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Product Type: Toys

 

GeoSafari Challenge Globe
(Educational Insights $59 Score:) We had trouble knowing how to "buzz in" on the quiz-styled globe with 7,500 questions for up to four players. Like all the new talking globes, you can't answer many of the questions by simply using the globe-better have an atlas! 8 & up. The GeoSafari World ($59) has 5,000 questions, but again you'd need an atlas, since many questions cannot be answered by looking at the globe.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .

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2003 Award
Scratch Magic Activity Kits
(Scratch-Art Co. $4.99 Score:) Remember making scratch art with crayon scribbles covered with black paint that you scratch away? These sheets give you the same effect. Come in small packs and in stationery kits. New for 2003, Scratch Magic Stickers (20 or 48 stickers in a pack). These are fun for notebooks, envelopes and gift wrap decorations! 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Down by the Docks Train Set
(RC2 Learning Curve $150 Score:) This "wow-ee" of a 45 piece gift set includes the Sodor Bay Bridge, a Lighthouse, and a Crane (with working magnet). Don't get caught up with the playmat, which is limiting—train layouts should be open-ended. Or, for a good, but less expensive layout ,consider the Conductor's Figure 8 Set (Learning Curve $44 ), a good starter set with 25 pieces, including a conductor's shed, tree, stop sign, signal, Sir Topham Hatt, and ramp. Comes with three train pieces. You can gradually add on bridges and other props for birthdays and other gift events. Still top rated, Around the Barrel Loader Set ($100/50 pieces ).

Age: Preschool,Early 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 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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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
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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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
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
Blopens Magic Color Change Kit
(Color Workshop $14.99 Score:) Kids get airbrush effects with the ten Blopens plus a Secret Writer color changer marker, stencils, and 3-D glasses that make drawings look awesome! 5 & up.

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

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