Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 1995.
Toddlers can fit together these splinter-free, giant, peg-handled whole piece puzzles together. Lift the fish and there's a matching fish below. Each puzzle has three distinctive pieces to know, name, and match. Learning to rotate the whole piece into the slot is no small task.
SNAP INFO: Developing the dexterity to fit these whole piece puzzles into the slots takes practice. The big knob handles are certainly a help! Toys like these also help kids develop language if you ham it up a bit! Knowing and naming the familiar objects in these puzzles gives you plenty of opportunities to talk about the animals or food pictured. ACTIVITY: Use sound or color cues for an animal as your tot tries to figure out which one you are thinking of.
Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2001. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
We're delighted that this previous Platinum Award winning toy is back in the market. What we wrote in 2000: This rollable rattle has four easy to grip handles and an hour glass shape inside with tiny balls that roll from side to side with a sound that is interesting without a jarring startle. This is a good one for two handed play as well as crawling go get it games.
Age: Infants. Award Year: 2011.
Refreshed in new colors, this remains a good choice for sitting up babies. They will be able to pass this from hand to hand and investigate the colors, sounds and textures of the rattle rings on the bigger ring. Texture on the big ring and beads that roll in the see through plastic add visual interest as well as interesting feel and sound.
SNAP INFO: There's so much to interest the senses in this colorful rattle/teether. Talk about the colors and sounds and feel as you use the rattle and baby examines it. Clip this to car seat with a few links so tots can pull it to them.
Age: Infants. Award Year: 2009.
Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 1997.
Age: Preschool. Award Year: 1999.
Happily this former Platinum and SNAP Award (1995) winning game has been brought back this year! It now has the designation of Blue Chip Award winner. One of the most beautifully designed color concept games we've ever reviewed. Players spin and pick up sturdy cardboard cutouts to match color, pattern and objects on their picture board of Maisy. Develops language and matching skills with a favorite character.
SNAP INFO: Use this matching game to reinforce color words, patterns and knowing and naming the objects on the "lotto" style playing boards. ACTIVITY: Give each player a card and give riddles for finding the object that is the answer, for example, "I'm thinking of something that is round that you can bounce." The child who picks up ball gets to put it on her card.
Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
Preschoolers need soft, lightweight, easy-to-catch balls that will not bend back a finger or hurt when they hit. Gertie Balls are gummy and soft enough for kids who may be scared of big heavy balls coming toward them. Also fun, Supersized Gertie Balls ($13), really oversized and great fun for this age group and next. There's also a super cool Magic Gertie Ball that changes color with hot and cold water. 3 & up.
SNAP INFO: These colorful balls are soft and slightly sticky to the touch, making them easier to catch and hold onto. They come in a variety of sizes and with different textures. Testers especially liked the knobby one which gave kids an extra way to grip and hold. These are not for toddlers because the air tube can come out and could pose a choking hazard. ACTIVITY: Getting control takes practice. Hang a big hoopla hoop from a tree branch and try to get the ball through the hoop.
Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2006. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
This is a more open-ended set than the motorized models like Oogly Googly. Kids can build horizontally or vertically. There are sets with small gears only- a good place to start. There are also sets with large gears with optical patterns on them and other doo-dads. All in all it's a great building system that allows kids to experiment with making machines. Great for solo play as well as co-operative building.
SNAP INFO: Fitting gears together not only develops dexterity; it's a challenging way to promote problem-solving skills as kids make moving "machines." Motors can be added, but start with hand power. ACTIVITY: Play a game of "Keep It Going!" Players take turns adding one gear at a time but every gear added must connect and keep the motion going.
Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 1999. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.
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