Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 


2006 Award
Polar Bear Puppet
(Folkmanis $36 Score:) Polar bears are beloved in our office. This is a formidable bear. On a more domestic scale, there is also a new adorable 13" brown Tabby Cat ($22 ), the favorite of one of our toddler testers! Also interesting, dragon puppets that sit on a shoulder and are operated with a hand lever. Not ready for testing. Still charming, a 30" honey-colored Golden Retriever ($60 ). (800) 654-8922.

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

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2006 Award
Teddy the Teaching Bear
(Educational Insights $19.99 Score:) Colors, shapes, counting and other matching games are built into this clever little no-batteries needed quiz machine. More fun than a workbook, but the content is similar. There are 24 two sided cards that fit into a grid. Look at item on the left and find the matching item in the grid. Place the Teddy on the right match and its arm goes up. SO this is a self-correcting toy that reinforces reading symbols from left to right. No reading is required, but the mechanics of reading line-by-line and left to write and seeing details, as well as matching and language are all built into the play. They say 3 & up. We’d say more like 4-5. (800) 995-4436.

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

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2006 Awards
WonderFoam Big Letters
(Chenille Kraft Co. $11.5 Score:) Twenty-six big colorful foam letters. These are fun to trace and stick to the wet wall of the tub to spell out names and words. These have an interesting texture, as well, that make them an even better sensory learning tool. Activity: Because these letters have a textured finish they can be used for crayon rubs. Put a sheet of paper on top of a letter and use the side of a crayon to rub over the letter. Make a name sign with rubbings. Also, WonderFoam Magnetic Letters and Numbers ($10.50 )—unlike old-time plastic magnetic letters with tiny magnets that can be a choking hazard, these foam letters are completely backed with magnetic material that mirrors their shape. Also, new WonderFoam Dominoes SNAP AWARD ($15.50 ) Twenty-eight big dominoes with colorful dots that are color-coded to match. One can feel some sensory information in the cut-out form of the dots. They are not raised, but you can feel their outline. A great matching game. (800) 621-1261.

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

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Dora the Explorer Talking Kitchen
(Fisher-Price $79.99 Score:) If you have a fan of Dora at home, this will be a very tempting gift. Our recommendation would be to buy a Dora doll or Dora DVD to fulfill that Dora need, but to pass on this toy kitchen. Our first objection to this kitchen is that it talks, alot. Preschoolers can and should make up their own pretend stories about what they're cooking. To have the toy direct the action misses the point of having kids use their own language and imagination -- trust us they have plenty of both once they get started. Our other complaint about this toy is its design. It looks like a licensor's fantasy. While we like many licensed based toys, the kitchen has a very large plastic Dora that struck us as over the top. Instead, we'd recommend one of the non-talking plastic kitchens from Step 2 or Little Tikes or the wooden appliances from Small World Toys.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2007 Awards
Funky Artist
(Alex $19.99 Score:) One step above finger paints, this set of three “funky” brushes is unlike anything you have seen before. One looks like a string mop, one like the soft brushes at the car wash, and one like a flower made of cloth. Each produces a different texture. Kit comes with three bottles of washable paint and flat dishes for paint. Fat handles make this easy for little hands to hold and bold colors will invite big arm movements as they experiment with spreading paints and mixing colors. There are little brushes included, but this is all about big strokes for little folks. 2 & up. (800) 666-2539.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Crank 'N Glow Flashlight
(Playskool $9.99 Score:) Kiss the batteries goodbye! Here’s a “magic” flashlight that you wind, and the faster you crank it, the brighter it glows. This is a novelty item that kids may enjoy for a few minutes and then it will turn into a piece of equipment. 3 & up. (800) 327-8267.

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

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2007 Awards
Inside Outside Cook 'n Grill Kitchen
(Little Tikes $149 Score:) Both Little Tikes and Step 2 get high marks this year for gender-free pretend cooking sets with an outdoor twist. The Inside Outside Cook n Grill Kitchen (Little Tikes $149 ) is a combo unit right on the mark for “pretend” cooking with a kitchen on one side and an outdoor grill on the other. (800) 321-0183. With an even more outdoor feel, Bistro Grille (Step 2 $99.99 ) comes with a cook surface, counter, and stool. While we like the design of the Bistro very much, the lower rating reflects the plastic hot dogs that are unnecessarily small and should be removed for kids who still mouth their toys. (800) 347-8372. For more kitchens, see Toddlers chapter.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Pretend & Play Office
(Learning Resources $29.99 Score:) A briefcase loaded with 75 items is full of props for playing office. Few of the props are electronic except for the calculator and cell phone. Kit includes a kid’s checkbook, blank calendar, wipe-off chart, and very skinny laptop (just a piece of cardboard that opens like a book cover with screen and keyboard printed). 3 & up. (800) 222-3909.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Baby Stella
(Manhattan Toy $24.99 Score:) Younger preschoolers will enjoy tending to this all-fabric baby doll that comes in two skin tones with a few strands of yarn hair. New this year are a fun bouncy seat and outfits for Stella. (800) 541-1345.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Baby Chou Twins
(Corolle $34.95 Score:) Soft-bodied 11" bald boy and girl dolls in knitted rompers and hats with sleep eyes and tethered tiny teethers (not for kids who still mouth their toys). FOr boy doll only see entry for Jules, Platinum Award '06. (800) 668-4846.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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