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Product Type: Toys

 

 
Awards
Peek a Blocks IncrediBlock
(Fisher-Price $19.99 Score:) Tots loved standing up to play activities on each side of this huge block.This is a multi-faceted activity "table" that has lots of surprises. (800) 432-5437. Activities: Best fun, push a button and stacks of see-through blocks go kaboom! Or put single blocks on top of a spinner that says the name of the object inside the little block. Develops language as well as dexterity.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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2005 Awards
Plan Toys Shape Sorter
(Brio $20 Score:) A handsome curved wooden platform holds four shapes in place. Cut-out shape boards are fitted over the circle, square, rectangle, and triangle. Boards can be used to reinforce color, shapes, or fractions. Also see Plan Toys’ Shape & Sort ($20 ) with three shapes that drop in and slide out—Abracadabra!—when platform is touched. (888) 274-6869.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Crawl N Fun
(Playhut $25 Score:) Testers giggled their way through this 6'-long tunnel as they crawled along! Also top rated: longer and more spacious Yellow School Bus and Red Fire Engine and a blue Deluxe Train engine. These each easily accommodate two kids for pretend fun. 3 & up. (888) 752-9488.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Maask
(Blue Orange Games $19.95 Score:) Here is an unusual format for a concentration game. A wooden crown has hidden “jewels” that players try to collect. To do so they must unmask the covers on the jewels and find gems to match the dice they throw. Winner is the one with the most jewels. From the maker of Platinum Award ‘03 winner Gobblet Junior. A memory game for 6 & up. (415) 572-3885

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2004 Award
Skrooz
(Progressive Trading Inc. $15 Score:) Here's a new twist on the rods and metallic ball construction sets. These new rods can be lengthened and shortened with a twist so they are more versatile than the original rods with fixed sizes. Add these to existing sets or start here with a 168, 84, or 42 piece set. Available in metallic or bright gem colors. These are compatible with the original MAGZ-X and the amazing new WEBZ from the same maker. Put these on the coffee table in your family room and let the fun begin! 5 & up.

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

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Cool Crew Magic Talking Kitchen Crew
(Playskool $39.99 Score:) Smaller than your average toy kitchen, this is more of a novelty item than the kind of play setting that should be open ended and have long term play value. It’s only 17.6 X 16.2 X 8.6. Hardly big enough for even pretend chefs over the age of 2 and a half. We don’t think kids need anthropomorphic doors that talk and ask them the same question again and again. For toddlers who are still sorting out real from make believe this kind of cartoon-ish toy only clouds their thinking. Young children are magical thinkers by nature- but they come up with enough magic without the added confusion of stoves with eyes and mouths that move. Nor do kids need toys that crack corny jokes. Keep in mind that these seemingly cute extras are apt to get “tired” with continued use. True, the price is low for a toy kitchen, but that’s about the only thing it has on the plus side. Think of a toy kitchen as an investment toy that will be used for three or four years and then can be passed on to another child. This is not that kind of kitchen.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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I Knit this Poncho!
(Fashion Angels Enterprises $16 Score:) Ponchos are all the rage- so imagine the thrill of making your own poncho. This is a simple knitting project for the fashion conscious. Knitters make two panels with the basic garter stitch and then put them together following the simple instructions. They say it takes just four hours to make this child size poncho. The kit comes with one set of thick needles and soft off white bulky yarn. So, this is fast and fun to do and even more fun to wear.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Pop Art Painted Jewelry and Nail Polish Kit
(Fashion Angels Enterprises $16 Score:) Plastic jewelry from the 60s is making a come back. Kids can be right in the middle of this retro fashion trend with this set that comes with six rings, two pendants and four bracelets. You paint the underside of the plastic for a "pop art" effect. We agree with the directions that you really need to paint with toothpicks (not included) to get the right color saturation. If you just paint with the nail polish brushes included we found the color is too light.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Friendship Wheel
(Alex $13.99 Score:) Remember braiding friendship bracelets in multicolored threads? Well they are back, only now there is a weaving wheel that guides the process and takes just a few minutes to master. Kit comes with two foam wheels and enough thread for 10 bracelets. Kids can pass the wheels around and help make all of them or bring home a wheel for each guest. Also a great choice for play dates or keeping hands busy on a trip. Our ten year old tester said it would be the "perfect travel toy."

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Paint Ice Jewelry
(3M $13.99 Score:) Make a whole wardrobe of rings and bracelets with the five funky rings and four bracelets. Jewelry is made of clear plastic that you paint on the underside. Kids can use decals as well as paints to make stripes, spots and other designs. A fine brush and bright paint do the task with ease. But kids do need to wait between colors so the colors dry one at a time. Also a good choice for a play date with enough pieces to go around. 8 & up. (800) 666-2539.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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