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Product Type: Toys
Age: Toddlers

 

 
2014 Awards
Hape Roller Derby
(HaPe $39.99 Score:)

What an unusual ball run! Instead of just rolling down a runway this clever run goes from one side of the wooden wall to the other. The balls roll through circular openings as they zoom down metal tracks, switching sides once, twice, three times and ring a bell as they reach the bottom. Though it does the same thing over and over, for the young toddler repetition is a plus. In a world full of unpredictable things, repetition gives tots a sense of power and control. They love making things do the same thing again and again. This is also a great toy for kids who are developing more complex tracking skills. 1 & up.

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

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2014 Awards
Sesame Street Take Along Band
(Playskool $24 Score:)

Elmo and Cookie Monster faces smile on the bongo drum that can close and become a case to store the Ernie shaped maracha, a Big Bird squeeze horn, and a Grover shaker. Appealing character driven plastic rhythm instruments for toddlers. Put on some music and let the fun begin. 12 months & up

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

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2014 Awards
Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Home
(Fisher-Price $90 Score:)

Finding an activity center for babies and toddlers just got easier with this play center that invites tots to crawl in and out through the red door that swings both ways. There is a peek-a-boo window that lifts, a doorbell that rings, an on and off switch that turns a light on and off, although it has a slow response time and seems to be activated by music as well; so, cause and effect are not quite as clear as they might have been. That said, this activity center also has a clock with hands to turn, and a shape sorter. There is a mailbox and letters to take in and out and the box backs onto the shape sorter, making this another favorite put-and-take or fill-and-dump opportunity. The maker says there are three levels of play so the toy grows with your child. Level one is exploration, level two gives prompts, telling baby what to do (most will be ignored) and level 3 is all about pretend. Marked 6-36 months; we suspect the sweet spot for this toy is really 8-18 months.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. 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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2014 Awards
Green Toys Submarine
(Green Toys $14.99 Score:)

Kids are going to love this fish-shaped submarine that not only floats, it can fill up with water (thorough the mouth and portholes to be submerged. Lift it, let it spill and spout and it floats again! Perfect for tub-time and pool. There are no small parts so this is fun for toddlers and preschool play. Made of 100% recycled plastic this is also dishwasher cleanable. It comes with a book that is mostly forgettable for the very young, but that said, this is a wonderful water toy! 12 months and up, up, up.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. 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. 2 & up.

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

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2014 Awards
Mudpuppy Eric Carle Brown Bear Puzzle Wheel
(Mudpuppy Press $15.99 Score:)

Designed for the toddler beginning puzzle player. These two-sided puzzles have a center wheel that the other pieces fit around. One side of the puzzle is pure color matching. The reverse has patterns to match as well as characters from the Eric Carle books to know and name. There is a Very Hungry Caterpillar puzzle as well as this charming Brown Bear puzzle. The pieces are stored in a handsome round box. Ages 2 & up.

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

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2014 Awards
Little People City Skyway
(Fisher-Price $39.99 Score:)

It is a race to the surprise finish to discover where the winner is going to exit from this mighty three-foot skyway. Will it come out of the side exits or jump off a ramp. It is different every time. Besides, kids can flip the switches and to change the cars path. No batteries are needed to make the two little vehicles zip and zoom down the ramps. The set up also includes a working crane, gas pump, traffic signals, parking meter, and a gate that opens and closes. All great ingredients for early dramatic play. This is a really big piece of plastic that will be a wow-eee gift for toddlers who love playing the same game again and again. It may be a stretch for small toddlers to reach the top, but most twos will enjoy taking charge of the action. It is definitely big enough for two kids to enjoy together...think twins. Unlike similar looking roadways for toddlers, you can turn off the sounds and still play with this. Marked 18 months to 5 years. We think twos and threes are the right age for this.

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

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2014 Awards
Jumbo Forest Friends Puzzle
(Mudpuppy Press $14.95 Score:)

It's autumn in the forest and the animals are all out under the colorful trees. This jumbo floor puzzle has 25 big pieces that beginners can handle. When put together it is a big 22 by 22 inch square. Also fun, their Jumbo Pirate Puzzle, though this one is older in look and subject. They say 2 & up; we think twos are not ready for this many pieces. It will be enjoyed by  older 3-4's more.

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

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2014 Awards
Shake It Up Duo
(HaPe $12.99 Score:)

Two wooden shakers with a gentle quiet sound that are easy to live with for adults as well as kids. These unusual shapes for maracas are easier for young kids to grasp and hold onto while they keep the beat to music you put on for them to respond to.

SNAP: Unlike regular marachas which may be harder to grasp these wooden shakers have handles that may be easier to grasp. They also have a less strident sound. making them easier for sound sensitive kids to tolerate and even enjoy.

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

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