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Product Type: Toys

 


2003 Award
Design Studio
(Pamela Drake $18 Score:) Best known for its line of Woodkins, which you simply dress by lifting the frame and placing a piece of fabric on the cut-out figure, this company's new line is meant for older girls. They can use the glitzy fabrics, cut-out patterns, and accessories to create their own unique designs. 8 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Mystix
(Fashion Angels Enterprises $16 Score:) This bead kit with semi-precious stones makes some mighty fine looking jewelry for older girls! Also special, the Bling Bling kit($16 ) with very fashionable and attractive metal and glass beads. Still top rated for younger beaders, Alphabet Suite ($23.99 four ) creates personalized bracelets. 8 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Paint Pail Beads
(Fashion Angels Enterprises $15 Score:) New and special this bead kit makes bracelets with round wooden beads that you paint with toothpicks! Comes with enough material for a play date that company will enjoy doing and wearing home! 8 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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Hershey's Chocolate Magic Maker
(Spinmaster $14.99 Score:) As confirmed chocoholics we hoped this would be a winner. It melts chocolate chips without burning hands, but it's hard to extrude chocolate into the molds without making blobs, and is next to impossible to open for cleaning.8& up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .

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Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine
(Hasbro $9.99 Score:) In the battle of the Snow Cone our 4th grade testers were initially attracted to Snoopy, but they reported that the directions were not as clear and it is harder to work than some of the others in the market.

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

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2003 Award
Look-Alikes Playground
(Briarpatch $5.99 Score:) (Briarpatch $5.99 four ) Joan Steiner's wonderful scenes of everyday life are a perfect fit for puzzles (ha!). Sixty-three pieces make up this inventive playground, including a tambourine for a sandbox and a shoehorn for a slide! Also fun, Look-Alikes Harbor. 8 & up. Or try Look-Alikes Soda Shop with 500 pieces. They say 7 & up, we say a good family project!

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Extreme Sports X Mountain
(Ritvik (Mega Bloks) $19.99 Score:) Our extreme sports fans gave high marks ot this set because it had lots of play figures to use (although they noted that the ramp "didn't stay on as well as it should!"). Our 8- and 9-year-old testers preferred this to the Island Adventure series from Lego, because it came with more cool vehicles. Either way, no trips to the ER! (800) 465-6342.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
Crunch Art
(Hands on Toys $6 Score:) An innovative, open-ended designing project that is easy to do. Kids simply place a small piece of fabric on the foam board and push down with the "cruncher/puncher" tool (which is not sharp) and the fabric is in place. They can make designs or draw pictures to fill with colorful fabric, mylar squares, or chenille stems. A great office/quiet time toy. New for 2004, themed kits (Butterfly, Dinosaur, Rainbow, Panda, Fish and Toucan ). We prefer the open-ended kits, but some kids find the framework comforting. 5 & up. SNAP Award. This new art kit develops hand power as well as creativity. This does call for the ability to grip and press, but unlike a rug hook it is easy to do. It is pretty open-ended and mess-free.(888) 442-6376. SNAP: Grasping the puncher-cruncher calls for a firm grip. Using it may in fact strengthen hand muscles. Since this is a fairly openended product the act of doing this may be totally satisfying. For added stucture you can trace the child's initials on the foam board and encourage him to use ne color to to trace the letters. Once this is done he can use other colors as background.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2009 Awards
Plan Toys My First Dollhouse Without Furniture
(Plan Toys $99 Score:)

Choose this modern A-frame house with open roof for easy access that allows for playing from the front of the house or back in the traditional manner. This is a smaller house than their Green model or the CHalet, but a good choice for beginning pretend. Multicultural families and furnishings are available and run between $15-20 a set.

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

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2003 Award
Deluxe Home Is Where the Heart Is Dollhouse
(Small World Toys $130 Score:)

This is a three stories high dollhouse with lots of rooms to fill with scaled wooden furnishings. It comes unfurnished and it is open front, back and roof, so it is easily accessible for many children to play with together. This is not furnished so you need to factor that into the cost.  Or consider their smaller Home Again, Home Again A-Frame ($130) that can be enlarged with an add-on basement and stairs($70). Multi-cultural families and furnishings are sold separately and run between $15-20 per room. We thought Ryan's Room Making Muscles exercise equipmet set was a sign of the times.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2003. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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