Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Pretend Play

 


2013 Award
New Sprouts Cook It! My Very Own Chef Set
(Learning Resources $24.99 Score:)

Just right for twos, this new six piece chef set is ready for some pretend cooking fun!  Comes with a pan, a pot and lid, a slotted spoon, mixing spoon and bright orange colander. We're delighted with the gender-free color choices (purple, orange, green, teal and grey) - making this a set without any built-in agendas. Pieces are plastic and sturdy - and could also be used in the bathtub (especially the colander!).

 

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Plan Chalet House with Furniture
(Plan Toys $167.49 Score:)

An unusual modern-style dollhouse. This big three story chalet comes in two parts. Kids can rearrange them into different configurations. The open wall and roof design makes it accessible by several children at a time. We are not crazy about the color scheme and we wish it came with play figures as well as the furniture. Note: the colors online are different from the toy we tested. The roof is orange not yellow as pictured. Figures are extra. Made of recycled rubber wood, it has the look of pressed or composition board and it is stained, rather than painted. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Cinderella Happily Ever After Carriage
(Disney $59.99 Score:)

We believe this comes under the heading of biggest piece of fantasy plastic of the season. That said, we know a lot of girls are going to love it. Cinderella's coach actually has a pumpkin shell that turns to reveal a royal style coach to take her to the ball and her wedding. She wears a white satin gown and looks every inch a princess! Marked 3 & up, we think this is more like a big box gift item for older 4 and 5 year olds.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Diggin Boxset Castle
(Diggin $50 Score:)

Another of the mini play settings from Diggin that is portable and small but pretty complete. You open the wooden box and all the pieces are inside ready to set up in a variety of ways. The castle is painted like gray stone. It comes with 2 wooden knight figures, 1 princess, 1 dragon and a catapult. Castle folds up and is easy to set up. When closed, it is easy to take with you anywhere, and has a handle on the top.  Very nice quality. Perfect take along to Gram's house or fun to find there for pretend play. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Diggin Boxset Dollhouse
(Diggin $50 Score:)

A very compact dollhouse that is really a mini house with two floors, a staircase that flips down so two play figures can climb up and down. There's a sink, a table, a little piano, a swing, a bed, and a tub. A pink wooden box with furnishings inside and a handle on top to tote it about. Perfect take along to Gram's house or fun to find there for pretend play. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Awards
Hape Gourmet Kitchen
(HaPe $129.99 Score:)

A classic piece of equipment for pretend play. This has no sounds except the ones your child will make. Beautifully finished in white, with licks of yellow and natural wood, this is not the usual gender specific pink and will be enjoyed by boys as well as girls. Crafted with round edges and smooth surfaces, this wooden kitchen has red dials that turn on the stove with two pretend burners, an oven, and frig underneath. We like the sink with turning faucets and a small take-out plastic tub that can actually hold water for sudsy play. There is a rack at the top for storing plates and utensils, however the plates, etc. do not come with the kitchen. You can buy Hape wooden accessories or stock up on sturdy plastic ones for soap and water fun. Unlike so many oversized kitchens, this will not take up most of a room. It is scaled down but ideal for 3 and up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Hape Park and Go Garage
(HaPe $69.99 Score:)

A handsome wooden garage with ramps and working elevator with a heliport on top. A classic setting for dramatic play as cars zoom up and down the roadway ramps. Your child makes the sounds rather than premade ones. It comes with a helicopter and two small wooden cars that move on the slick surface. It also has a gas station for fueling up the vehicles. Well finished with black, and red graphics. This will get hours of playtime and can be incorporated into block building play. This takes some assembling time, but it goes together without anything more than a screwdriver and some patience. Our experienced tester/builder says putting the tower in place is the only challenging part, but the directions are perfect and easy to follow.  We note not all reviews online have been positive in term of the strength of the ramps. This is not a toy for toddlers who may lean on it and even sit on the top ramp. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Calico Critters Motorcycle and Sidecar
(International Playthings $39.99 Score:)

An adorable add-on to the wonderful Calico Critters playsets, that are ideal for dramatic play. Unlike gender specific dollhouses, the Calico Critters are more gender neutral. Marvin and Maggie, the Mulberry Raccoons get around town in their red and white motorcycle and sidecar, romantically named the True Love. If your child has a Calico Critter setting, bringing home a small set of critters or an accessory like this will refresh their interest in the play setting; but this is also a cute stand alone toy. 3 and up

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Imaginetics Flying High
(International Playthings $11 Score:)

Perfect for your next flight or a pretend trip. This magnetic play setting board opens like a big picture book. It features an air field with hanger, control tower and all kinds of airplanes. With 18 magnetic pieces, this is the kind of setting that is fun to use for telling their own stories.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Farm Activity Mat
(North American Bear Co. $75 Score:)

A scrumptious set of 12 fabric farm animals. Each fits into a pocket inside this zip up mat with a bright red barn and grassy green meadow all around. We could have done without the numerals on the animals. They each fit into a pocket that shows a small graphic of the related number of animals. For example, the cow with a numeral three on its side fits into the pocket with the image of three cows. Similarly, a pig with a  nine on it goes into a pocket with the image of nine pigs. The images are very small and hard to count for the age group this toy is going to reach. That said, this is a fun "knowing and naming" toy and the soft animals will be fun to use for pretend lay on the farm side. As for matching number words and numerals, or sequencing numbers, those are kindergarten and beyond skills that are beyond toddlers. The toy seems much younger than school years, but it is beautifully made and will also be a fun toddler toy for talking, pretending and for un-filling and refilling with help.

SNAP: Lots of knowing and nameing games can be played with this set of animals.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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