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Product Type: Toys

 


2006 Award
Back Yard Flyer
(Kid Galaxy $15 Score:) "One of the best toys of the year" was the consensus among our tween testers. They were thrilled with this small blue and yellow plane that is launched by using the battery powered hand-held launcher. Everyone found the launcher easy to use and had a great time running after the plane that really took off! The company says that when the trigger is pulled the plane will fly for 30 seconds or more. It kept our testers (parents included) well occupied for part of an afternoon--even when it went flying into the neighbor's backyard! A great toy for the price. (While our testers gave rave reviews to this product, they found the company's remote control plane very difficult to make work.)

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2005 Award
Nano Case Vehicles
(Mega Bloks $5.99 Score:) You need dexterity, patience and good visual skills to assemble these small vehicles with working parts. Some come with sound chips and all come in sleek cases that convert into play platforms. Collect them and link their roadways together. If you need a lot of not too pricey gifts for birthdays and holidays these sets are a classy choice-but only if the child at the other end loves the challenge of building and the staying power to get the job done. They say 7 and up- we ‘d say that only some 7’s will be able to do this without help. (800) 465-6342.

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

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2005 Awards
Crawl N Fun
(Playhut $25 Score:) Testers giggled their way through this 6'-long tunnel as they crawled along! Also top rated: longer and more spacious Yellow School Bus and Red Fire Engine and a blue Deluxe Train engine. These each easily accommodate two kids for pretend fun. 3 & up. (888) 752-9488.

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

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2005 Awards
Plan Toys Shape Sorter
(Brio $20 Score:) A handsome curved wooden platform holds four shapes in place. Cut-out shape boards are fitted over the circle, square, rectangle, and triangle. Boards can be used to reinforce color, shapes, or fractions. Also see Plan Toys’ Shape & Sort ($20 ) with three shapes that drop in and slide out—Abracadabra!—when platform is touched. (888) 274-6869.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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Awards
Peek a Blocks IncrediBlock
(Fisher-Price $19.99 Score:) Tots loved standing up to play activities on each side of this huge block.This is a multi-faceted activity "table" that has lots of surprises. (800) 432-5437. Activities: Best fun, push a button and stacks of see-through blocks go kaboom! Or put single blocks on top of a spinner that says the name of the object inside the little block. Develops language as well as dexterity.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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2005 Awards
Story Reader
(Publications International $19.99 Score:) We were happy to find that we could hear and read along with a set of Beatrix Potter’s classics: The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Tom Kitten. The original art has been used, as well as the language. This platform is less complex than some other electronic book readers on the market. Simply plug in the cartridge and no touching or stylus is needed. The “reader” turns the pages and follows along. Other books in the series are licensed properties such as Dora, Scooby Doo and Bambi. We hope they will consider using more true storybooks with the artistic and literary merit of Peter Rabbit. (800) 454-9006. SNAP:New for 2006: The only new additions to this collection are more licensed characters—Sponge Bob, My Little Pony and more Dora. We preferred last year's set of Beatrix Potter’s classics: The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Tom Kitten. The original art has been used, as well as the language. This platform is less complex than other electronic book readers on the market. Simply plug in the cartridge, and no touching or stylus is needed. The “reader” turns the pages and follows along. Other books for the series are more licensed properties such as Dora, Scooby Doo, and Bambi. Still recommended, 2004 SNAP AWARD winner, Active Pad ($24.95 ). This looks a lot like so many talking book platforms. Touch the pictures with a stylus and it says the name of the object. It’s a knowing-and-naming book with lots of familiar objects to talk about. Look for the shape and counting book version of this, too. (800) 454-9006.

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

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2005 Award
IQ Preschool Around the Blocks
(Small World Toys $25 Score:) A high-quality set of 26 blocks with upper and lowercase letters, plus images to match the letters. All store in a big cloth bag. SNAP Activity: Use these blocks for playing sound games. Put blocks with three distinctive sounds in sight. Ask child to find the block that has the same sound as the word you say. (800) 421-4153.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Mini Golf
(Alex $19.99 Score:) Our four year old testers thought this circus-themed miniature golf set was loads of fun. Comes with two clubs (with foam heads for safety); two balls; and six illustrated targets. For a basic plastic set of clubs, TotSports Golf Set (Little Tikes $20) comes with a pull cart, two clubs, and three balls. The Little Tikes set is marked 2 and up, but we'd say 4 and up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Jungle Friends HippoStamus and Zebrabilities
(Mega Bloks $5.99 Score:) Part of the My First Mega Bloks line, these are magnetized stackers. One is a zebra, the other a hippo. Three chunk pieces can be arranged in multiple ways on each and roll away on their wide wheeled bases. A fun choice for early floor games that do not demand too much dexterity. 6 months & up. (800) 465-6342

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Power Touch Baby
(Fisher-Price $29.99 Score:) This toy came too late for our annual book. It will not replace real picture books that baby can explore and enjoy. The mechanics of how a book works still require hands-on discoveries and the quality of a storybook like Good Night Moon or Runaway Bunny cannot be replaced by this sort of know and name talking book. That sid- this has reasonably clear pictures and responds to the turn of a page and touch of a hand. We have not seen the add-on books, but the platform and first book make a nice novelty.A good tool for talking and knowing and naming games. (800) 432-5437. Activity:This is an easy to activate language toy. YOu can play I spy games giving color riddles about objects in the pictures of shope words in your riddle..I spy something round and green.....etc. All of these kinds of knowing and naming - listening and finding games are a fun way to interact and reinfoce language and concepts. Together, you and your child can make up your own stories about what's happening in the picture.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2005.

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