Awards and Certificates
This section explains in detail the conditions of the certificates required for wooden toys distributed in the European Union.
With many awards toys are classified as highlighted by its design, its contribution educational or simply by its innovative role.
CE Inspection Mark + TS/PROOF
Every toy being offered in the European market for sale needs to bear the CE mark. By this, it is certified that the prescribed tests were made with positive results and that the other extensive requirements set forth in the European Toys Safety Standard EN 71 are complied with. Many a manufacturer, test their toys not only in their own test labs, but let these tests be separately carried out again in independent test institutes. For such additional and voluntary safety measure the Tested Safety(TS)/Proof mark can be used along with the CE mark. Such mark proves that the toys were not (only) tested by the manufacturer himself but (also) by an independent test institute.
CE = the toys complies with the European Safety Standard EN 71 in every respect.
The test can be done by the manufacturer himself, although he must be in a position to document and prove such test.
TS/Proof = The test on conformity with EN 71 has been made by an independent and approved test institute.
European Norm EN 71 (link to the norm declaration)
Legislation states that children require extra consumer protection, which is why toys must comply with stricter safety requirements. The uniform European EN 71 norm requires that toys undergo stress testing to guarantee that parts of a product that could be swallowed do not detach or that damage to plastic does not result in dangerous chips. Manufacturing without sharp edges or points is also required for children’s products. The manufacturer is also required to include a seal to inform consumers which age group the product is suitable for. The seal is divided into the brackets of "up to 36 months" and "36 months and older". If toys are packaged in a plastic bag, the plastic bag must be perforated and include a warning to comply with safety requirements for packaging.
This toy is recommended by: spiel gut (good toy)
What does this mean: Since 1954, educationalists, psychologists, doctors, technicians, experts in design, chemistry, electronics ... and parents - scientific and practical people - have been examining and assessing toys - from babies' rattles to material for experimenting.
They work on a honorary basis and are independent of the toy industry and retailers.
Their spiel gut recommendation signifies that this toy has been tested with children and examined by experts with a positive result.
Their criteria: play value, material, workmanship, construction, durability, safety, design, size, quantity, quality of the instructions for playing or making, suitability for the appropriate age group ...
Play + toys as educational aids: Playing always entails learning, not by means of teaching, but on the basis of personal experience - the most effective form of learning in childhood.
Physical and mental agility, social behaviour, imagination, logical thinking, planned action, powers of concentration, stamina, joy at being active and a great deal more besides, can be developed by playing, and the benefits can be seen for the rest of the child's life - at work and during leisure activities, as well as in a wide variety of other situations.
Learning to play: But playing too has to be learned. The readiness to play, which every healthy child has by its very nature, can only develop into the ability to play with careful assistance, stimulation and encouragement.
Good toys can also help in this, but only if the abilities and interests of the child are taken into consideration when choosing a toy.
Reviewer Award „Spiel des Jahres“ (Game of the year)
The reviewer award “Spiel des Jahres” was founded in 1978 by an association of leading games reviewers from the German speaking countries.
Agency: The agency of the award is the association “Spiel des Jahres e.V.” a federation of games columnists from the German speaking countries.
Purpose: The awarded distinctions of the reviewer award “Spiel des Jahres” are to promote the cultural asset games, to stimulate the idea of playing games with family and friends and to give orientation within the large choice of games available.
Awards: The focus is on the main award “Spiel des Jahres”, for which every year games of special quality are nominated. At the same time the award “Kinderspiel des Jahres” is bestowed. Additionally every year special awards for outstanding performance may be bestowed. The jury publishes a recommendation list with a selection of the best games of the current year which, since 2004, replaces the so-called selection list.
Activities of the Association: Further to the awards “Spiel des Jahres” and “Kinderspiel des Jahres” the association “Spiel des Jahres e.V.” does public relations work throughout the year for games in the family and community and supports the media by reporting on games. At trade fairs and game festivals it gives consumer advice. It supports social institutions with the adoption of games. The association assists young games authors by giving grants, additionally making available subsidies and printing grants for scientific research on games.
The Design Plus award is a title awarded by an international jury of recognised experts to the winners among all the entries sent in by the exhibitors at the Ambiente trade fair in Frankfurt.
The Design Plus title is presented in the form of a certificate to the exhibitor or manufacturer as well as to the designers who played a leading role in making the product. As long as a winning product is offered for sale unchanged, the exhibitor or manufacturer is allowed to mark it with the official Design Plus signet together with the year the award was won.
The Design Plus competition is organised by "Initiative Form und Leben".