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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


2008 Award
eeBoo I Never Forget a Face Travel Matching Game
(eeBoo $9.95 Score:)

A perfect stocking stuffer or take along on a trip card set. Lizzy Rockwell’s delightful multicultural faces are printed on small cards that can be matched for solo play or in a concentration style game. Also cute, a set of small “Once Upon a Time” cards with Humpty Dumpty, Red Riding Hood and others. For young nature lovers also consider the matching game of “Life on Earth” with kangaroos, peacocks, lemur, and many more plants and animals. For younger players, there is a new travel set of Color Dominoes. Saxton Freymann used bold graphics of stars, hearts, blueberries and a sleepy lamb to make these colorful dominoes a delight to handle. Again, kids are matching familiar shapes and learning to recognize them outside the nursery.

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: 2008.

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2009 Award
eeBoo Wildlife Matching Game
(eeBoo $14.95 Score:)

Knowing and naming the animals in this set goes a bit further than your average three year old! Reindeer (sans Santa), opossum, hedgehog, snail, and a hippo. Matching is matching, but knowing the names of these critters will take some doing. For extra fun, try a riddle game…put out three cards and say “I’m thinking of an animal its name rhymes with pail (snail) or I’m thinking of an animal its name rhymes with Zippo. Or play another game asking your child to find an animal with feathers, scales, fur, etc. 4 & up.

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

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2009 Award
eeBoo Make a Pie!
(eeBoo $14.95 Score:)

Here’s a fun way to play around with fractions. Players take turns trying to make a pie with the fraction they spin. There are juicy looking wedges of cherry and berry pies. Object is to collect all the pieces needed to make a whole pie. This is a good starting point for learning about fractions. An attractive concept game—for beginners. 6 & up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

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

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2008 Award
Lego Racer Red Ace
(Lego Systems, Inc. $9.99 Score:)

A late arrival at a great price. This Red Ace is a small pull back racer that has red detailing. Pull it back and send it flying on the ramp. This is a relatively easy build with only 82 pieces but it has lots of play value. We'd recommend bringing home two so that you can have races.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Awards
Poingo Set
(Publications International $34.95 Score:)

Although the oversized books are all based on licensed characters, this is an entertaining electronic book collection with a sensor that is chunky and easy for beginners to grasp. The two books that come with the set are based on Finding Nemo and The World of Cars. Touch the big sensor to the text and it reads the page or touch the images on the page and it gives you bits of info, sound effects or things to find. Unlike Leap Frog's TAG, this does not include a library of real books by gifted writers and illustrators. It also does offer the option of hearing the words read out loud with the sensor's guidance one word at a time. That means it is not establishing the understanding of how books work from left to right and word to word. If this option and some real books were added to the mix this would also be a Platiunm winner. That said, this is a pretty good choice with more complex text that slightly older kids might find inviting. We think the 3 & up age label is not correct. This is more like a good choice for 5-8.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP: The easy to operate sensor can be fitted with Velcro and placed in a mitt with Velcro so that it can be grasped with greater ease. The subject matter in these two books may appeal to older kids and still give them the independence of "reading" alone!

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

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2008 Awards
Acting Out Jingle Bell Rock Skirt
(Acting Out $40 Score:)

Totally in tune with the holiday season! This red and white net skirt has a peppermint striped bow with a bell and plays Jingle Bell Rock music when your little dancer begins to move. Action activated, this is good fun for getting up off the couch and moving. Also see Acting Out's Musical Waltz Dress. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

SNAP: Finding ways to encourage kids to play actively comes built into this motion activated skirt. For children who may not be able to dance, this is still a fun skirt to wear and use the music maker for stop and start games. Have child hold the toy and when they shake it you do the dancing...freeze when the music stops. This is an empowering game that puts them in charge of the action.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Shake n Go Flyers
(Fisher-Price $14.95 Score:)

We loved the original Shake n Go Cars and these Flyers are the airborne version for active fun. The hand held launcher does look a little like a gun, but it is really a docking place for the lightweight plane. YOu click it into place and then shake the launcher until the lights and plane sounds begin. Press the trigger and va, va, va, voom! It takes off! They say 3-7. We'd say more like 5-8 would be able to make this happen and enjoy it! Comes in four different designs. Players will love the orange and silver Hawk, the green Show Plane, the silver and blue Ghost Jet and the green Fighter Plane. It is soft enough to use indoors, but not anywhere near your delicate treasures. Has great sound effects! A good buy for the money.

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: 2008.

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2008 Award
HearthSong Connectagons
(HearthSong $24.98 Score:)

Connectagons is an old-fashion kind of construction toy. The set comes in a wooden box with a slide opening--and inside there are 240 wooden discs. Each disc has eight notches-and there are five different colors. All in all, making this a very open-ended and pleasing building toy. Much like the magnetic toy sets of recent years, Connectagons is a set you'll enjoy having on your coffee table. There's no right or wrong way to build with this set -- appealing to both boys and girls (and their parents).

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Villa Paletti
(Wiggles 3D Inc. $24.99 Score:)

Subtitled the Game of Construction Chaos, this is a lot like other stacking games...with the object being not to be the one who knocks the pieces over first. Players begin with all the playing pieces standing on the first floor. Now they put a layer of wood on top of the pieces and take turns moving the pieces to the next level. You can play random style taking any piece you like or play with a color-coded die. Players agree on when no more pieces can be moved above and put another layer on top. The first person to knock down the construction gets one point. Agree on how many rounds you are going to play and then the winner is the one with the least number of points. There is some skill involved but still a lot of luck of the draw. A good game for beginning readers with plenty of rounds and chances for winning and losing. 6 and up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

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

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2009 Award
Curious George Discovery Beach Game
(I Can Do That Games $16.99 Score:)

This is a memory game with a new format. Small objects are buried in “sand” under the playing board. Shake the box and they move around some. Puzzle like pieces cover over the “windows” to the beach. Players draw a card and put it face up for everyone to see. Spin the spinner and lift the puzzle cover and see if you can find the treasures on the cards. If you spin a “wave” you get to shake the box and move the treasures. Object is to collect the largest number of cards. A fun way to build matching skills, color concepts, as well as memory. 3 & up. 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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