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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 


2015 Award
Janod Story Box Firefighter Set
(janod $24 Score:)

A fifteen piece miniworld with small wooden firefighters, dog, traffic light, ladder, flames, helicopter with spinning blade, firetruck with working arm, and ambulance and patient. The storage box is a colorful firehouse with a helipad. WARNING: This is marked properly for 3 & up since the playing pieces are truly small and not for children who still mouth their toys, even if they are 3.

 

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Hape The Ringer
(HaPe $19.99 Score:)

For indoor or outdoor active play, this toss a hoop game comes with four rope and wood rings to toss. The object is to score the highest points on the poles that are of varying difficulty to loop. With younger players just ignore the scoring part and play for pure fun of playing together.
A good choice for developing motor skills, turn taking and color recognition. 4 and up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Fisher Price Thomas & Friends Daring Dragon Drop
(Fisher-Price $40 Score:)

A fun add-on for the Thomas & Friends train fans. This setting has plenty of action. Thomas rides along the track until he goes through a gate that sets off a volcano that lights up and rumbles. As Thomas reaches the top he slips into a zip line transporter style carrier that slips down and though the dragon's archway. The action is done without batteries and although it's a pretty closed system and may lose it's novelty before long, as an added setting for the train set, it adds a new element of action that will give the old train set a new focus. It's designed as a fold up take along, but it is not all that compact. 3 & up

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Dash Hounds Game
(International Playthings $14.95 Score:)

As your dog races across the board chances are its front paws will land on a color that corresponds to another player's dog and you will have to add another length to your pooch. The bigger your dog gets the harder it will be to get across the finish line. But not to worry; everyone's dogs will be growing. This is a fun game for older preschoolers and early school aged players. Easy rules to remember, color concepts and simple counting with novel game play. 4 & up

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Quercetti Fanta Color Daisy
(International Playthings $19.99 Score:)

With 240 colorful pegs of varying sizes and a built-in pegboard, this is an engrossing but open-ended puzzle that kids can use to make their own designs or follow the patterns in the design book. Some of the early patterns are clear while others are very complex for younger players. Well designed the tray will lock in the pegs away for safe keeping between playtimes. Use the cups to sort the pegs by color. A fun way to develop fine motor skills needed for writing and eye hand problem solving skills in following patterns. A good toy to keep at the office for quiet playtimes. 4-7

SNAP: Use the tray to osort by color and on another gametime, sort by color and size. The pegs do require a lot of dexterity and build finger power as well as visual discrimintion. Give them plenty of time to explore how the pieces fit and opportunitites to make their own designs. Use this for introducing patters...put int alternationg big and small, big and small pegs. Ask what comes next?

Not for children who still mouth their toys.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Hape Geometrics House
(HaPe $59.99 Score:)

A totally modular wooden doll house with geometric units that can be rearranged in endless ways. Rooms include a triangle, polygon, and divided rectangle. Build it side ways, stack it high like a condo, whatever way the imagination takes you. Comes with furniture and play figures. Ideal for beginning dramatic play that lends it self to language development and story telling. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Calico Critters Family Seven Seater
(International Playthings $39.99 Score:)

Built for a large family of Calico Critters, this navy blue seven seater has an open air top, doors that open on either side, a door to the trunk and wheels that really roll. It has two seats up front, two full benches and car seats that fit over the benches for the littlest passengers. Of course, the passengers are not included. Don't be deceived, they show critters on the box. But if your kids collect these cute little families, this will be a welcome prop for pretend play. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Mindware Memory Mix Up
(MindWare $20.00 Score:)

A cleverly designed see-through paddle is used for this memory game. Slip 4-5 images into the paddle and show it to players. Shake it up and turn it over allowing one coin shaped token to come out. Now show the remaining items to players. Who knows which token is gone? Player that guesses it first keeps the token. Winner is the one with the most tokens. It comes with 100 playing tokens that also develop vocabulary as well as visual memory. Adapt the play to fit the age of your players and the number of images you use at one time. They say 3 & up, we'd say more like 4-5 year olds. Gradually increase the number of items shown as kids become more familiar with the game.

SNAP: Start with naming the items, select just a few and make them familiar items. Put fewer items in the arm of the paddle when you introduce the game. The object is to build success and language. Gradually add pieces as the game becomes familiar and they feel more at home with the game.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
eeBoo Green Market Puzzle Spinner Game
(eeBoo $16.99 Score:)


A little luck, a lot of matching, and simple classifying all play a part in this game. Each player has a board that must be filled with dairy, baked goods, eggs, flowers, fruit and veggies. Kids take turns spinning the pointer and taking the playing piece that matches on of these items for their playing board. But before they can start collecting these items they must spin and land on a farmer to open their stand. This opening move can take time and with younger players you may want to skip it, leaving the farmer on each playing board to start. Recognizing the difference between fruits and veggies and classifying dairy goods calls for serious classifying for young preschoolers. They may also be a bit confused by the color of the eggs, especially the bluish ones. That said, this is a fun game with solid learning built into the mix. Marked 3 & up; we think older 4-6 will enjoy it more.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Janod Grand Prix Story Pop-Open Play Set Case
(Janod $49.99 Score:)

Pricey--but a most unusual puzzle that becomes a wonderful miniature play setting. Stored in a grandstand box that opens (and holds all the playing pieces) there is a 21-piece cardboard track that can be put together in many different shapes. In fact, there are drawings of some of the ways to do this that will challenge kids to experiment. Our testers like the open-endedness of the tracks that allows for  variety. Once the track is assembled let the races begin. Four colorful little wooden racing cars with drivers ready to go come in this road and track set for young players 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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