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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 

 
2015 Awards
Vtech Baby Lil' Critters Soothing Starlight Hippo
(V-Tech $24 Score:)

Our tester loved the multiple ways this baby toy works. It can light up the nursery ceiling with tiny stars and rocket ships. It has soothing nature sounds, a voice sensor that will play when baby cries, and dozens of songs and nursery rhymes. There is a timer and volume control. This does require 2AA batteries. It's not really designed for baby to handle, but it has fabric head, legs and tail with a hard plastic body where all the controls are for you to set.Older kids are going to want to make things happen thmselves. For starters, it's a good diversion that just might sooth your wide awake baby and lull him to sleep. Newborns & up

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

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2015 Award
Play-Doh Crazy Cuts
(Hasbro $14.99 Score:)

Chances are you had a set that looked a lot like this old favorite play-doh hair styling kit. But, wait! We bet your set did not have the option for a Mohawk haircut. For the 21st century child, this updated classic comes with a three thimble heads, six cans of play-doh, a scissors for trimming and a tall barber chair with a crank that turns and makes the clients hair grow. It's a fun toy that many children will enjoy returning to often. Turning the crank calls for some muscle power and choice making, too. 3 & up

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

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2015 Awards
North American Bear Little Princess, 14-inch Doll
(North American Bear Co. $25 Score:)

A charming Little Princess Ballerina with a hot pink torso and lighter pink satin tutu. Her clothes do not come off, so she is right for toddlers who will appreciate the feel of the fabric and the bows on her pink slippers. Her brownish velour hair is not comb-able but is sewn in place in the shape of an up-sweep. With her long legs and arms, stitched-on features and lack of complications, she makes an easy to take along huggable for all ages.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2015.

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2015 Awards
Lincoln Logs 100th Anniversary Set
(KNEX $73 Score:)

A giant size tin container holds a 111-piece set of Lincoln Logs; truly a collector's item with all wooden pieces. This is you dad's all wooden Lincoln Log set...if he is old enough. In any case, it is just the way today's grandparents remember their Lincoln Logs days before premade plastic eaves and roof pieces came along. A great set for multiple kids to enjoy together. Pull this out if you have frequent visiting grandkids. It will keep them busy or get down on the floor and build a village of log structures with them. Labels on Lincoln Logs are often marked for 3 and up. Forget that! All a three year old can do is watch you build, knock them down or be frustrated trying to build them up. Save this for your older 5, 6 and 7 year olds and be prepared to work with them until they get the hang of how the logs fit together and how to stack the roof pieces so they donít all clatter down. Kids get a real sense of accomplishment from learning how to do this and trying to assemble different structures. It calls for visual discrimination as well as dexterity and problem solving. This is no instantaneous toy. It takes patience and thinking.

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

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2015 Awards
Manhattan Toy Groovy Girl Suki
(Manhattan Toy $14.95 Score:)

With her black straight hair and bangs threaded through with touches of pink, Suki is wearing an aqua glitter halter top dress with a flowery pink and aqua skirt. Her two tone pink shoes add the finishing touch. With stitched features and no small doodads, Suki is a soft fabric doll that girls of 3 and up will love taking wherever they go. Also new this season, Reagan, a Groovy Girl with reddishyarn ponytail laced with some blue threads to match the trim on her dress and flowery tights. She wears an aqua tulle skirt with her yellow and white shell blouse. Her light tan skin tone makes her blue stitched eyes stand out on her happy grinning face. Those silver shoes do not come off, but add a flair to this lovable newcomer in the Groovy Gilr collection. 3 & up.

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

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2015 Award
Peaceable Kingdom Dinosaur Escape Game
(Peaceable Kingdom $17.99 Score:)

Dinosaurs are everywhere this season, thanks to the new Jurassic Park movie. For younger dino fans, this Dinosaur Escape game is a more age appropriate entertainment. In this cooperative game players work together to help the dinosaur escape to Dinosaur Island before the volcano can erupt. Each player has a dinosaur playing piece, a mover. It's a game that involves counting, memory and turn taking to find a dinosaur behind a fern in the same habitat as the dinosaur you are moving. If you roll a T-Rex, watch out! All dinosaurs in play must move back to a start space. If you roll a volcano you place one piece of the volcano in the stand. The object is to find all three lost dinosaur tokens before the fifth and final piece of the volcano is built. Each round takes about 10 minutes. For 2-4 players ages 4 & up.

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

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2015 Award
Mattel Barbie Film Director, 2015 Career of the Year
(Mattel $ 12.99 Score:)

With her viewfinder round her neck and her utility belt on her waist, Barbie is ready to say, "Lights! Camera! Action!" Dressed in her jeans and pink knit sweater she has patterned scarf for a dash of glamour. Her flats are spares when her boots are ready to take off. Fortunately, she now has articulated ankles so she can really move at a new pace as she races to meet the deadline on finishing her newest, and no doubt award winning film! Voted the career of the year for 2015.

CHoose her as BLonde Barbie or brunette Nikki.

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

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2015 Awards
Playskool Play All Day Elmo
(Hasbro $59.99 Score:)

This season's interactive Elmo is larger and softer than usual, which makes him cuddlier than Elmos of the past. There are two modes of play: a setting for toddlers with simplest games and another for preschoolers, a nice feature, although his speech tends to be less clear than previous Elmo dolls. There are no accessories to put on and take off. All the action is built into the doll. To activate, just squeeze Elmo's big soft orange nose and he plays eight games. Of course, Elmo is "the boss" of all, telling kids let's play pat-a-cake, hop and count, freeze dance, guess colors, red light/green light, and animal sounds.  Elmo also takes naps and sings a lullaby before he goes quiet until someone is ready to wake him up and play some more. Marked for 18 months to 4 years. The swet spot ages are probably just between those-- as in 2's to late 3's.

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

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2015 Award
North American Bear Baby Hero Dolls
(North American Bear Co. $24.99 Score:)

Here she is ready to right wrongs, to rescue those who need rescuing and fly into the face of whatever she must do! You can say that again for Baby Hero Boy Doll. Both Baby Heroes are done up with masks and capes as all proper heroes must be AND Baby Hero Girl has two small red ribbons to adorn her long double pigtails. Made of several fabrics with different textures. Their bodies, capes and high red boots are done in velvety velour plush while their other clothes (unremovable) are of lovely silky satin. Of course the idea of superheroes will be lost on very young children, but this might even be a good comfort toy for early school aged kids who are dealing with health or social challenges. All ages.

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

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2015 Awards
Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag
(Fisher-Price $24.99 Score:)

A giant zip up bag full of 80 Mega bloks in bright primary colors and a variety of shapes that fit together in endless ways. This giant set comes with a platform with wheels to attach to make a small push around vehicle. The storage bag will be fun for filling and dumping, a favorite game of toddlers who love toys with lots of pieces. Putting the pieces together and taking them apart calls for dexterity and leads to discoveries about making two pieces together as big as one. Use these for stacking into towers to knock down with a ball. Sort them by color or shape. PVC Free and BPA fee bag. A basic gear toy for toddlers. Marked 1-5, we'd say more like 18 months-4 years. 

SNAP: Sorting these bloks by color or another time by shape, will give your child some concept building as you play together. Try another game of turn taking: you put one on, I put one, you put one, etc. until the tower falls over. Or use the blocks to make a pattern, yellow, red,yellow, red, yellow...what comes next?

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

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