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

 

 
2013 Awards
Lamaze Franky the Hanky Whale
(Tomy $25 Score:)

A soft textured fabric whale comes with bright colored hankies that can disappear into the whale's ribbon trimmed spout and peek-a-boo--they reappear when pulled out of its wide mouth. It has a bold black and white pattern on its underside and crinkle sounds in its fins. A cute way to play around with object permanence and develop fine motor skills in little hands. 9 months & up

SNAP: Use this toy for reinforcing color concepts as you pull the hankies out. Look for other things in the room that are the color of the hankie you put in the spout. Once children have the hang of this add other peek-a-boo surprises to this clever toy that has no finger catches or hard edges. This plays on an old favorite game of filling and dumping. Putting things into a container and taking them develops manual skills as well as proving repetition and a sense of empowerment. Changing the objects to be filled and dumped--or in this case pushed and pulled, adds variety to a useful play mode.

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

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2013 Awards
Fisher-Price Rockin Tunes Giraffe
(Fisher-Price $39.99 Score:)

Rockin' Tunes Giraffe responds to your toddler's movements with music, lights, and phrases. The more kids rock the more the lights in Giraffe's mane blink and the music and phrases build. Happily, you can also turn off the sounds and lights or choose a lower volume. We like the low seat, the bat-at roller in  Giraffe's mane. Best of all, the stabile rockers make this ride-on a fun choice for steady on their feet toddlers to mount with some independence. Unlike heirloom style wooden and plush ride-ons, this plastic rocker is quite affordable and will go the distance. A big gift for a little toddler. Need a big 1st or 2nd birthday gift that won't break the bank? This is it! 12-36 months.

SNAP: Aside from the stability of this rocker, it's invitation to physical gross motor play, and its affordability, we like the cause and effect lessons built into the action. The idea of making music go faster the faster you rock gives tots instant feedback that links their actions to making something happen.

Age: Toddlers. 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
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 Awards
Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car
(Fisher-Price $60 Score:)

You know how car salesmen tell you the car they are selling is fully loaded? That would be a good description of this red activity center that is shaped like a car. It has wheels but does not move around. It's designed for sitting up, crawling, and even toddlers who are cruising. There's a dashboard with steering wheel, lights, and buttons to activate--always a favorite of toddlers. The back wheels spin and one side door opens and closes so tots can go in and out. There is a shape sorter on one side and a ball run on the other, a windshield wiper that talks about the weather. All the pieces are sized up for young players. This toy takes some time to put together with screws and stickers. It says 6 months to 36 but we think this will be used most by babies who are crawling, cruising and beginning walkers. Lots of ways for them to make things happen and for early games of pretending.

SNAP: There's still plenty to do even though the wheels of this sporty red car do not move the vehicle about.  A good choice for a child who is ready for pretend without the need for pedals or foot power. Think of it as a pretend setting with so many ways of making things happen.

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

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2013 Awards
Ravensburger My First Puzzle At The Farm
(Ravensburger $9.99 Score:)

For beginners, here are nine two-piece puzzles featuring bold graphics of typical farm animals, as well as a tractor, and farming couple. With beginners you may want to introduce just one puzzle at a time rather than all the pieces in the box. This gives you a chance to talk about the animals, their names, and the sounds they say. The chunky two-piece puzzles are made of sturdy cardboard that fit together with relative ease and introduce children to the concept of part and whole. As you play with these simple puzzles toddlers are also building language with learning the names of familiar farm animals. This is one of a series of beginning puzzles. Marked 2 & up. Although some twos will be able to do these with help, this will be a better choice for slightly older children with more dexterity.

SNAP: Play an I Spy Game: Once children are familiar with all the puzzles and have played with them as suggested above, you can play another game with them. After the animals are together take turns making the animal sound of one of the animals and other player finds and names the animal you are spying. Reverse the game and have child make an animal sound for the creature he is spying. A good game for developing language and dexterity.

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

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2013 Awards
Ravensburger My First Puzzle Adorable Animals
(Ravensburger $9.99 Score:)

For beginners, here are nine two-piece puzzles featuring bold graphics of familiar animals: two cats, duck and duckling, lion and cub, mare and colt, a pair of dogs, rabbits, monkeys, and cows. With beginners introduce just one or two puzzles at a time rather than all the pieces in the box. This gives you a chance to talk about the animals, their names, and the sounds they say. The chunky two-piece puzzles are made of sturdy cardboard that fit together with relative ease and introduce children to the concept of part and whole. As you play with these simple puzzles toddlers are also building language with learning the names of familiar farm animals. This is one of a series of beginning puzzles. Marked 2 & up. Although some twos will be able to do these with help, this will be a better choice for slightly older children with more dexterity.

SNAP: Play an I Spy Game: Once children are familiar with all the puzzles and have played with them as suggested above, you can play another game with them. After the animals are together take turns making the animal sound of one of the animals and other player finds and names the animal you are spying. Reverse the game and have child make an animal sound for the creature he is spying. A good game for developing language and dexterity.

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

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2013 Awards
Ravensburger My First Puzzle Garden Animals
(Ravensburger $9.99 Score:)

For beginners, here are nine two-piece puzzles featuring bold graphics of some less-than-familiar garden animals: a snail, hedgehog, mole, frog, butterfly, ladybug, bumblebee, bluejay, and mouse. Unlike other puzzles in this series the knowing and naming part may take more time to master. The chunky two-piece puzzles are made of sturdy cardboard that fit together with relative ease and introduce children to the concept of part and whole. As you play with these simple puzzles toddlers are also building language with learning the names of familiar farm animals. This is one of a series of beginning puzzles. Marked 2 & up. Although some twos will be able to do these with help, this will be a better choice for slightly older children with more dexterity.

SNAP: Play an I Spy Game: Once children are familiar with all the puzzles and have played with them as suggested above, you can play another game with them. After the animals are together take turns making the animal sound of one of the animals and other player finds and names the animal you are spying. Reverse the game and have child make an animal sound for the creature he is spying. A good game for developing language and dexterity.

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

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2013 Awards
Ravensburger My First Puzzle At the Construction Site
(Ravensburger $9.99 Score:)

For beginners, here are nine two-piece puzzles featuring bold graphics of big machines used at construction sites. Unlike some other puzzles in this series, the knowing and naming part may take more time to master. Learning the names of a dump truck, cement mixer, and other images makes this a better choice for older preschoolers. The chunky two-piece puzzles are made of sturdy cardboard that fit together with relative ease and introduce children to the concept of part and whole. As you play with these puzzles children are also building language with learning the names of familiar things. This is one of a series of beginning puzzles. Marked 2 & up. Although some twos will be able to do these with help, this will be a better choice for slightly older children with more dexterity.

SNAP: Play an I Spy Game: Once children are familiar with all the puzzles and have played with them as suggested above, you can play another game with them. After the vehicles are together say, I spy a truck that can dig or I spy a truck that is blue and can dump things out. Use these puzzles for reinforcing color concepts and actions. A good choice for developing language and dexterity.

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

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2013 Awards
Manhattan Toy Push & Spin Carousel
(Manhattan Toy $15 Score:)

A classic spinner that baby can activate with push on the big top knob. Inside the see-through dome there are puppies and beads that spin faster and faster. A fun way to learn about cause and effect and gain a powerful sense of making things happen. 12 months & up

SNAP: A satisfying toy for learning about cause and effect that needs little or no adaption. The big knob on top is easy to grasp and the base is broad enough to be stabile. If needed, you can add velcro to surface and bottom of the toy to make it stay in one place. Children like the repetition and sounds as well as the action. Good for building hand and arm strength.

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

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