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Product Type: Toys

 


Awards
Lamaze Stacking Rings
(RC2 Learning Curve $19.99 Score:) Made of colorful patterned fabric these rings stack in any order. Classic stacking toys require the ability to see and arrange objects in size order-a skill that most toddlers do not have. Although such toys are often labeled 6 months & up, there's nothing wrong with your child-the problem is with the label! In fact, many pieces are sure to be lost before tots can put them together. Happily, there are more forgiving choices that introduce stacking without the need for size order. These toys are fun for toddlers to explore- just don't expect them to be expert stackers. As you play with your toddler, use color or size words to describe the pieces. Such concepts are learned with greater ease when they are part of everyday experiences. These are more appropriate for 1 & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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Plan Toy's Miracle Pounding
(Brio $26 Score:) An innovative crescent-shaped toy with balls instead of pegs. As one ball is hit another pops up. This is less easy to use than the typical hammer bench. Beautifully crafted of wood.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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Awards
Beads on Wire Toys
(Educo $16 Score:) This company makes beads on wire toys in many sizes and shapes. You have probably seen them in your pediatrician's office and toy shops. Children of mixed ages enjoy them simply as a manipulative or for open-ended pretend games. If the beads were loose, of course they would be a choking hazard. Yet toddlers love to handle the little beads and sliding them up and over. You'll find some platforms with suction cups that fit on a high chair- that will buy you some time. Or some that are lightweight enough for baby to pass from hand to hand. Big and pricey are the floor or table models with lots of beads and pathways. These abstract toys develop pretending, eye-hand, language, and counting skills.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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2001 Awards
Green Turtle Sandbox
(Little Tikes $49.95 Score:)

This has become a classic. A small beginners sandbox for tight spaces. This won't accommodate lots of tots and is apt to be outgrown quickly. But if it is all the space you have-go with it. For bigger spaces consider the Dinosaur Sandbox.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2001. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Award
Crabbie Sandbox
(Step 2 $45 Score:) A small sandbox shaped like a frog with a cover-up lid for keeping animals out of the sand. This is for tight places and won't hold many tots. If you have less space the Frog Sandbox will be a good choice. ($30)

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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Awards
Melody Push Chime
(Fisher-Price $12 Score:)

Push comes before pull. Instead of holding someone's hand, young toddlers often find sheer joy in the independence of walking while holding on to a push toy. You probably started walking with Fisher-Price's Corn Popper or Melody Push Chime. They are still great choices! We don't especially like the new electronic versions that have added sounds and lights. One recites the alphabet and the other counts-nothing in particular. We think walking is a big enough deal for tots who are not even talking yet!

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: . Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Awards
Corn Popper
(Fisher-Price $20 Score:)

Push comes before pull. Instead of holding someone's hand, young toddlers often find sheer joy in the independence of walking while holding on to a push toy. You probably started walking with Fisher-Price's Corn Popper or Melody Push Chime ($8). They are still great choices! We don't especially like the new electronic versions that have added sounds and lights. One recites the alphabet and the other counts-nothing in particular. We think walking is a big enough deal for tots who are not even talking yet!

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: . Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Awards
Tissue Paper Flowers
(Klutz $16.95 Score:) Making paper flowers with the Tissue Paper Flowers book from Klutz introduces kids to the names and parts of the flowers and helps them notice the shapes that distinguish one flower from another. Again--there's reading involved along with dexterity and this is the kind of craft that can grow into a hobby that you might want to join in on.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .

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Award
Wooden Dinosaur Models
(B.C. Bones $20 Score:) Kids who are wild about dinosaurs --will often spout off the dinosaur's long names and how big they grew--but how big is that compared to the living room-say or the block you live on? Kids can use a traditional yard stick, tape measures or they can count how many steps they need to take to measure 3 feet. Another choice is to measure off 10 feet of string. If the Allosaurus model they are building was 36 feet in real life --have them compare that to the house you live in…how many car length could that be? Other dinosaurs in books can be compared the same way. By the way, wooden dinosaur models (B.C. Bones $30 & up depending on size) requires working in a step by step way-translating directions from paper to real thing. Kids also need to use spatial relationships and a far amount of patience. New smaller kits with paint did not test well: "way too confusing, would be great with clearer directions." New architectural landmark kits looked stunning but were not ready for testing. 9 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .

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Award
Pet Story
(Creations by You $28.95 Score:) Kids write their story about their family pet(s). Take photos and have kids draw pictures, too. Kit comes with stickers that can be added to photos and story. Send the manuscript and pictures to manufacturer and the book is sent back published and bound. You can even get extra copies of the book for an extra fee. School classes can also do a co-operative kind of book about the classroom pet. This is a project pet lovers of all ages can enjoy.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .

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