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Product Type: Toys

 

My Collage Farm
(Alex $14.95 Score:)

The twist to this collage kit is that it comes with four farm friends (done in pleasing graphics)that kids can then add their own embellishments to in order to make their own unique designs. The big eyes were especially pleasing to add. Comes with an assortment of papers, pom poms, flowers, feathers, buttons and an oversized glue stick. Marked 2 & up, we'd say more like 3. If you wanted to do this kit with 2s, we'd recommend using white glue. Most 2s will have difficulty using a glue stick.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Wedgits Building Blocks Imagination Set
(ImagAbility $20 Score:)

There's something extremely elegant about Wedgits. The plastic shapes stack and combine together without effort, which makes playing with them so appealing. They have an open-ended quality to them that invites exploration. This isn't the type of building set that you make once - it's easy to take the pieces apart and try something new. A new 15 piece set is $20 and a good starting place. You can add to this set with more pieces, a base for building on, and patterns for older kids to follow. They have gender specific pink set, but we prefer the primary colors. Unlike many building sets, this does not have any themed pieces. The geometric shapes invite experiments with symmetry, balance and exploration with nesting, stacking, linking and wedging together the shapes to create designs. We gave the 60 piece Wedgits on Wheels an award back in 2006. But it was very pricey and really more appropriate for older builders. New this year are the Mini Wedgits, smaller sets for building a Mini Wedgit Frog, Dog or, Owl. The mini-sets can also be mixed in with the larger expandman sets. In such a high tech world, this may seem too old fashioned for some--there are no motors or lights, but it is still a very interesting toy.

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

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Award
Walker to Wagon
(Fisher-Price $24.99 Score:) A step past the cruising stage, toddlers often like to hold on to some thing as they become independent walkers. This is not a weighted wagon, so it is not for tots who are still unsteady on their feet. It has some spinning beads, a clicking dial, and other activity toys to manipulate, including a shape sorter, for sit-down fun. This colorful get-about toy converts to a pull wagon, but will probably have the most use as a pusher. They say 9 months, we'd say more like 12-16 months & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Grand Walk In Kitchen
(Step 2 $259.99 Score:) This kitchen is so big it can double as a playhouse for several kids together. There’s a place to cook, wash dishes, sit down for a snack-whatever! It has “granite” countertops, a sink with swivel faucet and push buttons, “stainless steel” appliances, a phone, and a huge accessory set. It has a “hardwood” floor, just like the most up to date luxury kitchens. Throw a sheet over the top and it will be a tent. Editor's Note: Please note that this toy comes with lots of small plastic food. While it may stick out of a choke tube, many of the pieces are still very small. We recommend putting most of the food away if your child is under three or if your child still mouths his toys. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Sand and Sea Play Table
(Little Tikes $79.99 Score:) Cleverly designed for separate sand and water play, this is nevertheless, likely to lead to some muddy exploration. These two tables are side by side and ideal for digging, spilling and messing around. This comes equipped with an umbrella, sand and water wheels, tools, boats and bridge. It comes with lids to protect the sand (which is not included) from the elements. 2-6 The company has signed a verification form that this product contains no lead or phthalates.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
No Mess Fingerpaint Trays
(Alex $12.99 Score:)

Here’s a way to contain the mess…a big tray that holds 12” x 18” paper. Comes with 50 sheets of glossy heavy weight finger paint paper. Put the tray in the sink or under a hose for easy clean up.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
My Finger Paint
(Alex $4.99 Score:) You get almost 12 oz. of vibrant fingerpaint in each of these cleverly designed pump bottles. Available in many colors, but don’t overlook the fun of mixing colors with the basic primary colors. 2 & up. Fingerpainting is more than fun, its a great way for kids to make direct contact with the paint without the need to manipulate the paint brush. It's truly hands-on and a legit way to be messy.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Naturally Playful Lookout Treehouse
(Step 2 $129.99 Score:) Low to the ground, this climber and slide allows for the repetitive fun of climbing up and sliding down-again and again! Although this will be outgrown, it is the right size for toddlers who are steady on their feet. It has protective siding on the platform, something that taller slides often lack. That said, this will still need adult supervision and protective padding under it. They say 18 months, we’d say more like 2 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2000 Awards
Tomy Roll Around Tower
(International Playthings $24.99 Score:) When people ask us for our favorite two year old birthday present, this ball run is high on the list. It's just right for toddlers who love the repetitive action of making something happen. The plastic colorful balls are oversized and fun to drop into the tower. The balls make a pleasing sound as they move down the tower. Unlike many new ball runs, kids can track the balls from beginnning to end- a plus in this category. Also fun and a little more advanced, Ball Party Bounce (here you can position the ball to bounce off one level and into another chute).

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2000.

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2008 Award
Twister Scram
(Milton Bradley $14.95 Score:) Twister Scram is not really Twister in the traditional sense but lots of fun to play for the 4 & up crowd. Here the play is more like musical chairs. Comes with 20 round colored mats and a spinner. When the caller spins and announces the color everyone runs to be the first to jump on the corresponding colored mat. The challenge – you use one less mat than you have players. Designed for 3-5 players. Rounds are quick so there are lots of opportunities to win. Also fun and more in keeping with the original game is Twister Take Out ($14.95). Here the original mat folds up into a take along bag and the spinner comes on top of a Frisbee styled disk (take the spinner part off when you want to play with the disk). This version will appeal to tweens and teens (and their parents). 8 & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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