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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 


2007 Award
Kid-Tough FP3 Player
(Fisher-Price $69.99 Score:) Parents can download songs and stories to the preloaded player designed for preschoolers. Add your own music or selections from the Fisher-Price Song & Story Content Store. (Software PC compatible only.) In contrast to the Star Station On-the-Go Player (next page), the FP3 has a volume control and limiter to protect young ears! Comes with a 1.4" LCD screen that displays titles and visual icons for pre-readers. 3 & up. (800) 524-8697.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
My Creative Center
(Alex $159.99 Score:) You’ll need lots of room for this oversized wooden table (49" x 29.5" d) that eclipses their previous Super Art Table ($179 5) in size. Rounded on one end with a storage container, this table comes with a chalk surface and a paper roller/cutter and two long benches. Done in the same cheerful primary “Maisy-like” color scheme as the other tables in the collection. For a smaller round table with same style, consider My First Table (Alex $100 41⁄2). 3 & up. (800) 666-2539.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Wikki Stix Curious George Activity Books
(Wikki Stix $14.95 Score:)

Choose from three different themes (school, birthday, or circus), which come with a colorful pack of wax-coated bendable stix that can be used to trace geometric shapes, follow the dots, do puzzles, trace mazes, or circle the “answers” to questions. A little workbookish, but an entertaining parent/child activity. 3 & up.


Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Penelope Peapod
(Penelope Peapod $40 Score:) Imagine a drawstring pocketbook made of a basket with fabric top, that opens into a bassinette and has a sweet little doll inside, dressed in a matching romper. Perfect for pretend on the go. Dolls come in various ethnicities, with cotton prints (including our favorite with Pucci-inspired fabric). Additional dolls also done for Kate Spade (but you’ll need to add $10 to the price). (877) 352-1035.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Cooking Essentials
(Step 2 $17.99 Score:) A handsome 7-piece set of enameled blue pans includes a large and small saucepan with lids and a sauté pan with wooden handle plus two pot holders. Their stainless steel set ($24.99 3) with tea kettle, colander, sauce pots, sauté pan, and pot holders would have been a top winner but for the tea kettle’s handle, which is roughly finished. We pass on the bake set ($17.99 3) because the measuring cup, marked as a cup, is short of a true cup. It seems silly to be inaccurate. 3 & up. (800) 347-8372. 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: 2007.

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BIrd's the Word Elmo
(Fisher-Price $19.99 Score:) Novelty dolls often get a lot of media attention. Some are worth the buzz, others deserved silence. For example, Bird’s the Word Elmo (Fisher-Price $19.99 2) features our pal Elmo dressed up like a bird, telling jokes and singing. It’s just too derivative and remote for kids.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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Award
Floor Standing Puppet Theater
(Alex $59.99 Score:) Puppet stages are great fun for the whole family. At first you may be the main performer but soon enough your child will want you to be the audience. Try out familiar stories and then make up your own. Kids often express themselves more openly when they use puppets-- so be a careful listener. You may be surprised by what you hear. This stage from Alex is smaller than their larger playhouses that also have puppet stages. Comes with a clock (for show time) and a chalk board for adding important info about the show.

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

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2007 Award
Magnetic Artist Easel
(Alex $79.99 Score:) Having an double sided easel is great for playdates and siblings. Two kids can work at this 48" height-adjustable wooden easel that comes with a chalkboard on one side, a magnetic wipe-off board, an 18" x 75' paper roll, sturdy wooden paper cutter and 2 easel clips. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2011 Awards
Guidecraft Unit Blocks
(Guidecraft $40 & up Score:)

If there's one toy every child should have, blocks are it! Nothing is more basic to play than a set of wooden unit blocks. A set with 34 pieces is a place to start, although a 76-piece set ($90) would be even more versatile. Pictured here is a school size set that has 28 shapes($200+)Unit blocks come with built-in possibilities for discovery as they are scaled to each other; putting two squares together, kids discover the two equal one rectangular block; two of the triangles makes a square, etc. Blocks develop kids' spatial understanding, their eye hand skills, their problem solving abilities, imagination, and language. They are the raw materials for dramatic play that put kids in charge. They are great for using with wooden trains for making bridges and roadways for toy cars, barns for small animals. Be sure to add some scaled down vehicles, and animals and even some doll house or action figures to the mix. Give them a place where the blocks can stay up for a while so that they can make settings for their dramatic play.  Blocks can be used solo and in cooperative play. Beginners often will start off by building horizontially...but soon enough preschoolers will start building upwards. These are basic gear for kids with lasting play value because they are completely open-ended and can be used in multiple ways. They may be a farm one day and a bridge the next. One of a favorite lines of props for blocks are the Jungle and Farm Animal sets from Learning Resources($25.99).

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Award
Bebe Do Graceful
(Corolle $49.99 Score:) A very sweet 14" baby doll that is just right for pretend play. Our testers love this collection of dolls that feel so soft and smell like vanilla. The head and limbs are vinyl with a soft fabric body that is extremely huggable. Comes with a bunny and bottle. We'd recommend pairing this doll with a stroller or the Play Nursery from Corolle.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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