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Product Type: Toys
Age: Infants

 

 
2003 Awards
Earlyears Sweet Baby Blocks
(International Playthings $13 Score:) Six soft, squeezable vinyl blocks, easy to grasp, with a colorful single image on each face of the cubes. Fun for stacking, knocking down, and tossing. These have been updated with new graphics on every side of the cubes. They have added graphic patterns that can also be matched by older children. These are a bit large for little hands to grasps easily, but the raised edge may help. Fun for stacking and knocking down. Images are a bit cartoonish so may be harder for kids to identify than more realistic images would be. Also, the Earlyears Soft Busy Blocks ($10) are soft stackable blocks which have soft sides and corded piping. Colorful graphics and patterns and quiet sounds make these good floor toys for beginners. 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: 2003.

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2003 Awards
Gymini Super Deluxe Electronic Lights & Music 3-D Activity Gym
(Tiny Love $65 Score:) All new graphics, lights, music, and a mirror have been added to this play mat. We were afraid the sound and lights would be over the top, but they are quiet and soothing with a choice of classical or nursery music. Like the original, this has two arches and dangly toys for gazing at and batting. Also new, Baby's Wind Chimes ($11 ), an add-on for baby to kick. Has a pleasing sound quality. SNAP: This is a good choice because the music and mirror add two more senses to the mix without making the mat overly busy.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
Oball
(Rhino Toys $6.95 Score:) Tots will have no trouble picking up this colorful easy-to-grasp ball with finger holes all over it. This is dishwasher safe and fun for rolling back and forth for early social games and ideal for tots who are crawling or developing two handed-ness as they pass it back and forth from one hand to another. It's also lightweight enough to be non-treatening for toddlers and preschoolers kids who are just learning to catch and throw. SNAP Activities: This soft easy to clutch ball needs no adaptation. It is lightweight and its many fingerholds, makes it a good choice for active play. For sitting still time, try pushing a soft scarf or odd socks inside and encourage your child to get them out. This builds dexterity and stick-to-it problem soving. For one on one time, you can also play a game by dangling this on a scarf and encouraging lttile ones to kick or bat at it.

Age: Infants,Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim-Mobile
(Manhattan Toy $27.99 Score:)

Newborns will be fascinated with the black-and-white, high-contrast patterns of the ten vinyl 3" discs and squares that dance and dangle on this nonmusical mobile for the crib or changing table.  Not as cute looking as other mobiles, but babies do react to the visual stimulation of this crib toy.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2003. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Awards
Symphony in Motion Deluxe
(Tiny Love $49.95 Score:)

Sadly, this product has been discontinued. How do you make a good thing better? Add a remote control and new animals to this clever musical mobile with innovative motion. Small shapes slide on the arms of the mobile, making a clicking sound as the mobile turns. The sound quality is better than most and it plays several classical selections. Still top rated, Symphony in Motion with Calder-like shapes or other animals. PLATINUM AWARD '02.

SNAP This award-winning mobile now comes with a remote control so you can turn the music from a distance. Unlike most mobiles, this innovative offering has more visual interest of several kinds: it tips as it spins, causing objects to shift their positions in interesting ways. It also pauses, and the start-and-stop motion adds another kind of interest. Small shapes slide on the arms of the mobile and make small clicking sounds as the musical mobile turns. The sound quality on this mobile is better than most, and it plays several classical music selections. (800) 843-6292.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Tolo First Friends Rocker
(Reeves International $10 Score:)

Just a swipe of the hand makes the beads roll and two little figures spin as it rocks. Interesting for gazing at, but even better for two-handed play. Also top rated: Twist & Turn, Play Triangle Activity Cube, or Gripper Rattle, all beautifully crafted in sturdy primary-colored plastic with interesting action for baby to manipulate.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2004.

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2003 Award
Discover & Play Color Blocks
(Baby Einstein $12.99 Score:)

We like the new Discover & Play Color Blocks that have interesting textures on each side. One block makes a quacking sound that your baby will enjoy hearing long before she'll be able to make it happen. These are fun for stacking and knocking down. Editor's Note: Unfortunately, these blocks are no longer available.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2003.

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2004 Award
Developlay Activity Center
(Tiny Love $44.95 Score:)

Sadly, this product has been discontinued. A two-sided activity center loaded with interesting challenges for the senses. A polka-dotted spinner reflects in a mirror; music plays with a press of the happy face; pull a ring to make a "hammer" rise and fall. Flip it over for musical buttons, knobs to turn, a gentle pop-up, and gears that spin. 9 mos. & up.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Awards
Roll & Rhyme Melody Block
(LeapFrog $19.99 Score:) Turn this big fabric block and it either plays music or says a rhyme about the animal featured on the topmost face. The block includes a small mirror, peek-a-boo leaves that open to reveal a parrot, a polar bear that slides on the snow, a fox that pops in and out of its den, and a lion with a satiny mane. Fun for rolling as well as exploring its textures and sounds. They say birth & up, wed say more like 6 mos. & up. SNAP: Pleasingly easy to activate. Use this for a sing along or talking moment..naming the illustrations on the block or immitating the sounds.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Tolo First Friends Carousel
(Reeves International $20 Score:)

So happy that this wonderful toy is back in the market! A former Platinum Award winner, it's now on our Blue Chip Award List. What we wrote in 2002: Finding easy-to-activate toys is key for young babies who are just learning the power of making something happen. Tolo First Friends Carousel comes with a big knob to make the little people spin inside a see-through dome.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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