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Product Type: Toys
Award: Platinum
Review Year: 2013

 


2013 Award
Janod Picnic Hamper
(Janod $35 Score:)

When the Teddy Bears have their picnic, this four-piece set of painted wooden dishes, cutlery and drinking glasses are ready for action. The sturdy round red checked box also contains a checked cloth and is fitted out for storing the pieces and has a handles and clasp to keep things in order. The glasses have holes near the top for safety, so they cannot form a suction around the mouth and nose.  3 & up

 

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
LEGO City Set Fire Boat
(Lego Systems, Inc. $48.90 Score:)

Once this 222-piece construction set is put together it really can be played with on water. It floats! Kids can build smaller sub-sets for quick builds. It includes a pontoon as well as a power-boat and action figures for dramatic play. According to his mom, our 5 year old tester "LOVED this build. He always likes the Lego City things and this was no exception." Though his mom usually does not allow Legos in the bath...since this is a boat, they gave it a test run in the tub. "It floats well (even the guys float when they fall in the water) and he is having a blast having play time with it and "fighting fires" in the bath."

A good build and good imaginary play once completed - a big winner.5-12

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Step Two Easy Turn Coupe
(Step 2 $59.99 Score:)

Our testers spent several happy afternoons driving around in this new kiddie car that runs on foot power. It has a front castor wheel for added maneuver-ability. With a working horn and ignition key there are miles of pretend fun with the Easy Turn Coupe. As an added bonus, it can be used with younger riders that an adult can push along, however, there is no safety belt. There's a removable floorboard to protect little feet when they are being pushed. Also nice, this has a front trunk storage area and cup holders for both child and adult. 1 & up.

 

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Play-Doh Plus
(Hasbro $8.99 Score:)

Play-doh has been updated to make it softer and smoother than ever. It has an almost silky feel and will stay that way if stored in air-tight containers. This set has eight different vibrant colors that can also be used with special tools that are sold separately. The package indicates that it is non-toxic, but does contain wheat. 2 & up.

SNAP : A classic model material that is even more pliable now. Excellent for developing hand and fingers. Also good for shaping snakes to form letters, giving children a sensory feel of forming letters.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Magnetos Better Builders
(Guidecraft $49.95 Score:)

A 30-piece building set of rods and balls shapes that looks like an earlier construction set from Guidecraft, but turns out to be even better than the original award winner. The round pieces are updated in steel and give a stronger connection, allowing kids to make more complex structures. Colorful and chunky, the pieces are right for small hands and safe enough to allow young layers to investigate the power of magnets. It comes with a 24-page guide for parents that will help you expand the possibilities as you introduce kids to the magical science of magnets. The new set also includes a storage bin- a welcome addition for clean-up time. 2 & up

SNAP: With magnets safely out of reach, this is ideal for open-ended connections. You can also use it for building counting skill, color concepts or making simple patterns.

Age: . Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Bunnies by the Bay Hopscotch Blossom
(Bunnies By the Bay $14 Score:)

A sweet little six-inch bunny with fat legs that make it easy to clutch and light but soft to the touch. The under-stuffed body is filled like a beanbag at the bottom, so the doll can stand or be handled or tossed with ease. The bunny's head is in contrasting white velour with stitched features. A good choice for first lap games and one baby can grasp once she starts to reach out and take hold of things.  Newborns and up.

 

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Hape Playfully Delicious Shopping Cart
(Hape $63 Score:)

With its orange fabric basket and bright blue and sturdy wooden sides, this is a gender free push-about prop for pretend play. It will get miles of play for pretend shopping trips and also serve as a stroller for teddy bears and dolls that need a nap. Low and stable this cart has treads on its wheels so t will not fly away. It is pricey, but will go the distance and still have reserve so it can be passed along to younger sibs or cousins. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Mudpuppy Puzzle Wheel, Construction
(Mudpuppy $9.99 Score:)

A two-sided seven-piece puzzle for beginners. It's all about matching colors and learning to fit the big sturdy pieces together. A central gear-shaped piece has opening with a bright color space to fit the pie shaped color pieces in. Flip it over and there are construction vehicles each on a single colored background. Again, the player matches colors while learning the names of these vehicles. This is part of a series of circular puzzles in the same format. There are also zoo, dinosaur, and farm versions that will interest your toddler and be useful for knowing and naming games that develop language as well as dexterity. Marked for 2's and up, you'll want to use this for parent and child time together. 2 & up.

 

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Peaceable Kingdom Stack Up!
(Peaceable Kingdom $29.99 Score:)

Designed for preschoolers, this really is a cooperative game that can only be played by working together to lift the blocks in a stack. The players are trying to beat the Stack Smasher ( a cardboard playing piece shaped like a hand) as it moves around the board. In one game there are challenge cards that require kids to bark or sing or do other actions on their turn. Again, they do this together. There are three games for preschoolers to play with two lifting rods. In one game they use the skinny end of the rod; in the other game they use a sponged tip to lift the blocks and add to the stack. The maker has also included directions for a two-year old color sorting game that little siblings can play. So many games for preschoolers are hard for beginners deal with, especially the winning and losing part. Here the game is played against the board instead of each other as they learn about taking turns and working together to beat the silly old stack smasher. It can also be fun for multi-generational family fun that can include preschoolers with ease. 3-5

 

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Manhattan Toy Winkel
(Manhattan Toy $14.95 Score:)

Easy for little hands to grasp, this colorful toy can be used for tracking games with newborns and will be perfect as baby begins to reach out and take hold of things. It is easy to clean, light-weight and fun for passing back and forth when baby gets to that stage, as well. Newborn and up

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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