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Product Type: Toys
Age: Toddlers

 

 
2007 Awards
Earlyears Baby Dino Rocker
(International Playthings $99.99 Score:) This very low-to-the-ground rocker has little action. Designed for short toddlers and/or those who are not ready for wild action rides. Solidly built, this green dino has a satiny, colorful mane. No sound effects except for some crinkly sounds in the satin mane. They say 12 months; we’d say 18–20 months, and then adult help will still be needed. (800) 445-8347. Note: Low-to-the-ground rockers for toddlers are used for a short time, but match the young toddler’s love of motion and repetitive action. These are low enough to the ground so that the older toddler can get on and off with independence, and they’re slow enough to be soothing. Often promoted for older infants and young toddlers, these are a better choice for toddlers who are steady on their feet. (This was especially true this year where several of our contenders made the rounds with our testers—much like Goldilocks and the Three Bears . . . some testers found the rockers too small [and boring] and others found them too high. So our recommendation is to try before you buy).

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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Surfin' Elmo Rocker
(Little Tikes $29.99 Score:) Fans of Elmo may enjoy taking a ride on Elmo’s back. Elmo also giggles and talks, but you can turn that feature off (thankfully). Some testers had trouble getting on and off by themselves. Difficult to put together. 1 & up. (800) 321-0183. Note: Low-to-the-ground rockers for toddlers are used for a short time, but match the young toddler’s love of motion and repetitive action. These are low enough to the ground so that the older toddler can get on and off with independence, and they’re slow enough to be soothing. Often promoted for older infants and young toddlers, these are a better choice for toddlers who are steady on their feet. (This was especially true this year where several of our contenders made the rounds with our testers—much like Goldilocks and the Three Bears . . . some testers found the rockers too small [and boring] and others found them too high. So our recommendation is to try before you buy).

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
My Giant Floor Puzzle
(Alex $25 Score:)

You will need to put this big 17-piece/36"-round puzzle mat together. Toddlers will have fun knowing and naming and helping you put the whole-piece puzzle parts into place. It has a cow, chick, flower, butterfly, tree, and other big pieces. For playtime together fun, roll a little car around and stop at the tree or the sheep or the bee. Use this colorful playmat for talking about colors and familiar objects. Also available with Three Bears House theme. Marked 0 & up, meaning it can be used as a playmat, but we think the pieces will be lost by the time an older toddler is ready for puzzle and play. We’d say more like 18 mos. & up. (800) 666-2539.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Awards
Kiddy Connects
(Edushape $12 Score:) A plastic jar comes loaded with 36 ball-shaped connectors with short arms that fit together in patterns or random shapes. A fun way to develop dexterity, color words, and even beginning counting skills, along with problem solving, as tots figure out how to fit the arms together. 21⁄2 & up. (800) 404-4744. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Lego Duplo Zoo
(Lego Systems, Inc. $25 Score:) The latest in the themed sets in the Duplo line, this comes with a sheet of eyes that you can add to the blocks to create your own animals (of course with a toddler, you’ll need to help with this). Our testers really enjoyed placing the eyes on with help! Parents loved the green storage case. Still top rated, Duplo Thomas Load and Carry Train Set ($29.99 ), easy-to-assemble tracks and environment including train, movable light signal, and cargo tower. 61 pieces. Our older toddler testers “looooved” this set! PLATINUM AWARD ’06. 2 & up. (Technically this set has been discontinued but it is still available on line.) We've been told that this product is being discontinued but it is still available on line.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Mini EduBlocks
(Edushape $64.95 Score:) These peg-top blocks are bigger than Lego Quatros or giant-size Mega Bloks, and they are softer and more pliable. This makes them quieter and easier to manipulate for beginners. They come in four shapes and colors, and are ideal for making big constructions. They say 6 mos., we’d say more like 18 mos. Also new for , Soft Wood-Like Blocks ($18.95 1⁄2) Surprisingly pleasing light-weight blocks that look like the real thing, cut in standard unit block sizes of non-crumbly, super-dense, quiet foam. Set of 30 that will mix well with wooden blocks later. Also Educolor Blocks ($14.95 1⁄2), a similar but smaller-scaled set in primary colors. (800) 404-4744. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Babicorolle
(Corolle $18 Score:) Corolle has beautiful dolls for every age group. For ones, we recommend soft huggables that feel big but are lightweight. Babipouce ($23), an old favorite, is now available with Asian and African-American as well as Caucasian painted vinyl faces and soft bodies. Their clothes are sewn-on velour and available in boyish as well as utterly pink choices. New and adorable, Miss Grenadine ($18 5), done in deliciously bright hot pink and orange stripes with stitched features. 1 & up. Twos and up will enjoy Corolle’s Tidoo collection ($32–$50), sweet 12" tubbable/floatable bald-headed dolls with beanbag bodies. Come dressed in knit outfits with Velcro. Safety note: Some Tidoo sets have small bottles, pacifiers, or fabric balls which we do not recommend for this age group. (800) 668-4846.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2008 Award
Asthma Friendly Puppy Dog and Elephant
(Kids Preferred $18 Score:) Choose a pink-and-white or blue-and-white spotted 12" floppy dog in this special constructed fabric that according to the company "does not contain allergens or irritants known to trigger asthma and associated allergies". Soft filled, this is big enough for cuddling, yet lightweight for toddlers to hug, lug, and tug along. Stitched features make this safe and appealing. Also cute, Comfort Cuddly blue Hippo and yellow Cow. Both have dabs of satin trim and stitched features. Newest entry in this cuddly soft line is a pink and white spotted elephant! Very cute. (866) 763-8869.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2008.

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2007 Awards
Flatopotamus
(North American Bear Co. $17 Score:)

These floppy, understuffed, under-structured huggables are oversized and totally appealing to toddlers who like their toys big! We’ve seen the hippo and bear before, but the lime green frog and pink elephant are new and very cute. These are 25" or 15" but light enough for toddlers to handle with ease. Or for another big armful to love, choose the velvety 22" Creeper Sleeper Dog ($17 ) in blue polka-dot jammies, or Cat with pink, with stitched details and nonremovable PJs. (800) 682-3427.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Award
Smushy Elephant
(North American Bear Co. $25 Score:)

You’ve heard of the three bears? How about three adorable pachyderms? In creamy white with pink or blue satin ribbons or powder blue, these fuzz-free huggables have high and low plush, turned up trunks, and floppy ears, and come in a 25", 17", or 11" cuddly soft armful. Very lovable! (800) 682-3427.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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