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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


2006 Awards
PlasmaCar
(PlaSmart $69.95 Score:) Our testers from ages 4 to 12 could not get enough of this new ride-on that according to the manufacturer runs on “inertia, centrifugal force, and friction.” Sounds like a lot of serious scientific principles - but this is sheer fun rolled up in one zippy vehicle! There are no pedals, or batteries needed. Rotate the steering wheel and you’re off on any smooth surface. This was tested indoors in a room with the furniture moved out of the way for clear sailing. Your feet are your brakes and this will support riders up to 220 pounds on a smooth, even surface and 120 pounds on an uneven, rough surface. One mom suggested the manufacturer should add bumpers to the front and back to protect the walls. That said- it’s the new favorite toy in their neighborhood. 4 & up. (877) 289-0730.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Morphibians
(Kid Galaxy $24.99 Score:) These snappy vehicles run on land and water! With two button full-function radio control, these are less complex than some of the larger RC’s and have the added fun of float-ablilty. Very cool.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Awards
Candy Land DVD Game
(Milton Bradley $29.99 Score:) Put the play mats on the floor and plug this into your DVD player and kids are ready for an active but not too fast moving game that gets them up off the couch. Players move from one of 24 color play mats to another collecting tokens. This type of game is ideal for developing listening skills and color concepts in a playful manner. A grown up will need to supervise. 2-4 players.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Nature Barrel of Beads
(Bead Bazaar $19.99 Score:) A huge bucket of wooden beads that are big enough for small hands to string. Includes natural and colored strings, ten wooden charms, and rings for keychains. There are enough packets of colored beads for ten or more kids to use as an activity for a party. They say 3 & up; we’d say more like 4–7. (800) 838-1769.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Grande Mansion
(Playmobil $170 Score:) Part construction set/mostly pretend setting, Grande Mansion has two stories and a usable attic; this yellow house has an old world charm that will be a memorable gift. Younger kids will need help with assembly. This is a fun parent child project if you're so inclined!

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Awards
YOUniverse ATM Machine
(Summit Inc. $39.95 Score:) After setting the ATM with your name and PIN, you can make deposits and withdrawals, and check your balance. Comes with an ATM card and will take both coins and bills. The machine recognizes the coins and adds them to your total automatically. For younger kids we prefer the less complicated Amazing Money Jar ($12.99 ); it tallies up coins only—but still very neat. Activity: Learning to count money and exchange coins is a process that takes time. Playing store or restaurant with real money is a good way to start. Also allowing children to pay for small items in the course of an outing gives them a hands-on way to understand the give and take of money. (205) 661-1174

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
American Girl Elizabeth
(American Girl $87 Score:) The American Girl collection of dolls each comes with a book that introduces girls to a bit of history through stories. Elizabeth is an English girl from a prominent Loyalist family (and best friend of well-known Felicity). She’s 18" tall with long blond hair and blue eyes. Still top rated, Nellie O’Malley (Samantha’s best friend). PLATINUM AWARD ’05. 7 & up. (800) 845-0005.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2007 Award
Only Hearts Club Collection
(OHC Group $15 Score:) These 9" dolls have bendable bodies, delicately etched faces, and charming accessories, as well as small books that relate to typical problems of girlhood. Girls will need considerable dexterity to get the little shoes and clothing on and off. Unlike most fashion dolls today, these have outfits that would be acceptable to well-heeled parents and grandparents. They are dressed like girls—not funky streetwalkers in training. Our testers were thrilled with the Ballet Studio Theater ($50) and Stable ($75)—both were PLATINUM AWARD winners last year. New Platinum Award winners for 2007, a Sleeper Sofa ($19.99)—a first in Toy Land! And Sleeping Bags ($9.95), a clever tie-in to a favorite activity, sleepovers! Our testers also loved the Rock Star Collection. (We pass on the My Little Pony-inspired Fantasy Pet collection of plush animals that includes lavender horses and dolphin riding mermaid—just not our thing.)

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2006 Award
Only Hearts Club Ballet Studio & Stable
(OHC Group $50 Score:) Settings for these 9" dolls with bendable bodies, delicately etched faces, and charming accessories, as well as small books that relate to typical problems of girlhood. The two sided Ballet Studio Theatre ($50) has a mirror and bar for doll to go through her paces. On the other side is a theatre with curtain where she can perform for an audience of other dolls. Very cute. For young horse lovers, this is a beautifully crafted Stable($75) With stables and tools for grooming horses( included) As for the dolls, girls need considerable dexterity to get the little shoes and clothing on and off. Unlike most fashion dolls today, these have outfits that would be acceptable to well-heeled parents and grandparents. They are dressed like girls—not funky streetwalkers in training. Our testers were thrilled with the Ballet Studio Theater, Stable ($75 ) and dolls. All are PLATINUM AWARD winners. (805) 456-0241.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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Barbie Fashion Fever Styling Head
(Mattel $19.99 Score:)

If your child is into serious hair play, here's a dream gift (although it might creep other family members). Corolle's Hairstyling & Make-Up Head ($29.95 ) is just the head and shoulders of a beautiful blond doll with plenty of hair to brush and style. Kit also comes with make-up for the doll (of course). (800) 668-4846. If you're looking for a more grown-up head of hair (with really bad chunky highlights), consider Barbie Fashion Fever Styling Head (Mattel $19.99 ). (800) 524-8697. (Editors' note: We're not big on hair play as a pre-occupation, but these styling heads might help encourage good grooming and reduce the common hassles over real hair care.)

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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