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Product Type: Toys

 


2004 Award
Super Sized Floor Puzzle (Construction Duty)
(Ravensburger $12 Score:) Kids fascinated with all things construction will love working on this oversized (2 x 3) puzzle with 24 pieces that features a picturebook quality illustration of a construction site. One of our adult reviewers noted that the crew was not multi-cultural and that the only woman on the site seemed to be the architect, but still a handsomely designed puzzle.

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

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2004 Award
Musical Friends Lacing Cards
(eeBoo $14.95 Score:) Playing with these attractive lacing cards is perfect for developing fine motor skills. Each of the five cards comes with a cheerful illustration of an animal playing a musical instrument. These 8 x 11 cards are made of hardy stock will hold up well. Set comes with five different colored laces so that more than one child can enjoy working with the kit.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
eeBoo Color Dominoes
(eeBoo $12.95 Score:)

Handsomely designed sturdy cardboard set of dominoes that focuses on colors and matching shapes (stars, moon, train, heart, blueberries)  rather than traditional numbers or dots.

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: 2004.

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2005 Award
Discovery Awesome Avalanche Kit
(Discovery Kids $19.95 Score:) At first glance this avalanche kit seems a lot like most of the volcano kits you may have seen - a five-minute wonder. But our 11-year old tester liked painting the model of Mt. Everest. While it was drying he and his mom read through the excellent booklet that explains how real avalanches happen, as well as the nature of the "insta-snow" - grains of white polymer that come with the kit. Add water to a measure of "insta-snow" and "Watch out below!" It cascades from the mountaintop! This kind of polymer is used in indoor snow-boarding parks and is related to the super absorbent polymer in disposable diapers. There are a number of other hands-on experiments and the good news is that if you store the saturated fluffy "insta-snow" in an open container, they shrink and dry and are ready to do their magic again. Our tester now insists on showing all visitors a demonstration. Adult supervision suggested.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2004 Awards
Insect Lore Butterfly Pavilion
(Insect Lore $29.99 Score:)

A large 2-foot tall updated version of a habitat for hatching painted ladies butterflies. The pop-up mesh tent can be hung or put on a tabletop. This is a three-week long project with all the magic of watching caterpillars transform themselves into chrysalis and then into beautiful butterflies that can be released into your garden. When you bring home the Pavilion you send your certificate for the caterpillars. A good project to capture with camera as it moves along and keep a log of the dates and changes. This size comes with 10 caterpillars; a smaller Live Butterfly Garden($19.99) one foot comes with certificate for five caterpillars. 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, Later School Years. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Award
Magz-x 106
(Progressive Trading Inc. $34.95 Score:) Weve seen a lot of these magnetic building kits. Thanks to the X shaped pieces in this set its possible to build curved structures by making a cube and adding a triangular connection. Our builders were delighted to find more steel ball connectors in this kit, as well as the new shape. Kit comes with 28 bars, 53 steel balls and 25 X bars. 5 & up.

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

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2004 Award
ETX 90AT Telescope
(Meade $595 Score:) Our reviewers gave high marks to the ETX-90AT because it comes with the Autostar computer controller (usually only found on much more expensive models). The Autostar computer allows the viewer to find celestial objects by using the hand-held automated controller. (This technology was recently featured on the West Wing.) The AT model also comes with a tripod. We would recommend this model for tweens and up. A worthy investment for a family of star gazers!

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Soccer Guys
(Kaskey Kids $14.99 Score:) If you're looking for non-violent action figures that your child will love, look no further! Here's a truly satisfying kit that comes with 24 players, one referee, two soccer goals and a generous green felt 24" x 36" playmat. The carrying case (with a handle) makes this a great take along. The company also makes a Football Guys set. Both sets are great for dramatic play. We like the fact that there are no directions--leaving the play up to your child's imagination. Hooray! (or should we say Score!)

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

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2004 Award
Bucket Blast
(LoLo $34.99 Score:) This arrived too late for our 2004 book, but it's a winner! Our mixed-aged testors(5-9) had fun not only playing inside and outside but also making up their own games. About thte only thing they didn't like was misplacing a few beanbags! The product not only held interest after the newness wore off...our testors friends asked if they could play Bucket Blast at a sleep over party this weekend. These are 9 year old girls- but the 5 year old brother in the group loved it,too. The buckets that strap onto the and belts are sturdy, and easily assembled. The kids were able to assemble them. This is a fun active game with 15 suggested games and room for kids to make up their own. It's a fun game set for indoors, outdoors. Our parent tester wrote, "Easy to take to the beach or even just fun day trips where there is a block of time whether a picnic or something, great time could be had by all." Kids learn a lot about turn taking, color recognition, counting and team playing. According to our parent tester ...."There was very little bickering going on with this. The kids all seemed to find their own place and were able to play at whatever level they could. They all enjoyed it." (800)760-9930.

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

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2003 Award
Timely Reader Booklights
(Capstone Industries $14.95 Score:) Better than the old flashlight under the covers trick for avid readers! The light plastic booklight attaches easily to your book and even comes with a timer. A great choice for inspiring reluctant readers and true readers will appreciate the added light! You can set the timer for up to 90 minutes. Comes in red, neon colors, and animal prints.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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