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Product Type: Toys

 

 
2005 Awards
Power Touch Baby
(Fisher-Price $29.99 Score:) This toy came too late for our annual book. It will not replace real picture books that baby can explore and enjoy. The mechanics of how a book works still require hands-on discoveries and the quality of a storybook like Good Night Moon or Runaway Bunny cannot be replaced by this sort of know and name talking book. That sid- this has reasonably clear pictures and responds to the turn of a page and touch of a hand. We have not seen the add-on books, but the platform and first book make a nice novelty.A good tool for talking and knowing and naming games. (800) 432-5437. Activity:This is an easy to activate language toy. YOu can play I spy games giving color riddles about objects in the pictures of shope words in your riddle..I spy something round and green.....etc. All of these kinds of knowing and naming - listening and finding games are a fun way to interact and reinfoce language and concepts. Together, you and your child can make up your own stories about what's happening in the picture.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Jungle Friends HippoStamus and Zebrabilities
(Mega Bloks $5.99 Score:) Part of the My First Mega Bloks line, these are magnetized stackers. One is a zebra, the other a hippo. Three chunk pieces can be arranged in multiple ways on each and roll away on their wide wheeled bases. A fun choice for early floor games that do not demand too much dexterity. 6 months & up. (800) 465-6342

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Mini Golf
(Alex $19.99 Score:) Our four year old testers thought this circus-themed miniature golf set was loads of fun. Comes with two clubs (with foam heads for safety); two balls; and six illustrated targets. For a basic plastic set of clubs, TotSports Golf Set (Little Tikes $20) comes with a pull cart, two clubs, and three balls. The Little Tikes set is marked 2 and up, but we'd say 4 and up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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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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