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Product Type: Toys

 


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
Earlyears Lil Shopper Play Set
(International Playthings $26.99 Score:)

So many goodies in this green felt shopping bag. An apple with a crinkle leaf and rattle, and orange that opens and closed with a rattle inside, a banana that has Velcro peels to pull open, a cabbage with crinkly leaves and a soft container with a cow on front and a mirror when you lift the top. Babies love the repetitive action of filling and spilling and these items are ideal for that. Learning to grasp these playing pieces, to pass them from one hand to another and to purposefully let go, helps to develop their fine motor skills. These fruits and veggies are also good for knowing and naming as well as early pretend. Or choose the bright yellow bag with a constuction set inside. There's a fabric vehicle, a stop sign, safety cone, a basket with a fabric rock, and a hard hat with mirror inside. This is the kind of toy that is a good choice for travel with lots of surprises to pull out of the bag as you spin a story and put the toys in baby's hands to explore. 6 months & up.

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

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2014 Award
Peaceable Kingdom Say the Word Game
(Peaceable Kingdom $24.99 Score:)


Fun for the whole family, Say the Word is a word game that involves silly story telling and recall. An appointed Story Master picks a character card and deals out three cards and a cue card to each of the other players. Now players take turns adding a word to the story. As words are incorporated into the story the Story Master writes them down on the erasable storyboard. Once 10-12 words are used, the next player does not draw a new card, but begins to retell the story, recalling and incorporating the words that are on the storyboard. Here's where the cooperative but often silly play comes in: if a player can not recall a word you can give up your cue card and the Story Master must try to act it out for you. If you still can't remember another person can give you his cue card and act out the word. The round ends when there are no more cue cards. Great for a small group of mixed ages that involves memory, story telling, and charades. Comes with 200 word cards, cue cards, story board and marker and is best for three to six players. Age 10 & up.

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

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2014 Award
Peaceable Kingdom Noodle Speedoodle
(Peaceable Kingdom $24.99 Score:)

Players take turns at grabbing one of the squiggly looking plastic noodles and a word card. Player must incorporate the noodle into a doodle drawing that represents the word chosen. If anyone can guess what you have drawn, you get to keep the noodle. At the end of the game the person or team with the most noodles wins. There are several variations of play with a spinner deciding how you play. A fun party game for 3-6 players ages 8 and up.

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

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2014 Award
Peaceable Kingdom Sunny Day Pond
(Peaceable Kingdom $15.99 Score:)

A ducky cooperative game that develops color matching, puzzle building, and fine motor skills. The big playing board has the images of three different four-piece puzzles. Players use the spinner on their turn that tells them what color puzzle piece they can take and match on the playing board. If you spin a rain-drop you must put one under the cloud. The object is for everyone to cooperatively finish the puzzles before there are no rain-drops left. So you are all playing against the game and the rain. Good fun, as well as helping beginners use their fine motor skill by learning how to rotate jigsaw puzzle pieces and fit them together. 3 & up.


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

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2014 Awards
Clifford the Big Red Dog Food Science Kit
(The Young Scientists Club $19.99 Score:)

One of the award winning Young Scientist Club kits designed for preschoolers. These are age appropriate experiments for parent & child projects. An interesting way to introduce preschoolers to some fundamental science experiences. Most of the ingredients needed have to come from your refrigerator or pantry. The kit contains a paper booklet with recipes for each experiment and some minimal plastic pieces: a funnel, tray, test tubes, two so-called cups, a lab tray, pipette, spoon, clothespin, special papers, and sticks for rock candy making. Be forewarned, the images and text may be a bit confusing. For example, the recipe for making ice cream says to use a "measuring cup" and the illustration further confounds the confusion by showing a hand with a good size cup in it, but do not use your own measuring cup. You are supposed to use the thimble-size measuring cup in the kit or there is no way the ingredients will fit in the plastic bags they provide. An unfortunate choice of words or materials. That said, the ideas here are going to be appealing to kids and promote the world of STEM right from the start. 3-6

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

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