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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 

 
2015 Awards
eeBoo Back to School Magnetic Playboard
(eeBoo $15 Score:)

A new version of the 'make me a story' collection that may be very helpful for kids with back to school jitters. It's metal playboard with a school setting provides the background for a classroom full of playful creatures and their wise old owl teacher. The magnetic backing on the playing pieces can be moved about as kids make up their own stories using the characters created by illustrator, Kevin Hawkes. A good prop for dramatic play or talking through typical angst over the opening of school and new situations. This is not for kids who still mouth their toys. The playing pieces are large and reasonably easy to move about. Good for story telling, listening, and pretend play.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015.

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2015 Award
Project Mc2 Doll Bryden and Glow Stick Experiment
(MGA Entertainment $24.99 Score:)

One of a new collection of Mc2 dolls that comes with a different science experiment for each doll--experiments that really work! Fashionably dressed in patterned stretch tights, glitzy turquoise shorts and orange starred cut off top, Bryden, a girl of color is a beauty who also likes science. She comes with directions and the parts for making a working glow stick. The kit, does not include food coloring or tonic water that will be needed for following the step by step directions. Like the other dolls in this line she's more than just a pretty face. A playful way into STEM learning. 6 & up.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Guidecraft Power Clix Solids
(Guidecraft $99 Score:)

A 70-piece set of translucent magnified pieces in geometric shapes. These handsome pieces are an invitation for kids to explore creating new shapes and forms. It's a more open-ended kind of building material that can be used to make abstract designs rather than heavily representational art. Kids are likely to reproduce what they see on the back of the box or in the creativity guide, but hopefully, before long they will try inventions of their own and learn about symmetry and balance in a hands-on unique way. This set, unlike others in the collection is designed for the younger players and all magnets are embedded inside the plastic for safety. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015.

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2015 Award
LEGO Juniors Supermarket Suitcase
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

For your older preschooler and early school age child who has outgrown Duplos and is ready for a little more complex building, this 134-piece Lego Juniors Supermarket Suitcase is a great transition set. It includes a easy to build supermarket with an ice cream bar, vegetable stand plus a bright red scooter and two minifigures and a cat. It becomes a mini-setting for dramatic play as they sort the fruit and other accessories, such as flowers, bread, bottles, and veggies. Testers liked all the small details, including a cash register, money and ice cream. We think it's unfortunate that this one is packed in pink. Supermarkets are fun for boys and girls and this one could have been gender neutral. That said, it is a fun set. 4-7

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
LEGO Juniors Fire Suitcase
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

For that older preschooler and early school age child who has outgrown his duplos and is ready for more complex building, this 134-piece Lego Juniors Fire Suitcase is on the mark. Kids can build a fire helicopter, motorbike and a base station. It includes a number of fun accessories for dramatic play: 2 firefighter minifigures, a water hose, map, barrier, fire and lights. Includes easy instructions for the easy build. 4-7

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Fisher-Price Imaginext Ultra T-Rex
(Fisher-Price $99.99 Score:)

For dino-haulics of a certain age, this Ultra T-Rex will be a heavily promoted holiday gift. This is no toy for the timid. It walks, it stomps, it roars and goes from crouching to standing at full height—2 ˝ feet tall! But that's not all, it opens its toothy jaws and closes them with chomping sounds. Sound and motion are blended with lights on its spikes and eyes that will scare off any little sisters or brothers. T-Rex can even fire boulders from its chest and claws (they do not go far; they sort of fall to the ground so they are not a safety problem as so many projectile toys can be.) Okay, it's true, this is a novelty toy that will probably gather dust before long, and end up in the landfill; that said, we have to admit, dino lovers are going to be wowed by this gy-normous motorized plastic-saurus. It will come to life with 4 AA batteries. Marked 36 months to 8 years. We say 5-7 is probably prime time for this one. AWARD pending testing.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Step 2 Wonder Ball Fun House
(Step 2 $149.99 Score:)

Toddlers love settings that are built to their scale. Step 2's new Wonder House comes with a red half door to enter the small playspace. What's unique about this house is the ball drop design. The game play is to toss the balls onto the green roof of the house. They then trickle down the upright tubes on the corners and then down into the base. Out for testing! Award pending. Stay tuned!

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Crayola Color Wonder Light-up Stamper
(Crayola $19.99 Score:)

Color Wonder has added a mess-free stamping set that will be satisfying for preschoolers. Kids put the stamper over the orange ink pad and the handle magically lights up orange! Stamp and you get an orange image. Hold it over the green ink pad and the handle will light up green. Now stamp it on the paper and you have a green image. Do the same with the purple ink pad. The kit comes with 12 pages of special paper for stamping. Three mini markers and 10 ocean-themed stamps. You simply change the images by slipping them on and off the stamper.  

SNAP: A playful way to get kids to build grasping and eye hand skills. The gripper on the stamper is pretty chunky, but it can be adapted with velcro applied to handle and to a glove, or enlarged by wrapping it with foam. Either way, the pay-off is pleasing for making designs on placemates, or wrapping paper for gifts. Encourage them to make patterns by demoing simple alternating colors.

They can use the stampers for making a counting book. Make up a pre-stapled booklet and write the numerals or number words from 1-5 or 1-10.  Have your child stamp the right number of fish (or other stamper) to go on each page.Kids love having books to "read" that they have made, especially if you put their name on the front cover.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Manhattan Toy Groovy Boy Asher
(Manhattan Toy $15 Score:)

We are always on the lookout for boy dolls and this a great example. Asher is wearing khaki shorts and a blue and white striped shirt with a skull and bones. He has brownish yarn hair and his clothes are removable. With stitch features, he's totally safe for younger players.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Mega Bloks Scooping Wagon
(Fisher-Price $34.99 Score:)

Loaded with twenty big mega bloks, this tot-sized red wagon has a big easy grip blue handle with a buildable section. Toddlers can wheel their blocks from one place to another and enjoy filling and spilling them, often as much as building with them. This little wagon has a scoop at the bottom BUT it only sort of works sometimes, and not very well. You have to push the wagon rather than pull it over the blocks. But it does seems more intuitive to pick up by pulling the wagon. That said, this is a big toy keyed into toddlers love of locomotion; their own and anything with wheels. Marked 12 months to 5 years, we would say-- a good choice for steady on their feet toddlers 18 months and up. Not likely to be of interest past 3. Award pending testing

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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