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Product Type: Toys

 


2003 Award
Discover & Play Color Blocks
(Baby Einstein $12.99 Score:)

We like the new Discover & Play Color Blocks that have interesting textures on each side. One block makes a quacking sound that your baby will enjoy hearing long before she'll be able to make it happen. These are fun for stacking and knocking down. Editor's Note: Unfortunately, these blocks are no longer available.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2003.

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2004 Award
Tolo First Friends Rocker
(Reeves International $10 Score:)

Just a swipe of the hand makes the beads roll and two little figures spin as it rocks. Interesting for gazing at, but even better for two-handed play. Also top rated: Twist & Turn, Play Triangle Activity Cube, or Gripper Rattle, all beautifully crafted in sturdy primary-colored plastic with interesting action for baby to manipulate.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Lil' Creatures Rattles
(Mary Meyer $5 Score:) A delightfully cheery new collection of soft rattles with fabric animals (duck, elephant, turtle, or dino), each attached to a clear easy-to-grasp ring with colorful beads inside. At first you can use these for tracking games, but soon enough your baby will enjoy exploring with two hands. Unlike many rattles, these have a quiet rattle sound that won't startle your baby.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Awards
Symphony in Motion Deluxe
(Tiny Love $49.95 Score:)

Sadly, this product has been discontinued. How do you make a good thing better? Add a remote control and new animals to this clever musical mobile with innovative motion. Small shapes slide on the arms of the mobile, making a clicking sound as the mobile turns. The sound quality is better than most and it plays several classical selections. Still top rated, Symphony in Motion with Calder-like shapes or other animals. PLATINUM AWARD '02.

SNAP This award-winning mobile now comes with a remote control so you can turn the music from a distance. Unlike most mobiles, this innovative offering has more visual interest of several kinds: it tips as it spins, causing objects to shift their positions in interesting ways. It also pauses, and the start-and-stop motion adds another kind of interest. Small shapes slide on the arms of the mobile and make small clicking sounds as the musical mobile turns. The sound quality on this mobile is better than most, and it plays several classical music selections. (800) 843-6292.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2004.

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2003 Award
Dread Pirate Game
(Old Century Classics $99.95 Score:) Think of this game as Monopoly for Pirates. The object is to collect all the treasure and make sure that none of your fellow pirates have any left! You win by moving your pirate ship around the play mat and collecting "gems" and "coins" from your opponents. Moving around the play mat and how many treasures you collect is determined by rolling the dice. Be forewarned, this game can take a long time to play and will appeal to older kids (9s & up). As with most of the games made by this company, the playing pieces are handsome (and pricey). The directions for this game are pretty lengthy and will probably need clarification, negotiation and the adoption of "house rules".

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
Princess & the Pea Game
(Winning Moves Games $14.95 Score:) Four "princesses" can play this board game where the player with the most plastic mattresses at the end of the game wins. Collect mattresses by spinning the spinner and moving up the game board where you must take a nap or add, subtract or steal mattresses from other players. While reading is required, the game is pretty easy to understand. 5 & up.

Age: . Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
MegaPlayhouse
(Playhut $39.99 Score:) Kids love having their own hide-away for pretend play. This is one big fabric pop-up playhouse with a rollup window and a doorway. Five feet tall and almost as wide, this is a big enough play setting for several kids to enjoy. Best suited for indoor use. A good gust of wind would send it flying! We always have trouble putting Playhut products away in their little cases, but we think it's more our problem than theirs!

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

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2003 Award
Crayola Color Wonder Mazes
(Binney & Smith $7.99 Score:) 30 self-correcting mazes and puzzles that are sure to challenge without frustrating young travelers. Used with special no-mess Color Wonder markers. Some reading required on each page. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Franklin Hopping Sports Balls
(Franklin $14.99 Score:) Our testers liked the sports theme of these classic 18" ball hoppers. Comes either as a basketball, baseball or soccer ball. Parents also liked the fact that they comes with their own air pump. Activity Tip: Use these hopping balls for races across the lawn but be sure to give everyone a prize for playing.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2004 Award
Super Size Bubble Wand
(Little Kids $7.99 Score:) Bubbles are always a big hit with kids (and adults) of all ages. Whether you're two and chasing after them or 12 and making four foot bubbles, this is a crowd pleaser. This kit comes with a oversized foldable purple wand that has rainbow colored plastic links around a nylon rope. The company says the rope is the secret to the success of the bubbles because the fabric of the rope absorbs more bubble solution. Whatever the explanation, we found it was relatively easy to use after some experimenting. Also comes with a small bottle of concentrated bubble solution that you need to mix with warm water before you start. The bottle says you should let the solution set for 24 hours but we tested it and it really worked well right away. Concentrate will make 16 ozs. of solution. We found that the bubbles were not as juicy and as easy to make with premade solution.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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