent with pretend food, pots and pans.

Quercetti Migoga Marble Run came with an elevator operated by hand-crank, lifting marbles up to the top of a roller coaster-like maze. A lever propelled them down colorful chutes and across bridges held up by columns.

“That was pretty popular,” teacher Alexandra Rodriguez reported.

A toy test committee selected this year’s contenders. Criteria included a price tag of $40 or less and an ability to inspire creative collaboration, skill development and interactive play. Schools applied to participate.

“We get to keep the toys after the test is over,” Mavumkal said.

He and his wife opened the school last December in the rear of the Newington Business Park on Alumni Road. They’ve been adding more students and opening new classrooms ever since.

“Since we missed the fall last year we had a lot of new enrollments over the summer,” Mavumkal said. “We grew tremendously over the last few months.”

Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or

Posted in Newington Town Crier, Newington News on Wednesday, 26 September 2018 14:01. Updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2018 14:04.