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2015 Award
Alex Painter's Tool Box
(Alex $40.99 Score:)

For older kids here is box chock full of new materials to explore. There is a tray of a dozen watercolor tubes and another with a dozen acrylic paints. It comes with four paint brushes, 2 pencils, 2 palette knives, painting boards, a small watercolor pad, a collapsible water bucket, sharpener, eraser and all stored in a sturdy tool box for safe keeping. This is for painters 8 up.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Begin Again Dinosaur A to Z Puzzle
(Begin Again $30 Score:)

A colorful alphabet puzzle for dinohaulics. This wooden dino comes in a wooden tray for safekeeping and fits together in alphabetical order. Build it with upper case letters on one side or do it again with upper case letters. It is not easy, but it is rewarding. When it is all put together it can be stood up, too. Marked for 5 & up. We think even 6 and 7 year olds will like this, especially if they love dinosaurs.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
New Sprouts Reel It!
(Learning Resources $24.99 Score:)

Pretend fishing for your toddler's bathtub. A small green pail holds the fish that get caught on the little fisherman's fishing pole. There is no line to reel in and out, but there's a pretend reel that makes a good sound. Chances are the loop on the fish will be hooked with a two handed operation, but the fun of pretending is there and even that kind of two handed action helps develop eye hand coordination along with the imagination. Marked 2 & up; we think threes will like it more.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Faber Castell Paint with Marbles
(Faber castell $29.99 Score:)

A fun way to experiment with paints using marbles that twist and turn in the paint as they roll over the paper in the "magic" box tray. It's an opportunity to be inventive rather than having to make representative art. The kit comes with 10 shatterproof marbles, five tubes of washable paint, 20 pieces of paper, 3 reusable plastic stencils, clever spoons for picking up the marbles for those who hate to get their fingers dirty and a washable tray to use while making the art. Our tester liked the two textured brushes that make designs on the paper and foam frames and hanging tabs for displaying her artistic creations. 

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Creativity for Kids Macrame Terrarium
(Creativity for Kids $23.99 Score:)

A little bit of crafty action combines with science in this winning kit. It comes with all the ingredients to make the macramé sling that will hold the plastic terrariaum and all the decorative stones, potting mix, sand, and quick-to-sprout chia and wheat grass seeds. Before long a little garden will be sprouting where young gardeners can add the decorative little mushroom and deer. Clear directions are included. A great STEM product for future botanists with an artistic twist.

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Learning Resources Count & Stack Safari
(Learning Resources $14.99 Score:)

Great idea for a counting game for beginners, but the problem is the animals are hard to stack. We think kids will love sorting these by color, or by animal. Do they have more giraffes or monkeys? More lions or giraffes? Toss the color die and pick up one animal of a matching color. Who is the first to get all five animals? Toss the number die and you get to pick that many critters--first one to get ten wins. Play it in reverse. Deal out ten and toss the die to find out how many you get rid of. First person to be rid of all their critters wins the round. But play the stacking game and frustration sets in. That said, this is a nifty set of safari animals to help reinforce counting, colors, and concepts of more and less. For young preschooers, work on color concepts first and move on to simple counting. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Begin Again Dinosaur Skeleton Puzzle
(Begin again $20 Score:)

Such a clever two-sided wooden T-Rex puzzle! An eleven-piece dino fits into the puzzle box along with eight background pieces. On one side the T-rex's bones are shown; on the reverse the bones go under cover. It's tricky, but we even got the dino to stand up after it was all put together. Marked 3 & up, we think this will work better for kids who are a bit older.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Kaloo Petite Rose Musical Doll
(kalll $35 Score:)

A huggable 10" musical bunny with pink body and dress and purple leggings. None of the clothes come off and the features are stitched. Best of all, with a pull of the tail the music box inside plays a Russian folk tune. With no hard key to wind this is a safe huggable for babies and toddlers.

Age: Infants, Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Kaloo Petite Rose Small Zig Musical
(Kaloo $31 Score:)

A sweet pull-down musical bunny in velvety plush with an accordion pleated body that climbs up as it plays an old-fashions tune, “Beautiful Lady, How I Love You.” Tie this onto the carrier, crib or stroller. A soothing musical to take along for naps away from home.  We tested the pink one, but it also comes in blue. Infants.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Diggin Kitchen
(Diggin $45.99 Score:)

A compact kitchen with stove top burners, an oven door that opens, storage for the wooden accessories, the spoons, spatula, knife, fork plate pizza, egg and don’t forget the pepper shaker(might be salt, you know.) All made of eco-friendly bamboo and trims in pink and blue. When play time is over it all packs away in a storage box with easy to tot handle. 3 & up.

SNAP: A good choice for tabletop pretend play that will fit on a wheelchair table or accessible surface.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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