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Product Type: Toys

 


2012 Award
American Girl Bitty Twins Multicultural Collection
(American Girl $95 Score:)

One of best collections of multicultural dolls ever. We are also thrilled that there are boy dolls (often very hard to find) included in this updated collection of twin dolls that include Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, Asian sets of twins. The attention to detail for these contemporary twins is nothing less than you would expect from American Girl. You can select your own twins on line- also very clever. New for this season, new clothes for the dolls and matching clothes for kids.

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: 2012.

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2008 Awards
Munchkin Caterpillar Spillers
(Munchkin $6.95 Score:)

A well designed set of seven cups that are perfect for little hands to explore. Each is brightly colored and comes with a variety of openings for pouring fun in the bathtub. This is the perfect kind of take along toy in the diaper bag for a sitting up baby/toddler. Our one year old tester sat quietly while she enjoyed being about to pick up each cup by the easy to grasp handles. The caterpillar's green face has big eyes and the smallest cup has an fun spinner to activate. You can stack them up and let your baby enjoy knocking them down. A good example of a great toy that doesn't have any bells and whistle or an expensive price tag.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP ACTIVITIES: Stacking and nesting are the least of what kids can do with these colorful cups that each have different cut outs that allow them to be used in the sand or tub…for watching water or sand slip through. These are also fun for children to knock down after they are stacked up tall. Use color words to refer to the cup the child is picking up and refer to them by size…that one is the smallest…or this one is the biggest.

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

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2008 Award
Eric Carle Brown Bear Floor Puzzle
(Mudpuppy Press $16 Score:)

A really over-sized (2' x 3') floor puzzle that features the animals in Eric Carle's classic book. The 24 jumbo pieces are pleasingly large and will be enjoyed by preschoolers after they have read the book. As you're working on the puzzle with your preschooler, you can enjoy making the sounds each animal makes. Other award winning puzzles in this line: Eric Carle 1,2,3 to the Zoo, Good Night Moon and Our World.

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

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

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2008 Award
Fur Real Friends Biscuit My Lovin Pup
(Hasbro $199 Score:) We love Biscuit. It's really that simple. He's a 24" tall pup with golden hair. We know he's not real but his facial expression are amazingly cute and dog like (in that perfect animatronic kind of way). As gushy as this review is sounding, we should note that Biscuit also does several tricks (via voice recognition). He can sit, lie down, shake your hand, wag his tag, bark-- of course he doesn't always do it right, which is also very puppy like. We suppose a stricter toy reviewer would give low marks for functionality--but it just made us all love him more. We do wish that Biscuit wasn't so pricey and that he did not run on 6 D batteries (you do have to turn him off or you'll be spending a small fortune on batteries)- but he's really very special in the novelty dog category. He doesn't walk, but he is very huggable and may do the trick if a real dog is not a possibility. The smaller Fur Real Tumbles (he rolls over) is just not as good. The internal mechanism that makes it possible for him to roll over takes away from his huggability-his fur is also not as nice as Biscuit's. For a smaller dog, at a lower price- look at last year's Lucky, the Incredible Wonder Dog from Zizzle.

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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2008 Award
Playmobil Horse Farm Pony Set
(Playmobil $99.99 Score:)

If all things ponies and horses are big in your house, here's the perfect gift to bring home! A new horse farm that comes with a red roofed stable (with room for three ponies). Set includes three ponies, food, fence, grooming gear, wheel barrel, hay, ladder, three people and the all important shovel. As with all Playmobil sets, for a younger child you'll have to help with the set up - making this a great parent/child project. Your child will then have a wonderful pretend setting to enjoy with you or independently. Other add on that are fun and will extend the pretend possibilities: Horse Washing Station ($24.99), Horse Trailer ($42.99), and Trotting Racer ($8.99).

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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2008 Award
Cheekeyes Wooden Dinosaur Animal Set
(Cheekeyes $29.99 Score:)

You know that we're big on wooden blocks as basic gear for the preschool set. Adding props to blocks can spark new directions for dramatic play. We love this new line of handsomely crafted wooden dinosaurs. The company also offers a set of farm animals, trees, a cave and a mountain. The dinos and the animals are outstanding in this category. They are very smooth (as all wooden toys should be) and they have paint only on the sides. Available only on line at oompa.com.

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: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Pengoloo
(Blue Orange Games $29.95 Score:)

This is a concentration game played with a group of wooden penguins that you line up with colored eggs hidden inside. Players take turns lifting two penguins and trying to make a match with the colored dice they throw. Object is to collect six penguins on your iceberg. It’s not easy! 2-4 players. Game time is 10-15 minutes. 4 & up.

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
Playskool Tonka Bounce Back Racer
(Hasbro $34.99 Score:)

Finding a remote control vehicle for the preschool set can be challenging. The controls can be too confusing and the vehicle can have too much power--which is why we were really happy when we tried out this new Tonka remote control vehicle. Much like the old Tyco remotes, this vehicle flips (once you get the hang of it, it's really fun to make happen). What's different? It's covered in squishy, soft plastic and comes with big soft rubber tires. In other words, no sharp edges or parts to hurt small hands. You do need to be close by for the remote to work. There are also three battery compartments (we'll admit it, we only saw two for awhile!). Other great remotes for this age group come from Kid Galaxy.

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: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Beleduc Dinosaur Hand Puppets
(HaPe $7.50 Score:)

These Velour hand puppets are sure to make a hit with dinosaur lovers. They fit like a glove. Uncomplicated and ready for dramatic play of the prehistoric kind. Inexpensive enough for good stocking stuffer gifts for the science minded. Tuck in a book on the same subject.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
Playmobil Dinosaur Collection
(Playmobil $14.99 Score:)

There's a favorite dino for every one in this wonderful new line of prehistoric creatures. There's the Pteranodon ($14.99), a really impressive Brachiosaurus ($44.99), a fun Triceratops ($39.99) that comes with a baby, a green T-Rex with Velociraptors ($24.99) (that is sufficiently ferocious) and a Spinosaurus that comes with a dino next and two babies ($24.99). Each come with a variety of play pieces (caves/mountains, smaller dinos). We took off points for the people included in the sets. While the people are clearly of the "Jurassic Park" variety, it still seems unnecessarily to confusing to us to include them. Our testers also loved the smaller Dino Transporter Explorer Quad ($9.99).

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.

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