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This article was published 21/11/2011 (1986 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A total of 18 dedicated volunteers -- mostly college students -- with Project Peacemakers fanned out and rated this year's hottest kids' toys recently. This isn't Santa's checklist: It's the 10th toy inspection with the annual theme that "Violence is Not Child's Play."
On Monday, a spokeswoman with the Children's Museum of Winnipeg figured their toy shop rated tops because the museum has nothing to do with violent toys or videos.
Lisa Dziedzic said the store only stocks items from the museum's collection.
"We exist to spark kids' creative learning to interact, explore and engage with each other," Dziedzic said.
Janelle Freed, Project Peacemakers' spokeswoman in Winnipeg, said the trend is toward toys geared to specific age groups -- and that's a good thing.
"We think it's getting less violent, because of ratings on packaging. It makes parents more aware of who these toys should be purchased for, whether it's for a child from (age) two to four or a child eight and up," Freed said.
On its website, the local chapter of Project Peacemakers describes itself as "a body of people who are working for peace from a faith perspective."
As it does every year just before the holiday season, the group sends volunteers out to independent toy shops and chains, looking at whether or not stores promote violent toys or put displays with military themes or violence at eye level for young children.
There's a separate category for electronics, including video games. And guns are definitely frowned on.
There were a couple of points they discovered worth noting: The team visited a local Walmart, but the manager didn't want the findings published without the volunteers going through the chain's corporate public relations office first, so Walmart didn't make the list; and at one Zellers store, the team found a worker they praised for being a stickler on checking ratings labels before selling video games.
Toy stores' stories
The Children's Museum toy shop was the only store in Winnipeg rated 'Excellent' because it stocks no violent toys, Project Peacemakers concluded in their annual Violence is Not Child's Play toy report.
In the 'Commendable' category were A Child's Place, Hans Christian Toys, Scholar's Choice and Toad Hall.
BJ's Toy Store and Kite and Kaboodle were in the 'Acceptable' category, while Dollarama, Toys "R" Us and Zellers were said to be 'Needing improvement.'