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Product Type: Toys

 


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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2003 Awards
Cranium CariBoo
(Cranium $16.95 Score:) Totally on the mark for preschoolers, this "treasure hunt" game introduces early color, letter, and number concepts. Drop the six balls into the secret tunnels and then go on a "treasure hunt" to find where they are hiding behind one of the 15 doors. Players draw an attribute card, find a matching image on one of the playing board and open the magic doors with a special key when they find a match. When they find a ball behind a door they put it into the tunnel that will open the treasure chest- the winner is the player with the last balthat abracadabra..opens the treasure chest!

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Leap Frog!
(International Playthings $19.95 Score:) The object here is to throw your bean bags against the frog (with a trampoline-like body). The lily pads that they land on have different point values. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. Good for developing eye-hand coordination, but may be too intense for younger preschoolers. They say 3 & up; we'd say... it depends on your child. Still top rated, Egg'n'Spoon Race ($19.99 ). 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Remote Control Action Train
(Brio $50 Score:) If you're into wooden trains, here's a truly neat train that can go forwards and backwards with a push of a button. It is a sleek white train—very European looking, with lights at the front. Also fun, Remote Control Switching Track ($40).

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Thomas the Tank Engine Mountain Overpass
(RC2 Learning Curve $40 Score:) When the trains pass over, the magnetic sensors activate the sounds (you can also push the button). A good centerpiece to refresh an existing set. Their Stacking Risers ($20/set of 3) are ideal for getting more height for your trains.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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Awards
Intelli-Train Deluxe Set
(Lego Systems, Inc. $99.99 Score:) The four drivers all have unique "driving ability" and when placed in the train, something new will happen. This is an update of one of our old favorites. This update has bigger train cars than the earlier version. Placing sensor bars on the track also changes the direction and/ or sound effects. There's a fuel hose with sound effects and a working crane plus vehicles that run on the "road". Comes with 92 pieces, but we suggest that you not wait too long to buy add-ons, since it's the kind of toy that comes and goes from the line. Great fun, but doesn't replace a wooden set. 4 & up.

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

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