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Product Type: Toys

 

Pull Up Ball Blast
(Fisher-Price $19.99 Score:) Designed for tots to pull up and stand at, this ball drop with a spiral chute looked promising. Trouble is, it's not weighted, so it doesn't hold still for tots who are still unsteady on their feet and the ramps don't connect smoothly for the ball run. Finally, like too many toys this season, the sound and lights are intrusive and loud. This is no substitute for the Tomy Ball Party toys. Marked 9 months to 3 years, we think it's too old for infants, too unsteady for young toddlers and not interesting enough for older toddlers.

Age: Infants,Toddlers. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Red Tricycle
(Radio Flyer $54 Score:) You probably had one of these! A classic little red metal trike with rubber tires with treads and a jingle bell. Available in 10" or 12". This year's "Retro" (***) trike has a seat that's higher over the front wheel. That makes it easier to pedal but more tippable, too. We suggest this only for bigger and older preschoolers. (800) 621-7613.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Castle and Bucket Set
(International Playthings $12.99 Score:) A castle-shaped bucket doubles as a mold and comes with watering can, three stout digging tools, and sand/water mill. Everything but the sun block for an afternoon at the beach! (800) 445-8347.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Rescue Squad
(Great American Puzzle Factory $6.5 Score:) When you open the box there are over 60 pieces that make up four different vehicles (police car, helicopter, truck, and fire truck). Each puzzle is over a foot long and has clear graphics. Unfortunately, the 60 pieces are not separated out. Our tip is to presort the otherwise terrific puzzles for your child. They say 3 & up, we'd say more like 4 & up with help. (800) 922-1194.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Bob the Builder Kid Sized Puzzle
(Milton Bradley $6.95 Score:) Thirty giant sized pieces with geometric cutout connections to make a 3'-tall picture of Bob in his hard hat and work tools. There are also simpler/smaller well-done puzzles featuring Bob. (800) 752-9755.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Mega Bloks Wagon
(Mega Bloks $30 Score:) A tot-sized red wagon loaded with 50 pieces of oversized plastic pegged blocks is fun for making big, fast constructions. Pegs on side of wagon can be used for building up and over. (800) 465-6342.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Little 3-in-1 Sports Set
(Little Tikes $24.99 Score:) Toddlers often long to shoot hoops and swing at baseballs like their big siblings. Scaled for little players, this satisfies their love of repetition. Basketballs drop into chutes and there are baseball and golf balls to swing at. (800) 321-0183.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Awards
Magical Color Changing Gertie Balls
(Small World Toys $6 Score:) These gummy inflatable balls are soft enough for kids who may be scared of big heavy balls coming toward them. We particularly like the new-for- magical color-changing Gertie. Put in a cold place, it turns pink; toss it and your handprints show up in blue! SNAP ACTIVITY: Start out with a cold ball and count how many catches back and forth it takes to turn the ball to another color. An active counting game.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
WordXchange
(Prodijeux Inc. $28.95 Score:) Fans of Scrabble, Upwords and other Word games will find this an interesting and challenging variation. It's harder than Upwards and different from Scrabble. Players create words of three letters or more. Opponents can steal words by adding at least one letter to make a new word. Players cannot add S to nouns but they can to verbs. Can be played by 2,3,4 players or by teams. We think some 10's will enjoy this- others may benefit from playing on teams with older players. Game takes about 30 minutes and comes with a timer for rounds. We suggest playing with out the timer for beginners. 866-FUN-WORD.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Dr. Barbie and Kelly Doll
(Mattel $19.99 Score:) Dr. Barbie gives Kelly a checkup with all the props, including a scale! Set is available in Caucasian, African-American, Asian, and Hispanic versions. We also like the idea of active Barbies playing soccer or swimming. For pure silliness and fun, Starlight Fairy Barbie has lights that spin around her waist (a la lights you buy at a circus). Nutcracker Barbie also promises to be at the top of wish lists!

Age: . Award Year: 2002.

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