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Product Type: Toys

 

 
Awards
TotSports Bowling Set
(Little Tikes $14.99 Score:) Six see-through plastic pins are loaded with colorful balls that shake rattle and roll when they are knocked over with the big but lightweight bowling ball. A good classic toy with a fresh new look. Fun for active play indoors or out. Says 2 & up, but 2's won't understand this or enjoy it as much as preschoolers and even early school aged kids. See the SNAP suggestions for making a math game for older kids (800) 432-5437. SNAP Activity: This is a good game that develops eye hand coordination and requires repetitive setting up and fetching the ball. Taking turns and following rules are also built into the fun. Young kids love such games for their own sake and especially if the grown-ups in their lives are bowlers, too. If appropriate, you can build some simple counting or adding skills with this,as well. With preschoolers, keep track of how many pins were knocked down. Keep a tally with chalk or pencil and paper. Make bundles of five stick marks. Player who gets two bundles first is the winner of that round. For school aged kids, tape numerals 1-6 to the pins and have your child add up the scores. Set a number for grand slam winner. First player to knock down ten wins the round!

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

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2003 Award
Mega Bloks Little Builders
(Ritvik (Mega Bloks) $10.99 Score:) Our testers enjoyed playing with this 16-piece set that includes three bases and interchangeable tops, including ambulance, firetruck, and police car. Chunky enough for early road play. There is also a construction set for "road work." They say 1 & up, we'd say more like 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2003.

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Baby Smartronics Speak & Teach Phone
(Fisher-Price $14.99 Score:) The new Baby Smartronics Speak & Teach Phone (Fisher-Price $14.99 ) did not test well. Cord is too short (our tot had to lean all the way over!) and the receiver is too hard to get back into the cradle.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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Life Style Kitchen
(Step 2 $180 Score:) New for 2003, Life Style Kitchen ($180). For the toddler who needs the dream kitchen (in plastic, of course), this one comes with wainscoting, crown molding, simulated granite, and gooseneck faucet, and takes 12 AA batteries (that's a lot of lifestyle!). This was not ready for testing.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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2003 Award
Musical Hands Mat
(International Playthings $29.99 Score:) Following the flashing lights above each handprint on the 45" mat allows children to play a tune. This calls for visual attention and sequencing. Marked for 2s, but this will be hard for most toddlers under 2˝. A much better choice for preschoolers and beyond!

Age: Toddlers,Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
My First Briefcase
(Gund $15 Score:) Just like Mommy and/or Daddy, toddlers now have a fabric briefcase-in navy. Tot-sized case has three essentials for young executive on the move: a cell phone with quiet sounds, a squeaking calculator, and a key. All props done in fabric and ideal for early pretend. Also cute, My First Lunchbox ($15 ), same idea with apple, Dagwood sandwich that layers with Velcro, and a crunchy cookie. 18 mos. & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2003.

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Poupette
(Corolle $39 Score:) This collection of six multicultural dolls is right on target for threes and fours. Each has a reversible dress with Velcro fasteners. These would have been Platinum winners, but they're marked 18 mos. & up, and the small hair accessories make them more appropriate for 3 & up. Also new, tubbable bath dolls; select either Les Bébés Bains ($40 each ) (Caucasian or Asian version available) or long-haired 14" La Poupee Bain ($65 each ). 3 & up. Still top rated, Les Minis Calins Blue Chip ($16 & up ), sweet 8" soft-bodied dolls which also come in Asian and African American versions.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: .

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2003 Award
Sunshine Circus
(Reprint Mint $58 Score:) Ladies, gentlemen, and children of all ages! Welcome to the Big Top Striped Tent! Has painted chipboard panels and towers. Will inspire lots of pretend with trapeze and ring. Clowns ($8 each) and other props are sold separately.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Thomas the Tank Engine Mountain Overpass
(RC2 Learning Curve $40 Score:) When the trains pass over, the magnetic sensors activate the sounds (you can also push the button). A good centerpiece to refresh an existing set. Their Stacking Risers ($20/set of 3) are ideal for getting more height for your trains.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Remote Control Action Train
(Brio $50 Score:) If you're into wooden trains, here's a truly neat train that can go forwards and backwards with a push of a button. It is a sleek white train—very European looking, with lights at the front. Also fun, Remote Control Switching Track ($40).

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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