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Product Type: Toys

 


2009 Award
Step2 Neighborhood Fun Center
(Step 2 $279.99 Score:)

We really liked the concept of this playhouse that combines active play with a setting for pretend. One side has a slide just right for steady on their feet toddlers and preschoolers. Another side has an activity wall- complete with a ring toss, crawl through door and hoop/loop ball target (comes with balls for tossing). The third side has a place for real or pretend snacks (there's a small table and two attached seats). The fourth side has a door and pass through window. If you don't have room for both a playhouse and a slide--this certainly will fill the bill.

The company has submitted our safety verification form. Note, we did not test this independently in a lab.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Horton Hears a Who You to the Rescue Game
(I Can Do That Games $19.99 Score:)

With the recent release of the movie, this game based on Horton Hears a Who! is sure to be a hit. As in a scavenger hunt, you hide tiny Who cards around the house. Players race against a timer, wearing a Horton hat with Velcro trunk, to find missing Whos. The one who rescue the most Whos wins. Great fun!

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Boochie
(Gamewright $34.99 Score:)

A great new active family game that combines the action of the Italian classic Bocce with a ring toss and extra twists! Everyone puts on a "wrist tracker" set at zero. "It" tosses the soft foam Boochie Ball about 12 feet away. Now players take turns tossing their color-coded hoops and balls as close to the 12-sided Boochie Ball. After everyone has had two turns, players approach the Boochie Ball to score the round. First to score 11 points wins. But watch out! The Boochie Ball may give points for being furthest away. Players set their wrist trackers, which reveal how they must play the next round, tossing, bowling, kicking, standing on one foot, squatting. For 2-4 players.

The company has submitted our safety verification form. Note, we did not test this independently in a lab.

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

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2009 Award
DRV Rescue SUV and Plane
(Kid Galaxy $45 Score:) Here's one of the coolest combinations. Two remote control vehicles to play with at the same time. The remote control works both the sturdy truck and the plane that sits on top of the truck. Charges just like their stand alone planes—you hold the charger down for 10 seconds.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2009.

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2008 Award
FlyTech Butterfly and Moth
(WowWee $24.99 Score:)

Ok, so it's probably too early in the season to declare our favorite toy...but these butterflies and moths are clearly front runners! Easy to launch- you just hold the button down on the launcher until the wings really start to go-and then pull it back all the way-the butterfly or moth will take off! Also available, a pretty sharp looking red and black Mosquito (only on-line). This is the type of toy everyone will want a turn playing with- including the adults. (Editors Update: So these remain one of our top fun picks of the entire year.)

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

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Lego Beach House
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:) Who wouldn’t like this bright contemporary looking yellow beach house with two big skylight windows and clear back doors that leads to a terrace. It has a satellite disk, BBQ, picnic table and umbrella, and hours of play build in to the fun. From Lego’s Creator line it’s cleverly designed to be converted to a café or a tall apartment building. A 3-in-1 kit with 522 pieces. Full of the kind of details that suits older builders. 8 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2009 Award
Lego Road Construction Set
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

Kids who are fascinated with vehicles will be able to build more than three chunky wheeled trucks—a steam roller, earth mover with lift, and dump truck. Therr sets of instructions includes 15 different building ideas...not to mention the ones young builders will come up with on their own. A great gift for under $20. Says 4 & up. We think 4’s will need assistance. Good for dramatic play and as props for block buildings.

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. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Lego Police Headquarters
(Lego Systems, Inc. $89.99 Score:)

Loaded with action, this is an immense building set with 953 pieces that will take days to assemble. Part of the City Collection, this multi-level huge police headquarters has a lock-up, of course, as well as offices, vehicles, satellites, and police figures. Build it together and then let the dramas begin. They say 6 & up. It is an elaborate set that will require an older sibling or adult if you bring it home for a 6 year old. It will be enjoyed by younger kids after it is built, but as a construction set, it will be an overwhelming challenge for solo building for kids under 8. Still, this is a wow-wee kind of gift for enthusiastic builders. Makes a good choice for those long rainy days when going out is not possible.

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

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

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Lego Ring of Fire
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:) Our toy tester wanted to really test this one--it's an update on a toy that was in the Lego line several years ago. First you build your racer, then you build a catapult and a ramp with a ring of fire. Unfortunately our tester found that this really didn't work as well as the original. The car really didn't launch sufficiently to go through the ring and the ring didn't stay together very well. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2009 Award
eeBoo Build a Robot
(eeBoo $14.95 Score:)

Part puzzle, part game this is quick and easy to play at various levels. Players take the five robot puzzle pieces out of their playing board. Hit the arrow spinner and pick the numbered playing piece that matches. First to rebuild the robot wins. But watch out, older players need to spin the “tool” tile before they begin. It takes some time and luck to spin all five numbers to build the robot. Good for turn taking, number matching, and sequencing from 1-5. Game includes names of robot related books.   5 & up.

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

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

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