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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 


2009 Award
eeBoo Preschool Nature Memory Game
(eeBoo $13 Score:)

Big picture cards with scalloped edges are easy enough for little hands to lift and turn over to make matches. Use these for a classic concentration game or with slightly older children play a rhyming game. Put four card out and say I’m thinking of something that rhymes with junk, trunk, monk….to go with the picture of the skunk. Or, use the same cards for finding something that grows, is alive, but cannot speak…the child must find the apple tree. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Awards
Wash & String Beads
(Alex $16 Score:)

Twelve colorful wooden beads in the shape of clothing that preschoolers can string on a line. The string comes with a wooden dowel that makes it easier to thread through the beads. This kind of action develops fine motor skills of little hands as well as eye hand coordination. The various clothes also can expand vocabulary as kids identify pants, shirts, blouses, bathing suit. Playing pieces are good for pretend as well as counting. 3& up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

SNAP IDEA:  Stringing threads through these wooden clothing shapes helps children develop fine motor skills as well as eye hand coordination. As they handle these wooden shapes you might want to use them to play a riddle game of “I’m thinking of something…” for example “I’m thinking of something that goes inside of shoes, they come in twos…they rhyme with rocks.” Yes, you found the socks. Or how about I’m thinking of something that has lots of dots, it is worn by girls, it rhymes with yes.” You found the dress! Or simply play a game of matching colors…”I spy two things that are yellow and pink…can you find them?” Knowing and naming the clothes is another way to reinforce vocabulary.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
Kids Preferred Peter Rabbit Hand Puppet
(Kids Preferred $15 Score:)

A silky plush Peter Rabbit with velour blue jacket with stitched gold buttons and safe stitched features. Soft enough to be a huggable, this has the added value of being a hand puppet that older sibs and parents can use for peek-a-boo games with baby or telling a story. From tracking to story telling, this is a great toy for interacting, language development and pretend play. All ages.

Age: Infants, Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Les Deglingos
(All New Materials $40 Score:)

An all new look in huggables, the Deglingos are made of patterned cotton knits, wide ribbed corduroy, fuzzy plush, and felt trims. The collection includes a rabbit, hound dog, cat, hedgehog, rat, cow, and sheep. They have a zany look that is likely to appeal to 'tweens as much as younger kids. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Kid Galaxy Movin' Motors
(Kid Galaxy $35 Score:)

Our testers love the clever motorized “robot” that you plug into the body of these construction trucks to make them go forward. Turn the motor around and it powers the dump bed of the Dump ‘N’ Drive Dump Truck or the Pick ‘N’ Plow Backhoe with a digger and claw on the back. These two work better than the Lift ‘N’ Load Bulldozer. These have a whimsical look as the motors have see-through sides that allow you to see the working fans and pistons. Easy enough for pre-schoolers to operate. One tester needed some help learning to load the motor into the right slots. These take 4 AA batteries. 3 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Awards
Playskool Wheel Pals Train Station
(Hasbro $24.95 Score:)

Like a ball roll, this uncomplicated purple and blue upright “railway” has a twisting orange track that is similar to the ramp on a toy garage. Put the red and blue train engines on top, push the engine or the red railroad crossing sign blinks its light as down, down, down, the little engines roll with a “toot toot!” There’s a “chugga chugga” sound of a train-on-tracks as it comes through the green gate. Repetitive action will appeal to toddlers. Preschoolers may use this setting with their building blocks. Takes 2 “AA” batteries. 18 months & up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

SNAP IDEAS: Although this is labeled for toddlers, there is nothing babyish looking about this toy. It lends itself to lots of cause and effect action as well as repetition. Watching the little vehicles race down the track also involves visual tracking.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Go! Go! Sports Girls
(Dream Big Toy Co. $22.99 Score:)

These sports minded dolls are all done up in outfits for such active play as softball, swimming, dancing, soccer, and tennis. Each has its own accessory that goes with the sport. The soft fabric dolls have yarn hair, stitched features and come in multi-cultural skin tones. They are a little bigger than the Groovy Girls—sort of like older cousins. We applaud the concept of promoting athletics for girls in their dramatic play. They are cuter in person than their photos on line. 3 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Groovy Girl Mermaids
(Manhattan Toy $25 Score:)

 All three of these new adorable Groovy Girl Mermaids are done in fabric with glitzy velvety mermaid tails with sparkling or satin trims. Open the tail and abracadabra! Two legs! Fold the tail into itself. Choose Macy with Caucasian skin tone and orange pigtails, Maddie with tan skin tone with iridescent trims and lavender and blue hair, or MacKenna, also Caucasian with pink hair and polka-dots. Hard to choose a favorite, they are all so special. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Kinder-Ready Alphabet Clue Cards
(Elmer's $10 Score:)

Two piece puzzles fit together when kids match the two parts of a butterfly or caterpillar, etc. This alphabet set is done with art by renowned illustrator, Eric Carle. The matching halves show upper and lower case images of the letter illustrated. The reverse side of the puzzle shows the name of the picture with upper and lower case. These may be useful for building sight vocabulary for beginning readers.

We were less happy with the Rhyming and Opposite Clue Cards because the two concepts are not the same, though the playing pieces will be mixed up in one box. We also found the opposite concepts a bit confusing. For example, one set shows a peanut in a shell and another with the shell cracked—the concept here is suppose to be open and closed; we think a window or door would have done this more clearly. This is just one example of several pairs that are easily misunderstood. If you decide to buy these, we suggest you put the two sets into separate ‘baggies’ for less confusion and talk about the opposite concepts. 3 & up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

This toy is only available at Barnes & Noble until 2010

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
Kinder-Ready Sizes & Shapes
(Elmer's $10 Score:)

Two piece puzzles with parent and child pairs to match as well as set of objects to match to geometric shapes. Unless they are in training for Jeopardy there’s no need to make a fuss over learning the proper names for animal young such as the cat fish type fish with its “fingerlings” or the Swan with its “cygnets”, or the seahorse with its “fry.” The art by illustrator Eric Carle is charming and the concept of big and small as well as shapes are key here. Some of the vocabulary feels like SAT’s for tots…way over the top. That said, this is a nice set of puzzles for telling stories, matching and even color and counting concepts. 3 & up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

This toy is only available at Barnes & Noble until 2010

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009.

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