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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 

 
2014 Awards
Hape All-In-1 Easel
(Hape $ Score:)

 
A versatile adjustable wooden easel with chalkboard on one side, a white magnetic board on the other side, a roller that holds paper for painting on top. There is a flat tray that will hold eraser and chalk as well as three paint pots. If you have room for it, this is an art center that will be used all through the early years from 3-7

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Geo Safari My First Microscope
(Educational Insights $21.99 Score:)

Designed for preschoolers, this allows young children to use both eyes instead of having to close one eye, as with a real microscope. The eye-piece can be raised and lowered for better views and it allows children to view coins and leaves and other familiar items under the lenses. Oddly, this is more like a magnifying glass than a microscope and the further up the lenses the more detail you see. It works with 8X magnification. 3 & up

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Thomas & Friends Lumber Yard Waterfall Adventure
(Fisher-Price $139.99 Score:)

Thomas and Friends picks up a log and brings it the Sodor Lumber Yard to be cut into lumber. A magnetized crane lifts the log. As the train travels across the top of the track it activates the log cutter and the lumber run down the waterfall. Cleverly designed, the falling lumber is attached so the pieces cannot go lost. This wooden train set is from the new online Thomas & Friends collection. Although this is a self contained set up you can incorporate other tracks and accessories to enlarge and vary the play. We preferred this to the bolder set. The magnetized log is not for children who still mouth their toys. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Awards
Green Toys Seaplane, Safe Seas Set
(Green Toys $24.99 Score:)

With one propeller and two hefty pontoons this two toned blue seaplane is ready for plenty of dramatic action in the pool or bathtub. It not only floats, the pontoons take on water that is pun to pour out. Made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic products that are tested for safety. This is a good choice for 1 & up, up, up. Forget the picturebook that is not going to appeal to toddlers. That said, the plane has miles of play value. 1 & up.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Carry Case Finger Puppet Theater
(Babalu $42.99 Score:)

Cleverly designed, this wooden puppet theater fits into a small wooden case that becomes the base and proscenium arch that spans the top of the stage. It has a working curtain. Set it up for table top performances and after the show it all goes back in the base box. Puppets are extra. They make charming choice of wooden headed finger puppets:queen, prince,princess, fairy...no King in the samples we tested. ($5.50 each)

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Play-Doh Diggin’Rigs Buzz Saw Playset
(Hasbro $19.99 Score:)

With this fun truck kids create the play-doh logs with an extruder that pushes the tubular shapes out of the back-end of the truck. But that's not the end-all. Now they can use the crane with its child friendly buzz-saw blade to cut the logs to fit on the flat-bed of the truck. There are also molds all over the truck that can be used to make other tools. Even the play-doh containers can be used as barrels to carry things from one place to another. A nice choice that combines two of kids favorites--vehicles and fooling around with play-doh. 3 & up

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Awards
Hape Anywhere Art Studio
(HaPe $40 Score:)

Designed to sit on a tabletop or floor, this versatile art studio is reversible; a chalkboard on one side, and a white dry erase on the reverse. It is magnetized, so the eraser and paper holder that come with the set, will stick to the board and even hold art paper on if your artist wants to paint or draw on something more permanent like paper. Beautifully finished with a wooden frame, this is a handsome piece of equipment that will invite hours of creative play.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Hape Rock and Rhythm Band
(Hape $50 Score:)


A few steps before a full drum trap set, yet a step beyond plastic toddler instruments, this has everything young percussionists will love. Unlike so may kiddie drum sets, this has a clean sound. This is not to say it is a quiet instrument you are bringing home. You'll need time and a screwdriver (plus the Alan wrench that comes with the toy) to assemble the wooden frame. Happily, there's a built in holder for drumsticks so they won't go lost. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Tinkertoy 30 Model Super Set
(KNEX $49.99 Score:)

With 200 colorful pieces, this classic building toy is packaged this season with bendable pieces as well as some that snap and stay together. Tinkertoys constructions tend to be more abstract and bare boned. Yet they are also more mechanical challenging kids to build their own moving parts to make a windmill that turns, a truck that rolls and other imaginative devices. Though it is marked for 3 & up and preschoolers will poke the rods and wheels together, to use the real possibilities of this construction toy, we think it’s a better choice for early school years builders.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Green Toys Seacopter
(Green Toys $19.99 Score:)

With two spinning rotors-one on top and one on the tail, this bright orange and blue Seacopter has pontoons for floating on the water. A teddy bear pilot is in the forward position. Good fun for dramatic play in the tub, pool, or on dry land. Made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic products that are tested for safety. There is also a regular helicopter (16.99) in the line sans water pontoons for dry land only. This Seacopter is more unusual and versatile. 

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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