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Product Type: Toys
Award: SNAP
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Review Year: 2012

 

 
2012 Awards
Plan Chalet House with Furniture
(Plan Toys $167.49 Score:)

An unusual modern-style dollhouse. This big three story chalet comes in two parts. Kids can rearrange them into different configurations. The open wall and roof design makes it accessible by several children at a time. We are not crazy about the color scheme and we wish it came with play figures as well as the furniture. Note: the colors online are different from the toy we tested. The roof is orange not yellow as pictured. Figures are extra. Made of recycled rubber wood, it has the look of pressed or composition board and it is stained, rather than painted. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
4M Bubble Science
(4M Kidzlabs $12.99 Score:)

A great way to explore the science of bubbles! Includes a tray, a pyramid framed wand, a cube frames wand, other shaped wands, yarn, straws, wand sticks, a mouthpiece to form a cone shaped blower, a small container of bubble solution and best of all an experiment booklet for making all sort of bubble magic happen. You will need to add more dish washing detergent. Younger kids will need your help with reading the directions and your participation in making some of the experiments work. That said, this is an interesting kit that our tester really loved. Making a bubble within a bubble took some try-try-again efforts, but in the end there was triumph! 5 & up with parent's help. 8 & up independently.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Huggalo Collection
(Huggalo $19.95 Score:)

Huggalos are soft huggable dolls with a dedicated place on their chest for placing a photo of someone special. There's Doodle Dude (made of canvas and intended to be written on), Camo Joe (done in green fleece camaflouge), Huggsley (our favorite - he comes with a cape and is clearly the super hero of the line), and Camo Flo (same idea as Camo Joe but done in pink).  We think this collection will have an audience with not only the preschool set--but tweens/teens.  The line has a sense of humor and whimsy to it that will likely have wide appeal.

SNAP: Having a photo of a family member can be a comfort take-along when going out into the world. This one is less young looking than most and a little more amusing.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Blabla Giant Pumpkin
(blabla kids $196 Score:)

Three feet tall and ready to listen, dance, and play pretend, Pumpkin is dressed in an adorable striped dress. She has rosy cheeks, and reddish hair. Oversized dolls like this one become more than decorations in a child's room. They often become the play companion of tea parties, storytime, and bedtime, too. Blabla makes a number of giant size dolls. This is the most humanoid of the group and a smaller version of the doll is also available.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Awards
Imaginetics Race Day
(International Playthings $7.99 Score:)

A magnetic board with a race track graphic and lots of colorful cars to move around the track. A 16-piece set that invites imaginative play, story telling, and quiet time. Take it along on your next trip to a waiting room or for making time fly as you travel.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
eeBoo I Never Forget an Animal Face Matching Game
(eeBoo $16 Score:)

Twenty-four pairs of animal faces for matching up in a classic concentration game. What sets game this apart is the art. The animals have a charming storybook look that will make them fun to talk about. They are wearing interesting hats and expressions. Use them for stretching language or even story telling in addition to making matches. Although this looks like a regular lotto game, the animals chosen go just a few steps beyond the usual farmyard critters--so this is an opportunity to expand their knowing and naming skills as well as encouraging kids to look at details. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Awards
eeBoo About Face
(eeBoo $15 Score:)

Assemble the strips to create an endless cast of zany faces. Created by artist Saxton Freeman uses his photos of found objects to create images that can represent eyes, noses, mouths and other features from leaves, ribbons, coins and such. There is no right or wrong. Good fun. 4 & up.

SNAP: A good talking game with objects to know and name and extend vocabulary. Use this game for solo play or taking turns adding the top, middle and bottom of faces.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Awards
Creativity for Kids Stuck on Fashion Tote Bags
(Creativity for Kids $15 Score:)

There is no right or wrong way to add the decorations to this big 15 inch by 9 inch bag. It comes with 200 peel and stick hearts, flowers and dots in multiple colors. The kit also includes a hang tag for the designer's name and s small change purse that goes inside. Speaking of the inside, there is a flat insert that goes in the base and helps the bag to stand up on a flat bottom. We think kids as young as 5 will enjoy this kit. It would also be a great kit to use with kids with special needs who will not need to cut or use glue to add the decorations. Use this to reinforce color names, sizes, and shape names. 5 & up.

SNAP: Success is built into this kit that allows kids to decorate the bag with no right or wrong moves. Yet, when they are done, they have a usable end product they can carry with pride. 

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Creativity for Kids Princess Music Box
(Creativity for Kids $25 Score:)

A sturdy pink chipboard music box (with a little ballerina who pops up when you open it) is ready for decorating. The box is deep enough to hold plenty; it is 5.5 inches high and 4 inches wide. The kit includes paper flowers, a sticker sheet full of scroll-like leaves and flowers, self adhesive rhinestones, glitter glue, adhesive squares and an idea book for decorating. The wind-up key for the music is built into the box, so this is a kit that can be completed with a showy end product that kids of a certain age really want. It is not entirely open-ended, but there is room for doing it their own way! Marked 5 & up, but probably done more successfully by sevens and up.

SNAP: There is no right or wrong way of decorating this music box. Yet the finished product is going to look pretty good, so success is built into making something that the child can then use for keeping treasures.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
eeBoo Carnival Glitter Glue
(eeBoo $5 Score:)

Who can resist the thrill of a fresh pack of glitter glue? Use them for drawing, decorating cards or packages, add it to gift tags. eeBoo has several mixed sets with narrow tips that allow you to draw with some accuracy. Each set comes with four glue sticks of related hues.  They do look a bit like candy sticks and choosing the colors you may be hard to do...they all look so tempting to kids who like crafts.

SNAP: An appealing way to get kids to develop hand strength. Cover up the work space, cover up the cloths and let the fun begin. Allow kids to explore in an open-ended way for starters. Then, print your child's name on a big piece of paper and have her trace the lines to make a name sign.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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