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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 

 
2010 Awards
Lauri Puzzles
(Lauri $7.99 Score:)

Lauri’s puzzles come with rubber pieces and a pattern printed in the container/tray for beginners to follow. For building confidence, these are the perfect place to start.  They do make puzzle boards with whole pieces, such as tools and vehicles. These are ideal for beginners.

The five piece puzzles are a perfect place to start with 2 year olds. The puzzles are marked 18 months and up- but we'd say for most kids, this is rushing it.  There is also a Dog and puppy 5 piece puzzle that's a bit harder.

As with all puzzles-- it's really important to start with sets that your child can do with a minimum amount of frustration. The idea is to build their sense of confidence- save more complicated puzzles for later on.

Our 4-5 year old testers loved the 22-piece Race Car and 3-4's liked the 13-piece T-Rex, a 16-piece Farm Scene,  a wonderful Birthday Cake, and Airplane. This company will provide missing pieces so that your investment is not lost. The textured pieces on their simple one piece puzzles are also good for tracing.

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

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2005 Award
Naturally Playful Sand & Water Table
(Step 2 $70 Score:) This oversized table is half for sand and half for water, with waterways for boats to travel. A terrific patio toy for stand-up digging and splashing. Comes with several boats, tools, and an umbrella for shade. As with all water toys, adult supervision is a must. 2 1/2 & up. (800) 347-8372.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Rocking Horses
(Mamas and Papas $99 Score:) Talk about classics, this is the year of the rocking horse! Whatever the size of your preschooler, there’s a rocking horse that will fit. These are plush ponies with furry manes, tails, and leather saddles. For younger preschoolers, there’s Topaz ($99/seat height 16") or Acorn ($169.99/seat height 19"). For the biggest rider, consider the gliding Patches ($299/seat height 26"). (310) 631-2222.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2006 Award
Scrambler Pedal Coupe
(Step 2 $70 Score:) Our testers really enjoyed this innovative little front-wheel-drive pedal car that has “center-pivot” steering in the handles on either side of the gender-free red vehicle. Kids use both arm and leg power. 21⁄2 & up. New for 2006, Zip & Zoom Pedal Car ($70), has a similar mechanism but with a more open design and will fit bigger kids. But first reports indicate the wheels did not have as much grip-or maybe the bigger passenger was too heavy. Test ride this one! (800) 347-8372.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2005 Award
IQ Preschool Around the Blocks
(Small World Toys $25 Score:) A high-quality set of 26 blocks with upper and lowercase letters, plus images to match the letters. All store in a big cloth bag. SNAP Activity: Use these blocks for playing sound games. Put blocks with three distinctive sounds in sight. Ask child to find the block that has the same sound as the word you say. (800) 421-4153.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Story Reader
(Publications International $19.99 Score:) We were happy to find that we could hear and read along with a set of Beatrix Potter’s classics: The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Tom Kitten. The original art has been used, as well as the language. This platform is less complex than some other electronic book readers on the market. Simply plug in the cartridge and no touching or stylus is needed. The “reader” turns the pages and follows along. Other books in the series are licensed properties such as Dora, Scooby Doo and Bambi. We hope they will consider using more true storybooks with the artistic and literary merit of Peter Rabbit. (800) 454-9006. SNAP:New for 2006: The only new additions to this collection are more licensed characters—Sponge Bob, My Little Pony and more Dora. We preferred last year's set of Beatrix Potter’s classics: The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Tom Kitten. The original art has been used, as well as the language. This platform is less complex than other electronic book readers on the market. Simply plug in the cartridge, and no touching or stylus is needed. The “reader” turns the pages and follows along. Other books for the series are more licensed properties such as Dora, Scooby Doo, and Bambi. Still recommended, 2004 SNAP AWARD winner, Active Pad ($24.95 ). This looks a lot like so many talking book platforms. Touch the pictures with a stylus and it says the name of the object. It’s a knowing-and-naming book with lots of familiar objects to talk about. Look for the shape and counting book version of this, too. (800) 454-9006.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
My Hawaiian Hula Girl
(Kuleana Productions $19.99 Score:) This is an adorable fabric doll with a hula skirt and Lei, yarn hair and stitched features...and oh, yes, discreetly painted toe nails,too. Her arms bend and her hips sway with ease! From the company that make a wonderful video that teaches kids to do the Hula. See review of new videos "I Want To Be a Hula Dancer & Wear a Flower Lei".

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2006 Awards
PlasmaCar
(PlaSmart $69.95 Score:) Our testers from ages 4 to 12 could not get enough of this new ride-on that according to the manufacturer runs on “inertia, centrifugal force, and friction.” Sounds like a lot of serious scientific principles - but this is sheer fun rolled up in one zippy vehicle! There are no pedals, or batteries needed. Rotate the steering wheel and you’re off on any smooth surface. This was tested indoors in a room with the furniture moved out of the way for clear sailing. Your feet are your brakes and this will support riders up to 220 pounds on a smooth, even surface and 120 pounds on an uneven, rough surface. One mom suggested the manufacturer should add bumpers to the front and back to protect the walls. That said- it’s the new favorite toy in their neighborhood. 4 & up. (877) 289-0730.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2005 Awards
Smart Splash Shape Shell Turtles & Number Fun Ducks
(Learning Resources $14.99 Score:) Two sets of tub toys that are fun as well as good teaching tools. A set of eight floating turtles have shells with shape cut outs that tots match and fit on and off the turtles backs. Also cute, A set of ten yellow ducks with dots on their backs and matching numeral underneath. These are marked 2 & up. There are no small parts, but we think the skills involved are more realistically for preschoolers. (800) 222-3909.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Peg-gy Back Game
(Lauri $14.99 Score:) It’s often hard to find a true beginners game that is not too complex for preschoolers. This simple color cube game involves moving pegs on the pegboard forward to the color thrown. If you land on the same space as your opponent, you get a Peggy back ride! Nothing hard here. The graphics are not great, but the game is a good place to start with one concept instead of three. 3 & up. (800) 451-0520.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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