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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Games

 


2009 Award
I Spy Flip 5 Game
(Briarpatch $12.95 Score:)

Here's a quick matching game that is a step above the usual kind of one-for-one identical matching kids do with Lotto games. On the playing chips there are images of two horses, but one is may be a silhouette and others maybe yellowish or white with black markings. Matching has to do with the basic attribute of finding two horses. Game play goes on for five rounds. First to win the most matches in five games is the winner. Other versions of play are included for younger players. Also interesting, but even more challenging, Dino Flip 5 ($12.95 4.5) Sure to make a hit with dino-haulics who will know the names of the various dinosaurs pictured on the playing pieces. Making the pairs is more challenging since the shapes of some are similar and the proof is in noticing the details. That said, this is a fun game with a touch of science added to the mix. They say 4 & up, we'd say 5-8 is more like it. These are good games for developing an eye for detail, a skill needed for noticing the differences between words that look alike - as in through and thought or sight and slight. 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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2009 Award
Big Trucks and Diggers Matching Game
(Chronicle $14.95 Score:)

A classic concentration matching game with cards that feature all sorts of diggers, grapplers, shovels, excavators and other big construction trucks. This is a companion game to a book by the same name. Comes in a sturdy magnetized storage box. Develops memory and matching skills. Bring the book home as another way to satisfy preschooler's interest in things that go.. Sure to please the truck lover in your midst. 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.

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2009 Award
eeBoo Life on Earth Lacing Cards
(eeBoo $15 Score:)

Five colorful cards with bright laces that children can “sew” around the big and baby bear, peacock, fish in coral, turtle, and elephant and baby. This kind of toy is ideal for honing fine motor skills needed for writing without the drill of shaping letters. Learning to use the small muscles in fingers to accomplish this task takes staying power and patience. This looks simpler than it is and is best used with school aged kids 5 & up.

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

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

Picture book artist, Kevin Hawkes, created a menagerie of animals to use in a concentration matching game. These are familiar creatures that children need to learn to name and know. You can also use them as a riddle game. Lay out four cards and say I’m thinking of an animal that goes “oink!” ; I’m thinking of an animal with feathers that sleeps in the daytime. It says “Whooo!” In time you can encourage your players to make up their riddles and try to stump you.  3 & up.

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

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2009 Award
eeBoo Prechool Picture Dominoes
(eeBoo $13 Score:)

Familiar bugs, birds and animals are pictured on these chunky cardboard dominoes. No reading or counting required. This is a simple matching game to develop visual matching and turn taking. There are opportunities to count, for those who are moving in that direction, as well as building color concepts and language. 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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2009 Award
eeBoo Preschool Nature Memory Game
(eeBoo $13 Score:)

Big picture cards with scalloped edges are easy enough for little hands to lift and turn over to make matches. Use these for a classic concentration game or with slightly older children play a rhyming game. Put four card out and say I’m thinking of something that rhymes with junk, trunk, monk….to go with the picture of the skunk. Or, use the same cards for finding something that grows, is alive, but cannot speak…the child must find the apple tree. 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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2009 Awards
Wash & String Beads
(Alex $16 Score:)

Twelve colorful wooden beads in the shape of clothing that preschoolers can string on a line. The string comes with a wooden dowel that makes it easier to thread through the beads. This kind of action develops fine motor skills of little hands as well as eye hand coordination. The various clothes also can expand vocabulary as kids identify pants, shirts, blouses, bathing suit. Playing pieces are good for pretend as well as counting. 3& up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

SNAP IDEA:  Stringing threads through these wooden clothing shapes helps children develop fine motor skills as well as eye hand coordination. As they handle these wooden shapes you might want to use them to play a riddle game of “I’m thinking of something…” for example “I’m thinking of something that goes inside of shoes, they come in twos…they rhyme with rocks.” Yes, you found the socks. Or how about I’m thinking of something that has lots of dots, it is worn by girls, it rhymes with yes.” You found the dress! Or simply play a game of matching colors…”I spy two things that are yellow and pink…can you find them?” Knowing and naming the clothes is another way to reinforce vocabulary.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
Kinder-Ready Alphabet Clue Cards
(Elmer's $10 Score:)

Two piece puzzles fit together when kids match the two parts of a butterfly or caterpillar, etc. This alphabet set is done with art by renowned illustrator, Eric Carle. The matching halves show upper and lower case images of the letter illustrated. The reverse side of the puzzle shows the name of the picture with upper and lower case. These may be useful for building sight vocabulary for beginning readers.

We were less happy with the Rhyming and Opposite Clue Cards because the two concepts are not the same, though the playing pieces will be mixed up in one box. We also found the opposite concepts a bit confusing. For example, one set shows a peanut in a shell and another with the shell cracked—the concept here is suppose to be open and closed; we think a window or door would have done this more clearly. This is just one example of several pairs that are easily misunderstood. If you decide to buy these, we suggest you put the two sets into separate ‘baggies’ for less confusion and talk about the opposite concepts. 3 & up.

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

This toy is only available at Barnes & Noble until 2010

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
Kinder-Ready Sizes & Shapes
(Elmer's $10 Score:)

Two piece puzzles with parent and child pairs to match as well as set of objects to match to geometric shapes. Unless they are in training for Jeopardy there’s no need to make a fuss over learning the proper names for animal young such as the cat fish type fish with its “fingerlings” or the Swan with its “cygnets”, or the seahorse with its “fry.” The art by illustrator Eric Carle is charming and the concept of big and small as well as shapes are key here. Some of the vocabulary feels like SAT’s for tots…way over the top. That said, this is a nice set of puzzles for telling stories, matching and even color and counting concepts. 3 & up.

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

This toy is only available at Barnes & Noble until 2010

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
Kinder-Ready Colors & Numbers Clue Cards
(Elmer's $10 Score:)

Two piece puzzles fit together when kids match the color of an animal with the color card or the numeral shown with the same number of objects. We suggest you separate the two sets of cards for beginners. Just matching the color set or number set will be challenge enough at first. These are handsome cards done with the illustrator, Eric Carle’s playful art work. These are sound concepts to work on with preschoolers. Unfortunately, their String Along Skill Building Kit(3.5) has a string without a hard end, so it is going to be hard for little hands to string the plastic shaped beads. The best parts of the kit were the playing cards with ideas for sorting, patterns and matching games. These cards and the playing pieces work. It’s just the string that does not. You could bring it home and substitute a lacing string from another toy. We just cannot give it an award because of the lace that comes with the kit. 3 & up.

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

This toy is only available at Barnes & Noble until 2010.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009.

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