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Product Type: Toys
Age: Toddlers
Categories: Manipulatives

 

 
2011 Awards
Early Years Busy Ball Drop
(International Playthings $15.99 Score:)

Use the big yellow base and then stack these round chute pieces in almost any order. Baby will be ready for making things happen. Put one of the three see-through balls on top and watch it whirl round and round till it reaches the bottom. This ball drop stacks up over 12 " tall and has balls with colorful beads inside.   It is a basic for learning about cause and effect. Babies and toddlers love the repetitive action here and the sounds of the balls dropping. Chances are you will need to do the stacking at first, but you can depend upon their unstacking it.   Most of all tots love the repetition of making that ball roll down every time!   9 months & up.  The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.  We did not independently test this toy in a lab. 

SNAP: Sing a little song as you play with this ball drop classic. Try it to Wheels on the Bus..."See the balls go round and round, round and round, round and round. See the balls go round and round all though the day." Now switch to " See the balls go down, down, down, down, down, down,etc. Make up other verses about the sound of the balls going plunk, plunk, plunk.

To reinforce color concepts sing about the color of the ball that is in action.

These kinds of made-up songs reinforce concepts such as color, action words,and sensory language in meaningful ways that are more memorable. It's not a quiz game, but a playful way to use language and interact together.

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

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2011 Awards
Kidoozie Stack 'n Roll Tumbling Tower
(International Playthings $24.95 Score:)

Love, love, love this new ball tower from International Playthings. Our toddler testers enjoyed watching the tower (over 2' tall) being put together and then dropping the ball into the top and watching it make its way down to the bottom. Toddlers love to make things happen over and over again--and this toy fills the bill.  Older toddlers also will enjoy helping with building the tower. It is a size order kind of toy that takes time to figure out. Use color words as you help put the stack up. The box says 12 months and up, but will be most enjoyed by older toddlers that can stand and drop the ball into the tower themselves. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. 


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

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2010 Awards
Sassy Rock and Roll Ring Stacker
(Sassy $9.99 Score:)

This looks like a traditional ring stacker only when you attach the top knob, it becomes a rolling toy. The post allows the rings to go on in any size order, so this is easy enough for babies who are not yet ready for doing size order. One of the rings has beads inside, another has a bumpy texture. Most of all they are simply smooth and colorful.  For the money, this is a good buy for a basic toy that stacks, rocks and rolls.

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

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Green Toys My First Stacker
(Green Toys $13.99 Score:)

A lovely set of stackers that are made from recycled milk jugs, contain no BPA, Phthaltes or pvc...and if you want to feel even better the product is made in the USA. But what we really like about them is that they are a great toy to explore with your older baby or toddler.  While you can stack them in "order", you don't have to- a nice feature.  Each cup has two small holes for safety purposes - so that your child can not create a suction over his face.  Even with the holes this is a fun set to bring into the bathtub.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Awards
Plan Toys Clapping Roller
(Plan Toys $39.99 Score:)

A slightly new look to a classic ball roll toy. This one is made of eco-friendly wood. Place a ball at the top of the run and watch it drop from one level to the next till the ball goes kurplunk at the bottom. This repetitive action is good fun for older toddlers and develops both eye hand coordination, visual tracking and the delight of making things happen. The large wooden balls store on top of the run and have a slight jingle sound as they cascade down the runway. 19 months & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.


SNAP: This runway is a little more tippy than others. You may want to tape the base down so that it is not accidentally knocked over. That said, one of the long range skills may in fact be using it without the tape, by developing the eye hand skills to place the ball with care. Like learning to turn pages in a book with care, placing the ball on top without knocking the track may come with practice. This is a good toy for developing tracking skills and you can combine that with simple counting. Since the ball makes a distinct sound as it falls from level to level, it's fun to count one - two - three - four - as it rolls to the floor. Hearing the sound and seeing the action is a good way to reinforce beginning counting.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Awards
Weebles Treehouse Value Pack
(Playskool $32 Score:)

Four friendly Weebles are ready for play in their own little treehouse. Put the figures in the tree and shut the door for a game of peek-a-boo. Put them in the treetop platform and they teeter and totter. Or put them at the base of the tree and turn the crank to bring them up, up, up and onto the ramp that they can slide down again. Toddlers will like the repetition of sending their Weebles up and down. The toy has four songs and eight different sounds. But it can be enjoyed without sound. 9 months & up.


