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Product Type: Toys
Age: Infants
Categories: The Vertical Infant

 

 
2011 Awards
LeapFrog Peek-A-Shoe Talking Octopus
(LeapFrog $30 Score:)

Ever thought of playing three card Monty with your baby? Well, that's sort of what the Peek-a-Shoe Talking Octopus does. It comes with four balls that slide down one of two chutes and asks baby to find where the ball has landed. Is it behind the red shoe, the blue shoe, or the green, orange, or yellow shoe? Baby lifts a shoe and the octopus reinforces the color name of the shoe lifted. There is also a  number mode and the shoes are marked with the numerals from 1-5. This is more of a toodler toy in the concept department, however, for kids young enough for this peek-a-boo toy, we'd say the cause and effect action will be rewarding.  Number recognition and color words are not top priority for the sitting-up baby who will chiefly like the repetition and peek-a-boo fun. With time, the simple color and counting concepts will interest toddlers as they grow into the next level. 9-36 months.

SNAP: A useful toy for reinforcing color names and numerals. There is no real counting involved here, but you can do that with this little game: Tell your child no peeking. Now, put a treat such as a cracker or small pretzel under the shoe with a three on it. Say to the child: Listen. I will clap to tell you where the treat is. Now you clap three times. Does the child lift shoe 3? Make a fuss if the child opens the 3 shoe and gets the treat. If need be, repeat the clapping and have the child count out loud as you do so.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Awards
Early Years Lil' Shopper Play Set
(International Playthings $24.99 Score:)

A charming little felt shopping bag that holds five fabric pieces of "food" created in a variety of textures. There's a yellow banana with pull down peel, crunchy sound and corded texture; a green lettuce with a happy face stitched on the center and green crunchy leaves and a rattle inside; a silky nylon red plum tomato with a green felt leaf and chime inside; a shiny blue vinyl milk container with a cow on the front and when you "open" the top there's a small mirror inside; and there's a textured orange that has a happy face and lifts up to reveal the "cut" fruit!  Good fun for tracking games with the littlest baby, for fill and dump games that sitting up babies will enjoy, and perfect for developing language. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.  We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Awards
Sassy Sensory Ball Set
(Sassy $9.99 Score:) Looking for something to play with your sitting up baby? One ball has interesting fabric textures to touch (and taste), another has another smaller jingle ball safely enclosed - with slates so that babies can pick it up and turn it, and the last ball has bumps all over it--also interesting to explore. This set can be used in so many ways! You can use them for first games of roly poly. You can also play peek-a-boo games by placing one of the balls under a blanket and then watch as your baby pulls it off! Balls are also great ways of encouraging babies to crawl!! For more activities take a look at our book Read It! Play It! with Babies and Toddlers. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Awards
Sassy Wonder Wheel
(Sassy $8.99 Score:)

This has become our new favorite highchair toy!  The wonder wheel moves with ease when your sitting up baby or toddler touches it.  Our testers loved putting it in motion and watching the little beads inside cascade.  The beads are safely enclosed and make a pleasing (but not overly loud or annoying sound) as they spin.  A perfect example of a toy being right on the mark in terms of developmental appropriateness and design without a lot of costly and unnecessary bells and whistles!  The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.  We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Sassy Bumpy Ball
(Sassy $9.99 Score:)

Roll this bumpy ball and it will wibble-wobble as it goes. Covered with easy to grab soft fabric knobs, this jolly looking fabric ball has many patterns for visual interest. There are stripes and polka-dots in bright contrasting colors. It also has two see-through plastic knobs on either side that turn. Inside of both knobs are small mirrors and colorful beads that are reflected as they rattle. This just says, come on, roll it, toss it, and turn it. 6 months and up.

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

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Awards
Ambi Ted & Tess Carousel
(Schylling $19.99 Score:)

Welcome back, Ted and Tess! A classic toy that has been missing in action for a few seasons. These spinning bears go round and round when baby pushes the knob on top. The brightly colored spinning top is made of sturdy plastic and has a flat bottom that sits flat on the floor. A fun toy for learning about cause and effect and for making things happen. Babaies will need adults to sctivate the bears, but in time they will be able to make it happen. Such a feeling of power! 6 months & up.

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

SNAP: It's not always easy finding toys that respond to a swipe of the whole hand. This classic spinning toy is sturdy and easy to activate.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Awards
Guess How Much I Love You Developmental Soft Block
(Kids Preferred $14.99 Score:)

A soft fabric block with easy to grab handle, ribbon tabs for feeling, a teether for chewing, a mirror for viewing, and a pocket for a photo Lots of sensory feedback in this classic kind of toy with a picture book connection. The graphics come out of the blue chip book by the same name. Also in the same line, but forgettable, is a small plush bunny with blinking light-up ears and annoying electronic sounds.

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

SNAP A lot of textures to explore. This is also a good toy for playing give and take games. It will not roll as far and easily as a ball, but that can be a plus for kids who are not ready to crawl. 

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Plan Toys Baby Car
(Plan Toys $14.95 Score:)

A sweet little car with of smooth wood that rolls easily with just a swipe of the hand. It's flexible so it is easy for little hands to grab and push. There's nothing complicated here, just take it out of the box and let baby explore. Made of eco-friendly wood and colored with water-based non-toxic colors that are attractive and safe. A good choice for babies who are crawling. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.  We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Playskool Explore 'N Grow Push 'N Stack Gears
(Hasbro $14.95 Score:)

With its big hand grip, this big eyed blue critter is easy for baby to grasp and it's just right for rolling along the floor. It is colorful, light, has textures on each wheel and three fabric tufts (cotton, satin and corduroy) on top of its head. Best of all the gears on its side twirl as it goes along. Lift the gears out and they can be stacked in a tower and then fitted back into their slots. A fine choice for a baby learning to crawl. Over 9 months.
The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Manhattan Toy Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Alphabet Fill & Spill
(Manhattan Toy $24.99 Score:)

A see through container with colorful fabric trim and leaves. Inside baby can drop or take out the colorful fabric shapes that are printed with letters of the alphabet. Each shape has a different sound effect inside. This is not about learning letters or counting. It just happens to be an attractive toy for filling and dumping games that babies enjoy. You can add other items to the holder that have interesting textures.   


SNAP: Add pieces of fabric to the holder and talk about the way they feel. Try a washcloth, a satiny toy, a bumpy fabric such as corduroy, a wooden block, etc.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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