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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 


2014 Award
Hape Magnetic Bullet Train
(Hape $9.99 Score:)

Have tracks? Add a sleek high-speed wooden train for the most up-to-date look. Adding new trains and props brings new life and interest to old train sets. This little train set is a neat stocking stuffer, won't-break-the-bank birthday present, or perfect for a one night of Hanukkah gift. Made of wood and painted white with blue and red trim, the four piece set is compatible with almost all wooden train tracks, so it is a good mix and match addition. Also from the same company, a four-piece set with red engine, and three other cars: an orange passenger car, a green freight car and a blue tanker.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Awards
Mudpuppy Cooper Hewitt Magnetic Letters
(Mudpuppy Press $17.99 Score:)

A set of 40 upper case magnetic letters with patterns selected from the Cooper Hewitt Museum collection. These have full magnetic coverage on the back instead of the old fashioned little magnets that were typical of letters you may have played with on the fridge. 3 & up

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Awards
Green Toys Submarine
(Green Toys $14.99 Score:)

Kids are going to love this fish-shaped submarine that not only floats, it can fill up with water (thorough the mouth and portholes to be submerged. Lift it, let it spill and spout and it floats again! Perfect for tub-time and pool. There are no small parts so this is fun for toddlers and preschool play. Made of 100% recycled plastic this is also dishwasher cleanable. It comes with a book that is mostly forgettable for the very young, but that said, this is a wonderful water toy! 12 months and up, up, up.

Age: Infants, Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Green Toys Seacopter
(Green Toys $19.99 Score:)

With two spinning rotors-one on top and one on the tail, this bright orange and blue Seacopter has pontoons for floating on the water. A teddy bear pilot is in the forward position. Good fun for dramatic play in the tub, pool or on dry land. Made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic products that are tested for safety. There is also a regular helicopter (16.99) in the line sans water pontoons for dry land only. This Seacopter is more unusual and versatile. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Awards
Mudpuppy Eric Carle Brown Bear Puzzle Wheel
(Mudpuppy Press $15.99 Score:)

Designed for the toddler beginning puzzle player. These two-sided puzzles have a center wheel that the other pieces fit around. One side of the puzzle is pure color matching. The reverse has patterns to match as well as characters from the Eric Carle books to know and name. There is a Very Hungry Caterpillar puzzle as well as this charming Brown Bear puzzle. The pieces are stored in a handsome round box. Ages 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Stacking Veggie Game
(Hape $30 Score:)


Talk about healthy living. Here's a Janga-style stacking game played with colorfully painted wooden veggies. Once they are stacked the object is to pull the greatest number of veggies without making all the others tumble. A 55-piece set. The playing pieces can also be used for sorting, counting and other original games. Marked for 3 & up, but we think you need more dexterity and predicting skills than most 3's have. We think old fours and fives would find it fun, if tricky.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Felt Crown Set, Ballet
(Mudpuppy Press $19.99 Score:)

Cleverly designed for versatility, this premade felt crown with a Velcro closing to adjust head sizes, comes with an assortment of stick on badges that can be added to the frame of the crown. Done in pink, lavender, purple, gold and white, this is a nice accessory for a ballet themed birthday or other special occasions. It will be enjoyed for other games of pretend by dancing princesses. The company makes several other crowns including a less gender specific birthday crown for boys and girls and a wonderful Pirate crown for dramatic play...yo ho ho!

SNAP:  More than a prop for pretend, this is also a toy that can be useful for refining fine motor skills and giving children with physical challenges a sense of empowerment...they can design something to wear thanks to the velcro pieces that can be lifted and rearranged.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Build a Bug Sorter
(Hape $19.99 Score:)


There are four bugs on this wooden board and eight puzzle pieces. The trick here is for tots to begin to see fine differences. Here the playing pieces fit over pegs only each bug has a different number of pegs. So this is a puzzle that calls for looking at finer details and seeing the difference between one, two, three and four pegs. 2 & up

SNAP: matching up the puzzle pieces to the on, two, three and four pegs calls for looking at details. Before you play, put some of the puzzle pieces away. Start with just one set and talk about where the pieces will fit. Add another set and put them on the post. Next mix up the pieces for two posts and work on sorting them. By going slowly, you are giving strategies for how to proceed with still more pieces.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Baby Animals Block Puzzle
(Mudpuppy Press $14.99 Score:)

Using Clare Beaton's illustrations from Who Are You, Baby Kangaroo? Each of the six illustrations features an adult animal with babies. Turning the faces of the nine blocks, players must find the right side of each block to assemble the six separate images. A classic puzzle form with new images that challenge visual perception and patience.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Little People City Skyway
(Fisher-Price $39.99 Score:)

It is a race to the surprise finish to discover where the winner is going to exit from this mighty three-foot skyway. Will it come out of the side exits or jump off a ramp. It is different every time. Besides, kids can flip the switches and to change the cars path. No batteries are needed to make the two little vehicles zip and zoom down the ramps. The set up also includes a working crane, gas pump, traffic signals, parking meter, and a gate that opens and closes. All great ingredients for early dramatic play. This is a really big piece of plastic that will be a wow-eee gift for toddlers who love playing the same game again and again. It may be a stretch for small toddlers to reach the top, but most twos will enjoy taking charge of the action. It is definitely big enough for two kids to enjoy together...think twins. Marked 18 months to 5 years. We think twos and threes are the right age for this.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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