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Product Type: Toys

 

 
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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2003 Award
Thomas & Friends Quarry Mine Tunnel
(RC2 Learning Curve $24.99 Score:) The trains gain great momentum as they pass through the Quarry Mine Tunnel that has a trap door that the trains emerge from as they exit down the steep ramp of the tunnel. Comes with one piece of ascending train track for getting trains into the tunnel.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Muffy, Alice in Wonderland & Hoppy White Rabbit
(North American Bear Co. $15 Score:)

A very special Hoppy White Rabbit done up in plaid coat with pearl buttons and golden watch fob to keep him from being late for his important date in Alice's Wanderland. Also, an adorable Muffy dressed up as Alice in a white pinofore and blue tafetta dress with her key to Wonderland. (800) 682-3427.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2003 Awards
Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim-Mobile
(Manhattan Toy $27.99 Score:)

Newborns will be fascinated with the black-and-white, high-contrast patterns of the ten vinyl 3" discs and squares that dance and dangle on this nonmusical mobile for the crib or changing table.  Not as cute looking as other mobiles, but babies do react to the visual stimulation of this crib toy.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2003. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2003 Award
Ice Cream Science
(Scientific Explorer $20 Score:) We wish all chemistry experiments were this tasty! Kids fill out their own lab sheets as they formulate their own "secret" formula. Comes with different flavorings and can be used with different types of milk. The fun part comes when you put your mixture in a series of plastic bags and then put it in a t-shirt and start shaking! After vigorous shaking for five minutes, you'll have ice cream. The kit is full of interesting information about why this works. We found that you really had to shake hard for five minutes. If the ice cream is too runny, you can put your mixture in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Kit designed in conjunction with the UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science. 9 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
Lets Tackle Math Game
(Learning Resources $44.95 Score:) Keep in mind that beginners need concrete materials to count before they learn the facts in rapid-fire fashion. Now in our house we did this with chocolate (which was also fun, but fattening!) Here, you get 252 total play pieces (108 bugs: grasshoppers, beetles dragonflies, bumble bees, spiders and caterpillars) plus 72 frogs and worms to sort by color, shape and size. The kit also comes with an activity book with 48 activities and a sorting tray. Kids love playing with these pieces as their working on their math skills. They'll also use them for dramatic play. Much more fun than flash cards! The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

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

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