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Product Type: Toys
Age: Toddlers
Categories: Manipulatives

 

 
2010 Awards
Stack 'n Surprise Blocks Musical Croc Block Wagon
(Fisher-Price $29.99 Score:)

Although many toys are supposed to "grow" with your child, most tend to fit one stage better than another. This one really is a keeper for babies as well as toddlers. For the sitting up baby, this is an ideal floor toy with six Stack 'n Surprise blocks under the peg back of the Croc. It's an ideal put and take toy with places to stack the blocks that pop up as they are put on the big pegs. The green Croc's mouth opens and when you put the blocks in its mouth they reappear with peek-a-boo magic inside the Croc. The rolling eyes of the croc move with a swipe of a hand. Put a block on the back and it will rise. All of these activities are meant for babies even before they can walk about. But, now, open the long handle that locks under the body of the Croc and your toddler will use this for a pull along or push along toy as they begin to walk about. All the stacking blocks with jolly faces can ride along or stay inside. There is sound and a volume control, but happily it can be turned off and is the least important part of the toy. Although this will be enjoyed by infants who are sitting up, it will also be a great treat for a 1st birthday gift. 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:  A fun way to play peek-a-boo games that teach children about object permanence. Put the block inside of the Crocs mouth and abra-ca-dabra they reappear under the Croc's back. There are easy to activate cause and effect games here with a swipe of the hand they can make the Croc's eyes roll or pop up action in the blocks when they are sacked. For children with locomotion delays, this is a good-sized rolling toy that can convert into a push or pull toy. The sounds can be turned off, but they too have a lot to do with cause and effect since the music plays when you open the Croc's mouth or roll it along. Happily, it can be enjoyed with or without sound.

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

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2010 Award
Schylling ABC Nesting Cubes
(Schylling $16.99 Score:)

Grandparents will love the look of this retro set of stacking and nesting blocks with old graphics that look like treasures that came out of the attic. There are objects to count as well as letter names and objects to recognize. The cardboard blocks are good for language skills as well as math and phonics. But for beginners, fitting them in size order will be challenge enough. In fact for true beginners, knocking them over after you help stack them up will be the most fun. In other words this is a toy that can grow with them as various skills develop. 18 months & up.


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

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

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2010 Award
Wonderworld Flower Stacker
(Wonderworld $25 Score:)

Toddlers and young preschoolers will love the many colorful pieces of this stacking toy with "flower" shapes that fit one into another. They are stacked on a round wooden platform and can lean in a long arc or in shorter stacks. The wooden pegs at the end of each piece are chunky enough for inexperienced hands to command. There is no right or wrong way to use this, but it is great for eye hand coordination and learning about balancing things. Once they have mastered fitting the flower pegs together, you can move on to color concepts, making an all red stack or a patterned stack by alternating colors. Use them for comparing more and less--are there more red ones than green? Fewer orange ones than yellow? How long can you make your flower before it falls? You can also play a color sorting and stacking game off of the platform. The wooden pieces are made of environmentally friendly rubberwood and painted and silky to the touch. They are finished in a water-based non-toxic paint. They say 18 months & up. We'd say more like 2 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: Toddlers, Preschool. Phone: Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Alex Baby Builder
(Alex $24 Score:)

This set of 26 big shapes will be your baby's first "building" set. With 8 different shapes in 6 bright colors these will be used for filling and dumping out of the see through container. They will be chewed, passed from hand to hand and eventually they will be connected. Some can be snapped together, others fit with a slide or a twist. Pulling them apart is as much fun as getting them together and easier, too. Babies love these multiple pieces that are fun to scatter but a little less fun to put away. They say 6 months, we'd say more like 9 months and up, up, 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, Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Awards
Alex Match & Stack
(Alex $16.99 Score:)

