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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 


2005 Award
Tiny 'n Tuff Fast Tracks
(Mega Bloks $29.99 Score:) A big cleverly designed container that doubles for storage as well as play is chock full of ramps and blocks for making a variety of super roadways that can cascade from the lid with built-in sound effects. Comes with two vehicles and highway signs. You’ll need to build it for 2’s but even 3’s will need help getting the ramp-ways built. Their Tuff ‘n Tiny Garage ($19.99 3.5) would have been a gold winner, too, but it is labeled for 1 & up. This is a toddler/preschool toy well beyond a one year old. The garage has built-in sound effects that won’t drive you to drink. It’s a colorful play setting with a working elevator, gas pumps, car wash, and ramps that attach in multiple ways. Comes with one vehicle but will accommodate many others. This can be a free standing or become part of the more complex roadway of the Tiny ‘n Tuff Fast Tracks set. Two and a half and up. (800) 465-6342

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
My Pirate Ship
(Mega Bloks $29.99 Score:) This is a play theme preschoolers often enjoy. Here the play pieces are big enough for small hands to enjoy safely. The ship has sound effects, a crew of two pirates, a monkey, a parrot and a mermaid. They say 1 & up- we’d say more like 2 and a half to three. This would have been a gold winner except for the misleading age label. (800) 465-6342

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Mini Golf
(Alex $19.99 Score:) Our four year old testers thought this circus-themed miniature golf set was loads of fun. Comes with two clubs (with foam heads for safety); two balls; and six illustrated targets. For a basic plastic set of clubs, TotSports Golf Set (Little Tikes $20) comes with a pull cart, two clubs, and three balls. The Little Tikes set is marked 2 and up, but we'd say 4 and up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Plan Toys Shape Sorter
(Brio $20 Score:) A handsome curved wooden platform holds four shapes in place. Cut-out shape boards are fitted over the circle, square, rectangle, and triangle. Boards can be used to reinforce color, shapes, or fractions. Also see Plan Toys’ Shape & Sort ($20 ) with three shapes that drop in and slide out—Abracadabra!—when platform is touched. (888) 274-6869.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Crawl N Fun
(Playhut $25 Score:) Testers giggled their way through this 6'-long tunnel as they crawled along! Also top rated: longer and more spacious Yellow School Bus and Red Fire Engine and a blue Deluxe Train engine. These each easily accommodate two kids for pretend fun. 3 & up. (888) 752-9488.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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Cool Crew Magic Talking Kitchen Crew
(Playskool $39.99 Score:) Smaller than your average toy kitchen, this is more of a novelty item than the kind of play setting that should be open ended and have long term play value. It’s only 17.6 X 16.2 X 8.6. Hardly big enough for even pretend chefs over the age of 2 and a half. We don’t think kids need anthropomorphic doors that talk and ask them the same question again and again. For toddlers who are still sorting out real from make believe this kind of cartoon-ish toy only clouds their thinking. Young children are magical thinkers by nature- but they come up with enough magic without the added confusion of stoves with eyes and mouths that move. Nor do kids need toys that crack corny jokes. Keep in mind that these seemingly cute extras are apt to get “tired” with continued use. True, the price is low for a toy kitchen, but that’s about the only thing it has on the plus side. Think of a toy kitchen as an investment toy that will be used for three or four years and then can be passed on to another child. This is not that kind of kitchen.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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2005 Awards
Jumbo Farm Animals
(Learning Resources $22.95 Score:) Seven farm animals beautifully molded and colored and ready for years of pretend play action. They are in size proportion to each other and will fit into block settings. Set includes a horse, cow, pig, goat, sheep, goose and rooster. 3 & up. (800) 222-3909.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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Make Your Own Twinkly Tiaras
(Klutz $12.95 Score:) There are three pre-cut foil-on-cardboard tiaras ready to be decorated with glue on gemstones and sequins. The book also includes some tiaras for dolls. A good choice for a playdate, teaparty or quiet time. Finished tiaras are ready for pretend play. Theys ay 4, we’d saw more like a task for 5’s & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Magnetic A to Z
(Klutz $12.95 Score:) Good Parent child side-by -ide book with magnetic letters and steel pages that ask kids to find objects that begin with several different letters. Kids put magnetic letters on the objects.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Lauri T-Rex and Farm Puzzle
(Lauri $7.99 Score:) Lauri’s puzzles come with rubber pieces and a pattern printed in the container/tray for beginners to follow. For building confidence, these are the perfect place to start. New for ‘06 , a 13-piece T-Rex and a 16 piece Farm Scene. Past favorites include Triceratops, Car, Cement Truck, Birthday Cake, and Airplane. 3–7. (800) 451-0520.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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