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Product Type: Toys

 


2014 Award
Earlyears Lil Shopper Play Set
(International Playthings $26.99 Score:)

So many goodies in this green felt shopping bag. An apple with a crinkle leaf and rattle, and orange that opens and closed with a rattle inside, a banana that has Velcro peels to pull open, a cabbage with crinkly leaves and a soft container with a cow on front and a mirror when you lift the top. Babies love the repetitive action of filling and spilling and these items are ideal for that. Learning to grasp these playing pieces, to pass them from one hand to another and to purposefully let go, helps to develop their fine motor skills. These fruits and veggies are also good for knowing and naming as well as early pretend. Or choose the bright yellow bag with a constuction set inside. There's a fabric vehicle, a stop sign, safety cone, a basket with a fabric rock, and a hard hat with mirror inside. This is the kind of toy that is a good choice for travel with lots of surprises to pull out of the bag as you spin a story and put the toys in baby's hands to explore. 6 months & up.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Peaceable Kingdom Say the Word Game
(Peaceable Kingdom $24.99 Score:)


Fun for the whole family, Say the Word is a word game that involves silly story telling and recall. An appointed Story Master picks a character card and deals out three cards and a cue card to each of the other players. Now players take turns adding a word to the story. As words are incorporated into the story the Story Master writes them down on the erasable storyboard. Once 10-12 words are used, the next player does not draw a new card, but begins to retell the story, recalling and incorporating the words that are on the storyboard. Here's where the cooperative but often silly play comes in: if a player can not recall a word you can give up your cue card and the Story Master must try to act it out for you. If you still can't remember another person can give you his cue card and act out the word. The round ends when there are no more cue cards. Great for a small group of mixed ages that involves memory, story telling, and charades. Comes with 200 word cards, cue cards, story board and marker and is best for three to six players. Age 10 & up.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Peaceable Kingdom Noodle Speedoodle
(Peaceable Kingdom $24.99 Score:)

Players take turns at grabbing one of the squiggly looking plastic noodles and a word card. Player must incorporate the noodle into a doodle drawing that represents the word chosen. If anyone can guess what you have drawn, you get to keep the noodle. At the end of the game the person or team with the most noodles wins. There are several variations of play with a spinner deciding how you play. A fun party game for 3-6 players ages 8 and up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Peaceable Kingdom Sunny Day Pond
(Peaceable Kingdom $15.99 Score:)

A ducky cooperative game that develops color matching, puzzle building, and fine motor skills. The big playing board has the images of three different four-piece puzzles. Players use the spinner on their turn that tells them what color puzzle piece they can take and match on the playing board. If you spin a rain-drop you must put one under the cloud. The object is for everyone to cooperatively finish the puzzles before there are no rain-drops left. So you are all playing against the game and the rain. Good fun, as well as helping beginners use their fine motor skill by learning how to rotate jigsaw puzzle pieces and fit them together. 3 & up.


Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Clifford the Big Red Dog Food Science Kit
(The Young Scientists Club $19.99 Score:)

One of the award winning Young Scientist Club kits designed for preschoolers. These are age appropriate experiments for parent & child projects. An interesting way to introduce preschoolers to some fundamental science experiences. Most of the ingredients needed have to come from your refrigerator or pantry. The kit contains a paper booklet with recipes for each experiment and some minimal plastic pieces: a funnel, tray, test tubes, two so-called cups, a lab tray, pipette, spoon, clothespin, special papers, and sticks for rock candy making. Be forewarned, the images and text may be a bit confusing. For example, the recipe for making ice cream says to use a "measuring cup" and the illustration further confounds the confusion by showing a hand with a good size cup in it, but do not use your own measuring cup. You are supposed to use the thimble-size measuring cup in the kit or there is no way the ingredients will fit in the plastic bags they provide. An unfortunate choice of words or materials. That said, the ideas here are going to be appealing to kids and promote the world of STEM right from the start. 3-6

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Magic School Bus Engineering Kit
(Young Scientists Club $39.99 Score:)

Our 7 & 9-year old testers had good fun exploring Ms Frizzles wonderful world of engineering. Their mom wrote the kit was "high on educational value, high on adult participation." There are experiments that involve designing a car, constructing a bridge, building a solar oven, a submarine, and an electric game and many other activities. Our testers liked the balloon jet experiment best. An active way to introduce them to the world of chemical, electrical, mechanical and civil engineering. The bus-shaped kit comes with 33 easy-to-understand and follow experiment cards, a notebook for recording experiments, and is chock full of science components: a solar panel, motor, buzzer, electric wires, and lots more. Another good choice for playful and engaging STEM learning. Ages: 5 and up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Earlyears Click n Spin Blocks
(International Playthings $19.99 Score:)

Each of the four plastic blocks has moving activities as well as sounds and textures. Tots can use their fingers to make things click and spin or use a whole hand to bop the peek-a-boo characters that activate other motions. They also stack one into another, though this is apt to be too challenging for your beginner. For now you do the stacking and let baby enjoy knocking them down as they go kaboom. 12 months & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Hello Kitty Baby Mini Grabby
(International Playthings $10.99 Score:)

Scaled for little hands, this Hello Kitty soft toy has grabby body with satin, cotton, corded and velour textures. A textured plastic teether is attached and Hello Kitty head has a quiet rattle sound as well as safe stitched features. A fun choice for early lap games. Eventually baby will be able to grab and hold. Newborns & up.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Tobo Toy Track Set
(Tobo Toys $50 Score:)


Our tester liked this versatile and unusual new track that comes with only one small wooden car, but will be used with other vehicles and wooden train track set-ups. The twelve wooden pieces have multiple interlocking tabs in several shapes that are imprinted with numerals to match up. There are a variety of ways to make these connections, so in spite of the numerals, it is a pretty open-ended track that is compatible with Hot Wheels, Thomas & Friends, Brio and other car and train tracks. A fun accessory for problem solving, matching numerals, fine motor skills, creative thinking, and giving old track toys a new possibilities. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Creativity for Kids My First Fun Felt Masks
(Creativity for Kids $14.99 Score:)

Designed for young crafters, this kit comes with six colorful foam-backed felt masks that are already to wear with adjustable elastic bands and tons of felt stickers, self-adhesive rhinestones, curly yarn that is silky to the touch and instructions. Most kids will have their own ideas on how to make a one-of-a-kind mask. This is a mess-free kit with no glue needed. While this is a kit that can be enjoyed solo, it’s also grand for a birthday or Halloween party activity—the masks becomes a favor to take home; also a good choice to share on a playdate. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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