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Product Type: Toys
Award: SNAP
Review Year: 2012

 

 
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 Awards
eeBoo I Never Forget an Animal Face Matching Game
(eeBoo $16 Score:)

Twenty-four pairs of animal faces for matching up in a classic concentration game. What sets game this apart is the art. The animals have a charming storybook look that will make them fun to talk about. They are wearing interesting hats and expressions. Use them for stretching language or even story telling in addition to making matches. Although this looks like a regular lotto game, the animals chosen go just a few steps beyond the usual farmyard critters--so this is an opportunity to expand their knowing and naming skills as well as encouraging kids to look at details. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Awards
eeBoo About Face
(eeBoo $15 Score:)

Assemble the strips to create an endless cast of zany faces. Created by artist Saxton Freeman uses his photos of found objects to create images that can represent eyes, noses, mouths and other features from leaves, ribbons, coins and such. There is no right or wrong. Good fun. 4 & up.

SNAP: A good talking game with objects to know and name and extend vocabulary. Use this game for solo play or taking turns adding the top, middle and bottom of faces.

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

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2012 Awards
Creativity for Kids Stuck on Fashion Tote Bags
(Creativity for Kids $15 Score:)

There is no right or wrong way to add the decorations to this big 15 inch by 9 inch bag. It comes with 200 peel and stick hearts, flowers and dots in multiple colors. The kit also includes a hang tag for the designer's name and s small change purse that goes inside. Speaking of the inside, there is a flat insert that goes in the base and helps the bag to stand up on a flat bottom. We think kids as young as 5 will enjoy this kit. It would also be a great kit to use with kids with special needs who will not need to cut or use glue to add the decorations. Use this to reinforce color names, sizes, and shape names. 5 & up.

SNAP: Success is built into this kit that allows kids to decorate the bag with no right or wrong moves. Yet, when they are done, they have a usable end product they can carry with pride. 

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

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2012 Awards
Creativity for Kids Princess Music Box
(Creativity for Kids $25 Score:)

A sturdy pink chipboard music box (with a little ballerina who pops up when you open it) is ready for decorating. The box is deep enough to hold plenty; it is 5.5 inches high and 4 inches wide. The kit includes paper flowers, a sticker sheet full of scroll-like leaves and flowers, self adhesive rhinestones, glitter glue, adhesive squares and an idea book for decorating. The wind-up key for the music is built into the box, so this is a kit that can be completed with a showy end product that kids of a certain age really want. It is not entirely open-ended, but there is room for doing it their own way! Marked 5 & up, but probably done more successfully by sevens and up.

SNAP: There is no right or wrong way of decorating this music box. Yet the finished product is going to look pretty good, so success is built into making something that the child can then use for keeping treasures.

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

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2012 Awards
Poppin Play Piano
(LeapFrog $24.99 Score:)

Toddlers will like the action of hitting the keys and making the color balls jump. But this poppin' piano goes way beyond that simple play mode. It is an electronic toy and has a load of built-in bells and whistles. As electronic toy pianos go, this one has pretty good sound. It plays a variety of instruments --piano, organ, harpsichord, synthesizer, and something called popping sounds. But you cannot go from one instrument to another without going to another activity and returning to the "choose an instrument" mode and then striking a different note on the keyboard. In other words, there is nothing easy about the choices. There are several modes, most well beyond the 12-36 month age group on the package. Mode one is a number drill with the audio telling children to hit the numerals on the big colorful keys. Mode two tells children the color of the key they are striking and makes a ball jump up. Another skill set that does not match the age group. There is another mode that plays premade music and kids can hit whatever notes they choose while the song is playing. Kids need to be in the instrument section to have free playtime. It has loud and soft volume settings.

SNAP: This child friendly keyboard will encourage children to use fine motor skills as well as giving them the powerful satisfaction of making music with a swipe of the hand. 

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

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2012 Awards
Hape Little School Bus
(HaPe $10 Score:)

Beep, beep! A little wooden yellow school bus with finger holes for easy grasping. It has no sounds, except the sounds you and your little one provide. Scaled for early games of pretend, this is a good choice for crawling babies 10 months & up.

SNAP: The finger holes on this little vehicle makes it easier for grasping than others. 

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

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2012 Awards
Eric Carle 10 Stackable Learning Blocks
(Kids Preferred $20 Score:)

A surprisingly muted set of cardboard blocks designed with Eric Carle's images. There are images to name and know, colors to know, objects to count and numerals and letters. Basically, they will be fun for toddlers to stack in size order with help and even more fun to knock over. As for nesting them, that will come even later. Marked 6 months and up, but wed say this is a better choice for 18 months and up.

SNAP: A sturdy set of cardboard blocks make basic gear for languge games of knowing and naming as well as friendly way to work on size order. Start with two blocks instead of the whole set and gradually add more pieces.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Awards
eeBoo Carnival Glitter Glue
(eeBoo $5 Score:)

Who can resist the thrill of a fresh pack of glitter glue? Use them for drawing, decorating cards or packages, add it to gift tags. eeBoo has several mixed sets with narrow tips that allow you to draw with some accuracy. Each set comes with four glue sticks of related hues.  They do look a bit like candy sticks and choosing the colors you may be hard to do...they all look so tempting to kids who like crafts.

SNAP: An appealing way to get kids to develop hand strength. Cover up the work space, cover up the cloths and let the fun begin. Allow kids to explore in an open-ended way for starters. Then, print your child's name on a big piece of paper and have her trace the lines to make a name sign.

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

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