Eastern to Reveal Toy of the Year

Written by Michael Rouleau

TIMPANIlogo-150x150Just in time for the holiday season, Eastern Connecticut State University will reveal its 2017 TIMPANI toy of the year on Dec. 6 during a 10 a.m. press conference in the Joinery of the Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE). TIMPANI stands for “Toys that Inspire Mindful Play and Nurture Imagination,” and is an internationally acclaimed study conducted by Eastern faculty and undergraduate students. Following the press conference, members of the media will be invited to tour the University’s childcare center and observe the toys in action.

Now in its eighth year, the annual study investigates how young children play with a variety of toys in natural settings. Ten toys were selected this year for the study by teachers, faculty and student researchers of the CECE.

The toys were placed in preschool classrooms at the University’s Child and Family Development Resource Center, and student researchers used hidden cameras to videotape children playing with the toys. Researchers then coded the footage according to the study’s evaluation rubric, which includes four subscales: thinking and learning, cooperation and social interaction, creativity and imagination, and verbalization. For this year’s study, researchers coded nearly 8,000 five-minute observations.

Previous TIMPANI toys include Plus-Plus® by Plus-Plus® (2016), Wooden Cash Register by Hape (2015); Paint and Easel by Community Playthings and Hot Wheels Cars by Mattel (2014); Magna-Tiles by Valtech and My First Railway by Brio (2013); Duplo Blocks by LEGO (2012); Tinker Toys by Hasbro (2011); Wooden Vehicles and Signs by Melissa and Doug (2010).

TIMPANI results have been widely reported, including by sources such as International Business Times, All-Jazeera America and television news programs across the country. The instrument used in the study has been shared by request with researchers all over the world, including Turkey.

Note to news media: Come to the Dec. 6 press conference to find out the identity of the 2017 TIMPANI toy. For more information, contact the Center for Early Childhood Education at (860) 465-0687 or visit www.easternct.edu/cece/timpani/.