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Product Type: Toys


2007 Award
No Mess Fingerpaint Trays
(Alex $12.99 Score:)

Here’s a way to contain the mess…a big tray that holds 12” x 18” paper. Comes with 50 sheets of glossy heavy weight finger paint paper. Put the tray in the sink or under a hose for easy clean up.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
My Finger Paint
(Alex $4.99 Score:) You get almost 12 oz. of vibrant fingerpaint in each of these cleverly designed pump bottles. Available in many colors, but don’t overlook the fun of mixing colors with the basic primary colors. 2 & up. Fingerpainting is more than fun, its a great way for kids to make direct contact with the paint without the need to manipulate the paint brush. It's truly hands-on and a legit way to be messy.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Naturally Playful Lookout Treehouse
(Step 2 $129.99 Score:) Low to the ground, this climber and slide allows for the repetitive fun of climbing up and sliding down-again and again! Although this will be outgrown, it is the right size for toddlers who are steady on their feet. It has protective siding on the platform, something that taller slides often lack. That said, this will still need adult supervision and protective padding under it. They say 18 months, we’d say more like 2 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2000 Awards
Tomy Roll Around Tower
(International Playthings $24.99 Score:) When people ask us for our favorite two year old birthday present, this ball run is high on the list. It's just right for toddlers who love the repetitive action of making something happen. The plastic colorful balls are oversized and fun to drop into the tower. The balls make a pleasing sound as they move down the tower. Unlike many new ball runs, kids can track the balls from beginnning to end- a plus in this category. Also fun and a little more advanced, Ball Party Bounce (here you can position the ball to bounce off one level and into another chute).

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2000.

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2008 Award
Twister Scram
(Milton Bradley $14.95 Score:) Twister Scram is not really Twister in the traditional sense but lots of fun to play for the 4 & up crowd. Here the play is more like musical chairs. Comes with 20 round colored mats and a spinner. When the caller spins and announces the color everyone runs to be the first to jump on the corresponding colored mat. The challenge – you use one less mat than you have players. Designed for 3-5 players. Rounds are quick so there are lots of opportunities to win. Also fun and more in keeping with the original game is Twister Take Out ($14.95). Here the original mat folds up into a take along bag and the spinner comes on top of a Frisbee styled disk (take the spinner part off when you want to play with the disk). This version will appeal to tweens and teens (and their parents). 8 & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2009 Award
BeeBoo Big Bubble Mix Kit and Dip Stix
(Extreme Bubbles, Inc. $10 & up Score:)

Hands down one of our new favorite products of the year! The unique bubble wand consists of two long wooden handles connected by soft rope. Dip the wand into the bucket with the handles closed. Take the wand out of the solution and open the handles slowly and amazingly, extremely large bubbles that will impress even the most "I'm so over bubbles"  teenager. Great fun for the backyard with mixed ages.  New for 2010, Dip Stix.  The big handles on the wands are now painted (they look less homemade)--and you can mix your own bubble solution in the built in container.  For the Tang generation, the mix your own mixture will seem like fun. Some of our parents (with younger kids) prefer the "it's good to go from the start" approach.  You can still buy the original bubble mixture.  While we found that younger children were delighted with running after these super big bubbles (and their parents had fun making them), this is truly one of the few outdoor toys that will capture the attention of teens and adults.   If you're having a family reunion--this is fun to have around!

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on

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Bocce Ball Set
(Restoration Hardware $119 Score:)

What we love about bocce is that it really can be enjoyed by a multi-generation team of players. The pace is just right for a lazy summer afternoon. Perhaps because we are not a very coordinated family, bocce has always had a special place in our summer rituals (you really don't need to have too much athletic ability to play!)  This set comes with a brown canvas bag for storage.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .

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2007 Award
Quick and Easy Tie Dye Deluxe
(Creativity for Kids $19.95 Score:)

We're big fans of this type of tie-dye kit, which comes with pre-dyed strings that you wrap around your own clothing (or the included pillowcase and doll shirt). You tie up the garment and then use warm tap water. Take your garment out of the water, let it dry, and voila!--you have your own tie-dyed creation. A fun outdoor project.

Age: . Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on

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2007 Award
Pirate Ship Kit
(Creativity for Kids $5.99 Score:) This is just the right activity for a party full of crafty pirates. The kits require gluing the wooden parts together (always fun, but will need some adult supervision) and then they are ready to be painted. A nice take away craft for a pirate themed party.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Par 3 Mini Golf Set
(Step 2 $39.99 Score:) Arrange the 21 piece set into a custom made 3 hole course. Pieces snap together easily and each “green” has a hole in one. Can be used indoors and out. Comes with two putter, two balls, three flags, a clown's mouth, windmill, and spinner. They say 2 & up, we'd say more like 3 & up. Our testers found that the first hole was very easy to do (and satisfying). The next two holes take more practice (and more shots)...which is fine with most kids and frustrating to those who feel that they should golf like Tiger already!

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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