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Product Type: Toys

 


2006 Award
Grande Mansion
(Playmobil $170 Score:) Part construction set/mostly pretend setting, Grande Mansion has two stories and a usable attic; this yellow house has an old world charm that will be a memorable gift. Younger kids will need help with assembly. This is a fun parent child project if you're so inclined!

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

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2006 Awards
YOUniverse ATM Machine
(Summit Inc. $39.95 Score:) After setting the ATM with your name and PIN, you can make deposits and withdrawals, and check your balance. Comes with an ATM card and will take both coins and bills. The machine recognizes the coins and adds them to your total automatically. For younger kids we prefer the less complicated Amazing Money Jar ($12.99 ); it tallies up coins only—but still very neat. Activity: Learning to count money and exchange coins is a process that takes time. Playing store or restaurant with real money is a good way to start. Also allowing children to pay for small items in the course of an outing gives them a hands-on way to understand the give and take of money. (205) 661-1174

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
American Girl Elizabeth
(American Girl $87 Score:) The American Girl collection of dolls each comes with a book that introduces girls to a bit of history through stories. Elizabeth is an English girl from a prominent Loyalist family (and best friend of well-known Felicity). She’s 18" tall with long blond hair and blue eyes. Still top rated, Nellie O’Malley (Samantha’s best friend). PLATINUM AWARD ’05. 7 & up. (800) 845-0005.

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

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2007 Award
Only Hearts Club Collection
(OHC Group $15 Score:) These 9" dolls have bendable bodies, delicately etched faces, and charming accessories, as well as small books that relate to typical problems of girlhood. Girls will need considerable dexterity to get the little shoes and clothing on and off. Unlike most fashion dolls today, these have outfits that would be acceptable to well-heeled parents and grandparents. They are dressed like girls—not funky streetwalkers in training. Our testers were thrilled with the Ballet Studio Theater ($50) and Stable ($75)—both were PLATINUM AWARD winners last year. New Platinum Award winners for 2007, a Sleeper Sofa ($19.99)—a first in Toy Land! And Sleeping Bags ($9.95), a clever tie-in to a favorite activity, sleepovers! Our testers also loved the Rock Star Collection. (We pass on the My Little Pony-inspired Fantasy Pet collection of plush animals that includes lavender horses and dolphin riding mermaid—just not our thing.)

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2006 Award
Only Hearts Club Ballet Studio & Stable
(OHC Group $50 Score:) Settings for these 9" dolls with bendable bodies, delicately etched faces, and charming accessories, as well as small books that relate to typical problems of girlhood. The two sided Ballet Studio Theatre ($50) has a mirror and bar for doll to go through her paces. On the other side is a theatre with curtain where she can perform for an audience of other dolls. Very cute. For young horse lovers, this is a beautifully crafted Stable($75) With stables and tools for grooming horses( included) As for the dolls, girls need considerable dexterity to get the little shoes and clothing on and off. Unlike most fashion dolls today, these have outfits that would be acceptable to well-heeled parents and grandparents. They are dressed like girls—not funky streetwalkers in training. Our testers were thrilled with the Ballet Studio Theater, Stable ($75 ) and dolls. All are PLATINUM AWARD winners. (805) 456-0241.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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Barbie Fashion Fever Styling Head
(Mattel $19.99 Score:)

If your child is into serious hair play, here's a dream gift (although it might creep other family members). Corolle's Hairstyling & Make-Up Head ($29.95 ) is just the head and shoulders of a beautiful blond doll with plenty of hair to brush and style. Kit also comes with make-up for the doll (of course). (800) 668-4846. If you're looking for a more grown-up head of hair (with really bad chunky highlights), consider Barbie Fashion Fever Styling Head (Mattel $19.99 ). (800) 524-8697. (Editors' note: We're not big on hair play as a pre-occupation, but these styling heads might help encourage good grooming and reduce the common hassles over real hair care.)

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2006 Award
Roboraptor
(WowWee $100 Score:) As friendly as Robosapien was last year, Roboraptor is scary. A 32"-long white robotic dino, he acts like a predator! His sensors allow him to react to his environment which sometimes means he’ll hiss, snap, and generally creep you out. For our older toy testers this was cool. (Some little siblings may truly be freaked out by his aggressive nature). Easy to control, although “running” mode looks more like a fast walk. Also new for 2006, WowWee Alive Chimpanzee ($130) is a chimp head with “facetronics” that come alive with motion and sounds. Talk about creepy! Prototype was amazing, but it was not ready for testing. 10 & up. (800) 310-3033.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Magbots Scorpion
(Mindscope $19.95 Score:) A magnetically assembled robotic scorpion, was “awesome.” “This is totally different from anything else,” noted our tester. The embedded magnets make putting together this 96-piece futuristic scorpion a unique building experience. (800) 903-6249.

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

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2006 Award
Quadrilla
(HaPe $30 Score:) A new line of imported marble run toys caught our attention for their design (they are beautiful). An unusual funnel-shaped piece is the center post of both the Basic Set ($49.95) and the big Twist Set ($149.95). Their Rail Set ($129.95) is also a beauty, with releases that add surprise motion. The first batch of these sets had some rough pieces that impeded the marble from rolling, but this issue has been addressed. If you got one of the old sets, exchange it. (800) 661-4142.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Star Wars ARC-170 Starfighter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $39.99 Score:) Some of the best Lego sets this year came from the Star Wars line. Top marks went to this new fighter featured in the last film. Our testers also enjoyed the Wookiee Catamaran ($49.99 /376 pieces) which comes with Jedi lightsabers that really light up (very cool). 8 & up. Editors’ note: Also noteworthy—Lego Factory, where you build your own creations online at lego.com and then they ship you the parts. (800) 223-8756.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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