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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 

 
2015 Awards
Neat Oh Dinosaur Zip Bin 160
(Neat-Oh $23.99 Score:)

How to keep order to the oh so many little pieces of play? Here's a creative and playful solutio. A colorful storage vinyl box where all those dino plant eaters and meat eaters can be contained between playtimes. Unzip the corners and there's a big mat with swamps, trees and rocky ledged graphics where dramatic play can come to life. A lidded transformable box comes with two dino figures with room for lots more along with a setting for hours of imaginative play. 3 & up.  

Also nice for take along fun, Neat Oh Dinosaur Brings Along Backpack(19.99)

SNAP: Play settings and boxes for storing playthings can enhance playtime. Clean up time becomes another opportunity to sort playthings, as well. A storage box for animals, aone for vehicles another for blocks, perhaps can go a long way to staying ahead of chaos and a much better idea than one big toy box where everything gets lost in the shuffle. We like the idea of the big play setting that unzips with these Neat-oh containers.

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

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2015 Award
Clifford the Big Red Dog Water Science
(Young Scientists CLub $19.99 Score:)

Newest in a wonderful collection of young science kits, this one deals with water and introduces children to some basic concepts such as floating, sinking, icebergs, and hands on experiments that allow kids to see the water cycle, phases from liquid to solid to gas. The kit itself contains almost all the materials you need to explore the activities in a 20-page manual that includes ways to make rain, submarine, foam boat, chromatography, and more. Plastic test tubes, mini-measuring cup, mini-sponge, pipette, lab tray and special tubes and papers for experiments. You will need to provide your own food coloring and for a magical experiment, some black pepper. Since these are essentially designed for preschoolers, you will be doing the reading. Basically, this kit is a parent intensive opportunity to explore and expand new ideas with your preschooler. Marked for 3 & up, we think this is probably a better bet for slightly oler preschoolers and even a good choice for 5 & up. Young readers will also like helping with the directions as well as the experiments.

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

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LeapFrog LeapBand
(LeapFrog $39.99 Score:)

Kids usually like wearing and using tech products their parents are using and the LeapBand is a kid's version of your activity band. However, it doesn't count steps or distance or calories like the grown up kinds, but is designed to encourage activities that do keep kids moving, which is a good thing. The pet pal can be customized so kids earn points by completing 50 active challenges, such as 'pounce like a lion' or 'walk like a crab' or 'spin like a helicopter.' Our testers found this a novelty, but way too over-sized and bulky for kid-sized wrists and kids did not want to wear it for long. Available in pink, blue and gender-free green. Though they look similar, this is nothing like the VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch, which is really a watch/camera/recorder. 

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

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2014 Awards
Road Rippers Piston Thumper Ford Raptor
(Toy State $19.99 Score:)

For noisy toy fans, this will do it, big time. The F-150 SVT Raptor has lights and lots of roaring beeping and thumping sounds that will delight kids until someone yells--turn that #*@#& off! That said, it's a showy gift for the price and you can always let the batteries go dead and still have a powerful looking SVT for dramatic play. Takes 3 AA batteries.

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

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2014 Awards
Cloud b Twilight Buddies, Sheep
(Cloud b $34.95 Score:)

This soft sheep projects a starry night sky of soft lights on the ceiling of the nursery for little ones to gaze at as they go to sleep. A built-in timer turns the light show off after 45 minutes. This projects three-color options: green, blue, and amber. Just as you would not put a pillow in a crib, this is not meant to be in a crib, but rather in the room. Soft to the touch, this is also a cuddly but quiet good choice for toddlers and preschoolers who find comfort in having a nightlight rather than a totally darkened bedroom. 

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

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2014 Award
KaZAM Balance Bike v2e
(KaZam Bikes $59.95 Score:)


We told you about the classic KaZAM balance bike last year and now our tester, who loved the original, likes the newer model even more. Like the original, kids can sit, walk, glide, coast and balance, but this is lighter than the original and has tires that are like the ones of baby strollers. It also has a new and improved frame and ergonomic footrest. Comes in a wide variety of colors.

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

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2014 Award
Hot Wheels Spin King
(Toy State $14.99 Score:)

A showy present, this blue racer is not only motorized to rev up and roll, it lights up and even plays some music. A great novelty toy that is sure to please any 3 & up on your list. May not go the distance and requires three AA batteries, but if you shop you will find it for even less than the sticker price and appreciate it for the short term novelty fun it provides.

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

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2014 Awards
Alilo G6 Cute Rabbit Player Children's English Song & Story Player Machine
(Alilo $59.99 Score:)

An awesome bunny (available in pink or blue, that is a combination night light, music player, story teller, recorder and customizable player that you can start using with infants and well beyond. The pre-recorded music, both songs an just instrumental, is pleasant and not the typical tinny electronic stuff. Push the light switch and bunny's ears light up and change color slowly and without big brightness. It comes with 20 nursery rhymes and stories that preschoolers will enjoy and you can customize it and add your own stories and music. The plastic body is made tough and the battery is rechargable. You can lock the settings and oh, yes, the volume control(built into the tail) is easy to adjust and has some real range, not just high and low. It comes loaded with a micro SD card slot and mini USB port to update content. One of the most innovative toys we received late this holiday season. Marked 12 months and up, though we think the music on a table in an infants's room would be fine. It's not a toy you would give a 12 month old to handle either. For the very young, this is a listening or watching toy. Preschoolers are the ones who will want to learn how to push the buttons.

SNAP: A night light, music player, story teller, this is a gift that will be enjoyed by children from infants to well beyond preschoolers. Best of all you can record storeis, and music of your own choice to the extensive library.

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

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2014 Award
Lottie, Autumn Leaves
(Lottie $19.99 Score:)

One of a charming collection of 7" girl dolls that are not fashion icons, wear no make-up and can stand on their two small feet. Autumn Leaves Lottie is dressed in striped tights, stout boots, and a pink felted coat. She has bendable arms and legs and is ready for outdoor fun. Her buddy Kite Flyer Finn, is a boy doll who comes ready for outdoors, as well. Also see the fancy Snow Queen Lottie. These are affordable dolls designed for pretend play that will appeal to 3-9's.  

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

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2014 Awards
LeapFrog LeapTV
(LeapFrog $149 Score:)

Designed for younger player, 3-8, this is like the Wii for wee folks with a console, camera and controller that you hook up to your TV. These are largely games that will get kids off the couch and playing active physical games that are non-violent and have some educational content that parents can choose to fit their kids' ages and stages. Kids play by moving their bodies, using the controller that is designed for child size hands. They can use the controller two-handed play as with a joystick and buttons or change the handle into pointer mode and swing it like a wand. One of our test families liked the fact that they had access to LeapFrog's giant library of educational games. They did have some challenges in getting the children of different heights onto the screen at the same time.

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

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