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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


2009 Award
Pirates
(Mudpuppy Press $10 Score:)

36 big pieces combine to make a 16 X 16 inch puzzle with a cast of animal pirates. This is not really as easy at it may appear. 36 pieces are a serious challenge for beginners. Give them some help in seeing the edges and making a frame. Says 3 & up. We think it may be hard for most 3’s and even some 4’s. For older pirate lovers there is a 63 piece Pirate’s Cove ($14 4.5) with smaller pieces. It comes stored in a round container that adds to the challenge of following the image. This is not an easy puzzle. Finishes as an 18 X 14pieces. 5 & 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
Jungle Friends, First Puzzles
(Mudpuppy Press $10 Score:)

Newest of the First Puzzle sets with four little puzzles in one box. This is a little more challenging since the colors of the four puzzles have some overlap. Sorting the playing pieces by color may need adult assistance. That said the four animals pictured are playful images and go together with ease, once they are sorted. In fat the sorting is part of the fun. 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
Dinosaur Park Puzzle
(Mudpuppy Press $17 Score:)

Twenty-four great big pieces fit together to make a colorful scene with all the familiar dinosaurs young children love naming and knowing. There’s stegosaurus, T-Rex, Triceratops, and good old Brontosaurus. Give beginners clues about putting the frame together first and then when the deed is done use it to talk about the colorful creatures. 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 Awards
Freeze Pop Factory
(Little Kids $19.99 Score:)

Kids can use regular fruit juices to make these frozen treats. The kit comes with a stand and 36 self sealing freeze pop bags. It also includes a 4 pop stick holders for making ice pops. Unlike a lot of food machines for kids, this one comes apart easily for cleaning. A fun toy for cool summertime snacks that are healthy with a little in the way of science experiments built into the liquid to solid transformations. A nice big box for a birthday gift that’s under $20. 5 & 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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2009 Award
Plan Toys Eco Town
(Plan Toys $150 Score:)

Let's just say from the start, this is an expensive product--but it is very special and will work well with other settings from this company.  This new miniature setting includes a small house, a little train station, an eco charging station (yes, not necessarily for gas), street accessories, and a play mat. This eco town has solar panels, wind mill, and runs on eco renewable energy. You can add more vehicles and other settings to this basic eco-city. 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
Plan Toys Green Dollhouse with Furniture
(Plan Toys $199 Score:)

A five room eco friendly doll house that is not only made of chemical free rubberwood, it is a model for our homes of the future. It comes with furniture AND a wind turbine and solar panel for generating energy. It has a recycling bins, a rain barrel for collecting rain, an electric inverter, and a blind that adjusts the sun and air. The small bushes are made of green pom-pom and the furniture has small cushions for decorating. Best of all, from a play standpoint, it's easy to get your hands into from many angles. This means that several children can play at one time. This is a pricey toy, but one that will stand up over time. If you are interested in a wooden dollhouse, check out the company's A-Frame doll house, as well. 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
Too Many Monkeys
(Gamewright $11 Score:)

Our testers loved that they were playing this game within minutes of reading the directions! Primo the Monkey would like to sleep but there are other monkeys, elephants and giraffes that are keeping him awake. The winner is the one that gets Primo sleeping all by himself. That's the storyline...the game play is a series of fast-paced rounds where you are trying to get your monkey cards in order (from one to six)...if you win the round, you get to have fewer cards...until you have only one monkey. But if you get a giraffe or elephant--you skip your turn--there are also wild cards that our players loved getting! You can play this game with 2-6 players--more fun with at least three players. 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, Later School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Chickyboom
(Blue Orange Games $22 Score:)

You start with a bunch of wooden hens (enjoyably purple), bales of hay and wagon wheels - all sitting on a perch. The object is to remove pieces without making everything fall over. The hens, hay and wheels all have different values. The player with the highest number value at the end of the round (when things fall off) wins. Fast paced, easy to learn...a hit with our testers. Requires, dexterity, adding skills, and a sense of humor!  They say 4 and up, we'd say even more fun for the 6 year old crowd.

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
Creativity for Kids Big Fun Crafts
(Creativity for Kids $24.95 Score:)

A wonderful compartmentalized craft box with more than 300 pieces! An ideal box of supplies for playdates, rainy days or quiet summer afternoons. Comes with supplies that include 30+ yards of ribbon and yarn, multi-colored pom poms, glitter pom poms, pipe cleaners, rainbow craft sticks, feathers, scissors, and a whole lot more to get the creative juices flowing. They say 3 & up. We'd say many of these items would be slightly better with 4-7's. 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
Creativity for Kids Polka Dot Purse
(Creativity for Kids $17.99 Score:)

A cute violet canvas purse with more than 100 felt stick-ons to decorate it. This is pretty easy to do with no cutting and pre-stick felt pieces. Comes with a ribbon that feeds through the loops on top for a finished craft look. This is a simple to do kit with no right or wrong way of designing. Yet, the finished product is pretty enough to carry with the pride of being able to say..."I made it myself!" The box say 3 & up. We'd say 5 & up is closer to the right age. 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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