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Award: SNAP
Age: Preschoolers
Review Year: 2013

 

  
2013 Awards
The Folk Tale Classic Treasury
(retold and illustrated by Paul Galdone, Houghton Mifflin $18.99 Score:)

Six classic retold and illustrated by the masterful Paul Galdone are a family treasure you'll return to with pleasure. Chances are you grew up with Galdone's versions of The Little Red Hen, The Gingerbread Boy, and the four famous trios - the Three Pig, Three Bears, Three Kittens and Three Billy Goats Gruff. And here's a  new twist. The audio is not in the book, but you can download an audio book of the stories on the publisher's website by using the code in the book. 4-8

For childern who are beginning readers, following along while the story is read aloud helps develop listening skills as well eye sweep as they scan the page and follow the reader.

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

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2013 Awards
North American Bear Girls on the Move Ballerina
(North American Bear Co. $12 Score:)

Girls will love putting this little 7-inch velour ballerina through her paces. Designed with pockets for two fingers, this puppet in sheer tutu, can twist and twirl and dance on her toes. Her hair and clothes are not removable, but her movements are only limited by the imagination. Available as blond or brunette.

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

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2013 Awards
North American Bear, Dolly Pockets Red Riding Hood
(North American Bear Co. $24.99 Score:)

A 14-inch rag doll that comes with three finger puppets (Granny, the big bad wolf and the woodsman) Little Red is ready to act out her story or play an all new one. Her red cape and polka-dotted dress are on to stay and her fabric hairs is permanently in place, too. A good choice for preschoolers to engourage retelling familiar stories. Also see Dolly Pockets Cinderella and Goldilocks and the three Bears. 3 & up.

SNAP: Telling stories without a book in hand, can bring a story to life and encourage children to participate in the telling. This kind of doll with finger puppets is a great prop for doing that kind of story telling and maybe even getting little listeners to turn into little story tellers. Before a repetative line...pause and say and 'what did the big bad wolf say then?'

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

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2013 Awards
North American Bear Girls on the Move Gymnast
(North American Bear Co. $12 Score:)

Girls will love putting this little 7-inch velour doll through her paces. Designed with pockets for two fingers, this puppet can twist and twirl and do a split. Her hair and clothes are not removable, but her movements are only limited by the imagination. Available in tan or pinkish skin tone.

SNAP: Getting their fingers to do the walking for this little puppet, may be good fun as well as a way to strengthen fingers and hands. This may be a good prop for physical therapists.

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

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2013 Awards
Crayola Super Tips Washable Markers
(Crayola $12.99 Score:)

A super duper super tips marker set! 25 markers come in a see-through carrying case plus 40 pieces of paper for experimenting on. Their versatile tips draw thin and thick lines depending on how you hold them. 4 & up.

SNAP: Colorful materials that encourage kids to use their fine motor skills. These are not very wide, so you may want to add pencil grippers to give kids a firmer place to hold on. They may like the "magic" of the thin and broad lines they get from changing the position of the marker. These and some of the magic markers that change colors can go a log way in making practicing more like fun.

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

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2013 Awards
Plan Toys Fruit and Veggie Domino
(Plan Toys $29 Score:)

28 playing pieces with 7 different fruits and veggies to match up in a traditional domino game. The pressed planwood is smooth and splinter free, though it feels different from old wooden dominos. Use this for reinforcing language and color concepts as well as matching skills and turn taking. They say 2 & up, we think 3's will be better able to do the matching.  Twos may like sorting and stacking them or knocking them down if you line them up and make them go kaboom!

SNAP: Use these for color matching sorting and knowing and naming, before playing a traditional matching game of dominoes. Fun for counting, too. Make stacks of two kinds of fruit. Are there more grapes or more apples.

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

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2013 Awards
Crayola Dual-Sided DryErase Board Set
(Crayola $10.99 Score:)

Eight vibrant colored crayons come with a built-in sharpener on the package and a reversible black or white board and cloth that erases crayon markings with ease. These special crayons are sturdier and slightly thicker than most, so they are easier to grasp. They also wash from hands and clothing, though not if they met in if they end up in a pocket in the clothes dryer. These are less smelly than markers for the erase board and no worry over lost caps, markers drying out, or the sometimes unpleasant odor of marker ink. They are also easier to handle than chalk that snaps under pressure. Kids are often more willing to work on writing and math when the writing surface allows for playfulness. It is less confining than paper and mistakes are easier to wipe away and start again. Marked for 3 & up, but we believe this is not babyish looking and will appeal to much older kids as well.

SNAP: Finding playful materials that build writing skills can be challenging. These wipe off crayons with the wipe off board are not babyish and allow for games as well as tracing. Activity: Print the child's name with one color and have child trace with another color. Once they have the hang of it print the letters with dots or dashes and have child connect to make the letters whole. For beginners you may want to start with shapes to trace rather than letters.

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

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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
Tegu Hatch Magnetic Wooden Car
(Tegu $38 Score:)

A fifteen-piece set of magnetic wooden blocks that includes four working wheels. Although there are pictures on the box, with the sleek look of a classic Lincoln Continental, this is a pretty open-ended construction toy that give kids hands-on experience with the opposite poles on magnets and allow kids to make unique vehicles that they can play with. There is another 15-piece vehicle, a red racing car, called the Dart. Marked 3 and up, we think this will be a better choice for slightly older builders. Beginners will have more success with the company's five-piece Riley Roadster or Maddy Micro.

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

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2013 Awards
Tegu Riley Roadster
(Tegu $22 Score:)

A low slung wooden race car body has magnets inside and four magnetic wheels to attach with ease. This five-piece set is easy enough for threes to put together and take apart with a sense of building their own working vehicle. There is another five-piece car in the line, the Maddy Micro with a taller body. Either of these is less challenging than the 15-piece Dart or Hatch that are a lot trickier to put together.

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

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