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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


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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2003 Award
Lace-a-Saurus
(Lauri $11.99 Score:) These precut felt puppets with a dino theme are just right for your dinosaur fan with six pre-cut dinosaur hand puppets and one finger puppet. Kids lace them up and use them for storytelling. Kits come with yarn and big plastic needle for sewing (which develops fine-motor skills kids need for writing). 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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