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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 

The Mixed-Up Chameleon Maze Board
(Small World Toys $24.99 Score:) This should have been a PLATINUM AWARD winner . . . it’s a color matching magnetic toy maze, where you pull small colored balls into the right color spot on the chameleon. Here’s the drawback: the magnet isn’t strong enough so it’s quite frustrating to move the balls about. Really disappointing. (800) 421-4153.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Jungle Toss Bean Bag Game
(Alex $23.99 Score:) Our three- and five-year-old testers like this so much their mom had to put it against a wall so they wouldn’t break anything. It’s great for getting little ones up and moving. Throw the five bean bags to get them into the lion’s, hippo’s, or gator’s mouth and score your shots. A little math, a lot of motion! (800) 666-2539.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Dive, Dodge 'n Slide Bouncer
(Little Tikes $299 Score:) The neighborhood that tested this 16' x 7' x 7' bouncer raved. It requires lots of space but delivers a great deal of play value. “Larger kids were able to enjoy it too,” “easy to blow up with built in pump.” Kids have to make their way through the obstacle course and then down one of two red slides. As with any inflatable toy, lots of parental supervision is a must. There are larger inflatables in this line (notably a rock wall that looks like fun, but we are concerned about smaller children climbing and potentially falling awkwardly). Still top rated, last year’s Jump ’n Slide ($200 41⁄2). 3 & up. (800) 321-0183.

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

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SparkArt Creativity System
(Fisher-Price $99.99 Score:) Imagine an easel that tells you what to do! Its so-called “magical technology” “gets kids’ creative juices going with audio prompts, inspiring them to use colors, sounds, objects, and the alphabet.” In other words, it tells your child what to draw. Where’s the creativity in following audio prompts? While the technology may be amazing (it has over 600 word combinations and sound effects), we don’t believe that kids should be standing at an easel waiting for instructions. From a developmental point of view, we want kids to be able to explore their own imagination and make their own sounds. Was not ready for testing, but the concept is misguided. 3 & up. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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Dance Along MP3
(Playskool $14.99 Score:) The LCD screen on this machine looks crude with only black graphics. Comes loaded with 100 songs to “download,” making their own play lists but the music quality is very tinny and unpleasant. (800) 327-8267.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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Star Station On-the-Go Player
(Fisher-Price $19.99 Score:) Player comes equipped with headphones and cartridge with three Kidz Bop songs (not our favorite, but we know they’re popular). Here’s the problem: the on/off dial is also the volume control. If you go the wrong way you can really get blasted. The top volume level is just way too loud. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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On-the-Go-Microphone
(Fisher-Price $14.99 Score:) Comes with a cartridge that plays three Kidz Bop songs that our testers found very difficult to sing along with (an adult male and kids singing such odd choices as: “I Like It (like that),” “Absolutely,” and “Purple People Eater”). The microphone on its own is wireless (a plus) but in order to get enough amplification, your voice sounds fuzzy. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Matchbox Construction Zone Pop Up Adventure Set
(Mattel $14.99 Score:) Ideal for travel, this slim case, close to 10" square, pops up into a play setting with crane, ramps, and plenty of action for dramatic play. Comes with just one vehicle. This is likely to make a great birthday party gift or take-along toy. Also available in Harbor Patrol and Auto Center settings. Says 3 & up; we’d say more like 4s and more. (800) 524-8697.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Ride and Rescue Cozy Coupe
(Little Tikes $79 Score:) A twist on the classic ride-in, comes with firefighter’s handheld gizmo for turning on flashing lights and seven siren sounds built into electronic microphone. Still runs on good old-fashioned foot power! Also refreshed, Tikes Patrol Police Car ($75 4) now done in new colors. 3 & up. (800) 321-0183.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Goober
(Gund $30 Score:) A pot bellied bear that you’ll just want to hug. He’s two-toned with a really distinctive big nose—very endearing. (800) 448-4863. Still very special, Great Big Creamy Bear (Mary Meyer $130/36" 5) Remember the oversized bear you always dreamed of winning at the fair? This one is much better, because he’s totally huggable, soft, and delicious! 36" big, this memorable bear will be great to talk to and lean on. PLATINUM AWARD ’06. (800) 451-4387.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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