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Product Type: Toys

 


2011 Award
Playmobil Big City Zoo
(Playmobil $104 Score:)

Playmobil's ZOO (we first game it a Platinum Award in 2005) is back. The structures are great parent/child projects with plenty of pretend play down the road, but make no mistake: an adult must do a great deal of the building.  We particularly like the open design of the zoo--so kids can easily access the play pieces and move them about. The set comes with a satisfying number of animals (including lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, caretakers, zoo visitors, etc.).  There is an entrance point (tickets!) and a gift shop (of course)...lots of opportunity to replay (or preview)  a visit to your local zoo.

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

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2005 Award
Robosapien
(WowWee $99 Score:) Our eleven-year-old testers were thrilled with this programmable 14'-high black-and-white robot that walks, dances, picks up and tosses objects, and delivers karate chops! Not designed for instantaneous gratification--there's a manual that involves reading and thinking to make things happen. Marked 6 & up, we'd say better for 9 & up. (514) 344-1250.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Prehistoric Creatures
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:) The large red T-Rex that you can build with this set is "amazing looking" according to our 11 year old testers. But our experienced builders warn: "it's very delicate and could break easily--keep your younger brothers away!" Set comes with instructions for 10 creatures. Marked 7 & up, but we'd say more like 9 & up. Also Titan XP from the same series, our testers wrote "wow, there are a lot of pieces!" (782 to be exact) Builds a 14" tall creatures that swivels at the waist--but he too is very fragile.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Scrapbook and Memory Box Gift Set
(Creativity for Kids $28.99 Score:) Scrapbook fans are going to love this commodious box with picture-frame cover, which holds a spiral-bound scrapbook plus 16 sheets of patterned paper, stickers, stencil, scalloped scissors, paper punch, stamper, pens, glue stick and great ideas. This will appeal to older girls ready to memorialize a school year, a trip or a big event. Marked 7 & up, but was coved by our 10 and 11 year old testers. The Groovy Girls Perfectly Picturific Scrapbook Kit will appeal to younger girls who play with Groovy Girl dolls. The hardcover scrapbooks made these two Creativity for Kids kits preferable to the Alex My Scrapbook, that comes with a soft-covered spiral. For less experienced and younger scrapbookers, see the review of the new for 2007, My Scrapbook Case (Alex).

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Lila
(Corolle $55 Score:) If you’re looking for a big, beautiful, soft, sweet-smelling bald baby doll, look no further. This 17" baby cries, laughs, and babbles without being overly loud or intrusive. A perfect armful for pretend play. (800) 668-4846.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Topsy Turvy Dolls
(North American Bear Co. $25 Score:)

These very old-fashioned fabric dolls retain their charm. Cinderella in rags flips into her ball gown. Also special: Little Red Riding Hood; Dorothy flips to Toto on the Yellow Brick Road; and Snow White flips into the evil Stepmother.New for 2006, Fancy Prancy Princess Topsy Turvy Dusk to Dawn reverses from purple to a fuchsia gown. Magical! (800) 682-3427.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2005 Award
Corolle Emma Drink and Wet Doll
(Corolle $64.99 Score:)

We had a lot of inquiries this year about the best drink-and-wet doll. There are many choices! The prettiest of the bunch are from Corolle. Select either Emma or Paul, both anatomically correct 14" dolls with all-vinyl tubbable bodies. Comes with potty, bottle, and diaper for pretend play. 

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2005 Awards
Potty Elmo
(Fisher-Price $19 Score:) In the novelty doll category, Potty Elmo is amazing. Give Elmo his sippy cup and you’ll hear him drink; if you don’t get him to the potty, he says, "Oops, Elmo didn’t get to the potty. Accidents happen," and if he makes it, "Elmo can do it and so can you!" One of the best and most polite interactive dolls we’ve ever tested. We pass on Zapf Creations’ Baby Born ($39.99) who got low marks from our testers because they had difficulty getting the pretend poop out (no joke).

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Ryan's Room Adventures Ahoy
(Small World Toys $99.99 Score:) Yahoo! Get ready for imagination to set sail with Captain Hook and two of his mates aboard this magnificent wooden ship with working sails, rigging, hatches, anchor, crow’s nest, and even a plank to walk! A stunning gift for years of dramatic play. 34" W x 24" H. Add-on sets with more figures available.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Deluxe Tumble Treehouse and Skycoaster
(Maxim Enterprise $99 Score:) Hands down one of the most memorable toys your child will play with! With pulleys and stairways, this furnished treehouse has lots of pretend power and action. A Sky Coaster can be added for vehicles ($30). A gender-free setting that will mix well with block structures. An outstanding value! 4–8. (888) 266-2946.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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