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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 

 
2005 Awards
Puzzle Totes
(Lauri $8.99 Score:) Our testers enjoyed playing with this collection of puzzles from Lauri, well known for their textured crepe rubber puzzles. Rather than having the traditional tray, these double-thick seven- or eight-piece puzzles have a handle just right for travel and carrying about. Two-toned pieces are able to stand up for dramatic play. Four versions: Marine Life, Earthmovers, Dinosaurs, and, new for this year Big Shapes. Older 2s will be able to manipulate these whole-piece puzzles that 3s and 4s will continue to enjoy. (800) 451-0520.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2004 Awards
Language Littles Dolls
(Language Littles $39.99 Score:) These 16 " soft rag dolls with yarn hair are pretty pricey, but huggable and have sound chips in their hands. Give one hand a squeeze and it says several phrases in two languages, squeeze the other hand and it counts in the Spanish, Italian, French or Chinese-depending on which doll you bring home. Will it make your child bi-lingual-not really, but it is a small nod in that direction and just might prompt further interest. Also available in child size dolls sans soundchips and only $50 for an oversized playmate that can wear you child's clothes and will say whatever she imagines it says ...in any language!

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2006 Award
LeapFrog Leapster L MAX
(LeapFrog $79.99 Score:)

We told you about the Leapster way back in 2006. It's still a great travel toy, plus a simple cable connection that will put Leapster games on your TV screen, so it can be used either way. Now it's a good take-along that can also be plugged in at Grandma's. Without the usual frenetic pace, these games respond to your child and are more than zap and blast games. If you have been looking for a hand held game machine that's more appropriate than Gameboy for the youngest player look no further. Billed as a learning machine it’s a lot more playful than most. The games and skills are well targeted to older preschoolers and early school age kids. It has a larger screen and games that can be played at three levels of difficulty. There are math, phonics, reading and spelling games and an art program that takes some help to learn how to use. We really liked the Letters on the Loose cartridge but we'd skip the Batman cartridge (too scary looking for the age group). The Spiderman cartridge is recommended and has a softer edge to it than Batman. This is a little heavy for hand held operation, but not too big for a lap or table top. The stylus is easy to use and the screen responds well. Software cartridges are available for pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st Grade. 4-8. Among our favorite games, Letterpillar, and Cosmic Math with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. 4–8. PLATINUM AWARD ’06. (800) 701-5327. 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: 2006. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Award
Bitty Baby Double Stroller
(Pleasant Company $48 Score:) With so many real double stroller around, it seemed only right that there should be a version for dolls. Designed to go with the American Girl's Bitty Baby collection which offers a wide range of multi-ethnic dolls. There is also a twins collection (unfortunately only available in fair skin). The stroller does collapse for storage purposes.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Awards
Insect Lore Butterfly Pavilion
(Insect Lore $29.99 Score:)

A large 2-foot tall updated version of a habitat for hatching painted ladies butterflies. The pop-up mesh tent can be hung or put on a tabletop. This is a three-week long project with all the magic of watching caterpillars transform themselves into chrysalis and then into beautiful butterflies that can be released into your garden. When you bring home the Pavilion you send your certificate for the caterpillars. A good project to capture with camera as it moves along and keep a log of the dates and changes. This size comes with 10 caterpillars; a smaller Live Butterfly Garden($19.99) one foot comes with certificate for five caterpillars. 4 & 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, Later School Years. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Award
eeBoo Color Dominoes
(eeBoo $12.95 Score:)

Handsomely designed sturdy cardboard set of dominoes that focuses on colors and matching shapes (stars, moon, train, heart, blueberries)  rather than traditional numbers or dots.

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

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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2005 Award
Make Your Own Puppets
(Made By Hands, Inc $17.95 Score:) Kids will enjoy making their own original stick puppets with this refreshingingly open-ended kit that comes with 12 unique puppets, 12 puppetsticks, 12 stands, and over 600 precut paper shapes (the company calls them Pop-Outs™). While this looks like a preschool kit, it will also be enjoyed by the next age group (5-7) as well. Great kit for playdates and rainy days. The well designed box also makes this a good take along craft. This new company also makes wonderful card, frame and make your own game kits.

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

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2005 Award
Travel Toy Tote
(Alex $24.99 Score:) If your child is at the stage where Hot Wheels, Bendos and Crayons are littering the backseat, then this portable toy box would go along way to staying more organized. In fact, we recommend that you include your child in selecting what comes along for regular car rides. You can add surprises to the box for longer journeys. Outside pockets are great for cups, paperback books, and other must-have take alongs.

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

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2005 Awards
Doodle Pro
(Fisher-Price $8 Score:) A no-mess magnetic drawing tool that works just like the Magna Doodle. Tied-on “pen” and shapes are perfect for drawing, tic-tac-toe, and even writing letters and numbers. Also available in smaller travel model ($8). 3 & up. (800) 432-5437. (Works much better than the new Etch A Sketch Draw ’n’ Go (Ohio Art). Stick with the original Etch A Sketch for the next age group.) ACTIVITY:Put dots on the board that will form a word, number or letter when the dots are connected. Can child guess what it will be? Or play I'm thinking of a number(write one on the board and keep it hidden..CHild must guess..is it more than...less than...etc. Give child a chance to write the number and answer the questions.

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

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2005 Awards
Color Pixter
(Fisher-Price $84.99 Score:) A hand held no-mess art platform that allows kids to create countless combinations of designs with the easy to use stylus on the touch sensitive back-lit screen. While there are many premade images and backgrounds, kids can also create their own original designs. The Color Pixter is far superior in terms of graphics to its black and white predecessor. Comes with a headphone (if you don’t want to hear the sound effects and a volume control). Additional cards are available: Color Arcade, SpongeBob, Color Recue heroes, and Barbie Fashion Show.

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

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