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Product Type: Toys

 


2001 Awards
Castles
(Lego Systems, Inc. $89.99 Score:) Lego's latest King Leo's Castle with 524 pieces ($89.99) is geared to dramas of good vs. evil with trap doors, catapults, and secret hiding places. They've added a warrior princess but this, like Playmobil's King Large Castle, will likely appeal to boys, while Playmobil's Fairy Tale Castle is gender-specific lavender. 7 & up. Lego (800) 453-4652.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2000 Awards
Lollipop Drum
(Woodstock Percussion $25 Score:) Preschoolers can easily hold onto the handle of this lollipop-shaped drum. Makes a pleasing sound, according to both kid and parent testers. New and small enough for little hands, Chick-itas Maracas ($6.50), small maracas that have great sound and a perfect fit for little hands. This lollipop-shaped drum makes a pleasing sound and is ideal for games. Adaptation: For kids who can't grasp the handle, tape the handle to a tabletop with drumhead hanging off. SNAP Activity: One person hits the drum and the other person must change positions with every beat. When you are moving, use exaggerated goofy motions and freeze into funny poses. Switch roles-kids love the power of making you move. Also top rated, Chick-itas Maracas ($6.50), small maracas that have a great sound and a perfect fit for little hands. (800) 422-4463.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2000.

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2000 Awards
Double Easel
(Little Tikes $50 Score:)

This bright red easel has a chalkboard on one side and a large clip that holds a pad of 17" x 20" paper.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2000. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Awards
My Playhouse/Theatre
(Alex $200 Score:) Here is imagination central! A giant combo playhouse, puppet stage, and store. Sure to be the focal point of any playroom, this sturdy wood-and-laminated play center is done in Maisy-like primary stripes and dots. It has a shelf for a puppet stage, side-window “ticket” office, front and back curtains, and a working door. The new version is slightly larger, with fabric sides, but is still very sturdy. 3 & up. PLATINUM AWARD ’00.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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1995 Award
Sunshine Playhouse
(Step 2 $110 Score:) (Step 2's $110) A playhouse is the ultimate toy for pretend that will be used for years of solo and social play. Kids as young as two love the magic of entering their own domain-being the owner of a space that's scaled to size. Toddlers love opening and closing the door, looking out the windows, or playing with the toy kitchen (in some models). You'll find houses to fit a variety of tastes and budgets. Just 48"H this play setting has working door, shutters, and a pass-though window. Their 66"H Welcome Home Playhouse ($400) has a skylight and is designed for kids as old as 10. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 1995.

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1995 Awards
Little Tikes Playground
(Little Tikes $480 Score:) This top-of-the-line climber is part playhouse, part climber. It does not provide the kind of big-muscle climbing, dangling, and jumping that classic monkey bars do, but kids had no complaints. They loved the multiple play areas with mini-tunnel, slides, and platforms for imaginative play. Expensive but a solid investment.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 1995.

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Award
Grow to Pro Golf Set
(Fisher-Price $19.99 Score:) If playing golf is big in your family, your preschooler will no doubt want to try it, too. Here's the perfect set to start-comes in new colors with two clubs, and a rolling case that also holds and dispenses the golf balls.

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

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Awards
Brio Waterway
(Brio $40 Score:) Learn how locks lift ships with this wet and entertaining hands-on waterway. We've seen waterways before, but this system goes together with greater ease and no leaks. New for 2001 (and very pricey), Waterway Waterslide set ($90), designed for younger kids, was not ready for testing. Adult help needed.

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

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2002 Award
Circus Animal Sewing Cards
(eeBoo $12.95 Score:)

Five sturdy cards with playful bear, lion, elephant, seal and camel are ready for "sewing" with colorful threads. This is a simple but pleasing activity that develops fine motor skills and that 4's & 5's love.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2002. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2002 Awards
Lauri Lacing & Tracing Choo Choo
(Lauri $9.99 Score:) A colorful set of sturdy chipboard trains come punched with holes that kids "sew" with colorful laces. Also fun, Lacing & Tracing Goldilocks. All fine for developing fine motor skills needed for writing. ($9.99). 4 & up. SNAP AWARD: These sturdy colorful trains will motivate choo-choo lovers to refine fine motor skills that are needed to lace the colorful threads. The trains can also be used for tracing/coloring or cutting games.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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