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Product Type: Toys

 

 
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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2006 Award
Baby Beeps
(North American Bear Co. $15 Score:)

Colored like pastel sorbets, each of these 15" bears has a big snout with a squeaker inside. Soft, nonshedding plush, they have swinging arms and legs that make them easy to grab, and are big enough to make a good armful for toddlers. Still top rated, Pastel Pancake Bears with Blankets ($20 ) Scrumptious flat bears come with built-in blankies! (800) 682-3427.

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

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2006 Award
Little Mommy Newborn Twin Dolls
(Fisher-Price $16.99 Score:) These bald-headed twin dolls have no moving eyes or small accessories. They’re truly toddler friendly. The realistic vinyl features are painted on. Both heavily scented dolls have soft bodies and the rompers they are wearing do not come off. Both come with a chunky molded bottle. Available now in girl/girl; boy/boy, and girl/boy combos. Also available in African American as well as Caucasian dolls. 18 mos. & up. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Latitude Enfant Grannimals Collection
(Pint Size Productions $14.99 Score:) Done in knitted fabric and stitched features, these are an unusual collection of machine washable soft dolls that are gender neutral. A real departure from the usual plush. Choose Lucien the rabbit, Mona the cow, Sasha the cat, Marie the mouse. The medium (8" $20) and large (16" $30) arrive in a special box that might well turn into a bed. The mini (5" $5) and giant (40" $100) come sans box. (800) 544-9183.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Rick the Frog & Friends
(Rich Frog $12 Score:) A new line of soft animal dolls with patterned cotton bodies, stitched features, and heads and feet made of terry. These look like storybook characters and are not gender specific. Choose the bunny, elephant, duck, hippo, or frog. Also adorable, Softies Collection: a frog, bunny, elephant, and duck ($10 each ). These are a little floppier and silky soft to the touch. Just the right-sized handful for toddlers. (802) 865-9225.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Awards
Stacking Shapes Pegboard
(Learning Resources $14.95 Score:) A classic toy returns! Little hands will be busy with twenty-five easy-to-grasp, brightly colored chunky pegs that can be sorted by color or shape on the big 10"-square base. Pegs can be stacked and eventually strung like beads. Marked two & up, we’d say this is for slightly older twos and even threes. (800) 222-3909.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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