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Product Type: Toys

 


2015 Award
Mattel Barbie Saddle 'N Ride Horse
(Mattel $44.99 Score:)

Talk about making things happen! This is a something new! Barbie not only is dressed for riding, she actually rides and no pretending, either. She can jump onto her horse and ride off into the sunset--if she doesn't fall over! This Barbie doll can be played with separately, but when she's ready for a ride, her hand attaches to the saddle and just a gentle push and she springs into action. Yes, this is a novelty toy and may run out of wow power before long, but she is special enough to be one of the memorable holiday gifts of the year and will fit into the playlife of Barbie pretenders. Marked 3 & up, we think it may be challenging to 3's and less frustrating to activate by older 4's and 5's.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
eeBoo Trucks and a Bus Matching Game
(eeBoo $16 Score:)

A concentration matching game with more playful pieces than usual. Turn over all the trucks and the school bus and they all look alike. Now kids take turns flipping two at a time looking to make a match. There are 12 pairs to match with graphics that are colorful and feature distinctive animals and products that kids will enjoy naming. There's a robot supply truck, air mail with a bird carrier, fresh fish, ice cream, tiger cakes, and lots more. They say 3 and up...we think older 4 and 5 year olds will have more fun with this.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
K'nex Mighty Makers: Up, Up and Away Building Set
(K'nex $19.99 Score:)

Designed to appeal to girls, this is one of many models that K'nex has packaged with a female character and pastel building pieces. Though we think girls should not need gender speciafic building toys, we take seriously the fact that learning from building is a basic and too long overlooked. This Up, up and away set comes with clear instructions for building a small but satisfying airplane. Build it four different ways with directions for optional vehicles. 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Janod Construction Site Truck
(Janod $39.99 Score:)

Beautifully crafted in wood with bright yellow/orange truck comes with a detachable flatbed with a ramp and carries a bulldozer and excavator, both with moving arms to add to the dramatic play. A good choice for block building toddlers and preschoolers. 2-6.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2015.

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2015 Awards
Janod Cat Cradle
(Janod $44.99 Score:)

Painted in deep pink this dolls cradle has a cat face cut out at each end. Big enough to hold several dolls it rocks gently and comes with a soft blanket and pillow. An ideal prop for pretend play, especially for new big sisters. One of those toys that will likely get passed along to cousins or younger siblings.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2015.

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2015 Awards
Hape Shape and Shadow Matching
(HaPe $14.99 Score:)

Before they begin matching abstract symbols of letters and numbers, pre-readers learn about matching with picture images. With this set of colored images children look for the shadow images of the objects on their playing board. Use this to develop visual perception as well as knowing and naming the objects. Play it like a lotto game with two players or use it solo like a puzzle. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Hape Path Finder
(HaPe $14.99 Score:)

A fun game for fours and fives to develop their math power and visual perception while they are having fun with colors, and turn taking. Dole out the playing pieces, roll the color die and place the right color and size in the maze; but watch out! If your playing piece won’t fit, the other player can try. The object is to be the first to get to the end of the maze. 4 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Learning Resources Take 10 Color Bug Catchers
(Learning Resources $14.98 Score:)

Roll the color and number dice and pick up the number of bugs in the right color as the dice say. Players use the special grabbers to pick up their bugs. The player with the most bugs wins. A good choice for reinforcing counting and colors along with fine motor skills. Quick fun for beginners who are learning about turn taking and winning and losing. They will also like using the bugs for color sorting, counting and their own games. Try using them for learning about patterns: put down a line of bugs in a simple pattern such as purple, yellow, purple, yellow, purple...what will come next. Once they get the idea, make the patterns more complex. Yellow, yellow, blue, yellow, yellow, blue...what will come next? Showing them new and creative ways to use toys will inspire them to create their own original games. 3 & up

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
eeBoo Creatures Big and Small Giant Really Big Floor Puzzle
(eeBoo $17 Score:)

48 big puzzle pieces come together in a busy wildlife scene by artist/animator Monica Foresberg. The finished image will be a giant 24 X 36 inch picture that will be good for talking about. This one has animals form all over the world in a single scene; a giraffe, polar bear, camel, lion, and snail among them. They are not drawn to comparative scale, so that might be interesting to talk about. In fact some of the really small creatures are depicted as much bigger than truly large ones. Will this be confusing? It's something you should talk about. Use the back of the box for beginners to follow for clues. Give them strategies connecting the frame with the straight edged pieces. Before long they will like the challenge of doing it with out looking at the picture. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2015.

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2015 Awards
Hape Knob Puzzles
(HaPe $14 Score:)

With easy-to-grab wooden knobs and there are lots of familiar animal puzzles  from Hape that feature zoo and farm animals. These are great choices for beginning puzzlers. Bright graphics and smooth pieces make this a good choice for older 2's and 3's. Challenges their visual skills as well as dexterity and the ability to turn the objects to fit into the wooden board. Also a good choice, for older 3's and 4's, the Geometric Shapes Knob Puzzle, with 11 colorful shapes; circle, square, rectangle, triangle, oval, diamond, and more. 

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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