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2014 Award
Creativity for Kids Tape a Doodle Fashion Designer
(Creativity for Kids $28.95 Score:)

Our testers gave high marks to new Tape-A-Doodle line from Creativity for Kids and especially enjoyed this kit that has a fashion designer theme. Comes with six different easy-to-use dispensers that have patterns for creating original "designs" in the  40 page fashion spiral book that has black and white drawings of clothing and accessories.  The kit says there is 100 plus feet of the pre-printed tape. Trust us, you'll want more. There's something very satisfying about the tape dispenser that makes it great fun to use. Also comes with color pencils and some stickers.

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

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2014 Award
Kaloo Plume Small Rabbit
(Janod $39.99 Score:)

Everyone that picks up this super sweet rabbit with a squishy velour belly makes an "ahhhhh" sound! The long   easy-to-grasp ears and the all stitched features  make this an  ideal choice  for  older babies and toddlers. Comes in green, pink, and blue. Designed in France we are delighted that they are machine washable! Each of the Kaloo dolls comes in a lovely gift box making this a perfect shower or first birthday present.

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

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2014 Award
Kaloo Doudou Knots Rabbit Blue
(Janod $24.99 Score:)

If you looked up delicious, you should find a picture of this new collection from Kaloo. Super soft velour makes you want to handle this small blankie (under 8")  that has a rabbit head at the top and knots at each corner. This collection is designed in France and is smartly machine washable. A perfect shower gift!

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

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2014 Award
Quercetti Daisy Shape Sorter
(International Playthings $$37 Score:)

Finding age appropriate toys for young toddlers can be challenging. They're no longer infants and have outgrown many of their toys -- but not quite ready for most manipulative toys geared towards older toddlers and preschoolers.  The new Daisy Shape Sorter hits the sweet spot for young toddlers (1 -2). The big flower-shaped container comes with a top that has seven different shapes for sorting. Now for one year olds you can also just use this as a fill and dump toy by taking the top off. Soon enough your toddler will be able to do the shape sorting aspect of this toy. We love that the openings give color cues by matching the color on the shape pieces. Comes with 14 pieces for sorting, filling and dumping. A great parent-child toy to explore together.

 

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

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Janod Princess Carriage Floor Puzzle
(Janod $14.99 Score:)

In a royal coach that looks a lot like Cinderella's there is a young princess with a cat and a friend. Might be fun to make up some stories about who this friend might be and where they are going. But, first things first—putting the puzzle together is going to be the challenge. Designed for the younger pink set, this 39-piece floor puzzle has giant pieces. Though this has so many pieces, it does have outline cues that are strong and easily recognizable. Since children like to redo their puzzles multiple times, we look for those that can stand up to the wear and tear and remain interesting, too. Like other Janod puzzles, this one is sturdy, attractive and comes in a suitcase for storage. 5-8

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Janod Pierre's Helicopter Puzzle
(Janod $19.99 Score:)

Bring home this carrying case with four small puzzles inside. In the easiest puzzle Pierre is seen flying alone. In the 2nd puzzle he appears to be bringing in someone who is injured. Puzzles 3 and four show Pierre about to leave and actually flying away. For preschoolers, present the simple 6-piece puzzle first. Then move on to the 9-piece puzzle. On another day, introduce the 12 and 16-piece puzzles. These are going to be challenging since the backs of the puzzles are not color-coded and the background on three of the four puzzles is the same. Parents will need to sort them out if the puzzles get mixed together. Each of the four puzzles comes in its own plastic baggie. They need to be kept separated. Naturally, they get progressively harder, so you may want to put the harder ones away and introduce them gradually. That said, the picture cues on the carrying case will help. Marked 3-6; but we think this will work best for 4's who have done lots of puzzles; not for beginners.  Walter's Scooter is another of the puzzle sets of four related puzzles.

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

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2014 Award
Janod Circus Puzzle
(Janod $14.99 Score:)

Before or after a trip to the circus, it's fun to work on a puzzle with images that remind kids of the fun. Janods 54-piece circus scene has tons of details to help with fitting it together and to pour over and discuss when it’s done. Kids will love the round red carrying case for safe keeping. Kids do their puzzles more than once and may need help if they are transitioning from larger pieces to smaller more challenging puzzles. For many, this is not an instantaneous build. Getting kids to take the time and return to problem solving with a challenging puzzle helps to develop important stick-to-it habits. Since children like to redo their puzzles multiple times, we look for those that can stand up to the wear and tear and remain interesting, too. 5-8

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

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2014 Award
Janod Horse Riding School Puzzle
(Janod $17.99 Score:)

For the many girls who are totally into horseback riding, a one hundred piece puzzle that the horsey set will love. It's a scene with young riders and a dozen horses. They will also like the rounded carrying case it comes in for storage. Since this may take more than one sitting to complete, set up a dedicated table or counter space, if possible, where this can be assembled gradually. For many, this is not an instantaneous build. Getting kids to take the time and return to problem solving with a challenging puzzle helps to develop important stick-to-it habits. . Since children like to redo their puzzles multiple times, we look for those that can stand up to the wear and tear and remain interesting, too. 5-8

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

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2014 Awards
Kidoozie Stack n Sort
(International Playthings $19.99 Score:)

So many ways to play with this 12-piece stack and nesting set with shape-sorter lid. All the pieces fit in the big bucket for storage. Turn the bucket over and kids can stack the colorful cups to make a tower two and a half feet tall as they discover size order. Knock them down and fir them one by one back into the big pail--another way of discovering size order. Forget about nesting or stacking, put the lid on the pail and use it for sorting shapes that will go ker-plunk into the geometric shaped openings in the lid. But that is not all. Every one of the cups and the pail has holes for safety's sake, but that makes them fun for sprinkling effects in the tub or on the beach. Kids will need adults to introduce this versatile toy.  A good choice for introducing size order, counting, color concepts, positions words, and color concepts, too.

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

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2014 Award
My Princess Crown
(Seedling $23.99 Score:)

Girls can design their own princess crown with the makings in this charming kit. There's a precut pink felt crown that gets laced with ribbon supplied along with glitter glue, felt butterflies, gemstones, and east to follow instructions. The trick with this kind of project is to allow the glue to dry even though most little Princesses can hardly wait to wear their creations. 4 and up.

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

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