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Product Type: Toys
Award: Blue Chip

 

 
1995 Awards
Kids Perception Puzzle
(Lauri $7.95 Score:)

This is a classic puzzle that looks easier than it really is. Figures that look quite similar are in slightly different poses. Kids must look at small differences, just as they must when reading words that look almost alike, such as "cap" and "cup." A good choice for refining visual perception. 5-7.

 

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 1995. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Awards
Parquetry Blocks and Cards
(Learning Resources $28.95 Score:)

Thirty-two geometric-shaped tiles are arranged on top of 20 colorful patterns. Advanced players can use tiles without the patterns. Develops skills in matching and sequencing patterns - skills that are also needed in putting letters together to make words. 5-8.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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1996 Awards
Wax Works
(Chenille Kraft Co. $4.95 Score:) Wax Works waxy sticks (now come in glow-in-the-dark hues) can be coiled, twisted, and shaped into free-form sculptures.Also great for shaping letters to get the feel of the direction letters go without needing pencil and paper. Develops visual and tactile sense. Also recommended Creativity Street, a great box full of supplies including Wax Works($14.95). 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 1996.

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1995 Awards
Chimalong
(Woodstock Percussion $39.99 Score:)

Unlike most musical toys for kids, the tone of this metal-chime xylophone is lovely. Can be played by number/color or musical notation. Can be enjoyed by a preschooler, but becomes a true musical instrument for older children--also reinforces reading from left to right. Mini version is less expensive, but is not as sweet sounding. That said, this is a pleasant travel take-along toy. Says 3 & up; we'd say 4–8.

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

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 1995. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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1997 Awards
Kids' Tom Tom
(Woodstock Percussion $40 Score:) If you're lucky, they'll let you play this colorful drum while they dance—or switch roles and boogie! Comes with mallets, but testers say that tones are better when played by hand. Also terrific: a Kids' Konga Drum, Two-Headed Bongo, and Ocean Drum.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 1997.

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2001 Awards
Gearbotics
(Learning Resources $58.95 Score:) This series of motorized plastic gears are interesting to construct. We still highly recommend the Robot, Oogly Googly, Sonic Insect, and Space Station (more than this year's Monster). The original nonmotorized Gears! Gears! Gears! sets remain our favorites because they are more open-ended and develop problem-solving skills as kids make their own moving machines. ($20/$40 ). New for 2003 , Under the Sea Set ($29.95 ) with 67 pieces including fish, turtles, whales, and an octopus. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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1995 Awards
Music Maker Harp
(Peeleman-McLaughlin $50 Score:) No electronic sounds here. This is a cross between a zither and an autoharp, but much easier to learn to play. Slip one of 12 follow-the-dot song sheets under the strings and pluck on the dotted lines. Has a soft and lovely tone. Includes folk, Beatles, and classical music sheets. You can buy extra music for this once the first set is mastered. 6 and up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 1995.

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1995 Awards
Giant Periscope
(Tasco $15 Score:) For exploring around corners, this sturdy, plastic double-handled periscope is just right. Made of sturdy plastic this is a fun toy for dramatic play as well as visual discoveries. This company also makes a full line of microscopes and telescopes.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 1995.

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2007 Awards
Groovy Girls and Groovy Boys
(Manhattan Toy $10 Score:)

This continues to be a BLUE CHIP collection of soft 13" multi-ethnic dolls with stitched features, yarn hair, and groovy clothes. Happily, there is a boy doll in this line.  Still the superlative gift, consider Supersize Yvette or Gwen ($50 each 5), a 40" child-sized fabric doll that’s like a pretend play pal. We found the new Groovy Girls’ PetRageous ($16.99) disappointing. If you didn’t see the hangtags you wouldn’t know they were from the same folks—they lack the wonderful design quality and spirit of the dolls. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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1995 Awards
Babys First Blocks
(Fisher-Price $12.99 Score:)

Technically this is a shape-sorter, but the 10 blocks will be used to fill, spill and throw long before the baby can fit them into the three-place shape-sorter lid of the container. Put the lid away for now. A no gimmick classic that is neither complicated nor expensive. We much preferred this toy when it only had three shapes (circle, square and triangle)--the addition of the other shapes and more openings makes this less elegant and user friendly...but still a good basic toy.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 1995. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Copyright 1995-2013

 

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