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Product Type: Toys

 


2005 Award
Make Your Own Puppets
(Made By Hands, Inc $17.95 Score:) Kids will enjoy making their own original stick puppets with this refreshingingly open-ended kit that comes with 12 unique puppets, 12 puppetsticks, 12 stands, and over 600 precut paper shapes (the company calls them Pop-Outs™). While this looks like a preschool kit, it will also be enjoyed by the next age group (5-7) as well. Great kit for playdates and rainy days. The well designed box also makes this a good take along craft. This new company also makes wonderful card, frame and make your own game kits.

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

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2005 Award
My Birdhouse
(Balitono $19 Score:) One of the best outdoor crafts is to prepare a birdhouse for backyard visitors. Balitono's new kit is already constructed; it's made of solid wood (7 1/2" x 5 1/2" x 6 1/2") and has drainage holes, a removable roof, and a ventilation slot for added comfort! Kids can enjoy painting the house with the included paints and varnish. We'd recommend pairing this kit with a bird guide book, a pair of binoculars and a log (for keeping track of the birds that come to visit).

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

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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:) We’ve seen a lot of these magnetic building kits. Thanks to the X shaped pieces in this set it’s 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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