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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 


2015 Award
Hasbro Jurassic World Hero Mashers, T-rex
(Hasbro $18.99 Score:)

If they love dinosaurs and building here is a clever toy that combines the fun of both. Hero Mashers allow kids to take their dinosaurs apart and rebuild them in all sorts of shapes and forms. Even the smallest set comes with two heads and multiple body parts to transform the figures dramatically. Taking them apart and putting them back together does call for some hand strength and visual acuity. A fun-filled choice for a fairly inexpensive birthday gift, when you have tons of party gifts to buy. For the true dinohaulic consider the larger sets to suit the budget and recipient. 4 & up.

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

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2015 Award
Fisher-Price Thomas and Friends Musical Melody Tracks Set
(Fisher-Price $160 Score:)

Such a great wooden train set with action easy enough for young preschoolers to do. This is a show-stopper, with a water wheel that spins and loads cargo onto passing trains and a bridge that plays music as Thomas and Friends roll over the bridge and around the curve. It says the tune is their theme song, but we didn't hear it really; the sound is just low key and pleasing. We really like that this is a kid-activated toy, no need for lights or big tricks. It is a pricey set but comes with several major accessories and plenty of track. Along with Thomas and a flatbed carrier, the set includes a waterwheel cargo loader, the musical bridge, one ascending up hill track, 10 curves, 4 long tracks, two stone wall tracks, a bumpy track and one with pegs to grip the waterwheel. The tracks are compatible with older sets and can be added to existing sets or laid out in a variety of ways. Best of all, there is no absolute right and wrong way to use this set. Ideal for 3 & up.

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

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2015 Award
Fisher-Price Pirate's Cove Discovery Set
(Fisher-Price $150 Score:)

Kids can play with this train set without knowing the big backstory, but it just might add drama for some kids to share the story or watch the DVD that goes with it. Thomas is carrying TNT to the demolition crew working on a new branch line when the ground begins shaking under his wheels. Press the TNT plunger and WHOOSH! Tracks drop and poor Thomas falls as a pirate ship rolls out. Now Thomas must find the treasure without plunging into the Harbor. There is a drawbridge to let ships pass. This big set includes Thomas, cargo car, treasure cargo, a free-wheeling pirate ship vehicle, multiple track pieces, rock that hides the treasure, pirate ship launch ramp, bridge turn, museum, cargo bin, two large hill pieces with mechanism, two small hill pieces with draw bridge and the pirate ship launching bay. This is marked for 3 & up, but clearly it is a theme and story line better for older preschoolers.

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

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2015 Award
Disney Doc McStuffins Operation
(Hasbro $22 Score:)

A fitting new version of the classic game of Operation, but designed for younger players and fans of Doc McStuffins. It has easier to grab pieces and a bigger opening so little hands will have less trouble getting the game pieces out. Our tester thought the sound had been toned down and was less intrusive than in earlier Operation games. Comes with 10 cardboard bandages to cover the boo-boos. 4 & up

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

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2015 Award
Mattel Barbie Saddle 'N Ride Horse
(Mattel $44.99 Score:)

Talk about making things happen! This is a something new! Barbie not only is dressed for riding, she actually rides and no pretending, either. She can jump onto her horse and ride off into the sunset--if she doesn't fall over! This Barbie doll can be played with separately, but when she's ready for a ride, her hand attaches to the saddle and just a gentle push and she springs into action. Yes, this is a novelty toy and may run out of wow power before long, but she is special enough to be one of the memorable holiday gifts of the year and will fit into the playlife of Barbie pretenders. Marked 3 & up, we think it may be challenging to 3's and less frustrating to activate by older 4's and 5's.

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

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2015 Award
eeBoo Trucks and a Bus Matching Game
(eeBoo $16 Score:)

A concentration matching game with more playful pieces than usual. Turn over all the trucks and the school bus and they all look alike. Now kids take turns flipping two at a time looking to make a match. There are 12 pairs to match with graphics that are colorful and feature distinctive animals and products that kids will enjoy naming. There's a robot supply truck, air mail with a bird carrier, fresh fish, ice cream, tiger cakes, and lots more.  They say 3 and up...we think older 4 and 5 year olds will have more fun with this.

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

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2015 Award
Janod Construction Site Truck
(Janod $39.99 Score:)

Beautifully crafted in wood with bright yellow/orange truck comes with a detachable flatbed with a ramp and carries a bulldozer and excavator, both with moving arms to add to the dramatic play. A good choice for block building toddlers and preschoolers. 2-6.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2015.

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2015 Awards
Janod Cat Cradle
(Janod $44.99 Score:)

Painted in deep pink this dolls cradle has a cat face cut out at each end. Big enough to hold several dolls it rocks gently and comes with a soft blanket and pillow. An ideal prop for pretend play, especially for new big sisters. One of those toys that will likely get passed along to cousins or younger siblings.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2015.

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2015 Awards
Hape Shape and Shadow Matching
(HaPe $14.99 Score:)

Before they begin matching abstract symbols of letters and numbers, pre-readers learn about matching with picture images. With this set of colored images children look for the shadow images of the objects on their playing board. Use this to develop visual perception as well as knowing and naming the objects. Play it like a lotto game with two players or use it solo like a puzzle. 3 & up.

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

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2015 Award
Hape Path Finder
(HaPe $14.99 Score:)

A fun game for fours and fives to develop their math power and visual perception while they are having fun with colors, and turn taking. Dole out the playing pieces, roll the color die and place the right color and size in the maze; but watch out! If your playing piece won’t fit, the other player can try. The object is to be the first to get to the end of the maze. 4 & up.

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

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