Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Activity and Craft Kits


2013 Award
Manhattan Toy Groovy Girls Paint-it-Cool Bag
(Manhattan Toy $12.99 Score:)

Decorate a small 8-inch square canvas bag with the six posh paint tubes loaded with puff paint to apply free hand or use with the stencils supplied. A satisfying craft kit that kids can use when they finish decorating the bag. There is no wrong or right way to do this open-ended craft kit. 4 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on

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2013 Award
Manhattan Toy Groovy Girls Sparkletastic Jewelry
(Manhattan Toy $18 Score:)

All the makings for three bracelets, three pendants, gems, glitter, a work mat and cords come in this craft kit for true beginners. Aside from the glitter, which will need supervising, the gems shake out of a cleverly-designed container and stick to the pre-adhesived bracelets and necklaces. There is no glue or need for fine motor skills. This makes for nicely finished jewelry that girls will enjoy wearing. Marked for 3 and up. We think this will be a better choice for 4's and 5's, who will still need help with the necklace laces and keeping the glitter from spreading all over.  

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on

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2012 Award
Seedling Color the Earth Ball
(Kid O $30 Score:)

A globe/ball for all ages. How kids use it will depend on their age. Some will like boucing it and simply playing with it. Others will love the fun of labeling the countires or color coding them. Inflate this jumbo 16-inch ball that comes with a set of permanent fabric markers. A word of warning, this has a strong odor when it comes out of the box that disappears in time. It's the size of a big beachball, though not intended for the water. It does bounce well. This ball is marked 3 & up, but will be of more interest to school aged kids.



Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2012.

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2011 Awards
Colorforms 60th Anniversary Edition
(University Games $26 Score:)

What could be better than bringing home one of your childhood favorite toys and sharing it with your children or grandchildren? That's what you can do with this replica of the original Colorforms Set that has 350 geometric pieces in a spiral book and playboards to put them on. Unlike all the licensed images that followed since 1951, this is a more open ended set that allows kids to create their own themes. There is a small insert with images that can be copied, but best of all, this is an invitation to explore and discover how shapes can be transformed into designs and less literal images from one's own imagination. It's also an art form with no messy residue and no right or wrong rules. Getting the pages started may call for some adult help, but playing with the shapes develops fine motor skills, dexterity, and creative thinking.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on

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2011 Awards
Faber Castell Young Artist Finger Painting Set
(Creativity for Kids $25 Score:)

A jumbo see-through paint can with four big tubes of finger paints, two interesting textured rollers, two sponge stampers (a star and a circle), 25 sheets of finger paint paper, a mixing dish, a disposable apron and for those who need more--instructions and ideas. Just be sure to cover your work surface and stand back. This is a kit that will give hours of satisfying discoveries.  3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on

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2011 Award
Groovy Girls Flower Frills Handbag
(Manhattan Toy $25 Score:)

Young Groovy Girl fans will love designing their own pink, orange, and chartreuse fabric handbag with Velcro premade flowers, bows, and stick-on gemstones. Unlike so many crafty toys this one can be redesigned over and over again. An easy to use fun kit for dress-up play. There is also a necklace in the same line that ties on with a ribbon. We prefer the handbag.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2011.

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2011 Award
Puppy Spa
(Creativity for Kids $19.99 Score:)

Granted there isn't a whole lot of "arts and crafts" in this kit, but it was a hit with our testers who loved the little puppy.  Comes with a tutu, a crown, pearls, bows and little stick on "gems" to add to the crown. At the end of the day this is a very cute puppy with a wardrobe!  It also comes with a comb and brush.   There is also a mask for the eyes--for serious spa time rest.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on

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2011 Awards
My First Dress-Up Play Set
(Creativity for Kids $21.99 Score:)

If you're looking for an activity set that will keep your older three and four year old engrossed, take a look at this set. At first we thought this was just a coloring set, but it really is much more. It comes with both a boy and girl figure (both made of sturdy stock).  The set comes with a variety of preprinted outfits (swimsuits, party gear, priates, baseball, princess, etc.).  The various aspects of these outfits (also done in sturdy stock) can be attached by velcro. The box opens up to an background for the dolls. Our tester also loved that there were also outfits to be "colored" in with the dual tip Faber-Castell markers.  In otherwords, there is lots to do here--and at the end of the day you have a pretend setting and two characters.  Similar to old-fashioned paper dolls, but so much more durable and age appropriate to the 3 & up crowd. Fun!

A perfect toy for working on knowing and naming parts of the body, clothing and activities. Take out some clothes for one of the dolls and ask your child to pick what piece of clothing they want to use first. You can reinforce and discuss their selections.  "Great, so the hat goes?...."  "What else does the boy need?", etc.

The premade clothes attach with Velcro - giving this activity kit a more satisfying finished look for kids who may not be able to draw. There are clothing pieces that can be colored in.  They have a pre-printed design on each of them- again giving kids a finished product they may not otherwise be able to achieve.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on

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2010 Award
Play-Doh Mega Fun Factory
(Hasbro $34.99 Score:)

This is the 50th Anniversary of the Fun Factory, a toy you may have had when you were a kid. It's a big toy with a cool conveyer belt that makes premade shapes and may be more about nostalgia than long term play value. We prefer play-doh for making shapes and smushing and flattening out like a pancake—all done with the hands. Will this toy be fun? Sure, for a while. Is it a must have? Not at all. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on

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2010 Awards
Creativity for Kids My First Scissors Kit
(Creativity for Kids $14.95 Score:)

Learning to use a pair of scissors to cut along a line is not an instantaneous skill. Doing so, just got easier with these cleverly designed plastic scissors that can be used by both righties and lefties. No little fingers have to slip into place, you grip them with the whole hand and snip away. You can buy the scissors separately or in a kit with cut out creatures that kids cut, assemble and glue into place. The sturdy patterned paper has guide lines for beginners and the kit everything (glue stick, wiggly eyes, animal print paper, frames, and scissors) they need for making a menagerie of ten animals. There are no sharp points and the scissors cut through thick paper without a problem. There are simple directions as well as yarn to hang their finished creature creations. Be forewarned: these marvelous safety scissors are capable of cutting hair, so be on the look-out for small barbers in training. They say 4 & up...we'd say 5's are likely to have more success.
         The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

The design of these scissors will make cutting a lot easier for children who would have difficulty with the finger holds in classic scissors. Don't get caught up with cutting on the lines for beginners. Just the act of cutting a line or a curve is a big deal. The scissors are sold without the kit and are a good craft item to introduce--without the structure of the kit. Use them for cutting scrap paper and making colorful collages.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on

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