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Product Type: Toys
Award: Blue Chip
Age: Preschoolers

 

  
2011 Awards
Maisy Game
(Briarpatch $20 Score:)

Happily this former Platinum and SNAP Award (1995) winning game has been brought back this year!  It now has the designation of Blue Chip Award winner.  One of the most beautifully designed color concept games we've ever reviewed. Players spin and pick up sturdy cardboard cutouts to match color, pattern and objects on their picture board of Maisy. Develops language and matching skills with a favorite character. 

SNAP INFO: Use this matching game to reinforce color words, patterns and knowing and naming the objects on the "lotto" style playing boards. ACTIVITY: Give each player a card and give riddles for finding the object that is the answer, for example, "I'm thinking of something that is round that you can bounce." The child who picks up ball gets to put it on her card.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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1997 Awards
Hot Potato Game
(Parker Brothers $14.99 Score:) Squeeze this soft electronic musical talking spud to turn on his sound. Pass him around fast! If you are holding him when he yells "Yahoo!" you take a hot card. Three cards and you're out. A fast, fun game for two or more players. May be hard for preschoolers to deal with-especially the hot cards. SNAP INFO: Squeeze this soft electronic musical talking spud to turn on his sound. Pass him around fast! If you're holding him when he yells "Yahoo!" you take a hot card. Three cards and you're out. A fast, fun game for two or more players. May be hard for preschoolers to deal with-especially the hot cards.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 1997.

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1998 Awards
Rainbow Play Systems
(Rainbow Play Systems $1100 Score:) Steel parts are vinyl dipped, the wood is chemical free, built of redwood and cedar. This is the Cadillac of gym sets. You'll need to buy a toddler swing for the under three set. Also, avoid tall climber attachments with toddlers and young preschoolers who may climb higher without understanding how to get down. Also, avoid frames with climbers that run across the top of the swings.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 1998.

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Awards
Tuggy Sandbox & Splasher
(Step 2 $100 Score:)

There's room for several kids to play side by side and together in this tugboat shaped sandbox. Of course, this takes lots of sand but there's built-in pretend power with a captain's wheel for steering the jolly boat anywhere! They say this converts to a wading pool, but hardly something you can fill and dump with ease. 2 & up.

THIS PRODUCT HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED AND PARTS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE!

TOO BAD.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: .

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1995 Awards
Littlel Tikes Shopping Cart
(Little Tikes $30 Score:)

This bright yellow cart with baby seat is more gender free than most doll carriers. Lends itself to more open-ended pretend shopping and simply carting treasures about games. Room for a doll or teddy bear simply makes it more like the real thing.

SNAP INFO: Solidly built for lots of pretend, this shopping cart has a seat for doll or teddy when kids need a shopping spree play time.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 1995. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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1995 Awards
Lego Duplo
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

You can't go wrong with chunky plastic Lego Duplo building blocks to fill and dump, snap together, and take apart are basic gear for older toddlers and preschoolers. Small sets are good for add-ons, but be sure to start with a large enough set. 1 & up. There are also themed licensed sets that can be fun additions-but are not as open ended as a basic bucket.

SNAP INFO: Open ended Duplo blocks are ideal for stacking and building, but they are also fun for classifying games. ACTIVITY: Play a sorting game by putting all the red pieces together, then the yellow pieces and so on. These are ideal for developing fine motor skills as well as language, counting and color concepts.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 1995. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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1995 Awards
Windows & Doors
(Haba $25 Score:)

We're always on the look out for props to add to building blocks and these are good fun. Add these working doors and windows that are scaled to unit blocks. Fitting them in place takes some problem solving.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 1995. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2001 Awards
Green Turtle Sandbox
(Little Tikes $49.95 Score:)

This has become a classic. A small beginners sandbox for tight spaces. This won't accommodate lots of tots and is apt to be outgrown quickly. But if it is all the space you have-go with it. For bigger spaces consider the Dinosaur Sandbox.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2001. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Bitty Baby Doll and book
(Pleasant Company $ 80 Score:)

15" soft-bodied Bitty Baby dolls with vinyl heads, arms and legs have been updated to allow for more options to customize. You have a choice of 11 dolls with differnt hair, skin and eye color combintions. Each doll arrives in a signature sleeper and a Bitty Baby & Me picture book. The updated doll now has a hairline brought forward and eyebrows for a more realistic look. The upper body was also redesigned with arms brought forward -- for better huggability. Beautiful clothes and furniture accessories available.  We also recommend the Bitty Baby Twins (boy and girl toddler dolls $115). As always there are extra outfits for the baby and matching clothes for the child. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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Awards
Alex's Puppet Theatre
(Alex $80 Score:) An updated version, this puppet theatre has a clock for show time and new eye-appealing graphics! This stable floor model is 48" high, with painted trim on one side and a chalk surface for messages. Their small tabletop model is also available ($27).

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

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