Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Pretend Play
Subcategories: Miniature Settings

 


2015 Award
Fisher Price Thomas & Friends Daring Dragon Drop
(Fisher-Price $40 Score:)

A fun add-on for the Thomas & Friends train fans. This setting has plenty of action. Thomas rides along the track until he goes through a gate that sets off a volcano that lights up and rumbles. As Thomas reaches the top he slips into a zip line transporter style carrier that slips down and though the dragon's archway. The action is done without batteries and although it's a pretty closed system and may lose it's novelty before long, as an added setting for the train set, it adds a new element of action that will give the old train set a new focus. It's designed as a fold up take along, but it is not all that compact. 3 & up

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

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2015 Awards
Calico Critters Family Seven Seater
(International Playthings $39.99 Score:)

Built for a large family of Calico Critters, this navy blue seven seater has an open air top, doors that open on either side, a door to the trunk and wheels that really roll. It has two seats up front, two full benches and car seats that fit over the benches for the littlest passengers. Of course, the passengers are not included. Don't be deceived, they show critters on the box. But if your kids collect these cute little families, this will be a welcome prop for pretend play. 3 & up.

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

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2015 Awards
Janod Grand Prix Story Pop-Open Play Set Case
(Janod $49.99 Score:)

Pricey--but a most unusual puzzle that becomes a wonderful miniature play setting. Stored in a grandstand box that opens (and holds all the playing pieces) there is a 21-piece cardboard track that can be put together in many different shapes. In fact, there are drawings of some of the ways to do this that will challenge kids to experiment. Our testers like the open-endedness of the tracks that allows for  variety. Once the track is assembled let the races begin. Four colorful little wooden racing cars with drivers ready to go come in this road and track set for young players 3 & up.

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

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2015 Awards
Diggin Kitchen
(Diggin $45.99 Score:)

A compact kitchen with stove top burners, an oven door that opens, storage for the wooden accessories, the spoons, spatula, knife, fork plate pizza, egg and donít forget the pepper shaker(might be salt, you know.) All made of eco-friendly bamboo and trims in pink and blue. When play time is over it all packs away in a storage box with easy to tot handle. 3 & up.

SNAP: A good choice for tabletop pretend play that will fit on a wheelchair table or accessible surface.

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

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2015 Award
Neat Oh Dinosaur Brings Along Backpack
(Neat-Oh $19.99 Score:)

This is for the youngest dinohaulic, the one who likes to take his dinos along. The small green vinyl backpack opens to reveal a world where dinos can roam on a small playmat.  It comes with one T-rex figure. 3 & up

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

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2013 Award
Hexbug Nano V2 Black Hole
(Innovation First $49.99 Score:)

Hexbugs are fun all on their own, but we really love this new system with see-thru tubes. The little robotic vibrating bugs now make their way up and down the chutes and then free fall into the black hole - only to re-emerge on the base of the set and begin the trek again. We combined the Black Hole set (with 58 pieces and two nanos) with the Infinity Loop and the Watch Tower. Putting these sets together will require some parental assistance. What we really love about this set is that involves some building and then the play begins. Everyone who plays with this toy starts talking about what may happen next and where the bugs may go. You can change the set around so it's not static - there are also gates that can be moved to change the direction of the bugs. Occasionally the bugs did get jammed in one of the chutes - usually a little shake will move them. Sometimes we had to open the chute to unclog - but that's part of the fun.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
International Playthings Calico Critters Supermarket
(International Playthings $60 Score:)

Our brother/ sister tester team really loved all the details in this super elaborate supermarket. They spent hours putting the merchandise on display and then hours more playing pretend games. It comes with over 100 pieces including fruits, vegetables, bread, fish, canned food, drinks, cookies, ice cream, shopping cart, check-out counter with cash register, display stands, and more. However, like other sets in this collection, it does not come with critters, though they are shown on the packaging. So, be sure to add some critters for their dramatic play. Marked 3 & up, but we think older children will appreciate all the tiny pieces even more. Our testers were 6 & 8 and not too old for these settings.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Brio Adventure Tunnel
(Brio $39.99 Score:)

We're always looking for add-on props to enliven train play. Action figures can climb up the side of this Adventure Tunnel with a lift up walking bridge on top. Figures can slide down one side or use the stone steps on the other side. Meanwhile, the train can go right under them. However, there are no figures in the package. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2013.

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2010 Award
Plan Toys Planimal Australia Series
(Plan Toys $30 Score:)

One of new series of articulated wooden animals that are perfect for block settings or pretend play. The four animals featured in the Australia set are a kangaroo with baby in her pouch, a koala, wombat and emu. The set comes with cardboard habitat that they can be displayed on. The back of the display has factoids about the habitat and each of the creatures. These are handsome little figures that are smooth to the touch and articulated so that they can stand, sit, or lie down. Even their heads can be moved to look down or upward. The emu with it's long neck is wonderfully articulated, though not always steady on its feet. A nice blend of pretend and science. 3 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

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

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2002 Award
Matchbox Hero Highway Motorized Playset
(Mattel $39 Score:) Testers loved all the ramps and roadways of this motorized highway with a conveyer belt that takes cars up, up, up and on their way down alternating passes with breakaway guardrails and collapsing bridges. Testers used this in setups with blocks and other vehicles. 3 and up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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