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Product Type: Toys

 

 
2005 Awards
Puzzle Totes
(Lauri $8.99 Score:) Our testers enjoyed playing with this collection of puzzles from Lauri, well known for their textured crepe rubber puzzles. Rather than having the traditional tray, these double-thick seven- or eight-piece puzzles have a handle just right for travel and carrying about. Two-toned pieces are able to stand up for dramatic play. Four versions: Marine Life, Earthmovers, Dinosaurs, and, new for this year Big Shapes. Older 2s will be able to manipulate these whole-piece puzzles that 3s and 4s will continue to enjoy. (800) 451-0520.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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Lil' Snoopy
(Fisher-Price $8.99 Score:) Too bad they added so much sound to good old Snoopy. This little black and white pup now barks and sort of sings the melody of B-I-N-G-O with incessant barking as his “leash” is pulled. This is an example of how less was more. Too bad, Snoopy! 1 & up. (800) 432-5437. We suggest instead Ambi’s Max Pull Along Dog (Brio $17.50 ), an adorable yellow, black, and red pooch. 11/2 & up. (888) 274-6869.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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2004 Award
Disney Classic Karaoke Microphone
(Disney $49.95 Score:) We've seen a lot of karaoke players-this is streamlined for ease of use and can even be carried along to family gatherings or parties. It's a red & yellow microphone with controls on the handle. You simply plug it into the TV and magically the songs lyrics show up on the screen along with graphics that indicate what "voice" you have chosen. Young readers will enjoy following the words to pop Disney songs and changing their voices from high to low; from funny to sweet. You can harmonize with yourself or simply sing. Unlike most you can actually slow the words down-which makes it a great reading tool that is also fun! Our testers ranging in age from 5-11 had a giggly good time with this one. Too bad it came too late for the book. Also available in "princess" pink. [Please note: the Disney Classic Version is available exclusively until the first of the year at Circuit City. The Princess Version is available exclusively until the first of the year at Toys R Us.]

Age: Preschool,Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Awards
Make-Your-Own Cards I & II
(Made By Hands, Inc $17.95 Score:) There's no need to cut and pasting is a snap with the glue stick and precut shapes. There are several sheets of "pop-out" shpaes that can be used to decorate prefolded cards. Kit includes 20 envelopes for mailing finished art work. Store all the goodies in this kit in a neat box with velcro closure. This comes two ways, with pastel colors that are no dobt designed to appeal to girls and a primary color kit, that is likely to appeal to both boys and girls. We go for the latter! SNAP: Making their own cards will be fun and easy as well as motivating kids to use fine motor skills and create "mail" they can send to family and friends. No right or wrong way to do this open-ended craft kit.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Awards
Make-Your-Own Frames
(Made By Hands, Inc $17.95 Score:) Here's a kit with 10 cardboard frames, pop-out shapes in colors and shining holographic card stock. plus one glue stick. There's no cutting but the shapes are interesting and easy to handle. All the materials fit back into the sturdy box foler with a velcro closer for safe keeping. Enough materials for play date fun or even a sleep-over gang. Load 'em up with kids artwork or recent photos for grandparents. SNAP: Materials lend themselves to success and open-ened exploration and they don't look babyish. There's no right or wrong way to use this material. Precut materials add to the ease of use and glus stick really holds!

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Car Valet
(Alex $25 Score:) A handy zipped small case that you hang off the back of your front seat. Has a hard surface for coloring, two net pockets for supplies and two smaller zipped containers that can be taken out so you can take the crayons into the restaurant! (800) 666-2539.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Musini Preschool
(Small world toys $39.99 Score:) When your kids move, they activate the lights and music on the Musini console. A fun stomping-around lesson in cause and effect. This new smaller version has a clever listening game where kids have to respond when they hear particular instruments. Also new but not ready for testing, Musini Magic Wand. (800) 220-3669.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Awards
Crayola Dough
(Crayola $1.99 Score:) A super-soft colorful dough that comes in four-or six-pack sets in vivid colors. Will air-harden. 2 & up SNAP ACTIVITY: Encourage school age kids to shape snakes and then use them for making letters or numbers that will harden. Paste finished dried letters onto wood for name plates. Or make small disks of dough and have kids trace their pictures or names in the douch with a toothpick. Make a hole at the top and when dry this can become a necklace.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Paint-A-Dino
(Pamela Drake $12 Score:) Our testers loved that they could paint this articulated dino and then have a great prop for pretend play and to mix in with their blocks. There are also fish, lizards, crocs, and snakes in this line. (800) 966-3762.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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Kettrike Happy
(Kettler $119.99 Score:) This gender-proof primary-colored line of trikes comes with a push bar you can control the trike like a stroller. This line tends to run small and fit younger, smaller preschoolers. Our recommendation with all bikes is to take your child and try them out first.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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