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Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Review Year: 2012

 


2012 Award
Chronicle Animal Rummy
(Chronicle $7.99 Score:)

Tuck these into your travel tote for playing simple matching games. Players each begin with eight cards and draw from the pile to make sets of three matching cards. The object is to be the first to get rid of all your cards. These are over-sized colorful cards illustrated by Bob Barner and labeled with animal names. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym
(Skip Hop $75 Score:)

A new activity floor mat for infants done in autumnal colors of green, orange and brown. The cross bars are covered in fabric and can hold any three of the five little fabric critters that come with the mat. There's a jingly owl, a bird that tweets, a mirrored apple, a rattle birdie, and a nutty squirrel for gazing or batting at. The arms have additional loops for hanging other toys. The mat itself has a nice tree top graphic and leaves appliqued that will not make the surface bumpy or lumpy to lie on. There's a pillow for tummy time that can be velcroed in place and a flat mirror that comes out when you want to launder the mat. All in all, a solid choice for basic gear. Newborns & up.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Learning Resources New Sprouts Fix It!
(Learning Resources $24.95 Score:)

For pretend carpentry play, this set of plastic tools is scaled just right for toddlers. There's a tool box for carrying a small hammer( with soft hammer head), a screwdriver, wrench, saw and drill with sound appeal. All the pieces are designed for little hands and have soft rubberized parts. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Chronicle Around the World Puzzle
(Chronicle $14.95 Score:)

Highly stylized images of multicultural children from around the world fit together, hand in hand, on this big 16-piece floor puzzle. The playing pieces are two-sided, so there are 32 images that can be joined. Each figure is wearing the native costume of his or her country and the name of the country is printed on the side. Marked for 3 & up, but the concepts are well beyond that age group.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Chronicle Sports! Matching Game
(Chronicle $14.99 Score:)

A set of 72 colorful matching cards for the classic game of concentration with unusual illustrations featuring kids playing all sorts of sports. A good opportunity for developing knowing and naming language to match the images as well as visual perception is seeing matches. This is one of a series of matching games with different themes. Kids who are crazy about dinosaurs will like this Dinosaurs! Matching Game and for expanding language skills look for their Animals! Matching Game. The sets come packaged in sturdy boxes that have magnetic closures. All three sets are handsomely illustrated by artist Micah Player. These are marked 3 & up, though we think slightly older kids will enjoy them more.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Learning Resources Farmer's Market Color Sorting Set
(Learning Resources $39.99 Score:)

Five plastic baskets come with fruits and veggies to sort by color. There are stick-on color labels to put on the basket and five pieces of food in each color. These are well-proportioned props for pretend stores, and kitchens that are also useful for building knowing and naming language skills as well as possible games of counting and making patterns. The set comes with 30 pieces that will find their way into all sorts of pretend play and learning games. 3 & up.

SNAP GAME: Put three veggies in a row. Have/help child name them. Have child turn away a you remove one. Can he tell which one is missing? Try it another way. Have child turn away while you add a fourth piece. Can he tell the name of piece added?

SNAP GAME: For kids working on beginning sounds put down three or four of the foods and say, I'm thinking of something that starts with the same sound as bird, bug, bobby...if that doesn't do it add another clue it rhymes with Hannah....did they find the banana?

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Chronicle Books Baby Face Nesting Blocks
(Chronicle $19.99 Score:)

Ten sturdy cardboard blocks to stack or nest in size order. They are illustrated with baby faces, each with a distinctive expression. There is a space to slip in a photo of your baby, as well. Our eight-month old tester loved examining the babies and their adorable faces. She also liked knocking down the stacks we built for her and peek a boo games we played by nesting one block over another. 8 months & up.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
eeBoo Felt Mosaic
(eeBoo $18 Score:)

This is a challenging kind of concept game played with felt triangles that that can be rearranged in a multitude of geometric patterns to form different shapes. The set comes with a flocked board that the felt sticks to and 100 different patterns that challenge visual perception, dexterity and problem solving skills. This can be played solo or cooperatively. Once they begin to play with the pieces kids will also like inventing their own shapes and patterns.  The set comes with 72 felt triangles in nine colors, a flocked board and 100 practice Images to reproduce. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
eeBoo Paper Dolls, A Day in Paris
(Lizzy Rockwell, eeBoo $15 Score:)

O-o-o La La! Two cardboard paper dolls come with sturdy reversible setting---a pastry shop/ cafe and two sheets of stick-on clothing and accessories. The pastry chef comes with work clothes and accessories, as does the customer. Of course, the playfigures are interchangeable and can play different roles. Like all the paper dolls in this charming series, the dolls are multicultural. The art in this set was designed by illustrator, Lizzy Rockwell. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
eeBoo Tot Tower: Life On Earth
(eeBoo $20 Score:)

Ten colorful nesting blocks by storybook illustrator, Melissa Sweet, are covered with birds, bugs, and other wildlife. The top of each is emblazoned with a numeral. Knowing and naming all these creatures will be a challenge to most toddlers and preschoolers. Yet, there's something to be said for stretching the vocabulary beyond the usual farm and zoo animals. For starters these will be fun to put in size order and knock them down. This is just one of the many handsome Tot Towers from this maker. Also charming in this nest and stacking format, a set of Alphabet blocks or a Read To Me set with short sentences about each item pictured. 2 & up.   The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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