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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 

 
Awards
TotSports Bowling Set
(Little Tikes $14.99 Score:) Six see-through plastic pins are loaded with colorful balls that shake rattle and roll when they are knocked over with the big but lightweight bowling ball. A good classic toy with a fresh new look. Fun for active play indoors or out. Says 2 & up, but 2's won't understand this or enjoy it as much as preschoolers and even early school aged kids. See the SNAP suggestions for making a math game for older kids (800) 432-5437. SNAP Activity: This is a good game that develops eye hand coordination and requires repetitive setting up and fetching the ball. Taking turns and following rules are also built into the fun. Young kids love such games for their own sake and especially if the grown-ups in their lives are bowlers, too. If appropriate, you can build some simple counting or adding skills with this,as well. With preschoolers, keep track of how many pins were knocked down. Keep a tally with chalk or pencil and paper. Make bundles of five stick marks. Player who gets two bundles first is the winner of that round. For school aged kids, tape numerals 1-6 to the pins and have your child add up the scores. Set a number for grand slam winner. First player to knock down ten wins the round!

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

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2003 Award
Musical Hands Mat
(International Playthings $29.99 Score:) Following the flashing lights above each handprint on the 45" mat allows children to play a tune. This calls for visual attention and sequencing. Marked for 2s, but this will be hard for most toddlers under 2. A much better choice for preschoolers and beyond!

Age: Toddlers,Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Lily's Purple Plastic Purse
(Mudpuppy Press $7.95 Score:) This company continues to make marvelous puzzles from picture-book art. Select 20 pieces in a frame or 24- and 36-piece puzzles in handsome, sturdy storage boxes. Favorites: Katy Cat and Beaky Boo, Martha Speaks, and Where the Wild Things Are. 4 & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Fire & Rescue Activity Pack
(Lauri $14.99 Score:) Loaded for dramatic play with lacing and tracing figures of firefighters and trucks; has 20 stringing pieces with firehouse theme and a small setting with firehouse, trees, and animals. Plenty of activity here for developing fine motor skills along with pretend play. Also top rated, Space Odyssey Pack. 47.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Search & Rescue GI Joe
(Hasbro $24.99 Score:) A departure from GI Joe's regular tour of duty, here he is a hero in the community. Comes in firefighter's uniform, with thermal imaging camera, air tank, and other rescue gear. This is a multicultural collection. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
If You Dare!
(International Playthings $20 Score:) The directions are clear and straightforward for this action game that requires kids to follow the directions on the cards to do things such as, "pretend to make pancakes," "imitate an opera singer," or "try to make another player laugh." A good party game for 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
Monopoly: The American Edition
(Parker Brothers $29.99 Score:) Our Monopoly fans were delighted with additions to the traditional game, which include trivia questions in order to get out of jail! Play pieces include slices of Americana, including apple pie and the Liberty Bell. You're playing for the Grand Canyon, the Declaration of Independence, and the Phonograph.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Crayola Window FX
(Crayola $3.99 Score:) Remember using glass wax with stencils for holiday decorations? Here's a much more colorful and easy-to-use update! These window paint markers allow kids to draw directly on windows and glass doors, AND it comes right off with water. An open-ended product for all seasons. 4 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
Paint-Your-Own Chair
(Action Products $34.99 Score:) A '50s-styled 36" folding canvas sling chair that kids paint with their own design. However, the company's Bubble Chair ($16 ) received poor marks from our testers for being too small and hard to paint.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Griffin puppet
(Folkmanis $50 Score:) All of this company's oversized puppets double as big huggables that older kids enjoy. The mythical Griffin had great appeal to older kid testers and adults. 5 & up. We fell in love with the company's 30" honey-colored Retriever. Also special, a furry 23" Giant Panda puppet ($56 ) with velvety paws and leathery claws. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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