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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 

 
Awards
Jumbo GRIP Colour Pencils
(Creativity for Kids $10 Score:) 12 color pencils have built-in finger grips. Color and then apply water with brush for watercolor effects. Comes with its own sharpener. (800) 311-8684. SNAP: These are thinner than the Alex colored pencils and lend themselves to older kids who would still benefit from finger grips built-in to the pencils. These are very special since after they draw they can turn lines into paint with a bit of water on a brush.

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

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2003 Award
Thomas & Friends Quarry Mine Tunnel
(RC2 Learning Curve $24.99 Score:) The trains gain great momentum as they pass through the Quarry Mine Tunnel that has a trap door that the trains emerge from as they exit down the steep ramp of the tunnel. Comes with one piece of ascending train track for getting trains into the tunnel.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
MegaPlayhouse
(Playhut $39.99 Score:) Kids love having their own hide-away for pretend play. This is one big fabric pop-up playhouse with a rollup window and a doorway. Five feet tall and almost as wide, this is a big enough play setting for several kids to enjoy. Best suited for indoor use. A good gust of wind would send it flying! We always have trouble putting Playhut products away in their little cases, but we think it's more our problem than theirs!

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2004 Award
Olivia Saves the Circus Set
(Madame Alexander $99 Score:) This collection is as scrumptious as Olivia herself. The Circus Set comes in a big hatbox with ringmaster, clown, tight rope-walker, and dog and lion trainer outfits. Lion, dog, and pop-up tent also included. Olivia's Trunk Set ($85) also is very special with Olivia plus ball gown, bathing suit, tutu, two dresses, and lots of jewelry. You can buy Olivia in her red sailor dress with her red purse, striped tights-with articulated ears. 3 & up.

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

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2004 Award
Sodor Engine Wash Set
(RC2 Learning Curve $100 Score:) This 39-piece set comes with the Water tower and Sodor Engine Wash. You also get Percy and Gordon (trains). For a slightly larger set, consider Down by the Docks ($149.99/45 pieces) with Sodor Bay Bridge, Lighthouse, and Crane. PLATINUM AWARD ’03. New for , and a “grandparenty” kind of gift, Sodor Rescue Team Set ($300) —100 pieces that come in a storage box (includes our favorite add-ons, Fire Station and Rescue Hospital). Also noteworthy, Tidmouth Station Travel Set ($80) for the child who can’t leave home without some trains! Comes with Thomas, 20 pieces of track, and a zip-up case.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Pretend & Play Doctor Set
(Learning Resources $24.95 Score:) Doctors no longer make house calls, and even the traditional black bag from Fisher-Price is gone. Most of the medical kits do not come with cases large enough for easy re-packing. The roomiest is the Pretend & Play Doctor Set. Comes in a large plastic case with 19 pieces including a stethoscope with heartbeat and cough, a beeper, a cellphone, a blood pressure cuff, and other chunky tools.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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Award
Hide & Seek
( $16 Score:) Testers like this memory game with a twist. Attractive images of familiar objects are pictured on small discs. Put colored plastic discs over five pictures, roll the color die, and try to name what picture is under the matching disc. A good language, color, and memory game for two or more players. 4 & up. 800-886-1236.

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

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Transportation Peg Set
(Lauri $11.99 Score:) Five colorful rubbery vehicles come with 20 big pegs to fit and stack in a carry-along sack. Fun for counting, sorting, dexterity, and pretend play. 2–5. 800- 451-0520.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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Award
Thomas' Tracks & Trestles Game
(Briarpatch $19.99 Score:) Think Thomas meets Chutes and Ladders. The object for Thomas and his friends is to be first to reach the shed—but watch out for obstacles that send you backwards! Older fours who are fans of Thomas and can deal with those last-minute setbacks will enjoy this one. Will be best enjoyed by 5's & 6's. 800- 232 7427.

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

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2004 Award
My First Puzzles
(Infantino $12.99 Score:) There are 6 big cardboard puzzles that you’ll want to introduce one at a time. There are 2 two-piece puzzles, 2 four-piece puzzles, and 2 six-piece puzzles with handsome graphics—ducks, monkeys, and ’gators. Also fun, an Alphabet Train ($12.99 ): each train has a letter in upper and lower case, and an object that starts with the sound of the letter. Still more challenging, Counting & Shapes Floor Puzzle ($12 ) a 30-piece train that’s more complex. Kids need to find geometric shapes before they can figure out the sequence of the trains and then add the animals to the top of the train. This takes some patience and a little help for beginners. 4–7. (800) 365-8182.

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

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