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Product Type: Toys

 


2004 Award
Totable Journals
(Mudpuppy Press $10 Score:) These 144-page journals come with a handle, stickers, and an assortment of lined, graph, and blank pages for kids to keep track of their adventures. Themes: Nature Quilt, Funky Girl, and Scary Stories. Company also makes locked diaries that will appeal to older girls. Also recommended, the Kids Travel Journal ($9.95). 7 & up.

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

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2004 Award
Travel Lite-Brite
(Hasbro $7.99 Score:) We are not in agreement about this toy (probably because one of us wanted this toy for her 5th birthday and never got it!). That said, there is the potential that all the little pieces (all 160 of them) will fall on the floor of the train, plane, or automobile. But still, it's a lot of fun if you like Lite Brite!

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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Award
Hide & Seek
( $16 Score:) Testers like this memory game with a twist. Attractive images of familiar objects are pictured on small discs. Put colored plastic discs over five pictures, roll the color die, and try to name what picture is under the matching disc. A good language, color, and memory game for two or more players. 4 & up. 800-886-1236.

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

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Transportation Peg Set
(Lauri $11.99 Score:) Five colorful rubbery vehicles come with 20 big pegs to fit and stack in a carry-along sack. Fun for counting, sorting, dexterity, and pretend play. 2–5. 800- 451-0520.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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Award
Thomas' Tracks & Trestles Game
(Briarpatch $19.99 Score:) Think Thomas meets Chutes and Ladders. The object for Thomas and his friends is to be first to reach the shed—but watch out for obstacles that send you backwards! Older fours who are fans of Thomas and can deal with those last-minute setbacks will enjoy this one. Will be best enjoyed by 5's & 6's. 800- 232 7427.

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

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2004 Award
My First Puzzles
(Infantino $12.99 Score:) There are 6 big cardboard puzzles that you’ll want to introduce one at a time. There are 2 two-piece puzzles, 2 four-piece puzzles, and 2 six-piece puzzles with handsome graphics—ducks, monkeys, and ’gators. Also fun, an Alphabet Train ($12.99 ): each train has a letter in upper and lower case, and an object that starts with the sound of the letter. Still more challenging, Counting & Shapes Floor Puzzle ($12 ) a 30-piece train that’s more complex. Kids need to find geometric shapes before they can figure out the sequence of the trains and then add the animals to the top of the train. This takes some patience and a little help for beginners. 4–7. (800) 365-8182.

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

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2004 Award
Puzzibilities Dump Truck and School Bus
(Small World Toys $10 Score:) These handsome puzzles are just right for beginners. Pieces with images lift out with little red knobs, and images are also below the pieces for matching. We especially like the Dump Truck and School Bus with multicultural casts. Favorite Toys and What Am I? will also be enjoyed. (800) 421-4153. Also top rated, Farm Friends (Battat $4.99 ), with nine animals to know and name. (800) 247-6144 x280.

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

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Award
Garden-to-Go
(Alex $19.99 Score:) Preschoolers love the magic of seeing things grow. Apartment dwellers can garden on a windowsill. For the backyard set, more elaborate child-sized tools are available. New for 2004, Garden-to-Go (Alex $19.99 ) is an organizer for the young gardener. Bucket has a plastic container inside for wet "stuff," plus outside pockets for the small trowel, rake, and shovel that come with the set. Also comes with a pack of seeds and gardening glove. Our tester, thrilled with the results brought her plants in for show and tell. (888) 666-2539. Plastic Garden Tools (Little Tikes $2 each for small tools/$13 for a set of three larger tools ) are safer for preschoolers than metal. An accidental swing in the wrong direction will not mean a trip to the ER. They also don’t have splintery handles as some metal tools do, and won’t rust when they are inevitably left outside. Also recommended, Little Tikes’ Little Landscaper Lawn & Garden Cart ($17 ). Unlike a tippy wheelbarrow, it has two front wheels for stable pushing action. (800) 321-0183.

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

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2004 Awards
Doctor's & Vet's Kits
(Learning Resources $25 Score:) Doctors no longer make house calls, and even the traditional black bag from Fisher-Price is gone. Most of the medical kits do not come with cases large enough for easy re-packing. The roomiest is Pretend & Play Doctor Set 2004 PLATINUM AWARD (Learning Resources $24.95 ). Comes in a large plastic case with 19 pieces including a stethoscope with heartbeat and cough, a beeper, a cellphone, a blood pressure cuff, and other chunky tools. (888) 800-7893. Fisher-Price’s Medical Kit (Fisher-Price $15.99 ) comes in a smaller plastic case with almost the same basic gear as the original "black bag." (800) 432-5437. For playing Veterinarian, Small Miracles’ Let’s Pretend (Small Miracles $29.99 1?2) has a child-sized jacket, puppy, and stethoscope and other medical tools. (888) 281-1798.

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

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2004 Award
Cookie Baby Doll
(Gotz, Goetz $40 Score:) A life size (19") baldheaded, blue-eyed baby doll with soft body and vinyl face, hands, and feet. Comes in powder blue or pink clothes with small toy and pacifier (which should be removed if your child is still mouthing toys). We also recommend 13" Muffin ($25 ) with a soft beanbag body. Both will fit in PLATINUM AWARD-winning Jogging Stroller ($50 ). 3 & up. (800) 959-3655.

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

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