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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Games

 

 
2009 Awards
LeapFrog Scribble & Write
(LeapFrog $22 Score:)

There is a screen on this little letter toy that asks you to trace the shapes shown. Like your old magic slate, you can “erase” the shapes you trace. Here’s the problem…it will tell you good job even when you do not trace what is there! We like electronic toys to be kind, but giving false praise can be confusing. The letter games are simple tracing. You push a letter on the keyboard and it says the name of the letter and then lights up a template on the screen to trace. Unlike so many toys, this one does have both upper and lower case letters---that is a good thing. The curves on the screen are not exactly round, but they are not bad. After the letter has been traced the child is also told what sound the letter makes. The final game asks kids to watch the lines on the screen form a letter and when recognized push the right key on the keyboard. We’d say, skip the shape game with its misleading praise and go right to the letters. They say 3 & up, we’d say 4-5 is closer to the truth.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

 

This is a straightforward toy for helping children who are learning to shape their letters. Keep in mind that following the lighted up letters is just one way to develop those skills. You can also give them a more direct experience by having them “write” with their fingers in wet sand or in a pan of flour…trace the first letter of your child’s name in the sand….have him trace it. Wipe it away and demo again how you do this and have him trace again. Eventually ask him to draw the letter so you can trace the letter he writes.
Avoid trying to do all the letters at one time. Pick two or three at most and keep the letters related in shape…i.e. do three stick shaped letters on the same day, such as L, T, and X. Or on another day work on C, O, and Q.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Rainbow Race
(International Playthings $18 Score:)

Each player gets playing pieces that are the colors of the rainbow. A card is drawn that shows the colors in different order. Players race to stack their colors to match the rainbow card. This is a game that calls for visual memory, sequencing and speed, not to mention dexterity. They say 3 & up, we think this would be challenging but fun for older 4’s-7.
        The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.
 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2003 Award
Leap Frog!
(International Playthings $19.95 Score:) The object here is to throw your bean bags against the frog (with a trampoline-like body). The lily pads that they land on have different point values. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. Good for developing eye-hand coordination, but may be too intense for younger preschoolers. They say 3 & up; we'd say... it depends on your child. Still top rated, Egg'n'Spoon Race ($19.99 ). 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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Award
Hide & Seek
( $16 Score:) Testers like this memory game with a twist. Attractive images of familiar objects are pictured on small discs. Put colored plastic discs over five pictures, roll the color die, and try to name what picture is under the matching disc. A good language, color, and memory game for two or more players. 4 & up. 800-886-1236.

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

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Award
Thomas' Tracks & Trestles Game
(Briarpatch $19.99 Score:) Think Thomas meets Chutes and Ladders. The object for Thomas and his friends is to be first to reach the shed—but watch out for obstacles that send you backwards! Older fours who are fans of Thomas and can deal with those last-minute setbacks will enjoy this one. Will be best enjoyed by 5's & 6's. 800- 232 7427.

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

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LittleTouch Leap Pad
(LeapFrog $34.99 Score:) As electronic readers go this one is a breakthrough product that actually uses real picture books on their talking platform-granted so far there are just a few titles but the manufacturer promises more. “Guess How Much I Love You” ($14.99) one of our award winners has been adapted to the talking machine with add-on activities that will entertain and delight young listeners. Many of the other titles are “knowing & naming” books, All this would be fun for toddlers and parent to explore together. However, our testers noted, as we did that you need a BIG touch to activate the story. One needs to use a fair amount of pressure, so this may require more parental involvement. We think that’s a plus when you are dealing with toddlers- but probably needs some fine tuning by the manufacturer. Others have also complained about the on off switch being too easy for tots to find and use! We think all these problems will be reworked soon. Will this replace a book for tots to taste, toss, and explore without sounds? Not at all. Nor will it replace a warm lap and a book in hand. But as a first electronic reader- it’s a brave new world choice. They say 6 months & up--we’d say more like 18 months.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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2004 Award
Musical Friends Lacing Cards
(eeBoo $14.95 Score:) Playing with these attractive lacing cards is perfect for developing fine motor skills. Each of the five cards comes with a cheerful illustration of an animal playing a musical instrument. These 8 x 11 cards are made of hardy stock will hold up well. Set comes with five different colored laces so that more than one child can enjoy working with the kit.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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2005 Award
Duck Duck Goose
(Milton Bradley $19.99 Score:) Thirteen little ducklings sit in a circle. Move the big Goose around the circle, press her head, and she says, "Duck," "Duck," "Duck." Keep moving her until she says, "Goose!" and then pick up the duckling to check the color dot hidden on the bottom of the duckling's shell. Players must collect three different colors to match their "nest" to win. Easy to learn, while reinforcing color concepts for beginners. Preschoolers will love the sound and action of this board version of a favorite childhood game. (888) 836-7025.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Crocodile Dentist
(Milton Bradley $15.99 Score:) An updated classic, now comes with smoother teeth. Players take turns playing dentist by pushing down on his teeth, but beware—you never know when he’ll decide to chomp down his jaw! If he does, you’re out! Appeals to kids who like the safe scare; others may find it too much like a jack-in-the-box. 4 & up. (888) 836-7025.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Musical Friends and Fairies of the Field
(eeBoo $14 Score:) Musical Friends and Fairies of the Field are beautifully illustrated sturdy cards that kids will love to work on. Marked 3 & up, but will be most enjoyed by 4s. (212) 222-0823. Lacing & Tracing Tools (Lauri $6.99 ) is made of sturdy chipboard punched with holes that kids "sew" with colorful laces. Also recommended, Lace & Link Numbers ($14.99), crepe 4" rubber numerals that reinforce shapes in a tactile way. 4 & up. (800) 451-0520.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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