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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 

 
Awards
Alex Chubby Colored Pencils
(Alex $10 Score:) These pencils have thicker "lead" and an easier-to-grasp hexagonal shape, and are especially wonderful for beginners. SNAP These fat colored pencils are ideal for kids who cannot grasp traditional pencils. ACTIVITY: Rainbow Writing: write a letter in one color, have child trace with another color.Now add a third color and have your child trace in a fourth color. A playful way to give your child a feel for letters.

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

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Awards
Jumbo GRIP Colour Pencils
(Creativity for Kids $10 Score:) 12 color pencils have built-in finger grips. Color and then apply water with brush for watercolor effects. Comes with its own sharpener. (800) 311-8684. SNAP: These are thinner than the Alex colored pencils and lend themselves to older kids who would still benefit from finger grips built-in to the pencils. These are very special since after they draw they can turn lines into paint with a bit of water on a brush.

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

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2003 Award
Crayola Color Wonder Mazes
(Binney & Smith $7.99 Score:) 30 self-correcting mazes and puzzles that are sure to challenge without frustrating young travelers. Used with special no-mess Color Wonder markers. Some reading required on each page. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
MegaPlayhouse
(Playhut $39.99 Score:) Kids love having their own hide-away for pretend play. This is one big fabric pop-up playhouse with a rollup window and a doorway. Five feet tall and almost as wide, this is a big enough play setting for several kids to enjoy. Best suited for indoor use. A good gust of wind would send it flying! We always have trouble putting Playhut products away in their little cases, but we think it's more our problem than theirs!

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

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2004 Award
Border Collie Puppy
(Folkmanis $36 Score:) Black and white with long silky fur on underside, jowls, and tail, this is a huggable full-body puppet with sweet face and mouth that moves. Still charming, a 30" honey-colored Golden Retriever ($60 ) Also new for , an amazing Great Horned Owl ($50 ) with moving head and eyes that close.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Costumals
(Manhattan Toy $10 Score:) It's hard not to play with these animals dressed up in costumes. There's Beesly Bear, Daisy Dog, and Cleo Cat. Still top rated, Knightingtales Puppets ($10 each). You need all five fingers to make the most of these velour royals-a king, queen, and knight. Perfect for fairy tales.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Olivia Saves the Circus Set
(Madame Alexander $99 Score:) This collection is as scrumptious as Olivia herself. The Circus Set comes in a big hatbox with ringmaster, clown, tight rope-walker, and dog and lion trainer outfits. Lion, dog, and pop-up tent also included. Olivia's Trunk Set ($85) also is very special with Olivia plus ball gown, bathing suit, tutu, two dresses, and lots of jewelry. You can buy Olivia in her red sailor dress with her red purse, striped tights-with articulated ears. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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Mgears
(Learning Resources $36.95 Score:) From the folks that brought you the open-ended Gearbotic sets (BLUE CHIP), here's a more advanced 350-piece set that comes with gears and a motorized wheelbase. We thought this was going to be a huge hit but our testers found the set difficult to do independently and then they didn't think the vehicles went fast enough. We still highly recommend the original nonmotorized BLUE CHIP Gears! Gears! Gears! sets because they are more open-ended and develop problem-solving skills as kids make their own moving machines. ($20/$40). Also new this year, Dizzy Fun Land ($36.95), a gear set with an amusement park theme that our five-year-old tester enjoyed. 5 & up.

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

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Groovy Girls Best Friends Sleepover Game
(Briarpatch $19.99 Score:) Our die-hard Groovy Girls fans were very disappointed with this game because the directions were "too complicated, unclear, and way too long!" Testers used the play pieces in their dollhouse instead. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: .

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Twister Moves
(Hasbro $19.99 Score:) Unfortunately, this updated talking version of the game went too fast for our testers. The speed of the commands was beyond our most coordinated testers. We hope they repackage with music and commands at a slower pace!

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: .

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