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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 


2014 Award
Madame Alexander Play Travel Friends
(Madame Alexander $16.95 Score:)

Dolls from around the world have been around for ages. Your own collection may have been strictly for display and dressed in traditional costumes of each country. However, 21st Century foreign dolls are meant to be played with and are dressed in modern attire. A charming doll of India wears silk-ish clothes but not a sari although she has an embroidered elephant on her sleeveless blouse. All of the collection comes with abundant hair to style and joints that bend for active playing. These are definitely girl dolls not fashion dolls like Barbie. 3 & up.

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

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2014 Award
Disney Planes Fire Rescue Attack Launcher
(Disney $19.99 Score:)

Ready, aim, fire! Three light-weight foam planes can be launched 15 feet with this squeeze trigger toy. It has lights and sound when the red tab on back of the launcher is pulled back. Aside from pulling the trigger, this is a toy that will get them up and running about to pick up the planes when they land. Not exactly big physical play, but more active than most. They say 3 & up, we'd say more like older 4's and up and those that have the judgment not to aim it at your favorite vase. It’s not like a dart or heavy projectile, but although the planes are lightweight, this is a toy that will need supervision.

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

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2014 Award
Corolle Mon Classique Graceful Emma Drink and Wet Bath Baby
(Corolle $67 Score:)

For many years Corolle has had an anatomically correct bath doll, Emma and Paul (both award winners in 2005). New for 2014, they've added an African-American Emma to the mix. Just like the original she comes with a potty, feeding bottle, pacifier and is dressed in an undershirt and underpants. Having a doll going through potty-training can often help your own toddler make the transition!  We hope they'll add an African-American Paul to the collection.

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

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2014 Award
Corolle Bebe Graceful Pink Doll
(Corolle $84 Score:)

Graceful is adorable. She comes in a pink and white romper, a headband with a bow and a pacifier.  She is one of the new additions to Corolle's classic Bebe line  which means she has a soft body, vinyl arms, legs and head. Her brown eyes close when you place her in a sleeping position and because of how she's weighted she will also sit up on her own. A lovely doll for older toddlers and preschoolers- pricey, but very special.

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

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2014 Award
Corolle Mon Bebe Classique Happiness Doll
(Corolle $84 Score:)

The latest from Corolle's classic multi-cultural 14" Bebe collection. She has a soft body with vinyl arms, legs and head - all with their signature vanilla scent. Comes in a floral romper, a matching scarf for head, adorable sandals and a pacifier. Her blue eyes open and close when she's put in a sleeping position.  We also loved: Bebe Classique Valentine Doll - she comes in a pale grey dress with a pink sweater. There is also a very sweet African-American version  - see our review of Bebe Classique Graceful Pink.  We love that these dolls are so huggable and because they're weighted in their bottoms,  they will sit up on their own.

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

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2014 Awards
Little Tikes Splish Splash Sink and Stove
(Little Tikes $26 Score:)

This is the buy of the year as toy kitchens go...the tabletop toy has a working faucet that circulates the water in the sink for splish-splashing good fun. Unlike so many toy kitchens, this really has a sink big enough to wash dishes, not to mention getting to play in water. However there are two issues you need to know up front:  1) no soap bubbles are allowed since they might clog up the works and 2) real hand strength is needed to get the water action going. Of course, this can be messy, but good play often is exactly that. Adding to the value, this combo sink and stove takes up very little space but has a lot of pretend play built into the affordable mini-setting. The stove has knobs that click and the young chef will love cooking with and cleaning up a fry pan two dishes, cups, and cutlery that comes with the set. 

SNAP: Put this on a table top for kids who are in a wheelchair. The water faucet does require hand power and may be too hard for some. It is otherwise a terrific water toy/ pretend prop for dramatic play.

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

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2014 Award
Little Tikes Ultimate Cook Kitchen
(Little Tikes $150 Score:)

Our test family gave this kitchen setting very high grades. Our three-year old tester's mom tells us "he is having a ball with it..." He loves every detail of this kitchen and especially likes to make them Cappuccino and asking them if "we need some coffee?" She likes the fact that it went together easily and is also being enjoyed for pretend play by his six and seven-year old siblings. Although some of the hanging pieces do not stay in place, they had no complaints. It has been used daily since it arrived and as our tester's mom wrote, she is impressed with the durability of Little Tikes products... "if three boys can't destroy it, it has to be made well." We like the fact that his kitchen is not gender specific and will be enjoyed for years of dramatic play by boys and girls. 2 +

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

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2014 Award
Little Tikes Touch N Go Racers
(Little Tikes $12.95 Score:)

Choose one of the five Touch n Go Racers; a black and white police car, a green hatch back, a red truck or a blue or grey racer. All have buttons that start the engine, rev it up, honk the horn and a GO button that sends it zooming. Bring home two and have your own races. This is small, very special, but affordable toy that will get lots of action.

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

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2014 Award
Disney Get Better Talking Mobile
(Disney $49.99 Score:)

Forget the old black Doctor's bag that kids played with for generations. Young medics now have a van that is loaded with lights, sounds EKG, stethoscope, thermometer, and bandage dispenser to care for their ailing dolls or playmates. There is even a gurney and seat for the teddy bear or doll in need of medical attention. Oh, and yes, it even plays the Doc Mobile song. A very large piece of plastic, but for Doc McStuffins fans this is a play setting with lots of potential.

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

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2014 Award
Disney Walk n’ Talk Doc Mobile
(Disney $35 Score:)

Fans of Doc McStuffins are going to clamor for this novelty version that features Doc walking with her Mobil van. It's pretty much a watching toy. You put the handle of the van into the hole in Doc's fist, push the button and off she goes, pulling her van behind her. There's music and action and your player will need to provide the drama. We suspect this will be a wow for a brief shining moment. Doc is made of rigid plastic—she needs a strong core. On testing she did fall on her face a few times, but with luck she will walk upright and sing at the same time. Not a must have buy unless it is on top of the wish list and then, only maybe.

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

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