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Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Age: Toddlers
Review Year: 2013

 

 
2013 Awards
Crayola My First Touch-Lights Pad
(Crayola $21.99 Score:)

One of Crayola's mess-free toys. The screen changes colors and sings 6 songs as toddlers use their fingers or the stylus to make things happen. This does not replace the squishy joy of finger paints, but it does allow less clean-up time. The free form drawings are not permanent. Use the stylus sideways to clear the screen and start again. This takes 3 AA's and happyily--the sound can be turned off. Designed for tots of 24 months & up.

 SNAP:Finger paint it is not..that said, this does provide another way to get children to build finger and hand muscles without the demands of gripping a pencil, marker, or crayon.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Fisher Price Puppy & Friends Learning Table
(Fisher-Price $44.99 Score:)

There are many activities built into this interactive bi-lingual table. Babies can use this on the floor without the legs and it will then grow up for standing up toddlers with the addition of the legs. They can turn the plastic pages of a book, use the buttons on a phone that counts, make music on a small keyboard and hear more than 60 songs and phrases. Babies who are learning to stand and walk will use this to pull up on and to cruise around. Be forewarned, it is not weighted and on some surfaces the table will slide. In fact, some tots may try using it as a push-around toy. Will they learn their numbers or letters with this? Not really. But most babies will start using this before they are really talking and there are more important things to be learned at that stage than letters and numbers. This is one of those toys that plays repeated lessons giving tots hands-on experiences with cause and effect. By using little fingers they gain a sense of power in being able to make so many things happen. Marked 6 months-36 months, we think this will be of most interest to kids a little older than 6 months and younger than 36 months. That said, this is a pretty good activity table.

SNAP: Adaptable for floor or stand up action, this is a versitile toy that invites hands and fingers to make things happen.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Step 2 Creative Cooks Kitchen
(Step 2 $190 Score:)

Our two-year old tester loves having a kitchen of his own and his mom loves the fact that it is big enough for more than one child. He's also a tall two and this play setting "fits" him with ease. Offering his mom coffee from the coffee pot, talking on the phone, using the condiment bottles and opening and closing the window shutters are some of his favorite features. His mom says she has pushed this away from the wall so that he can get behind the windows and use it for taking orders--although she wished the backside was more finished for two-sided play. That said, she is happy with the many ways it is being used and said she would recommend it to others. Designed in bright gender-free colors, this is currently only available at Toys R us.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
Mega Bloks John Deere Garden Cart Play Set
(Mega Blox $45 Score:)

For your youngest garden assistant, here's small wagon with plastic garden tools and a few mega bloks. This is more of a pretend toy for outdoor carting fun and comes in the traditional John Deere green and yellow colors. Or use it indoors for storing blocks that can be built up on the handle, which serves as a base. Also fun in this line, a Mega Bloks Dump Truck that will work in the sand box or at the beach. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Awards
Mega Bloks Fairy Tale Castle
(Mega Bloks $99 Score:)

A wow-ee of a gift with hours of open-ended play possibilities. A 44-pieces building set with oversized pink and white plastic bocks, a working gate, and fabric trim that can become play settings big enough to inhabit. The big blocks are easy to clean and will be used in ever-more complex ways as children's pretend play changes. Be forewarned, it takes up a fair amount of space so may not be ideal in a small apartment; the door does fall off easily and the stickers do not stick. That said, our testing family feels the positives outweighed the negatives and this is a toy with miles of good play. Also available in a less gender specific red, white and blue version. They are marked 1-5. We think 2's and up will be more on target.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Mega Bloks Knight's Castle
(Mega Bloks $99 Score:)

A wow-ee of a gift with hours of open-ended play possibilities. A 44-pieces building set with oversized red, white and blue plastic bocks, a working gate, and fabric trim that can become play settings big enough to inhabit. The big blocks are easy to clean and will be used in ever-more complex ways as children's pretend play changes. Be forewarned, it takes up a fair amount of space so may not be ideal in a small apartment; the door does fall off easily and the stickers do not stick. That said, one of our testing families felt the positives outweighed the negatives and this is a toy with miles of good play. One of our other testing families with a tall 5 year old found putting the structure together was fun (and enjoyed the stickers), but ultimately found the structure too small for him to play in. Also available in a pink and white Princess version. They are marked 1-5. We think 2's-3's and up will be more on target.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Manhattan Toys Little Racers
(Manhattan Toys $4.99 Score:)

Choose from four distinctive little racers or collect them all in their jolly two tone colors and sleek styles. With pull-back action these little vehicles scoot across the floor. They are made of smooth plastic with chubby wheels and patterned hubcaps. Nothing complicated here. Easy enough for toddlers to use with delight. 1 and up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
Hape High Chair
(Hape $45 Score:)

Easy to assemble, this all-wooden high chair is pink, white and natural wood finish. The feeding table does not lift, so no fear of pinched fingers. It is low enough for older two's to use for feeding dolls and teddy bears. Comes with a pink seat cushion for dolly's comfort. 2 & up

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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