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Product Type: Toys

 


2006 Award
Comfy Chic Flip Flops
(Creativity for Kids $17.99 Score:) Set comes with two pairs of flip flops (sizes 11-2 and 4-7). The project is fun to do. One set comes with chenille yarn, the other with confetti ribbon that you simply wrap around the upper part of the flip-flop. "We got our yarn tangled up but it still came out fine" - then you paste a flower to the top and you're done. (Be forewarned - the flip-flops and yarns are not identical, which can create a problem with some siblings/friends).

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Charm Watch
(Klutz $21.95 Score:) For older girls who can tell time (the watch has numbers only the quarter hour), consider this watch kit from Klutz that comes with a silvery linked bracelet and charms and beads to attach. Requires a great deal of fine-motor skills to do. If you're looking for a watch for a younger girl, we'd recommend the Watch It! kit from Alex ($24.95)- it comes with a watch and seven ribbon watch bands. Not a lot of crafting here, but the colorful bands were a hit with our testers.

Age: . Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Power Brain YoYo
(Hasbro $10.99 Score:) We wish we had had this yo-yo when we were kids! While some purists may think of it as the yo-yo for dummies, we love the fact that it knows how to come back up with its "auto-return technology." It also makes doing tricks such as "walk the dog" that much easier! One of our testers did warn that "you have you watch out not to hit yourself in the face--it comes up really fast!" That said, this was one of the favorite toys of our older testers.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Wild Adventure Mini Golf
(Milton Bradley $49.99 Score:) This is a plug-in-and-putt game for multigenerational fun! Better than a trip to the miniature golf course, it has six different settings that players can swing through with the plastic putter and a tee that you turn to change the direction of the ball. Can be played solo or with others. Another good choice for getting kids up on their feet and playing actively. 6 & up. (888) 836-7025.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Teddy the Teaching Bear
(Educational Insights $19.99 Score:) Colors, shapes, counting and other matching games are built into this clever little no-batteries needed quiz machine. More fun than a workbook, but the content is similar. There are 24 two sided cards that fit into a grid. Look at item on the left and find the matching item in the grid. Place the Teddy on the right match and its arm goes up. SO this is a self-correcting toy that reinforces reading symbols from left to right. No reading is required, but the mechanics of reading line-by-line and left to write and seeing details, as well as matching and language are all built into the play. They say 3 & up. We’d say more like 4-5. (800) 995-4436.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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Bella Dancerella
(Spinmaster $29.99 Score:) This dancing DVD with props did not impress our testers or their moms. One word: “Boring,” said our 8-year-old testers who felt the intro took way too long. The references to using your left and right foot are going to be well beyond most 4, 5 and 6s. One tester liked the new Tap Dance DVD but the adjustable tap dance shoes did not stay on—no matter what they tried. (800) 622-8339.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Star Wars Game Saga Edition
(Tiger Electronics $49.99 Score:) Plug the training droid into your TV and players with wireless light saber are ready to become Jedi warriors. Testers had an aerobic workout swinging the light saber and ridding the galaxy of droids and other evildoers! We don’t usually review zap-it games, but this is more fantasy than war, and multi-generational—may even get parents up and on their feet! May the Force be with you. 8 & up. (888) 836-7025.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Roll-a-Rounds Swirlin' Surprise Gumballs
(Fisher-Price $17.99 Score:) Roll-a-Rounds Swirlin’ Surprise Gumballs is a ball drop with a lever that pops the gumballs out. It employs more direct cause and effect, but it does tip over easily. Either is a better choice than the Jungle Friends Treehouse, a frenetic ball drop with over-the-top sounds and twirling bases. We really like the big Drop & Roar Dinosaur best. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Awards
WonderFoam Big Letters
(Chenille Kraft Co. $11.5 Score:) Twenty-six big colorful foam letters. These are fun to trace and stick to the wet wall of the tub to spell out names and words. These have an interesting texture, as well, that make them an even better sensory learning tool. Activity: Because these letters have a textured finish they can be used for crayon rubs. Put a sheet of paper on top of a letter and use the side of a crayon to rub over the letter. Make a name sign with rubbings. Also, WonderFoam Magnetic Letters and Numbers ($10.50 )—unlike old-time plastic magnetic letters with tiny magnets that can be a choking hazard, these foam letters are completely backed with magnetic material that mirrors their shape. Also, new WonderFoam Dominoes SNAP AWARD ($15.50 ) Twenty-eight big dominoes with colorful dots that are color-coded to match. One can feel some sensory information in the cut-out form of the dots. They are not raised, but you can feel their outline. A great matching game. (800) 621-1261.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2005 Award
IZ
(Zizzle $39.99 Score:) IZ looks like a playful alien. Twist his ears,nose and eyes and you will activiate a random collection of sound effects and music. Plug IZ into your MP3 player and he now becomes a speaker. We put IZ to the test against I-DOG, the ipod inspired pup from Hasbro. IZ appealed much more to boys (young and old). Our girl testers felt that IZ was cute but "younger looking" than I-DOG. Our 11 year old boy tester wrote: "It was still appealing after the newness wore off. It would be a cool desk toy to fool around with in the duller hours of the day." Boys generally liked the robotic, alien design of IZ. This same tester hit the toy on the head: "I found IZ, besides being entertaining, a bit pointless. But, then again, fun can sometimes be pointless, right?" We agree.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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