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Product Type: Toys

 


2008 Award
Fun Fly Stick Magic Levitation Wand
(Unitech Toys $26.95 Score:)

Want to see kids up and moving? Here's a fun novelty toy that seems to work by magic. In fact the magic is electrostatic! Remember how you used to make a balloon float after rubbing it with your hair…or how you gave your little sister a shock by dragging your feet on the carpet? Same idea…only more fun! Press the button on the magic wand, toss one of the three flying toys up, touch it once with the wand and get ready for magic! Your wand will keep the silvery iridescent toy levitating as you chase it around the room. A word of caution, this is not to be used within 3 feet of any electronic devices such as a computer or TV. Therefore, this is a toy that will need supervision…and please, let the kids play with it.

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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2008 Award
Tonka Scoot N Scoop 3 in 1 Ride On
(Hasbro $39.99 Score:)

Here's a "convertible" that switches from a push toy for the littlest ones to a first ride-on for toddlers. It has a magic picker upper that scoops up plastic blocks that also fit in a shape sorter seat. Our tester really enjoyed this aspect of the toy--he could make the blocks "disappear". Has a "revving wheel" with a horn, clicking direction signals, and child-pleasing motor sounds. Best of all they can take the wheel off and play with it off the truck. Our tester loves taking the wheel off and into his parents car so he can help drive. He also takes his cat and stuff animals for rides. Our parent tester loved this toy along with the new companion Tonak Li'l Gas Pump (sold separately for $19.99).

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

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

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2008 Award
Tonka Li l Gas Pump
(Hasbro $19.99 Score:)

This gas pump just proves how fast things move in Toyland…with a pump that now offers regular gasoline or ethanol! Yes, there are flip down symbols and one has an image of corn as a choice. Despite the green message, it might be interesting to see if any dramatic play reflects the kind of heated reactions parents are having these days at the gas pump. Just what will kids be saying as they pretend to fill up their Tonka trucks? Comes with shape sorting blocks, buttons to push, and some up to date choices as to fuel choices.

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

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

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2008 Award
Double Shutter
(Blue Orange Games $18 Score:)

This is a variation on the old Shut the Box addition game, but instead of one row of numbers to add and flip down, this game has two sets of tiles to flip down. The advanced game comes with numerals from one to nine in a handsome red tin with a curved front where the dice are thrown. Match them or add them. Your object is to be the player with the lowest score at the end of your round. 10-20 minutes a round. Good for 8 to adult. For younger players, consider Double Shutter Jr. with numerals from 1-6. Again, there is a double set of tiles.

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
Fundomino
(Blue Orange Games $19.99 Score:)

32 Curved dominoes with numerals and colors to match as well as action symbols to avoid or draw – wild dominoes that can set your game back seriously or propel you to a winning streak. Play it one round at a time or keep score on the special board with playing pieces that keep track of your score. Comes in a good metal tin for safekeeping.

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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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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