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Product Type: Toys

 


2009 Award
eeBoo Make a Pie!
(eeBoo $14.95 Score:)

Here’s a fun way to play around with fractions. Players take turns trying to make a pie with the fraction they spin. There are juicy looking wedges of cherry and berry pies. Object is to collect all the pieces needed to make a whole pie. This is a good starting point for learning about fractions. An attractive concept game—for beginners. 6 & up.

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: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Sprig Vehicles
(Sprig $24.99 Score:)

A new truly green collection of vehicles that are just right for the preschool set. The line is made of what the company calls "sprigwood" which is a composite of recycled milk jugs, bottles, containers, and reclaimed pine sawdust. There is also no added paint--so the colors are somewhat muted. Another plus-no batteries are required. Kids can get the lights to go on and the sound effects to kick in by friction. Our testers really enjoyed the smaller vehicles (Rally Racer and Baja Scout). The larger Discover Rig ($59.99) has a handle for pushing that is also fun although we had trouble hearing the sound effects--we are told by the company that they will be louder the more the vehicles are pushed. Hats off to this innovative company--we look forward to seeing how they expand their line.

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
Lego Racer Red Ace
(Lego Systems, Inc. $9.99 Score:)

A late arrival at a great price. This Red Ace is a small pull back racer that has red detailing. Pull it back and send it flying on the ramp. This is a relatively easy build with only 82 pieces but it has lots of play value. We'd recommend bringing home two so that you can have races.

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
2 in 1 Vacuum Cleaner
(International Playthings $39.95 Score:)

It's clean-up time! Ok, so we'll pretend. This dandy little blue and green vacuum cleaner has easy rolling wheels, a removable hand vac, and sounds and lights. This is an old time favorite of boys and girls alike. Comes with "dirt" that you can vacuum up - which is a fun concept but not for kids that you believe will try to taste it! Takes 3 "C" batteries. 3 & 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. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
HexBug Micro Robotic Creatures
(Innovation First $14.99 Score:)

A late arrival--but well worth the wait! These very small robotic creatures delighted our testers both young and old. Available in several colors (our favorite, red!) The Crab has light and sound sensors and will change direction based on both. The Inchworm comes with a small remote control and moves back and forth and in circles...lots of fun to play with. We LOVE that they come loaded and ready to play with right from the start. A great gift for older kids, teens and even grown ups. They make great office toys!

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

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Awards
Poingo Set
(Publications International $34.95 Score:)

Although the oversized books are all based on licensed characters, this is an entertaining electronic book collection with a sensor that is chunky and easy for beginners to grasp. The two books that come with the set are based on Finding Nemo and The World of Cars. Touch the big sensor to the text and it reads the page or touch the images on the page and it gives you bits of info, sound effects or things to find. Unlike Leap Frog's TAG, this does not include a library of real books by gifted writers and illustrators. It also does offer the option of hearing the words read out loud with the sensor's guidance one word at a time. That means it is not establishing the understanding of how books work from left to right and word to word. If this option and some real books were added to the mix this would also be a Platiunm winner. That said, this is a pretty good choice with more complex text that slightly older kids might find inviting. We think the 3 & up age label is not correct. This is more like a good choice for 5-8.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP: The easy to operate sensor can be fitted with Velcro and placed in a mitt with Velcro so that it can be grasped with greater ease. The subject matter in these two books may appeal to older kids and still give them the independence of "reading" alone!

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

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2008 Awards
Acting Out Jingle Bell Rock Skirt
(Acting Out $40 Score:)

Totally in tune with the holiday season! This red and white net skirt has a peppermint striped bow with a bell and plays Jingle Bell Rock music when your little dancer begins to move. Action activated, this is good fun for getting up off the couch and moving. Also see Acting Out's Musical Waltz Dress. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

SNAP: Finding ways to encourage kids to play actively comes built into this motion activated skirt. For children who may not be able to dance, this is still a fun skirt to wear and use the music maker for stop and start games. Have child hold the toy and when they shake it you do the dancing...freeze when the music stops. This is an empowering game that puts them in charge of the action.

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

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2008 Award
Shake n Go Flyers
(Fisher-Price $14.95 Score:)

We loved the original Shake n Go Cars and these Flyers are the airborne version for active fun. The hand held launcher does look a little like a gun, but it is really a docking place for the lightweight plane. YOu click it into place and then shake the launcher until the lights and plane sounds begin. Press the trigger and va, va, va, voom! It takes off! They say 3-7. We'd say more like 5-8 would be able to make this happen and enjoy it! Comes in four different designs. Players will love the orange and silver Hawk, the green Show Plane, the silver and blue Ghost Jet and the green Fighter Plane. It is soft enough to use indoors, but not anywhere near your delicate treasures. Has great sound effects! A good buy for the money.

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.

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2008 Award
HearthSong Connectagons
(HearthSong $24.98 Score:)

Connectagons is an old-fashion kind of construction toy. The set comes in a wooden box with a slide opening--and inside there are 240 wooden discs. Each disc has eight notches-and there are five different colors. All in all, making this a very open-ended and pleasing building toy. Much like the magnetic toy sets of recent years, Connectagons is a set you'll enjoy having on your coffee table. There's no right or wrong way to build with this set -- appealing to both boys and girls (and their parents).

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, Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Spot Large Plush
(Kids Preferred $30 Score:)

An adorable armful of a 16" yellow pup with brown spot on its side and on the tip of its tail. This looks like it jumped out of the ever popular Eric Hill Spot books. Big enough to satisfy toddlers who will love cuddling and lugging their very own Spot about. Also adorable, a handful of fun, a 6" Velour Spot Beanie ($9) that will fit into little hands. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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