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Product Type: Toys

 


2003 Award
My First Briefcase
(Gund $15 Score:) Just like Mommy and/or Daddy, toddlers now have a fabric briefcase-in navy. Tot-sized case has three essentials for young executive on the move: a cell phone with quiet sounds, a squeaking calculator, and a key. All props done in fabric and ideal for early pretend. Also cute, My First Lunchbox ($15 ), same idea with apple, Dagwood sandwich that layers with Velcro, and a crunchy cookie. 18 mos. & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Musical Hands Mat
(International Playthings $29.99 Score:) Following the flashing lights above each handprint on the 45" mat allows children to play a tune. This calls for visual attention and sequencing. Marked for 2s, but this will be hard for most toddlers under 2. A much better choice for preschoolers and beyond!

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

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Life Style Kitchen
(Step 2 $180 Score:) New for 2003, Life Style Kitchen ($180). For the toddler who needs the dream kitchen (in plastic, of course), this one comes with wainscoting, crown molding, simulated granite, and gooseneck faucet, and takes 12 AA batteries (that's a lot of lifestyle!). This was not ready for testing.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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Baby Smartronics Speak & Teach Phone
(Fisher-Price $14.99 Score:) The new Baby Smartronics Speak & Teach Phone (Fisher-Price $14.99 ) did not test well. Cord is too short (our tot had to lean all the way over!) and the receiver is too hard to get back into the cradle.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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2003 Award
Little People Cement Mixer Truck
(Fisher-Price $9.95 Score:) Push on the driver's head and the cement mixer tips as the vehicle beeps (not too loudly) with a back-up sound. We also note that the driver is not just female, but she's blond! What next? They say 1 & up. We found this was most enjoyed by 18 mos. & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Mega Bloks Little Builders
(Ritvik (Mega Bloks) $10.99 Score:) Our testers enjoyed playing with this 16-piece set that includes three bases and interchangeable tops, including ambulance, firetruck, and police car. Chunky enough for early road play. There is also a construction set for "road work." They say 1 & up, we'd say more like 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2003.

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2005 Award
Pastel Pancake Bears
(North American Bear Co. $14 Score:)

These scrumptious flat bears in pastel colors. Soft, lovies. Just right for quiet moments. Also available as bunnies, cats and other flat lovables.


Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2005. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Tomy Ball Party Symphony Tower
(International Playthings $29.99 Score:) Our favorite collection of toddler toys has taken a wrong turn. The newest is a tower with balls rolling down, hitting sound sensors as they go. Unfortunately, the cartoonish sounds are extremely irritating.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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2003 Awards
Marble Train
(Kidstation $44 Score:) Testers couldn't keep their fingers off this old-fashioned looking wooden 24" x 11" maze that is loaded with giant marbles that roll, but can't come out. The object is to move them through the gates, curves, and swirls. This calls for individuating the pointer finger from others. Toddlers will return to this one again and again. SNAP Activity: This is safe enough even for tots who are still mouthing their toys. Yet the opportunity to make something happen while using individual fingers was very satisfying. You may want to sing a little tune as you introduce this game. Try "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush" or any other tune that suits your fancy. Instead of "Row Row, Row Your Boat" - how about push, push push the marble push it round and round......:

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
Earlyears Sweet Baby Blocks
(International Playthings $13 Score:) Six soft, squeezable vinyl blocks, easy to grasp, with a colorful single image on each face of the cubes. Fun for stacking, knocking down, and tossing. These have been updated with new graphics on every side of the cubes. They have added graphic patterns that can also be matched by older children. These are a bit large for little hands to grasps easily, but the raised edge may help. Fun for stacking and knocking down. Images are a bit cartoonish so may be harder for kids to identify than more realistic images would be. Also, the Earlyears Soft Busy Blocks ($10) are soft stackable blocks which have soft sides and corded piping. Colorful graphics and patterns and quiet sounds make these good floor toys for beginners. 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: 2003.

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