Ten colorful blocks that fit into each other or can be stacked. Graphics on one side of the blocks feature the head and body of a lion, the head, middle and bottom of a giraffe, and the head and body of a zany looking zebra. Another side of the blocks can be stacked to make a giant stem of a flower. Still another side has silly looking monsters or numerals with matching objects from 1 to 10. Use them for stacking and knocking down with the youngest players. Usee them for learning about size order and nesting with older toddlers. Fun for language, part/whole games and simple counting. A lot of play possibilities here for toddlers and preschoolers. 2 & up
The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

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

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2010 Award
Lauri Tall-Stacker Mighty Monkey Peg & Pegboard Set
(Lauri $20 Score:)

A crepe rubber pegboard comes with 25 mighty monkeys to stack, balance and count. They are fun as a manipulative toy for older toddlers to stack and balance. How high a stack can you make? How wide can you make them? Use them for naming colors, making patterns and for developing fine motor skills. The set comes with an activity guide that includes ideas for color matching, counting, and early math. However, start your toddler with this set as an open-ended toy that can be used in multiple ways. Toddlers will simply like having so many pieces to fill and spill out of the box or to line up or stack. Save some of the suggested games for older preschoolers. 2 & up.

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

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

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2010 Award
Playskool Activity Tower
(Hasbro $14.99 Score:)

Playskool has given a new look to a set of stacking and nesting blocks. The base block has a dial that ratchets when turned, beads that rattle, a small mirror and twirling face dial, a sliding door and a grab-on handle. Fit all the other blocks inside the biggest one or stack the others four in a size order tower. The top block has a face and squeaks when it is pushed down. There are raised numerals as well as raised shapes that match the numeral on each block for simple counting. A good toy for exploring size order, stacking, nesting and beginning math concepts. Marked for babies over nine months, but will be a better bet for 12 months & 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, Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Tickly Toy Zebra Soft Block Set
(North American Bear Co. $28 Score:)

Three fabric blocks, one with a rattle, another with a crinkle and a 3rd with a squeaker. The faces on each cube have black and white high contrast or bold graphics in cream, red or green and black. There are faces, that always catch babys attention as well as interesting patterns. Each block also has black and white plush textured zebra patterns. There is a see through window for putting a photo inside as well as tabs to grab. Stack 'em, knock 'em down and put them on your head. These are good toys for interacting with sitting up babies. 7 months & 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, Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Awards
Stack 'n Surprise Count 'n Build Snail Pail
(Fisher-Price $22.94 Score:)

Ten colorful Stack 'n Surprise Blocks come in a clever 'pail' the most open-ended playset of this award winning line. Although they call it a count 'n build toy, for starters babies are going to use it for fill and dump games. Babies will like the sound of the plastic blocks thrown into the see through pail. The carry handle and lids of the container are building platforms where blocks can be stacked. Each has a pop up action that reveals a little face and one-with a snail head has a squeaker. Use this toy for building language concepts as well. Talk about the colors, about adding one more, about the making the stack taller, about covering all the pegs on the lid, and you can even count them. There are numerals impressed on the blocks, so older sibs may like putting them in numerical order. In the same line, look for the Peek-a-boo Choo-Choo, Blockity Pop Caterpillar, Dump Truck, and the Stack n Surprise Blocks Songs n Smiles Sillytown. They say 6-36 months. Wed say more like 9 months & up.  

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Playskool Blocksters Block Spot
(Hasbro $22.99 Score:)

We were disappointed with this attractive looking set of nine colorful blocks. Handsomely designed to fit into a big yellow carrying case (that acts like a shape sorter), we found the case way too hard for kids to open or close. The round, square and triangular blocks are, at first glance, colorful and tempting. But they turn out to be far too big for the little hands they are meant for and several have no sound or action at all.  Though all of them have a face, the other features are disconnected graphics. This was a missed opportunity to do some mix and matching with front and back end of creatures that could have been paired. One round block has a dial too stiff to move well for the clicking reward. We liked the one with the mirror and one with a roller.  But the cow block with udders that are supposed to squeak are too hard for little hands to activate.  The other blocks have nothing or just a little rattle sound inside. All in all, this is one of those toys that 'could of-should of' been better executed. 

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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