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Product Type: Toys

 


2014 Award
Plan Toys Croquet
(Plan Toys $39.99 Score:)

For indoors play here's a croquet game with 4 wickets, a final stand, two mallets and four animal wooden balls. They all come in a fabric bag for neat storage. Unlike wickets for outdoor play that are usually poked into the ground, these are cleverly designed with rope and wooden weights that you arrange to curve. You can adjust them high or wide and a little more challenging. Plan Toys also makes a wooden Golf Set for preschoolers. 4 & up.

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

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2014 Awards
Plan Toys Bunny Racer
(Plan Toys $12.99 Score:)

Little hands will have no trouble pushing this chunky little bunny around in its nifty little orange racing car with bright green wheels. Bunny's head fits in the hand and is shaped for easy grasping. Fun for crawlers and beginning pretenders. Not exactly a racer, but this is not about speeding, but rather simple locomotion for young toddlers who are just starting their own locomotion skills. If you prefer a brighter look, consider Plan Toys' Chicken Racer, the same size as Bunny Racer only more colorful with red car, blue wheels, and white chick with yellow trims. Bunny or Chicken do not come out of the vehicle for safety reasons. Plan Toys uses sustainable rubber wood that is coated with a non-toxic finish and colors from vegetable dye.1 & up.

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

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2014 Awards
Plan Toys Fire Truck Mini Vehicle
(Plan Toys $15.99 Score:)

Just right for small hands, this uncomplicated wooden fire truck is scaled for crawlers and beginning pretenders to roll around. Colored in somewhat muted red vegetable dye, the little driver does not come out (for safety reasons) but he turns as does the light on top as the fire truck rolls along the floor. No sounds, not batteries, no little pieces, no premade story. It is a lovely little vehicle for beginners active play style and early lessons in cause and effect. Plan Toys uses sustainable rubber wood that is coated with a non-toxic finish and colors from vegetable dye.1 & up

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

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2014 Awards
Plan Toys Braille Alphabet
(Plan Toys $29.99 Score:)


Two-sided wooden alphabet pieces have upper case on one side and lower case on the reverse. Made of wood, they are smooth and have a corner bent for ease of lifting and turning. They also have Braille symbols on each side. Use these for playing knowing and naming letter or sound games. Sort them by finding all the straight edged letters and then find all the ones with rounded lines. Plan Toys uses sustainable rubber wood that is coated with a non-toxic finish and colors from vegetable dye. Marked for 2 & up. We'd say more like a 3-5 year old choice.

SNAP: Useful for all sorts of knowing and naming letter names and sound games. Introduce just a few pieces at a time and play with those names and sounds.

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

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2014 Award
Spot it! Freeze
(Blue Orange Games $25 Score:)

Newest addition to the Spot it! games, a timer that really puts the pressure on players as they try to spot the matching images on two cards. There are different ways to play and two different setting on the timer that add to the challenge. However you play there is only one matching pair on any two cards, so you have to be fast. Our testers were not sure the timer would be fun for all players; it is definitely for older players. This set of cards features "temperature-charged" things such as polar bears, camels, umbrellas, beach chairs, etc. Instead of the usual round tin, the cards store in the timer, making this still an easy-to-take along game for family fun. Our testers also like the stand-alone game of Spot It Splash, no timer needed, just match up images that all relate to the water, such as boats, fish, sand castles and such. 8 to adult.

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

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2014 Award
Crayola Paint Maker
(Crayola $24.99 Score:)

Our 10-year old reviewer, who is interested in art was excited about this new take on paint that she could make herself. You get 75 color strips in three colors(red, blue, and yellow) with a color mixing guide for making custom colors. The kit also includes 15 small paint pots and labels along with base white paint and brush. Our tester's mom writes that Paint Maker "is a neat way to be part of the artistic process from the ground up." Our tester "enjoyed picking out the color combinations and was able to do the entire thing very readily on her own...getting much more satisfaction out of creating artwork from her custom creations than she would from a set of store bought paints. Each creation earned some "oohs" and "aahhs."On the negative side, though the toy is operated with a hand crank (look, Ma, no batteries!) it is a little bit loud and there were some complaints of a tired hand. That said, it was fun for a good while! From the parent's paint of view, the big bonus is that it is not too messy since the paint colors are achieved by combining little paper thin strips of yellow, blue and red pigment in various combinations within each paint pot. So, this is not an instantaneous dive in and paint material. It's more about mixing and making the materials before the painting even can begin. A refill pack is available. 8 & up

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

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2014 Awards
Plan Toys Mini Vehicle Helicopter
(Plan Toys $15.99 Score:)

Easy to grasp, this little yellow and orange helicopter has a pilot and soft propeller that spin as it is pushed along. Designed for crawling babies and toddlers for active play and beginning pretending. Little lessons in cause and effect are built into the action of the toy. Made of smooth rubber wood and colored with vegetable dyes. 12 months & up

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

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2014 Awards
Plan Toys Bird Walker
(Plan Toys $100 Score:)

On-the go toddlers will like the noisy parrots that bob up and down as they push this walker wagon around. Loaded with 16 colored blocks they can play another favorite game of fill and dump as they take their deliveries from place to place. This is a pretty heavy walker with an adjustable handle that satisfies beginning walkers who like to hold on to something as they start to walk about on their own two feet. Made of sustainable rubber wood and colored with vegetable dyes, this is one of those toys that will be passed along to younger sibs, cousins and close friends. They say 10 months & up, we say for babies who are up on their feet and pretty steady.

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

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2014 Awards
Hape Dream House
(HaPe $199.99 Score:)

Our tester loves the see-through elevator that runs up and down the outside of this three-story house with chalk siding so kids can customize the exterior walls. It not only comes mostly furnished, it has decorative wallpapered interior walls that are magnetized to hold easy-to-fill picture frames for original artwork or photos. The 32-piece doll house kitchen counter, refrigerator, sofa, loveseat, 3 rugs, coffee table, floor lamp, toilet, bathtub, bed with comforter, pillows, 2 side table, armoir, media cabinet, magnetized wall sconces, wall clock, 2 art frames, bath vanity, toilet paper roll, mirror, shower,LCD/TV, and wall shelf. Note: Dolls are available in families or individually and sold separately. 3 & up

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

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2014 Award
Zingo! Word Builder
(Thinkfun $19.99 Score:)

Our testers loved the fast-paced action of sliding the zinger machine to reveal two letters. Players take letter that they can use to complete a word on their playing boards. Possible words do vary so this game is rarely ever the same. In fact, it helps beginners see all the variations they can make as well as demonstrating the need to look at all the letters to see the difference between words that look almost alike. First player to fill his board is the winner. A fun way to reinforce reading skills for beginners who are learning to build phonetically regular three letter words. 5 & up

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

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