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2014 Award
Creativity for Kids Rhinestone Headbands
(Creativity for Kids $20 Score:)

Ten flocked headbands come with stick-on strips of glittery rhinestones as well as sheer ribbons to tie on. A fun kit for solo use...make a wardrobe of headbands to go with all of her outfits or use this for a sleep over craft that the girls can share. To avoid bad feelings over color choices have them draw slips with color names. You may want to add ribbons or cut these in half since there are only five ribbons and ten headbands. This craft calls for some dexterity, but basically it is an easy to do and satisfying craft with wearable end products.  7 & up.

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

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2014 Award
Creativity for Kids Rubber Band Snap Wraps
(Creativity for Kids $17.99 Score:)

A terrific craft kit that can be enjoyed at a party, overnight, playdate or solo.
It comes with five brightly colored silicone snap wrap bracelets and more than 300 thick and thin rubber bands in vivid colors for making patterns that make each a unique creation. The kit also includes 10 metallic charms (peace signs, flowers, keys, hearts, and stars) with easy to use jump rings that attach to the colorful bracelets. Kids can use the ideas in the instructions or design their own. A satisfying craft kit with end products kids will like to wear.

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

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2014 Award
Quercetti Qubo
(International Playthings $36.99 Score:)


Six big waffle shaped blocks can be stacked or locked together to form a box or other shapes. The 19-piece set includes an assortment of brightly colored smaller blocks with pegs to stack into each other or place between the bigger blocks. All of these pieces are sized up for safety for toddlers. No hidden problems here. An open-ended toy with no right or wrong way of doing things. Develops creativity as well as color concepts and problem solving skills. Younger toddlers may need help in learning how to fit the big pieces together, but will enjoy taking them apart right from the start. 1 & up.

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

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2014 Awards
Janod Shapes Quiz
(Janod $30 Score:)

More than just another shape sorter, this wooden quiz game can be rolled like a big rattle or used with younger children for simple fill and dump games. Cleverly designed there are just three shape cut outs on each side, so you can introduce shape sorting without overwhelming. Once they learn the mechanics of fitting a shape into the corresponding slot, add the other three pieces on the reverse side.
To help kids learn to match shape to slot, talk about the color of the pieces and the color coded rims of the slots. Marked for 18 months & up but we think 2's and up will like this more.

SNAP: Use just three shapes to begin for naming and knowing and filling and dumping. Unlike so many shape sorters, this does not look babyish and can be used with less frustration since it does not present an oerwhelming number of shapes.

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

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2014 Awards
Kaloo Mini Zig Musical
(Janod $35 Score:)

Hang this tan bunny in the stroller or crib and pull the big wooden ring to activate the music box that plays as bunny's accordion folded body moves up. Bunny's tan ears are lined with licks of green, the neck tie is wine colored velour, the body is turquoise and green, and his feet are yellow and orange. With stitched features, this is one of those easy to take along music boxes that can be soothing on an afternoon away from home. Newborn & up.

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

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2014 Award
Have You Seen My Dragon?
(by Steve Light, Candlewick $16.99 Score:)

With wonderfully busy black and white drawings, Dragon leads his friend on a merry chase. Uptown, downtown, crosstown, too, the boy searches everywhere for his dragon and finds everything from hotdogs to bikes, but not his dragon, although the reader will see dragon hidden with each page turn. A counting book that goes all the way up to 20 with splashes of color and action-packed images to pour over. Beginning readers will catch on to the repetitive refrain and counting the familiar things. 5-7

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

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2014 Award
Number One Sam
(Hyperion $16.99 Score:)


Sam has always been number one when he races his car, always that is until his friend Maggie beat him. Did Sam give up? No way. In his next race Sam thinks he might be winning until something else happens that makes him understand that winning is not as important as doing the right thing. 4-7

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

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2014 Award
Dog Days at School
(by Kelly DiPucchio/ Brian Biggs, Hyperion $16.99 Score:)

Charlie does not like school. In fact one Sunday night he wishes that he could be a like his dog, Norman. What follows next is a mostly amusing Kafka-for-kids fantasy that speaks to the old adage, be careful what you wish for. After days go by with the two trading places, Charlie comes to understand this. 4-7

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

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2014 Awards
Flip Flap Farm
(by Axel Scheffler, Candlewick $11.99 Score:)

With split pages that can be flipped to match top and bottom views that create a whole animal or combine the top of one and bottom of another, this is a playful book. Half the name of the animal is on top and the other half on the bottom. When pages are mixed, the new mixed up animal takes on an original name. There are amusing rhymes about all the creatures that add to the fun. Call it a matching game or have even more fun mismatching the animals. 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
Beneath the Sun
(by Melissa Stewart/ illus. Constance Bergum, Charlesbridge $16.99 Score:)

A handsome and informative young science book that explains how the animals deal with the heat of summer days. How the spittlebug stays cool by squirting out a froth of white goo and nestles down inside the bubbles hidden in the leaves. It shows us animals in the desert, in the meadow, in the sea all have their special ways of dealing with the sun. Handsome illustrations add much. 4-8

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

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