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Product Type: Toys

 

 
2008 Awards
Follow Me Fred and Crawl Along Leo
(Tiny Love $19.95 Score:)

Sadly, Leo has been discontinued. A fun toy for active floor play with a sitting up or crawling baby. Turn on the fabric headed dog (Fred) or happy faced lion (Leo of course) and they will slowly roll a few feet and stop. Touch the accordion center of the pooch or lion’s body and it rolls some more. Their bodies are of bright colored plastic with fabric tail. This “magical” motion toy invites little crawlers to follow or use them like a roly poly ball for back and forth fun with sitting up tots. Loaded with sounds, we prefer playing with the “mute” button on most of the time. Fred, a floppy eared dog is more realistic looking than Leo. They say 6 months, we’d say more like 8 months and up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP ACTIVITIES:Motivating children to crawl is a lot easier with these easy touch activated toys. These little animals have interesting textures, colors and patterns to talk about. They do not move too quickly, so they are easier to play with than wind up toys that may roll away too quickly. Choose Fred the dog or Leo the little lion and play a game of “Got It!” Put the toy in easy reach and activate it with a touch. When it reaches your player, encourage him to send the pup back to you. Another game can be played with a box that you can turn into little tunnel. Who can make the pup walk through the box to the other side? Take turns getting the pup through the tunnel.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
TIny Love Follow Me Fiona
(Tiny Love $19.95 Score:)

Decidedly pink Fiona joins last year's primary colored winners Fred (a dog)  and Leo (a lion).  All three toys are for active floor play with a sitting up or crawling baby. Turn them on and they will slowly roll a few feet and stop. Touch their accordion middles and they will roll some more. Their bodies are of bright colored plastic with fabric tail. This “magical” motion toy invites little crawlers to follow or use them like a roly poly ball for back and forth fun with sitting up tots. Loaded with sounds, we prefer playing with the “mute” button on most of the time. Marked 6 months and up, but we'd say more like 9 months and up. This is the type of toy that young toddlers will also enjoy!  The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.


Age: Infants. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Awards
LeapFrog Tag Reading System
(LeapFrog $49.99 Score:)

Touch the pages of the Tag books with a chunky pen shaped infrared sensor. It reads the words, letters, numbers, and even sings! Unlike so many so-called reading systems, this one has real books such as Olivia, Chicka, Chicka Boom, Boom, I Spy, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, and The Little Engine That Could among others in the library of choices. There are activity books as well as some popular licensed characters. We're hoping they will add even more real books to the list. A fun tool that beginning readers can use independently, the way you probably listened to recordings. Only Tag improves on that. It's not just listening, kids are actually seeing the words, moving the sensor from left to right and turning the pages from front to back. In other words it reinforces how a book "works" in a child friendly and playful way. Parents will need to download the audio onto the sensor from their MAC or PC. The toy comes loaded with just one program, but there are 16 titles available to add on. ($13.99 each)  4-8.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP ADAPTATION: The chunky sensor will be easier than most to grasp. If it needs to be futher adapted, a glove with velcro in the mitt and a strip of velcro on the sensor may do the trick. Unlike simply reading along with a recording, this learning tool enables beginning readers to follow along and get the sense of how the text moves from left to right. It encourages readers to learn the mechanics of how a book works from front to back, from left page to right. Add to this the fun of exploring the pages and art to make things happen and this goes a few steps beyond any other read aloud story system with real books!

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

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2008 Award
Lego Creator Stegosaurus
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)

With 731 pieces, advanced builders can build three different ferocious dinosaurs. The lead creation, Stegosaurus, has armor fins, moving jaw, spiky tail and eyes that light up! This is a challenging set, not for beginners! Knock it down and you can build T-Rex or Pterodactyl. 9 & 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. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Lego City Coast Guard Patrol Boat and Tower
(Lego Systems, Inc. $59.99 Score:)

Young builders will be thrilled to have a 17" patrol boat that actually floats after they assemble it. It has a crane that turns and moves up and down to put rafts into the water and to lower the anchor. This kit includes a 12” tall control station tower and a 10" long dock. This 444 piece set also includes four mini figures, shark, surfboard, small boat and other accessories for dramatic play. 5 & up. Our testers noted that 5s will need help and older more experienced builders will find this set too easy. As always, we recommend starting with smaller sets of Lego--building your child's confidence and competence as they build up to bigger sets. Lego has also started putting all the pieces for a particular item in one bag--this makes it much easier. Most of us remember that "where is that one piece!" moment when confronted with a box with hundreds of pieces.

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. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Disney Pix Jr Digital Camera
(Disney $59.99 Score:)

Testers loved being able to add Disney characters to the photos they can take with this easy to use digital camera with all sorts of special effects. A great way to give you beginners hands on without getting their hands on your camera! This 1.3 Megapixel kid-friendly camera has easy-to-grab rubber grips, icon-labeled function buttons (no reading required), and a large display screen for easy viewing! Thanks to the memory (32MB), the kids can click rapidly. They only need two seconds between pictures! It has 1.3 Megapixel Resolution, holds up to 150 photos, USB enabled, built-in Auto Flash, 1.5" Color LCD Screen, long battery life - up to 15 hours of continuous use (requires 4 AA batteries - not included.) WARNING: Not compatible with a MAC. They say 3 & up - we'd say 4-7's would be more like it.

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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2008 Award
Acting Out Musical Waltz Dress
(Acting Out $40 Score:)

Like so many of their wonderful musical costumes, this charming tutu is done in layers of pink and blue tulle with shimmering sequins on the top of the stretchy top and edges of the gossamer skirt. Best of all it is motion activated. It will play the Beautiful Blue Danube waltz when your young ballerina begins to twirl. This company makes simpler tutus--just the skirt loaded with music from the Nutcracker or Swan Lake. They come in many sizes and colors. A dreamy gift for the sugar plum fairy in your life! 3 & up.

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

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2008 Award
Earlyears Blinky Beads Crawl Along
(International Playthings $24.95 Score:)

Fun for the crawling baby, this will not roll too far or too fast. A little push and the wobbly sides wiggle forward while the see through dome in the middle blinks as beads roll around inside. You can turn off the lights if you think they are sensory overload for baby. The rolling beads and clickety sound on one end are pleasing without being intrusive. They say 6 months and up. We'd say save this for when baby starts to crawl.

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

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
Early Years Roll Along Mirror
(International Playthings $19.95 Score:)

Best part of this rolling toy is a mirror that is less distorted than most. The disk that holds the mirror wobbles between the two big wheels that roll with a touch of a little hand. We could do without the music mode and so can you just turn it off. The toy dies not need batteries to be enjoyed. In fact you will enjoy it more without batteries. Older tots may like the lights and sound turned on low volume. 6 months & up.

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

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Awards
Lamaze Fun Mirror Crawl Toy
(Learning Curve International $29.99 Score:)

We've seen rolling mirrors before, but this one is the best one we've seen yet. Two fat wheels-- one red and the other blue -- hold a prism shaped toy that spins as it rolls. The three-sided fun house mirror has a see-through window and two mirrors. No electronic sounds- just the rattle of beads as they drop. A good rolling toy for crawling babies. Also fun to stand upright on one wheel and spin.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP ACTIVITY: This colorful rolling toy is good fun for roly poly games that involve repetitive actions. Send this toy back and forth between you and your child. Or stand it on end and spin the triangular toy. Designed to invite beginners to crawl. This is no small deal for kids with physical delays. Use this as well as a soft fabric ball to motivate your child's active play.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2008.

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