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Product Type: Toys

 


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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2004 Award
Radio Flyer Classic Walker Wagon
(Radio Flyer $70 Score:) This updated version is heavier and slower moving than the original, better suited for new walkers to hold on to. Makes a quiet clicking sound as it moves about. At Press time, July 2005, the clickers on models sold from 8/03 to 5/05 were RECALLED. Replacement clickers are available from the company.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Wide Tracker Activity Walker
(Little Tikes $19.99 Score:) Testers gave high marks to Little Tikes’ Wide Tracker Activity Walker has a wider opening in the back so kids are less likely to trip themselves on the wheels! This isn't weighted, the way walkers used to be made, so it's not for tots to pull up on.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Musical Activity Walker
(Fisher-Price $19.99 Score:) This updated classic now has some musical features and seems to roll more slowly than most. Folds for sit-down play with dials and clackers to spin. 9 mos. & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2004.

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