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Product Type: Toys

 


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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2006 Award
Lego Duplo Thomas Load and Carry Train Set
(Lego Systems, Inc. $74.99 Score:)

Easy-to-assemble tracks and environment including train, movable light signal, and cargo tower. 61 pieces. Our older toddler testers "looooved" this set! 2 & up. Still top rated, for Dora fans, Dora the Explorer, a 41-piece Animal Adventure Set ($29.99 ) with play figures, blocks, and a sound effects box with 8 different sounds-not that kids can't make their own sounds. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Awards
Super Spiral Play Tower
(International Playthings $32 Score:) Toddlers love this marvelous toy that they quickly take charge of. Two weighted balls and a little penguin twist down the spiral and slide into different slots. A green froggy slides down a chute and makes a funny sound that ends with a ping of a bell. Repetitive action provides the kind of predictable cause-and-effect results toddlers love. Develops eye-hand skills as well as visual tracking. 18 mos. & up. Their original PLATINUM AWARD-winning Tomy Ball Party Roll Around Tower and Ball Party Bounce remain top rated (they are very similar to the Edushape toys reviewed above). (800) 445-8347.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Awards
Learn-Around Playground
(LeapFrog $59.99 Score:) This innovative table invites kids to explore and make things happen. A great first birthday gift! Sitting down, tots can play the ball drop and tap the shape tabs and textures. On their feet they can cruise around the sturdy table and test the pop-up and spinning shapes, press the letters that say their names, and activate the keyboard. The ball drop has jazzy percussion sound effects and says the color of each ball as it falls. Has volume control and can be enjoyed with sound off. 9 mos. & up. (800) 701-5327.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Awards
WaterWheel Table
(Step 2 $39.99 Score:) We had mixed reviews on this one. For stand-up water play this seems a great choice for the patio or terrace. It doesn’t take up a lot of room and allows for spilling, filling, splashing, and getting good and wet! But be forewarned, there seem to be problems with leaks! The plugs on the table are not water tight, so you will have to refill this and not use it indoors. That said, this is also a toy that needs total adult supervision. (800) 347-8372. See Preschool chapter for sand and water table, p. 100.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Triple Play Tunnel
(Step 2 $39.99 Score:) Knowing how toddlers love going in and out of their own spaces, this is great fun—especially for tight spaces. Our toddler tester liked using it for cruising around as well as crawling through (800) 347-8372.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Little Champs Sports Center
(Little Tikes $29.95 Score:) Toddlers like to imitate older siblings and this little sports set allows them to shoot baskets, hit a baseball, and spin a football. The basketball has a sound chip scoreboard that cheers them on and the baseball clicks as it turns on the post. 9 mos. & up. (800) 321-0183.

Age: Infants,Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Rocking Wobble Whale
(Mamas and Papas $79.99 Score:) (Shopping Note: We have just been informed that both the Whale and the Duck are unfortunately sold out in the US.) Soft and easy to mount, this blue and green whale has a wooden disc base and plays “If You’re Happy and You Know It” when you press its spout. An almost instant hit with our 18-month-old tester. With its quacking moving beak, Rocking Dudley Duck ($79.99 ) seemed almost “alive” to our little tester. Once the surprise passed, the bright yellow bird with crinkle sounds in its wings became a fine un-feathered friend. Some of our testers found the duck quacking fun; others were less amused. (310) 631-2222.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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