Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Vehicles

 


2013 Award
Plan Toys School Bus
(Plan Toys $39.99 Score:)

If you don't want a plastic school bus, this smooth wooden bus is stained in yellow with black trim, with white painted windows and door and an open roof. It comes with a driver and one student, both of whom can sit and stand. Unlike typical plastic school bus toys, this is scaled well to fit into block constructions and leaves a lot for kids to imagine. There is room for more passengers and lots of dramatic play. 3 & up.

 

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

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2012 Award
Monster Treds
(Ertl $19.99 Score:)

Well known for their models of farm equipment, this year’s big combine is 9 inches X 7 inches and has taken on a slightly jazzier look and sound. Done in the Ertl classic green with yellow trim, the new look includes super bouncy rubbery tires, and a shaking action with engine start up sounds and more. A smaller Monster Tred Tractor comes with big tires, plus lights and sounds. Both a fun choice for pretend play. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Awards
Fisher Price Little People Wheelies Loops 'n Swoops Amusement Park
(Fisher-Price $44.99 Score:)

Toddlers will like the repeat action of this two foot tall runway. It comes with two little vehicles that will twist and turn on the ramp way or zip down the slide into a 360 degree loop. At the end of the ramp it plays a sound effect salute. This is a big, big piece of plastic that will make a really big show for gift giving and will probably give your toddler play value for a while. We tested it with balls from other ball runs and found it works well that way too. If you leave the batteries out, it will still work perfectly well and be less intrusive in a small space if you are annoyed with repeated sound effects.

SNAP: A good choice for developing visual tracking and sense of making things happen with independence. Concrete experiences help to develop color concepts and position words such as top and bottom, down and up, high and low, in and out. 

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

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2012 Awards
Imaginetics Race Day
(International Playthings $7.99 Score:)

A magnetic board with a race track graphic and lots of colorful cars to move around the track. A 16-piece set that invites imaginative play, story telling, and quiet time. Take it along on your next trip to a waiting room or for making time fly as you travel.

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

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2012 Award
Kid O Plane
(Kid O $19 Score:)

Pick your favorite color or buy the fleet - blue, red or green. These chunky 8" X 9" planes are uncomplicated enough for toddlers to scoot around with on their knees or lift in flight. The appealing planes roll smoothly and have propellers that turn only if your toddler makes it happen. Fun for crawlers as well as beginning walkers as they begin to enjoy early pretend play. 1 & up.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2012.

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2011 Awards
Playskool Sesame Street School Bus
(Hasbro $14.99 Score:)

Seems the school bus has shrunk a little, but it's still one of those perennial favorites. This season it has been updated for the Sesame Street gang. But it only comes with two characters, Count Von Count is the driver and Elmo is there with his backpack. If you want more passengers, that will be extra, please. It can hold three figures and since loading and unloading passengers is so much a part of the fun, we suggest you bring them home with the bus. Passengers can get on through the door or the open roof top. To open the door, press the purple button on the hood. No batteries needed for this roll and play vehicle. They say 18 months & up, we think it will be enjoyed more by 2's and up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

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

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2011 Award
Hot Wheels Wall Tracks Starter Set
(Mattel $49.99 Score:)

If you grew up playing with Hot Wheels, then you probably dreamed about putting your tracks on the wall. Having spent a good part of my childhood with running tracks down the staircase...I was really excited to see this set at toy fair.  Having just tested this set, I am happy to report that the news is good. Hot Wheels has joined forces with 3M to come up with brackets that can be put up on your wall without damaging your paint (they warn not to do this on wallpaper...makes sense).  It comes with clear instructions that tell you where to place the brackets at each level. All of this will require adult supervision--and you may have to adjust some of your tracks--but it works.  It rarely works perfectly--something that didn't bother us or our testers since we think that's part of the fun.

The Starter Set comes with one car and has a big loop-de-loop that's fun and works well with the lighter car it comes with. We found that the heavier car packed with one of our favorite add-on sets did not handle the loop very well, but did very well on the track packed in the add-on set.

Of the add-on sets, we'd highly recommend the Daredevil curve that has a wonderful mechanism of turning the car as it makes a 180 degree turn on the track. Very cool. The Downhill Flip Drop also has fun action and worked well with the starter set. Our testers also liked the bridge and cityscape featured with this set.

We'd pass on the Drift Rally Spinoff that had a bumpy green road section that stopped our cars almost every time. It just didn't work as well as the other sets.

One disappointment. We have so many Cars 2 fans (not made by Hot Wheels, but made by Mattel that now makes both Hot Wheels and Matchbox). Sadly these cars were all too wide for the Hot Wheels tracks.

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

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2011 Award
Chuggington Wooden Railway Chug Wash
(Learning Curve International $39.99 Score:)

A train wash...a first in train land!  Push the lever to disperse the imaginary water and then send them through the buffers and dryers. Having written about many accessories over the years, this one certainly wins for being unique. Other interesting accessories in this line: Chuggington Wooden Railway Crossing Fuel Depot ($39.99) Pull either of the two levers and you can watch the "fuel" go down as you refuel your train. There is also a water tank that works the same way. The dial that shows how much fuel you have left makes a clicking sound--but no other lights or sounds here; and Chuggington Wooden Railway Crossing Platform with Vee ($39.99) The crossingplatform features the character Vee and has some lights and sounds when youpush the roof or push through the gates. You can mix this add-on with other sets--often a way to renew interest!

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

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2011 Award
Chuggington Wooden Railway Trainee Roundhouse Set
(Learning Curve International $119.99 Score:)

The middle sized set in this new series of trains from the folks that brought you Thomas the Tank. The set comes with 32 pieces of wooden track with plastic/wooden accessories. The set comes with two trains (Koko & Brewster) and a roundhouse that can hold three engines. One of the nice features of this series is that the accessories come apart so that they can be used in more than one way. For example in this set, the clock tower can stack on top of the roundhouse or be removed and used as a small tunnel elsewhere. Our testers have generally loved these sets but have noted that the tracks do not stay connected as well as the Thomas sets (which is odd since they're made by the same company!).

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

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2011 Award
Chuggington Wooden Railway Double-Decker Roundhouse with Elevated Turntable
(Learning Curve International $99.99 Score:)

Here's the "big" accessory for this new line of trains based on the show Chuggington. The roundhouse  can either be used stacked to provide an unusual two-story structure. It comes with a elevated turntable
in order to get the trains up and down from the second story (pretty cool). Or you can take the two halves of the roundhouse and use them to create a circle around your track. What we really love is that you can ascending pieces to add trains to the second story. There's something very cool about building height in train settings. Our tester did note that it seems more "plastic" than Thomas--but the amazing functionality of this prop outweighed all of those esthetic concerns. 


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

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