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

SNAP: A good toy for developing hand skills. The Weebles themselves are fun to take hold of and let go. Use them for reinforcing position words…and build concepts such as inside the tree or outside; up and down; top and bottom, etc. Play counting games with them. Put them on the rubbery conveyer belt and turn the bright red crank to move them up and away. There are not too many toys around with that kind of turning action that develops small hand muscles and eye hand coordination. Adaptation: You may need to tape this down to make it more secure.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Awards
Playskool Explore 'N Grow Musical Gear Center
(Hasbro $24 Score:)

A great combination of two favorite play modes for learning about cause and effect and making things happen. There's an easy to activate ball drop with two balls that roll down a chute and best of all, there is a set of colorful gears that twirl and play music. Tots can activate the gears by moving them directly or by pressing the red happy face button. The gears on the side of the toy are locked in, but the ones at the base can be lifted off and stacked on each other. This is a wonderful floor toy for sitting up babies and young toddlers. It has musical sounds, but they can be turned off. Depends on your baby and your own tolerance for electronic sound effects.  One of our one year old testers was much more interested in tasting the gears and the balls than making any of the gears or motion happen. At this age, it will be a much more parent intensive toy.  Toddlers a little bit older will enjoy the repetitive action of making something happen.  9 months & up.


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


SNAP: There are good-sized pieces in this two-way cause and effect toy. The two balls are the right size for grasping with the whole hand and learning to release them from the hand is the second part of the trick. Unlike so many ball drops, this is uncomplicated and yet satisfying. The colorful gears can be used for reinforcing color names. They are usable for stacking as well as fitting together like a puzzle that moves. Best of all, the big red button allows them to make the gears spin...allowing a direct kind of lesson in cause and effect. Adaptation: This is an engaging toy that may need to be taped down for stability. That means leaving the sound off or using a tape that can be lifted and replaced with ease since the sound button is on the bottom of the toy.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Awards
Stack 'n Surprise Blocks Musical Croc Block Wagon
(Fisher-Price $29.99 Score:)

Although many toys are supposed to "grow" with your child, most tend to fit one stage better than another. This one really is a keeper for babies as well as toddlers. For the sitting up baby, this is an ideal floor toy with six Stack 'n Surprise blocks under the peg back of the Croc. It's an ideal put and take toy with places to stack the blocks that pop up as they are put on the big pegs. The green Croc's mouth opens and when you put the blocks in its mouth they reappear with peek-a-boo magic inside the Croc. The rolling eyes of the croc move with a swipe of a hand. Put a block on the back and it will rise. All of these activities are meant for babies even before they can walk about. But, now, open the long handle that locks under the body of the Croc and your toddler will use this for a pull along or push along toy as they begin to walk about. All the stacking blocks with jolly faces can ride along or stay inside. There is sound and a volume control, but happily it can be turned off and is the least important part of the toy. Although this will be enjoyed by infants who are sitting up, it will also be a great treat for a 1st birthday gift. 6 months & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

 


SNAP:  A fun way to play peek-a-boo games that teach children about object permanence. Put the block inside of the Crocs mouth and abra-ca-dabra they reappear under the Croc's back. There are easy to activate cause and effect games here with a swipe of the hand they can make the Croc's eyes roll or pop up action in the blocks when they are sacked. For children with locomotion delays, this is a good-sized rolling toy that can convert into a push or pull toy. The sounds can be turned off, but they too have a lot to do with cause and effect since the music plays when you open the Croc's mouth or roll it along. Happily, it can be enjoyed with or without sound.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Schylling ABC Nesting Cubes
(Schylling $16.99 Score:)

Grandparents will love the look of this retro set of stacking and nesting blocks with old graphics that look like treasures that came out of the attic. There are objects to count as well as letter names and objects to recognize. The cardboard blocks are good for language skills as well as math and phonics. But for beginners, fitting them in size order will be challenge enough. In fact for true beginners, knocking them over after you help stack them up will be the most fun. In other words this is a toy that can grow with them as various skills develop. 18 months & 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: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Wonderworld Flower Stacker
(Wonderworld $25 Score:)

Toddlers and young preschoolers will love the many colorful pieces of this stacking toy with "flower" shapes that fit one into another. They are stacked on a round wooden platform and can lean in a long arc or in shorter stacks. The wooden pegs at the end of each piece are chunky enough for inexperienced hands to command. There is no right or wrong way to use this, but it is great for eye hand coordination and learning about balancing things. Once they have mastered fitting the flower pegs together, you can move on to color concepts, making an all red stack or a patterned stack by alternating colors. Use them for comparing more and less--are there more red ones than green? Fewer orange ones than yellow? How long can you make your flower before it falls? You can also play a color sorting and stacking game off of the platform. The wooden pieces are made of environmentally friendly rubberwood and painted and silky to the touch. They are finished in a water-based non-toxic paint. They say 18 months & up. We'd say more like 2 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. Phone: Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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