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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Art Supplies


Jumbo GRIP Colour Pencils
(Creativity for Kids $10 Score:) 12 color pencils have built-in finger grips. Color and then apply water with brush for watercolor effects. Comes with its own sharpener. (800) 311-8684. SNAP: These are thinner than the Alex colored pencils and lend themselves to older kids who would still benefit from finger grips built-in to the pencils. These are very special since after they draw they can turn lines into paint with a bit of water on a brush.

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

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2004 Awards
Crayon Sticks
(Elmer's $2.99 Score:) These oversized crayons are softer than most and will be easier to grasp. These are fine for encouraging big sweeping arm motion and tracing or free-form drawing. (888) 435-6377. SNAP AWARD: ACTIVITY: Use these on big shhets of paper on the floor, a table or easel. For developing eye hand these give juicy results- something like thick colored markers, but greasy. They may smudge some so, a shirt to cover up clothes may save some trouble.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2005 Award
Play-Doh Fuzzy Friends Farm
(Hasbro $9.99 Score:) Play-Doh is one of those products you either love or hate as a parent. We are long-time fans—the product can be used to build hand strength, and small pretend settings like this new farm are fun for pretend play as well. Classic Play-Doh ($2 & up ) without the doodads is still our favorite since it is the most open-ended. Remember, this self-hardening dough dries out if left uncovered. 3 & up. (800) 327-8264.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2006 Award
Super Rolling Art Center
(Alex $129 Score:) You need a lot of room for this generously sized art cart that has two easels and place for storing your child’s creations and supplies in between. The wheels gives this good-looking piece of equipment some portability. It does require a fair amount of assembly which was not always easy. That said, it looks like it belongs in a Pottery Barn catalog. If space is an issue, consider the BLUE CHIP Tabletop Easel ($40 ). Folds flat for convenient storage. (800) 666-2539.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2007 Awards
Funky Artist
(Alex $19.99 Score:) One step above finger paints, this set of three “funky” brushes is unlike anything you have seen before. One looks like a string mop, one like the soft brushes at the car wash, and one like a flower made of cloth. Each produces a different texture. Kit comes with three bottles of washable paint and flat dishes for paint. Fat handles make this easy for little hands to hold and bold colors will invite big arm movements as they experiment with spreading paints and mixing colors. There are little brushes included, but this is all about big strokes for little folks. 2 & up. (800) 666-2539.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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SparkArt Creativity System
(Fisher-Price $99.99 Score:) Imagine an easel that tells you what to do! Its so-called “magical technology” “gets kids’ creative juices going with audio prompts, inspiring them to use colors, sounds, objects, and the alphabet.” In other words, it tells your child what to draw. Where’s the creativity in following audio prompts? While the technology may be amazing (it has over 600 word combinations and sound effects), we don’t believe that kids should be standing at an easel waiting for instructions. From a developmental point of view, we want kids to be able to explore their own imagination and make their own sounds. Was not ready for testing, but the concept is misguided. 3 & up. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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