Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Pretend Play

 


2011 Award
Educo Modern Family
(HaPe $19.99 Score:)

A seven-piece set of dollhouse sized play figures. Dressed in soft fabric clothes and yarn hair, these little figures are bendable and can actually stand on their own feet (not the baby, of course.) There are mom and dad, gram and gramps, brother and sister and baby. Perfect props for dramatic play in doll houses or block props. Sets are available in both African American and Caucasian finish. 

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

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2011 Awards
Kid O Cutting Fruit Learning Fractions
(Kid O $21 Score:)

A small cloth shopping bag comes loaded with an orange that cuts into halves, a pear in thirds, and an apple in quarters. Made of sleek bright plastic, the set includes a special knife that is not sharp, but will cut the sections apart. The pieces are internally magnetized - so there are no safety issues with magnets coming out. These playing pieces are going to be used first and foremost for pretend play. Using a knife is one of those "grown-up" things kids cannot do in reality, so this adds to the play appeal. It is also a hands-on way for kids to explore fractions and give meaning to the concepts of half, thirds, quarters.

SNAP Activity:
Learning how to handle a knife begins with this kind of safe play. This cut-up fruit set is one of those toys that gives children a chance to try on real tools without the danger of a real blade. It's also a good opportunity to use the language of fractions, giving meaning to the concepts in a concreate way. To extend this experience, use the fraction words when you are making a sandwich and cut it into halves or quarters. Use the word quarters as you cut a slice of cheese in four andplace them on four small crakers. For more practice with knives, have kids use a butter spreader to cut up a banana or to spread jam on crackers. Trying on more grown up skills with safe tools is a satisfying way to build confidence and competence.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011.

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2011 Award
Manhattan Toy Boysterous Extreme Sports Zone
(Manhattan Toy $30 Score:)

Unfold this long green soccer field for playing games with the Boysterous sport dolls ($17 each) Flip the mat over and shape it into the slope for skateboard riders to go over. Finally, flip it over again and fill it with the dolls and their sports equipment for safe keeping. So, this is a carrying case and a fun play setting all in one.

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

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eeboo Tell Me a Story Animal Village Cards & Pad
(Illus, by Stephanie Graegin, eeBoo $$10 Score:)

Newest in a wonderful series of story cards and writing pads designed to spark storytelling skills. It's a form of pretending that is totally made up by the story tellers. Use the cards to inspire an original story that you can spin together. Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, the pictures feature a cast of forest animals who are really "children in fur" doing things that children would do - such as having a party, dancing, riding a bike. For kids who like to dictate stories or write their own, the Write Me a Story Pad ($8) includes a set of stickers featuring the same cast of buy characters. Stick them on the page and let the story begin. Younger children learn a lot by watching you print the words they say. Slightly older kids love being "authors" and writing their own words--with a little help from older sibs or parents.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011.

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2011 Award
Calico Critters Caravan Family Camper
(International Playthings $79.99 Score:)

A miniature play setting on wheels, this camper attaches to an old fashioned Convertible Coupe ($49.99) with plastic "wooden" sides. The latter is sold separately as are the Calico Critters. What comes I the reather oversized box is a yellow camper that opens to reveal a bathroom with toilet, shower and sink, a convertible sitting area that turns into a bed and kitchen for chowing down. There are lots of little pieces including a tea kettle, paper rug, cooking tools, sleeping blankets and pillows, lots of other household items plus the hitch for connecting the camper and coupe. If you do not mind lots of miniature plastic pieces, this it the kind of toy that will delight kids who like making up stories and pretending. It will take up less space than a dollhouse and cost less, too. This season's new Calico Critters are a family of four Friesian Cows, all black and white and dressed for the farm or a family of Yellow Labrador dogs. Marked 3 & up, the small pieces here may be a challenge for very young 3's and need to be stored out of the reach of younger sibs. 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: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
LEGO STAR WARS Storage Toy Case Battle Bridge
(Neat-Oh $16.99 Score:)

If you have a LEGO STAR WARS fan in your family, this storage kit will be a hit. The unit zips open with a battle bridge motif. It will hold 500 LEGO bricks and because it really closes up, this is a good way to storage and transport your child's collection. There is a handle on the top for easy carrying. There is also a slightly smaller TIE FIGHTER storage case that also unfolds for dramatic play.  Both may help "clean up" go a little smoother! May the force be with you!

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Award
Animal Planet Animotion Rattle Snake
(Jay at Play $24.99 Score:)

If you have a child that wants a real snake but you're not ready, take a look at this 40 inch animotion snake. The snake moves a bit (he won't slither around the house though) and his eyes light up red.  Could this toy be used to scare unsuspecting family members...you betcha!

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

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2010 Award
Natural History Museum RC Tarantula
(Wild Creations $28.99 Score:)

This sure looks like the real thing! A life size tarantula with velvety flocking and creepy legs that is sure to scare the family kitten, puppy or little sister. It's easy to operate with a two button RC control that moves the bug with high-speed precision. It can move in every direction and even spin on its eight furry, independently moving legs! It's a model of a large Goliath Bird Eating Tarantula that measures at its widest span an amazing 6 inches! 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010.

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2010 Awards
Wonder World Eco House
(Wonderworld $140 Score:)

A small eco friendly rubberwood wooden dollhouse powered by a windmill and solar panel. Comes with three family figures, that have yarn hair and as one tester put it, "They look like they were at Woodstock." It also has recycling containers, a water barrel, furniture and a two wheeled vehicle (we can't say what it runs on.) This is a much younger and less detailed setting than the Eco House from Plan toys. Two storey wooden playhouse comes with kitchen set, bedroom set, three wooden dolls and bathroom set
It's not just gender free it's one that boys as well as girls will like.


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

SNAP: This is easier to get into than many doll houses because if is so open. It is also uncomplicated, though it has all the features a house should have. This is one of those rare gender free houses that can be used for dramatic play. It not only builds imagination, it can be useful in developing language skills.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
I'm a Little Tea Pot Musical Tea Set
(Schylling $22.99 Score:)

Pure novelty!  A 15 piece tin tea set that comes with a wind-up tea pot.  Wind it up and then pour--it plays "I'm a Little Tea Pot".  The set comes with the tea pot, four plates, four cups and saucers and a tray--just right for pretend tea parties.  No batteries are required to get the tea pot to play-it just winds up like a music box.  Very sweet.  Warning: this set does have small parts and should not be given to smaller children. 8 & up. If Olivia is a favorite, the company makes a pink and red set with a tea pot that plays the theme song from Olivia's TV show and features her face on the cups and pot.

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

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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