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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 


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

Two piece puzzles fit together when kids match the color of an animal with the color card or the numeral shown with the same number of objects. We suggest you separate the two sets of cards for beginners. Just matching the color set or number set will be challenge enough at first. These are handsome cards done with the illustrator, Eric Carle’s playful art work. These are sound concepts to work on with preschoolers. Unfortunately, their String Along Skill Building Kit(3.5) has a string without a hard end, so it is going to be hard for little hands to string the plastic shaped beads. The best parts of the kit were the playing cards with ideas for sorting, patterns and matching games. These cards and the playing pieces work. It’s just the string that does not. You could bring it home and substitute a lacing string from another toy. We just cannot give it an award because of the lace that comes with the kit. 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 Go Wild! Game
(Elmer's $19.99 Score:)

Eric Carle’s wonderful animal art is used for the 16 large circular playing disks of these active games that can be played by one, two or more players. Adult help will be needed to get these games going. First, you’ll need to inflate the playing dice with action words on one and dots for counting on the other. After that the variations of the game will need some explaining. Most of the games involve the action die that says “Dance, Crawl, Walk, Jump, Run or Sing like…” Player turns over a picture disk and must move like the animal pictured. There’s a ‘duck, duck, goose’ kind of variation only this one is called ‘hop, hop, holler!” when a child in the circle is told to holler he gets up and turns over a picture card and hollers like the animal he found. Now it’s that child’s turn to go round the circle and pick the next person who will be “it” and holler. These simple games are on the mark for 3’s and up.

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

This game is only available at Barnes & Noble until 2010.

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

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2009 Award
Charlie & Lola Puzzle
(Mudpuppy Press $10 Score:)

Favorite storybook characters, Charlie and Lola are featured on this puzzle with the two of them drinking pink milk…which is best, of course! This is a 36 piece puzzle marked for 3 & up. We think it may be a challenge for most 3’s and many 4’s. Give them help with the strategy of putting the frame of the puzzle together. 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.

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2009 Award
Pirates
(Mudpuppy Press $10 Score:)

36 big pieces combine to make a 16 X 16 inch puzzle with a cast of animal pirates. This is not really as easy at it may appear. 36 pieces are a serious challenge for beginners. Give them some help in seeing the edges and making a frame. Says 3 & up. We think it may be hard for most 3’s and even some 4’s. For older pirate lovers there is a 63 piece Pirate’s Cove ($14 4.5) with smaller pieces. It comes stored in a round container that adds to the challenge of following the image. This is not an easy puzzle. Finishes as an 18 X 14pieces. 5 & 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.

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2009 Award
Jungle Friends, First Puzzles
(Mudpuppy Press $10 Score:)

Newest of the First Puzzle sets with four little puzzles in one box. This is a little more challenging since the colors of the four puzzles have some overlap. Sorting the playing pieces by color may need adult assistance. That said the four animals pictured are playful images and go together with ease, once they are sorted. In fat the sorting is part of the fun. 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.

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2009 Award
Dinosaur Park Puzzle
(Mudpuppy Press $17 Score:)

Twenty-four great big pieces fit together to make a colorful scene with all the familiar dinosaurs young children love naming and knowing. There’s stegosaurus, T-Rex, Triceratops, and good old Brontosaurus. Give beginners clues about putting the frame together first and then when the deed is done use it to talk about the colorful creatures. 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.

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Plan Toys Push-Along Duck
(Plan Toys $35 Score:)

This all rubberwood push toy has a cute little duck that walks along with flip flop orange webbed feet. It makes an amusing quacking sound as it goes along. For a less noisy variation there’s a blue Push-Along Elephant ($35) that is slightly less noisy and a little harder to push. Though this is a pricey toy, it’s a classic toy that will appeal to toddlers. Once they are up on their feet and walking they enjoy anything that moves along with them and their active independent life style. 19 months & up.  The lower score reflects that there was some difficulty for many of testers to push these two with ease.  The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
Plan Toys Kitchen Center
(Plan Toys $250 Score:)

This goes together in a jiffy and is well built of chemical free rubberwood. This is a classic combo kitchen with a stove and oven on one side and a sink with removable basin and storage on the other side. Finished in peach and natural wood, it is scaled down enough for an apartment with tight quarters. There are other appliances in this line, but this is the most versatile. 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. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Plan Toys Eco Town
(Plan Toys $150 Score:)

Let's just say from the start, this is an expensive product--but it is very special and will work well with other settings from this company.  This new miniature setting includes a small house, a little train station, an eco charging station (yes, not necessarily for gas), street accessories, and a play mat. This eco town has solar panels, wind mill, and runs on eco renewable energy. You can add more vehicles and other settings to this basic eco-city. 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
Plan Toys Green Dollhouse with Furniture
(Plan Toys $199 Score:)

A five room eco friendly doll house that is not only made of chemical free rubberwood, it is a model for our homes of the future. It comes with furniture AND a wind turbine and solar panel for generating energy. It has a recycling bins, a rain barrel for collecting rain, an electric inverter, and a blind that adjusts the sun and air. The small bushes are made of green pom-pom and the furniture has small cushions for decorating. Best of all, from a play standpoint, it's easy to get your hands into from many angles. This means that several children can play at one time. This is a pricey toy, but one that will stand up over time. If you are interested in a wooden dollhouse, check out the company's A-Frame doll house, as well. 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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