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Product Type: Toys
Award: Blue Chip
Age: Preschoolers

 

 
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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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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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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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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Awards
Play-Doh
(Hasbro $2 Score:) Classic Play-Doh is still a favorite. Doh should be used with supervision in a place established for messy play. We prefer the dough without the doodads, since most of the kits are less open-ended, and tough to do. This self-hardening dough dries out if left uncovered.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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2000 Awards
Touch N Play Lotto
(Guidecraft $32 Score:) SNAP INFO: Four wooden playing boards and matching Lotto pieces have raised textured shapes for sensory feedback through the fingertips. This is an excellent choice for children with visual disabilities. (800) 544-6526.

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

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2003 Awards
Alex's Floor Standing Easel
(Alex $95 Score:) Taking the paints out of doors gives young artists a new scene- and if you add a bit of white paint to the colors they have an all new palette that looks like summer. Adding different paints and paper often inspires kids. Alex's wooden easel has a chalk board on one side and a dry-erase board on the other. Comes with a roll of paper, but we find that using clips and a pad of paper is easier for kids to handle with independence.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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Awards
ALEX Funky Brushes
(Alex $8.99 Score:) These extra-large brushes with interesting cloth/rope "brushes" are fun to use and the large bulb handles fit the fist shape grip of young painters. SNAP:These fat handled brushes help kids with fine-motor difficulties to grasp the brush handle and paint. Also, see this company's Sponge Painters that now come with color-changing wands. (800) 666-2539.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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2004 Awards
eeBoo Pin the Tail on the Donkey
(eeBoo $15 Score:)

eeBoo has brought back this classic game with a variety of themes that will fit just about every birthday party.  Here's the classic version--happily  printed on a sturdy reusable poster and comes with a bandanna blindfold and two sets of 16 self-adhesive tails—no tacks needed!  A good party prop for several years of play. 

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

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

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2002 Awards
CedarWorks Gazebo Slant 1 Playset
(CedarWorks $3100 Score:) The Gazebo is a big time investment in backyard fun. Made out of northern cedar, the company guarantees that its sets are splinter free. What we really like about the Gazebo system is that you can add guard rails all the way around the raised platform for added safety. As your kids grow, you can remove the rails for added climbing opportunities. Kids love having a clubhouse of their very own and that's what the Gazebo does (without having to build a tree house!) Starter sets begin at $1400 from this top of the line playset company, but you can always spend more. You can customize your "dream set" on CedarWorks website, on the phone or with an authorized dealer. With all climbing systems, adult supervision is a must. The government recommends a minimum of 6 inches of ground covering (wood chips, recycled mulch, pea stones, fine sand) with a minimum perimeter of 6 feet. For more safety guidelines, please visit www.cpsc.gov.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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