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2015 Awards
Learning Resources Count & Stack Safari
(Learning Resources $14.99 Score:)

Great idea for a counting game for beginners, but the problem is the animals are hard to stack. We think kids will love sorting these by color, or by animal. Do they have more giraffes or monkeys? More lions or giraffes? Toss the color die and pick up one animal of a matching color. Who is the first to get all five animals? Toss the number die and you get to pick that many critters--first one to get ten wins. Play it in reverse. Deal out ten and toss the die to find out how many you get rid of. First person to be rid of all their critters wins the round. But play the stacking game and frustration sets in. That said, this is a nifty set of safari animals to help reinforce counting, colors, and concepts of more and less. For young preschooers, work on color concepts first and move on to simple counting. 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
Begin Again Dinosaur Skeleton Puzzle
(Begin again $20 Score:)

Such a clever two-sided wooden T-Rex puzzle! An eleven-piece dino fits into the puzzle box along with eight background pieces. On one side the T-rex's bones are shown; on the reverse the bones go under cover. It's tricky, but we even got the dino to stand up after it was all put together. Marked 3 & up, we think this will work better for kids who are a bit older.

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

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2015 Awards
Kaloo Petite Rose Musical Doll
(kalll $35 Score:)

A huggable 10" musical bunny with pink body and dress and purple leggings. None of the clothes come off and the features are stitched. Best of all, with a pull of the tail the music box inside plays a Russian folk tune. With no hard key to wind this is a safe huggable for babies and toddlers.

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

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2015 Awards
Kaloo Petite Rose Small Zig Musical
(Kaloo $31 Score:)

A sweet pull-down musical bunny in velvety plush with an accordion pleated body that climbs up as it plays an old-fashions tune, “Beautiful Lady, How I Love You.” Tie this onto the carrier, crib or stroller. A soothing musical to take along for naps away from home.  We tested the pink one, but it also comes in blue. Infants.

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

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2015 Awards
Diggin Kitchen
(Diggin $45.99 Score:)

A compact kitchen with stove top burners, an oven door that opens, storage for the wooden accessories, the spoons, spatula, knife, fork plate pizza, egg and don’t forget the pepper shaker(might be salt, you know.) All made of eco-friendly bamboo and trims in pink and blue. When play time is over it all packs away in a storage box with easy to tot handle. 3 & up.

SNAP: A good choice for tabletop pretend play that will fit on a wheelchair table or accessible surface.

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

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2015 Awards
Diggin Tool Kit
(Diggin $49.99 Score:)

An eco-friendly bamboo wood playset with tot size tools are perfect for pretend building. The kit includes a mini-workbench with hammer, screwdriver, wrench, screws, nuts, bolts and wooden building pieces. This is a pricey minit tool set, but it will go the distance and even allows for some building.  When the fun's done, put all the pieces into the box and it stores away or take it along for repairs at Gramma's house. It has a handle for serious builders who have work to do away from home. Ages 3+.

SNAP A good choice for table top pretend. This sturdy set allows kids with limited mobility a mini setting for pretend play. 3 and up

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

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2015 Award
Primary Science Big View Telescope
(Learning Resources $20 Score:)

Designed for very young, who are not ready for a powerful look at the stars, but will like seeing more of the world close-up. Of course, beginners have trouble using just one eye, so they may need some coaching to cover one eye and peek through the soft rubber eye-piece. There is a big focus knob that will change their view and a tripod that will hold the telescope steady when you find just the right spot to place the 20X green and blue telescope. They say 3 and up, we'd say more like 5.

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

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2014 Award
Bugs in the Kitchen Game
(Ravensburger $29.99 Score:)

Our testers were hilarious as they played this movable maze game trying to get the hex bug into a trap on their side of the board. Before you can play you do have to set up the maze with moveable forks and spoons; this is a one-time set up but may require adult help. After that you are ready to play as often as you like. Players take turns rolling the die and get to move either a fork or spoon gateway to get the hexbug trapped. There's just one hexbug to the set, but it might be fun to add a few more, should you happen to be very fond of these little buggers that scurry in a hurry. A fast action game that calls for some strategy, a big dose of luck and a lot of laughter. 6 & up

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

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2015 Award
Nancy B's Nature Keeper and Tree Diary
(Educational Insights $16.99 Score:)

A science kit that comes with a leaf/flower press, tweezers, and punch for doing crafts as well as science. It comes with a 22-page activity book with science experiments to do through the seasons along with space for keeping a diary of leafy finds along the way. Be sure to see the Black Light Illuminator kit in this collection that is directed to girls. 8 & up.

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

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2015 Award
Wonder Forge Mix Up! Fix Up! Game
(Wonder Forge $14.95 Score:)

Preschooler's favorite doctor, Doc McStuffins, has a new mystery game for them to play. Each player takes a turn at being the Doc and has to answer the questions others ask to find the instrument that will cure the patient. It’s a little like battleship for little kids with players guessing and covering up the wrong answers on the playing board. So, by deduction you get to the right answer and win a bandage. This is definitely a game played with a parent and one or more children. Marked 3 & up, but probably a better bet for older 4's and 5's.

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

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