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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


2004 Award
Super Size Bubble Wand
(Little Kids $7.99 Score:) Bubbles are always a big hit with kids (and adults) of all ages. Whether you're two and chasing after them or 12 and making four foot bubbles, this is a crowd pleaser. This kit comes with a oversized foldable purple wand that has rainbow colored plastic links around a nylon rope. The company says the rope is the secret to the success of the bubbles because the fabric of the rope absorbs more bubble solution. Whatever the explanation, we found it was relatively easy to use after some experimenting. Also comes with a small bottle of concentrated bubble solution that you need to mix with warm water before you start. The bottle says you should let the solution set for 24 hours but we tested it and it really worked well right away. Concentrate will make 16 ozs. of solution. We found that the bubbles were not as juicy and as easy to make with premade solution.

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

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2003 Award
Franklin Hopping Sports Balls
(Franklin $14.99 Score:) Our testers liked the sports theme of these classic 18" ball hoppers. Comes either as a basketball, baseball or soccer ball. Parents also liked the fact that they comes with their own air pump. Activity Tip: Use these hopping balls for races across the lawn but be sure to give everyone a prize for playing.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2009 Award
Corolle Red and Fuchsia Baby Sling
(Corolle $30 Score:)

Taking baby along on vacation or overnight to Grandma’s is so much more fun with this Baby slig that fits your favorite 14-17” baby doll. Easy to strap on small shoulders and ready for hours of on-the- road pretend play.  The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.
 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Award
Royal Treatment Theatre Set
(Manhattan Toy $50 Score:) A royal blue brick velour tabletop stage has a foldout platform on which finger puppets can perform. Or consider Puppettos Theatre Stage (same idea but done in teal with a red curtainónot our favorite color combo, but thatís a personal preference). Top-rated puppets include the new-for-2007, Finger Puppets Under the Sea, and Paws at Play (dogs and cats) collections. Still top rated: Metropolicity Community worker types, Birthday Belles, and Royal Rumpus Finger Puppets. 4 & up. (800) 541-1345

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2005 Award
Sew and Decorate Lacing Puppets
(Lauri $4.99 Score:) Choose from a variety of precut felt puppets, such as a green witch, bunnies, bugs, or circus animals. New this year, a big Fairy Fantasy Set with six precut hand puppets and one finger puppet. Kids lace them up and use them for storytelling. Kits come with yarn and big plastic needle for sewing (which develops fine-motor skills kids need for writing). 5 & up. (800) 451-0520.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2004 Awards
Teaching Cash Register
(Learning Resources $44.95 Score:) A clever way to combine math skills with pretend play! When kids play store with this smart new register they learn to use a calculator, make change, use coupons and charge cards, and even check the customer's credit! It has a pretend scale plus a three-level coin game that asks kids to deposit specific amounts. The screen tallies and kids press enter to self-correct. Be sure the "CB" (Coin Bank) cover is snapped in place! Still recommended, the quiz-free Play Calculator Cash Register ($39.95). PLATINUM AWARD '00. SNAP: Use real coins for a knowing naming game.the calculator says the names of the coins in one mode and asks for certain coins in another mode. A good tool for building practical money-math skills. ACTIVITY: PLay a swapping game...trade two nickels for one dime...what other coins will you trade for another dime? Check out answers in the coin bank that talks on this toy. Play money or real work equally well.

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

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2004 Award
Fancy Prancy Princess Tooth Fairy
(North American Bear Co. $14 Score:)

With a special little bag for a newly lost tooth, this little 8" fairy winged doll in lavender, yellow, or pink can wait up for the regular tooth fairy to arrive and leave something special for this major event. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Award
Blokus
(Mattel $29.95 Score:)

Older players say this is a game like classic Go, played on the diagonal. But here the playing pieces are in a variety of geometric shapes, so seeing the special relationships can be challenging. Still, even younger players begin to use strategy as they find ways to use all their pieces while blocking others from their moves. A handsome game for 2-4 players. 5 & up. 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Awards
Cranium Hullabaloo
(Cranium $24.95 Score:) Players have to listen carefully to the electronic ringmaster that directs play among the 16 playmats. The player on the "lucky" mat when the ringmaster says, "freeze!" is the winner. Pace slow enough that most 4s would also enjoy playing. Also new, Conga ($19.95 ), an interactive trivia game based on how well you know your friends and family. Still top rated, Cranium Cadoo for Kids ($19.99 ): in order to win, players must draw, act out, use clay, and retrieve objects from around the house. 7 & up. PLATINUM AWARD '02. SNAP: Active fun while building listening skills and concepts. For kids who cannot get up and jump from mat to mat...adapt the game for a floor sitting find it fun. Give children a long cardboard tube and place mats in easy reach around the player(s)..object is to touch the right mat first.

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

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2004 Award
Gobblet Junior
(Blue Orange Games $19.95 Score:)

This junior edition of PLATINUM AWARD ’03 winner is just as much fun. The object is to be the first player to have three gobblets in a row, as in Tic Tac Toe. But beware, you can capture the spot with a larger gobblet! PLATINUM AWARD ’04. For an easy color memory game, consider Maask ($19.95). (415) 572-3885.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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