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Product Type: Toys

 


2006 Award
Little Pretenders
(Chenille Kraft Co. $24.99 Score:) A new line of costumes made of wipe-able vinyl provides the most affordable choice. Each theme comes with accessories (stethoscopes, extinguishers, etc.) and appropriate headgear. Other costumes include Veterinarian, Hair Dresser (the pretend blow dryer makes a great sound), and Doctor. 3 & up. (800) 621-1261.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Magnatudes
(Gund $7.5 Score:) Put a few of these soft critters onto the car seat. Attach them by their embedded-magnet hands or feet; your toddler will have fun getting them off and then discovering how their hands and feet attract and repel. Soft, small, and totally ready for imaginative play. These will be enjoyed by preschoolers as well as toddlers who love this small size monkey, bear, or pig that will fit so well in little hands. (800) 448-4863.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
S.S. Duckie and Up, Up and Away
(Gund $19.95 Score:) If you’re in the back seat with your toddler and you need to go five more exits, these playsets make great choices! These are toys for telling little stories to your tot and hamming it up. There are lots of choices this year! A little ship loaded with two quacking ducks, crinkly starfish, and squeaker fish; or choose a white, red, and blue jet with rattle sounds, male and female pilots, and luggage; or My Doctor kit with two medical play figures and stethoscope. Finally, consider the Lavender Backpack with My Little Baby doll in the carrier and accessories inside the pack. (800) 448-4863.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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Bathketball
(Little Tikes $18 Score:) Suction cups hold the hoop securely to the side of the tub. This comes with three squirty balls. The bottom of the net cinches shut for storage. If you are worried about squirty toys in the tub harboring bacteria, pass on this one. We passed on the Little Tikes Bathtime Band ($14.99 ) This requires 3 AA batteries. Add water to each of the instruments and they play Calypso music. We do not like the idea of battery-operated toys for the tub. Their new Bathtime Toy Waterfall () also did not work well. (800) 321-0183.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Sassy Spout Guard and Toy Organizer
(Sassy $8.99 Score:) More like a good piece of equipment than a toy, this happy-faced frog goes over the faucet to protect active toddlers from bumping into metal spout. It comes with a suction-cupped frog with net holder for all those tub toys that make happier tub time for toddlers.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Awards
Neurosmith Music Blocks
(Small World Toys $45 Score:) Welcome back! This Platinum Award winner was gone for a few years. It returns with five colored plastic blocks, each side making a different sound. Match the shapes on the blocks or play them in random order—there’s no right or wrong way. The “composer” allows you to record and play back your composition. Comes with one jazz cartridge; we’d suggest bringing home the classical cartridge ($15), too. (800) 421-4153. SNAP Activity: This is a great product for developing shape matching concepts as well as dexterity. Play a game of putting up all the triangles and play them...next try all the circles. Or how about making a pattern as in circle, square,cirle, etc. A satisfying toy for making things happen. Sound quality is also a major plus when it's a toy you are going to hear again and again.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Laugh and Learn Learning Home
(Fisher-Price $70 Score:) For the get-about toddler, this “little house” is just the right size for active play and making things happen. It has a door that opens and shuts and is big enough to crawl through, lights that turn off and on, doorbell that rings, ball drop, and shape sorter, among other interesting activities. A great first birthday gift to enjoy throughout this year and probably next. It is a big toy, but if you have the room, it’s a good choice for solo or two-tot play! They say 6 months to 3. We’d say one and up would be a better bet. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Press N Go Inchworm
(International Playthings $12 Score:)

You can simply push this happy looking Inchworm back and forth or press down on its back and it zooms forward. There are little beads inside the domed wheels. A terrific toy that older siblings will love to demo for their little brother or sister.

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

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2006. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2006 Awards
Handle Haulers
(Little Tikes $9.99 Score:) Unfortunately most of this line is, in our opinion, mislabeled 12 months & up. For young toddlers, these are not stable enough to keep from flying into the child’s face if he leans on the back or front of the handle for balance. The low rating reflects this age label problem. (The Thomas version is marked 18 mos. and up.) For twos and up, however, these are uncomplicated props for beginning pretend play.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Big Spunky
(Gund $59.99 Score:) Older toddlers love big dolls to lug about and flop down on from time to time. The trick is to find something large but light enough for these little ones. Big Spunky fills the order. He’s 22" big and available in blue or pink soft plush with patches of white and stitched features for safety’s sake. This is what you call a real armful that will get a lot of loving! For smaller but great choices, consider colorful 11" Tutti Frutti ($20 ) elephant, monkey, or cat, or the classic all-time favoite, Snuffles, a BLUE CHIP bear ($12 and $20 ). (800) 448-4863.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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