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Product Type: Toys
Award: Blue Chip
Age: Preschoolers

 

 
2011 Awards
Colorforms 60th Anniversary Edition
(University Games $26 Score:)

What could be better than bringing home one of your childhood favorite toys and sharing it with your children or grandchildren? That's what you can do with this replica of the original Colorforms Set that has 350 geometric pieces in a spiral book and playboards to put them on. Unlike all the licensed images that followed since 1951, this is a more open ended set that allows kids to create their own themes. There is a small insert with images that can be copied, but best of all, this is an invitation to explore and discover how shapes can be transformed into designs and less literal images from one's own imagination. It's also an art form with no messy residue and no right or wrong rules. Getting the pages started may call for some adult help, but playing with the shapes develops fine motor skills, dexterity, and creative thinking.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Awards
Guidecraft One to Four Sorter
(Guidecraft $25 Score:)

Hands-on learning is built-in to this classic math for beginners puzzle. There are 16 wooden pieces that fit on the rounded pegs. They have 1-2-3 or 4 holes that fit on the 1-2-3 or 4 pegs. The smooth wooden pieces are colored with aniline dyes and made of eco-friendly rubberwood. Everything fits on the smooth natural finished base. Use these for color sorting as well as matching numbers. This comes with a small activity booklet with good ideas for introducing the toy and math and color concepts. This also develops fine motor skills and eye hand coordination. 2 & up.

SNAP: A good choice for beginning counting skills and developing visual discrimination.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Awards
Cabbage Patch Preppy Boy
(Jakks Pacific $34.99 Score:)

Boy dolls are still not too abundant, yet boys and girls both like having boy dolls. This classic Cabbage Patch doll has a soft huggable body and is dressed with khaki chinos a striped buttoned shirt. He has big blue eyes and a pair of dark framed glasses. The glasses, a small extra, just might be a great hit for kids who are also wearing glasses. This is one of a collection of 14" newly refreshed Cabbage Patch dolls.

3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2011.

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2011 Awards
Cabbage Patch Fashionalities
(Jakks Pacific $34.99 Score:)

Take your pick of these 12 charming Cabbage Patch dolls. This newly reintroduced line includes both boys and girls, fair and dark haired, in many skin tones and cute easy on and off clothes. Many come with glasses that are especially pleasing for kids who also wear them. These are 14" soft fabric dolls with their typically silly faces and huggable bodies. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2011.

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2011 Awards
Lucky Ducks Sesame Street Edition
(Hasbro $29.99 Score:)

We gave the original Lucky Ducks game an award years ago when it first arrived on the scene. In this new edition, the game play has not changed but Ernie has been added to the motorized game board. Players stand in front of one of four color symbols- their home base. When the game begins players take turns picking up a duckie hoping to be the first to collect three ducks with their home symbol on the bottom. It's a fun matching game that reinforces color and shape concepts as well as turn taking and learning about the gamesmanship reality--you win some and lose some. There is no reading involved in this preschool matching game. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Awards
Colorama
(Ravensburger $20 Score:)

If you're looking for a game to reinforce color and shape concepts, Colorama is a strong choice.  Roll the dice. If you get a circle and red--you need to place one of the red circles on the board. The game is over once the board is completed filled in.  A good parent/child game or a game to be played cooperatively by a group of kids working on the same skills.  Colorama will have a short term appeal - but when you're in that knowing and naming zone for colors and shapes, it provides a fun way to build your child's competence and confidence.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Awards
Shark Attack
(Patch Products $19.99 Score:)

First introduced to a generation of kids in 1988, Shark Attack is back!  Our testers loved that the motorized shark moved around the board with the possibility of eating the fish (each player has a fish on the board).  You need to roll the die to keep ahead of the shark. The last fish on the board wins!  Rounds go pretty quickly.  A fun game for kids 5 and up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Awards
Calico Critters 2010
(International Playthings $19.99 Score:)

A wonderful collection of animal families are ready for pretend play in the Calico Critter Treehouse or with use them with blocks or other miniature settings. Among our favorites this year are the Pickleweed Hedgehogs, Ellwood Elephants, Sugar Bears, and Milky Mouse families.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2001 Awards
Lauri Alphabet Puzzle Boards
(Patch $29.99 Score:)

Crepe rubber puzzle boards.  There is one 5 piece puzzle for each letter of the alphabet. Each board has an upper and lower case letter and an object that starts with that sound. There are a lot of Alphabet puzzles around, but these have cut out letters that give kids a 'feel' for the shape and direction of the letters.

SNAP IDEAS: Kids can trace the letters or use them for spelling out their names. When kids are learning letters it's fun to put three in a bag and have child feel inside without looking. Can she pull out the letter "T" or one that says "M-m-m-m."

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2001. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2001 Awards
Color Wonder Paper and Markers
(Crayola $7.99 Score:)

This innovative art material is great for travel as well as home because the chunky markers are colorless and won't stain anything. Best of all, they have a magic quality-they turn color as kids draw on the special paper. This comes with coloring books that keep color inside the lines, but we prefer the open-ended paper that kids can use any way they like. 2 & up.

SNAP INFO: There's something magical about these markers with colorless tips that turn to true colors when used on special paper. A great choice for encouraging kids to develop the eye hand skills they need for writing. Activity: Use a crayon or regular marker to make dots kids can connect with the special markers. Draw dots to form letters, numbers, or pictures.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2001. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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