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Product Type: Toys

 


2005 Award
Sew and Decorate Lacing Puppets
(Lauri $4.99 Score:) Choose from a variety of precut felt puppets, such as a green witch, bunnies, bugs, or circus animals. New this year, a big Fairy Fantasy Set with six precut hand puppets and one finger puppet. Kids lace them up and use them for storytelling. Kits come with yarn and big plastic needle for sewing (which develops fine-motor skills kids need for writing). 5 & up. (800) 451-0520.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2004 Award
Costumals
(Manhattan Toy $10 Score:) It's hard not to play with these animals dressed up in costumes. There's Beesly Bear, Daisy Dog, and Cleo Cat. Still top rated, Knightingtales Puppets ($10 each). You need all five fingers to make the most of these velour royals-a king, queen, and knight. Perfect for fairy tales.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Border Collie Puppy
(Folkmanis $36 Score:) Black and white with long silky fur on underside, jowls, and tail, this is a huggable full-body puppet with sweet face and mouth that moves. Still charming, a 30" honey-colored Golden Retriever ($60 ) Also new for , an amazing Great Horned Owl ($50 ) with moving head and eyes that close.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Royal Treatment Theatre Set
(Manhattan Toy $50 Score:) A royal blue brick velour tabletop stage has a foldout platform on which finger puppets can perform. Or consider Puppettos Theatre Stage (same idea but done in teal with a red curtain—not our favorite color combo, but that’s a personal preference). Top-rated puppets include the new-for-2007, Finger Puppets Under the Sea, and Paws at Play (dogs and cats) collections. Still top rated: Metropolicity Community worker types, Birthday Belles, and Royal Rumpus Finger Puppets. 4 & up. (800) 541-1345

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Awards
Music Blocks Composer
(Small world toys $49.99 Score:) A less costly version of one of our favorite toys. Like the original Music Blocks Maestro, it comes with five colored plastic blocks, each side making a different sound. Match the shapes on the blocks or play them in random order-there's no right or wrong way. The "composer" allows you to record and play back your composition. Comes with one jazz cartridge; we'd suggest bringing home the Mozart cartridge, too. The original Music Blocks Maestro is still available ($59.99) with compositions from Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven. SNAP:Kids with visual disabilities can "read" raised symbols with their fingertips on the blocks.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2004.

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2006 Award
Life Style Dream Kitchen
(Step 2 $149.99 Score:) This combo kitchen with stove, oven, microwave, fridge, and phone (electronic) is 351?2" long and is designed for the toddler who needs the dream kitchen (in plastic, of course). This one comes with wainscoting, crown molding, and simulated granite! For an even bigger version, there's the Lifestyle Deluxe Kitchen($219.99 / 49" wide). New for ‘06 , Lifestyle Designer Kitchen ($99/ 4), a smaller scaled kitchen with “stainless” steel fridge and oven, copper-look hood. Has three electronic features: stovetop, light, and phone. !

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2004 Awards
Snuffles
(Gund $12 Score:)

With his round tummy, this short, lovable armful of a bear is likely to become a constant companion. New for , he has a shinier finish to his fur—but still huggable. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Award
Read to Me Tot Tower
(eeBoo $19 Score:) The Read to Me Tot Tower has sturdy cardboard blocks with handsome illustrations of images to know and name. 1 & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2004.

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Playskool Busy Balls Popper
(Hasbro $19.99 Score:)

We got mixed reports on this ball popper that didn’t always work. The balls drop in and then “pop” back up (most of the time). Some parents and tots didn’t like having to chase after the balls that go flying! Others were concerned that their kids tried putting other things down the chute.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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2004 Award
Naturally Playful Woodland Climber
(Step 2 $179.99 Score:) New this year is Step 2’s Naturally Playful Woodland Climber, done in muted tones (really a matter of personal preference); it comes with a small ladder up to the 27" high platform with a slide on the other side. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2004.

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