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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 

Opposites Puzzle
(Mudpuppy Press $ Score:) An innovative 9-piece cardboard puzzle that is 2 sided. Put together a city scene on one side and a country scene on the other. The pieces are big and chunky and the boarder design on each pice cues which scene you are working on. There's a city scene with a taxi on one-side and farm animals on the other. Too bad they labeled this for 2 & up. This would have been an award winner for preschoolers, but not 2 year olds! A fine choice for experienced puzzle players of 3 and 4. Ditto the new Dinosaur puzzle with a play scene and dinosaurs that can be put together and used as actioon figures for dramatic play. Ahain the age label is off...says 4 & up...we don't think 4's can do this and the information on the flip side of the puzzle is worthy of 5's and 6's...not a preschool choice.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: .

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LittleTouch Leap Pad
(LeapFrog $34.99 Score:) As electronic readers go this one is a breakthrough product that actually uses real picture books on their talking platform-granted so far there are just a few titles but the manufacturer promises more. “Guess How Much I Love You” ($14.99) one of our award winners has been adapted to the talking machine with add-on activities that will entertain and delight young listeners. Many of the other titles are “knowing & naming” books, All this would be fun for toddlers and parent to explore together. However, our testers noted, as we did that you need a BIG touch to activate the story. One needs to use a fair amount of pressure, so this may require more parental involvement. We think that’s a plus when you are dealing with toddlers- but probably needs some fine tuning by the manufacturer. Others have also complained about the on off switch being too easy for tots to find and use! We think all these problems will be reworked soon. Will this replace a book for tots to taste, toss, and explore without sounds? Not at all. Nor will it replace a warm lap and a book in hand. But as a first electronic reader- it’s a brave new world choice. They say 6 months & up--we’d say more like 18 months.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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Learn Through Music System
(Fisher-Price $29.97 Score:) We had great hopes for this interactive toy that features learning familiar concepts with well known characters (Blue, Barney, Dora, Elmo), a moving screen and touch screen technology. Sounds like everything you'd want in an electronic toy for older tots and preschoolers - not 18 mos., though. But it's not just the age label that is off. While our testers liked pushing the buttons, we found the content confusing.  On the Blue's Clue color concept game, the "blue" page had way too much purple on it.  The "red" page has more orange than red to add to the confusion. The lights that go off whenever a new color is announced are always "yellowish/orange".  If your child already knows his concepts, this might be a fun interactive toy but it will be likely to confuse kids still working on gaining an understanding of these concepts. Using paints would work a lot better and especially in the mixing color department-hands on experience with food coloring or paint will make the whole concept a lot clearer than words can do!

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Soccer Guys
(Kaskey Kids $14.99 Score:) If you're looking for non-violent action figures that your child will love, look no further! Here's a truly satisfying kit that comes with 24 players, one referee, two soccer goals and a generous green felt 24" x 36" playmat. The carrying case (with a handle) makes this a great take along. The company also makes a Football Guys set. Both sets are great for dramatic play. We like the fact that there are no directions--leaving the play up to your child's imagination. Hooray! (or should we say Score!)

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

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2004 Award
Musical Friends Lacing Cards
(eeBoo $14.95 Score:) Playing with these attractive lacing cards is perfect for developing fine motor skills. Each of the five cards comes with a cheerful illustration of an animal playing a musical instrument. These 8 x 11 cards are made of hardy stock will hold up well. Set comes with five different colored laces so that more than one child can enjoy working with the kit.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Super Sized Floor Puzzle (Construction Duty)
(Ravensburger $12 Score:) Kids fascinated with all things construction will love working on this oversized (2 x 3) puzzle with 24 pieces that features a picturebook quality illustration of a construction site. One of our adult reviewers noted that the crew was not multi-cultural and that the only woman on the site seemed to be the architect, but still a handsomely designed puzzle.

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

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2004 Award
Pudgies Wag Wag Yellow Lab
(Mary Meyer $9.99 Score:) A sweet honey colored lab that is incredibly soft and just right for toddlers and preschoolers. The pudgie comes with a red bow, a bean bag body and an easy to hold legs. A Black lab is also available.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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2000 Awards
ChildLIfe Ultimate SuperChief
(Childlife $3600 Score:) This isn't your father's playset! ChildLife's play gyms are made from yellow cedar that is then covered with green enamel- giving it a smooth, splinter free finish. Older climbers will be attracted to the rock wall, the buoy ball swing, and the clubhouse. Starter sets begin at $800 but you can always add more and more features (kind of like designing a kitchen). The company will help design your "dream" system on their website, by phone or with an authorized dealer. With all climbing equipment, adult supervision is a must. The government recommends a minimum of 6 inches of ground covering (wood chips, recycled mulch, pea stones, fine sand) and a minimum perimeter of 6 feet. For more guidelines, please visit www.cpsc.gov.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2000.

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2005 Award
Duck Duck Goose
(Milton Bradley $19.99 Score:) Thirteen little ducklings sit in a circle. Move the big Goose around the circle, press her head, and she says, "Duck," "Duck," "Duck." Keep moving her until she says, "Goose!" and then pick up the duckling to check the color dot hidden on the bottom of the duckling's shell. Players must collect three different colors to match their "nest" to win. Easy to learn, while reinforcing color concepts for beginners. Preschoolers will love the sound and action of this board version of a favorite childhood game. (888) 836-7025.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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Love Me Chou Chou
(Zapf Creation $49.99 Score:) Love Me Chou Chou score 3 (Zapf Creation $49.99) Love Me Chou Chou babbles, cries, says mama, and moves her feet, but she was disappointing to our testers who thought she was "too heavy... she had a seam on her head—looked like she had brain surgery... and you had to put a pacifier in to make her stop crying." We still highly recommend this company’s multi-ethnic and silent Baby Cakes Birthday line. Each 19" doll comes with eyes that open and close and are dressed in a beautiful knitted seater and cap. A scrumptious armful. Also pleasing, My First Baby Annabell ($19.99), a sweet and very affordable 14" bald baby doll in a terry cloth romper.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: .

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