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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 


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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2009 Award
Chickyboom
(Blue Orange Games $22 Score:)

You start with a bunch of wooden hens (enjoyably purple), bales of hay and wagon wheels - all sitting on a perch. The object is to remove pieces without making everything fall over. The hens, hay and wheels all have different values. The player with the highest number value at the end of the round (when things fall off) wins. Fast paced, easy to learn...a hit with our testers. Requires, dexterity, adding skills, and a sense of humor!  They say 4 and up, we'd say even more fun for the 6 year old crowd.

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
Alex Jr. Tub Joy Doggy, Ducky and Froggy Bath Mitts
(Alex $10 Score:)

These terry cloth bath puppets have colorful contrasting licks of bright terry and stitched on features. We loved the chartreuse frog with aqua snout and the aqua doggy with bright yellow snout and purple nose and the yellow duck with big orange beak. These will make scrubbing up at bath time much more fun for preschoolers who like playing wherever they go. They have cotton loops for hanging up to dry. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

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

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2009 Award
Creativity for Kids Big Fun Crafts
(Creativity for Kids $24.95 Score:)

A wonderful compartmentalized craft box with more than 300 pieces! An ideal box of supplies for playdates, rainy days or quiet summer afternoons. Comes with supplies that include 30+ yards of ribbon and yarn, multi-colored pom poms, glitter pom poms, pipe cleaners, rainbow craft sticks, feathers, scissors, and a whole lot more to get the creative juices flowing. They say 3 & up. We'd say many of these items would be slightly better with 4-7's. 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
Creativity for Kids Polka Dot Purse
(Creativity for Kids $17.99 Score:)

A cute violet canvas purse with more than 100 felt stick-ons to decorate it. This is pretty easy to do with no cutting and pre-stick felt pieces. Comes with a ribbon that feeds through the loops on top for a finished craft look. This is a simple to do kit with no right or wrong way of designing. Yet, the finished product is pretty enough to carry with the pride of being able to say..."I made it myself!" The box say 3 & up. We'd say 5 & up is closer to the right age. 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
Creativity for Kids Cool Creations Craft with Clay
(Creativity for Kids $19.99 Score:)

Get ready to create all kinds of clay creatures or vehicles. A terrific clay kit that includes 8 packages of soft air-dry clay, colorful chenille stems, small marabou feathers, wiggly eyes, beads, fuzzy fur, clay sculpting tool, craft glue, and storage bag. Comes with instructions and a sheet of fun ideas. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. 5 & up

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

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2009 Awards
Creativity for Little Kids Finger Prints
(Creativity for Kids $20 Score:)

We really love the way this finger printing kit is set up for less mess and good fun. Of course little children are more involved in the doing than finished painting. It's a chance to explore how colors mix and how spreading the paint results in different effects. This should be the main focus--exploring colors and motion and messing around. For slightly older kids one can preserve a special art work by pressing paper and rolling the breyer over the plastic sheet to make a print that can be saved. It comes with an apron, sponge for cleaning fingers and six pots of paint that sit secure in the painting tray. Last but not least, this all stores well in a good box when the artistic moments are over. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. 

SNAP ACTIVITIES: This is more like a print making kit. Kids use the finger paints on the plastic surface in the kit and then use paper and roller to "print" their artwork on paper. This is a step more than regular fingerpaints and becomes involved with a finished product. That may be one step too far for most paintings. Encourage children to experiment and enjoy the process rather than focusing on the final product. Of course, you may want to capture a sample of their artwork. That's fine. Just let the painting be the most important part of the fun.

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

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2009 Awards
LeapFrog Tag Junior
(LeapFrog $35 Score:)

Tag Junior is really a well designed platform for the 2-4 crowd. The books are all printed on sturdy cardboard stock. Pre-readers can use the Tag device to make the books speak more than the apparent text on the page. There are more than 100 interactions in each book that invite children to find objects on the page, as well as simply reading what the page says. Unlike the original Tag toy that reads true storybooks along with interactive touch features, this junior version explores ideas that do not have to be "read" in sequence. For younger children who may dip into a book without regard to its sequence, this makes sense. The toy comes loaded with one book, If I Were, a book full of animal sounds. There are 8 other titles available and a total of 13 that will be released this year. You buy the extra books in the store and then you download the interactions into the Tag Junior device with your computer. There is an ABC Orchestra book, another with action words. One of the best for this age group is a color concept book featuring Curious George. Dora the Explorer is also the star of a bilingual counting book that goes from 1-10 (although for most 2-4's learning to count to five in one language is probably enough.) You'll want to share these books with your child before handing off the device that they can then use independently. A carrying case ($14.99) that holds the Tag Jr. and five books will come in handy for storage as the library grows. 2-4

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

SNAP ADAPTATION: The chunky sensor is easier than most to grasp. If it needs to be futher adapted, a glove with velcro in the mitt and a strip of velcro on the sensor may do the trick. Unlike simply reading along with a recording, this learning tool enables beginning readers to follow along and get the sense of how the text moves from left to right. It encourages readers to learn the "mechanics" of how a book works from front to back, from left page to right. Add to this the fun of exploring the pages and art to make things happen and this goes a few steps beyond any other read aloud story system with real books!

 

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

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