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Product Type: Toys

 

 
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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2006 Award
Stacking Activity Cubes
(Small World Toys $15 Score:) These three cubes can be stacked in any order; the shape fits under the cutout. Each block can be activated by cranking, spinning, or pushing a button. They take some finger power for the motion payoff. Introduce one at a time; once they have them all figured out, introduce the stacking aspect for multi-action surprise! 18 mos. & up. (800) 421-4153.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Lamaze Spin n Stack Rings
(RC2/Learning Curve $24.99 Score:) This stacker has four big plastic rings decorated with interesting textured fabric and ribbons that spin when the music in the post is activated. We thought the big ring would be too big for little hands, but our 10-month old tester loved it and soon figured out how to hit the post to activate music and make the base spin. (800) 704-8697. Still top rated, the Classical Stacker (Fisher-Price $19.99 ) has a post with twinkling lights and sounds as each ring is put on. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Mega Blok Lil' Cement Truck and Dump Truck
(Mega Bloks $9.99 Score:) These plastic vehicles are just right for 2s and up. They both come with a truckload of Mega Bloks. Just right for pretend construction sites. New for , Lil’ Train Engine ($12.99 ), a colorful engine that holds a stash of blocks. Still top rated, the larger Mega Bloks Wagon ($30 ). A tot-sized red wagon loaded with 50 oversized plastic pegged blocks is fun for making big, fast constructions. Pegs on side of wagon can be used for building up and over. (800) 465-6342.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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