Think You Have A Great STEAM Toy?


Earn an Official ‘Stamp of Approval’ for Your Product

By Kristin Morency Goldman

Companies with outstanding STEAM toys and games are encouraged to participate in the toy industry’s only official STEAM Toy Accreditation Program for a chance to receive an official “STEAM Stamp of Approval” for their products.

Launched by The Toy Association and Dr. Gummer’s Good Play Guide ™, the STEAM Toy Accreditation Program is the first official standard for the toy industry that evaluates and certifies STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) products for children.

This initiative, which provides toy companies with an independent, third-party product review and stamp of approval, is the latest step in The Toy Association’s multi-year undertaking to bring more clarity, both within the toy industry and among consumers, to the growing movement of STEM/STEAM products for children.

“Parents and other gift-givers can at times feel overwhelmed while searching for high-quality educational toys and games for their children,” explained Anna Yudina, senior director of marketing initiatives at The Toy Association. “Earning the STEAM Stamp of Approval can help your product stand out in front of shoppers this holiday season and throughout the year, and ultimately boost sales – as well as open the doors to various promotional opportunities that come with being accredited.”

“Within the toy industry there is a lot of talk about STEM and STEAM, but until now we’ve had no universally accepted system or uniform understanding of what is or isn’t ‘good enough’ to warrant such a label,” added Dr. Amanda Gummer, child psychologist and founder of the Good Play Guide™. “This commitment from The Toy Association is a huge move for the industry which now sets a clear benchmark for future STEAM product and activities development.”

Products submitted for consideration will first be tested by the industry’s most demanding audience – children. While the kids play, they will be observed by professionals who have been trained to carry out research with children in a robust and ethically responsible way. The toys will then be evaluated by the Good Play Guide’s™ team of experts, who will ensure they meet the strict criteria outlined in The Toy Association’s “STEAM Toy Assessment Framework,” which defines and details the specific characteristics of a good STEAM toy for various age groups, including: 1) whether the toy is fun, accessible, inclusive, and has good play value; 2) whether it has all six key attributes that should underlie a STEAM toy (active involvement, real-world relevance, logical thinking, arts, free exploration, and support of step-by-step learning); and 3) whether it builds age-appropriate skills in at least two of the four STEM-specific areas (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Accredited products will receive the STEAM Stamp of Approval for use in marketing campaigns, product packaging and listings, and all other digital and traditional marketing platforms, and will be featured on the websites and social channels of both the Good Play Guide™ and The Toy Association’s Genius of Play.

Accredited toys can also be featured in the Good Play Guide’s ™ marketing campaigns throughout the year and in the run-up to the busy holiday season.

Companies will receive a promotional toolkit, including a template press release, sample social media posts, and images with the seal, to help get the word out about their accredited toys to consumers and media.

Toy professionals who would like to learn more about this opportunity and how to make sure their products stand out in front of those who are evaluating submissions are encouraged to watch a webinar that provides an in-depth look at the program (visit www.ToyAssociation.org/webinars to access the recording).

Complete details about the STEAM Toy Accreditation Program can be found online at ToyAssociation.org/STEAM.

Questions about The Toy Association’s STEM/STEAM initiative may be directed to steam@toyassociation.org.

This article appeared in the October 2021 issue of TFE Magazine.