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Product Type: Toys

 


2009 Award
Razor RipRider 360
(Razor $99 Score:)

The RipRider 360 Caster Trike is the update of the original Razor Scream Machine that we really loved in 2003. It has smaller caster wheels than the Scream Machine. But the fun remains the same. Like the Big Wheels we had as kids, this is low to the ground trike-like bike is great fun designed for kids 4 & up. We'd add a flag so vehicles can see riders low to the ground! Be forewarned: this does take some skill in putting it together. 4–8.

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

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2003 Awards
Crayon Balance Beam
(Artistic Coverings $199 Score:) A pricey but neat piece of equipment that will be a hit with preschoolers and early school-aged kids who love the challenge of walking on a beam (with the safety of knowing that you're only inches off the ground). The crayon is 6' long and 10" wide with a 4" beam surface.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Nobbly Wobbly Beach Ball
( $12.95 Score:) (Hands On Toys) Here's a pretzel of a beachball with several interlaced plastic tubes that you blow up individually to make a 19" beach ball. Because it's not a solid ball, it is easier to catch. We didn't find the enclosed pump very useful—we blew it up the old fashioned way!

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Lily's Purple Plastic Purse
(Mudpuppy Press $7.95 Score:) This company continues to make marvelous puzzles from picture-book art. Select 20 pieces in a frame or 24- and 36-piece puzzles in handsome, sturdy storage boxes. Favorites: Katy Cat and Beaky Boo, Martha Speaks, and Where the Wild Things Are. 4 & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
Lite-Brite Cube
(Hasbro $34 Score:) An updated version of a classic toy with four panels that comes with the original colored pegs but also includes interesting light loops that give it a different look from the one we grew up with. You can buy patterns in packages, but it's also fun to create your own designs. Good for developing fine motor skills. 4–8. It will be enjoyed even more by next age group.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Make-A-Shape Puzzle Board
(Small World Toys $14 Score:) Introduces fractions with a circle cut in thirds, a square in quarters, a triangle in halves, and a whole rectangle. Obviously, using these terms with sandwiches, fruit, and other everyday objects will teach the same concepts. 21⁄2 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
It Takes All Sorts
(Small World Toys $14 Score:) A classic counting/sorting toy. Each shape has one, two, three, or four holes to fit on the wooden dowels of the puzzle board. This looks simpler than it is for beginners. There are two attributes here: shape and number. This calls for dexterity and counting. They say 2, we'd say late 2s and 3s.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Airplane & Tugboat Puzzibilities
(Small World Toys $11 Score:) These are the newest from a handsome line of puzzles that are just right for beginners. Pieces with images lift out with little red knobs, and images are also below the piece for matching. We especially like the Airplane with a multicultural cast (and female pilot). 3–5.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2004 Awards
My First Leap Pad
(LeapFrog $39.99 Score:) New for this year, two Dr. Seuss books have been adapted for this platform. You can either listen to the story and/or play the games that extend the experience. Each page has items to find with a sensor pen. Many basic preschool counting and language skills, not just the usual alphabet drill. Happily, there's a volume control, so it won't blast their ears. SNAP:Finding playful and varied ways to practice letter names and sounds is often a problem for slightly older children who don't like having "babyish" toys. This talking book may be acceptable to older kids since it looks like the other Leap Pads. In fact, this one works better than the others since it focuses on early skills that can be drilled in this way.

Age: . Award Year: 2004.

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2003 Awards
Puzzibilities Block Party
(Small World Toys $40 Score:) A 48-piece wooden block set, finished with rolled edges, letters, and two objects that start with the sound of each letter. Preschoolers will build with these and play at letter naming, matching games, and sorting illustrations by categories. Use with older kids for letter/sound games, matching upper- and lowercase letters, and easy spelling. 2 1?2–7.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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