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Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Review Year: 2012

 


2012 Award
Sticky Hearts
(Pomegranate $19.99 Score:)

A collection of more than 100 reusable, vinyl stickers of various sizes and colors. They come with a booklet showing how to make a variety of animals. Most of the stickers are heart shapes. The box has a play area for arranging the stickers. Copying the models in the booklet calls for visual discrimination and dexterity. Once kids have experience with this they will most probably want to try their own designs. A good choice for travel and other quiet times. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Franklin Intermediate 90mm Bocce Ball Set
(Franklin $17.99 Score:)

Good family fun for the backyard with this inexpensive Bocce Ball set. It comes with 8 large bocce balls, two in each of four colors and a small white pollino ball that you will be aiming to hit. This comes with its own storage bag so you can bring it along to family parties. It might become part of your family party tradition. 2-4 players can join the fun. There are pricier sets, but this set sold at Target is a good way to find out if your family loves it. Great for multi-generational crowds. 6 & up

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Rainbow Ribbons
(University Games $7.77 Score:)

Your aspiring athlete can try a hand at a skill that was recently added to the Olympics. All they need is this rainbow colored ribbon that is 6 feet long and attached to a ribbon wrapped wand. In the "olden days" when this reviewer was growing up they were made of crepe paper and sold in the candy store along with penny candy. They never lasted long, but they were as much a part of summer as jump ropes and rollerskates. These are made of fabric and probably will not have a long life, either, but they are good fun. the company does make a larger ribbon that is a foot longer and twice as expensive.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
eeBoo Carnival Glitter Glue
(eeBoo $5 Score:)

Who can resist the thrill of a fresh pack of glitter glue? Use them for drawing, decorating cards or packages, add it to gift tags. eeBoo has several mixed sets with narrow tips that allow you to draw with some accuracy. Each set comes with four glue sticks of related hues.  They do look a bit like candy sticks and choosing the colors you may be hard to do...they all look so tempting to kids who like crafts.

SNAP: An appealing way to get kids to develop hand strength. Cover up the work space, cover up the cloths and let the fun begin. Allow kids to explore in an open-ended way for starters. Then, print your child's name on a big piece of paper and have her trace the lines to make a name sign.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Make-a-Mask Princesses
(Mudpuppy Press $10 Score:)

What with all the news of the Queen's Jubilee and the age-old allure of playing Princess, this tablet with 20 Princess masks comes ready to color and wear. There are four different tiaras and elastics for attaching the masks. These would be fun for a royal party or play date. Mudpuppy has also done tablets with other themes: jungle animals, farm animals, monsters, superheroes and butterflies.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Mudpuppy Cardboard Finger Puppets
(Mudpuppy Press $6 Score:)

Unlike the small fabric variety, these two-sided cardboard finger puppets use you child's fingers to do the walking. Slip two fingers into the puppet and your ready for action. Puppets are great for language and story telling development. Before kids read stories they really grow from making up their own stories or retelling familiar stories. These are inexpensive, but appealing tools for that kind of creative play. Each set has five puppets: Forest Animals, Pirates, Princesses, or Ballerinas.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Tooth Treasure Princess
(North American Bear Co. $25 Score:)

Oh, what a night--when the tooth fairy comes on its magical mission! This 9-inch square pillow has a pocket for leaving a note for the tooth fairy and a felt pocket to tuck the lost tooth into. The princess is detachable from its white and pink cape and can used as a finger puppet. There is another version of this with a super hero finger puppet and less pastel look that some girls might prefer. Usually Tooth Treasures will not be needed before 5-6.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Parents Bug Bungalow and Magnifier Set
(Manhattan Toy $32 Score:)

A nicely crafted bug-house with wooden sides and net roof. The see-through door slides easily and allows bug hunters to look inside with their wooden handled magnifier. A sturdy science toy for young nature explorers. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Hape Prism Puzzle
(HaPe $19.99 Score:)

Making patterns of your own or following the patterns in their booklet, this geoboard involves a bit of geometry and art. It also helps children develop dexterity as they handle the small wooden tiles.  The 28 triangles and 28 trapezoids can be placed in endless designs in the wooden tray. Happily, it comes with a cloth bag for storing all the little pieces. A word of warning, the pieces are small and probably too small for the age marked on the package. They are also small enough to present a choking hazard for little siblings or even children over three who still tend to mouth their toys; so keep them out of reach. The patterns printed in the creative booklet are done in solid primary colors, however, the wooden tiles are actually finished in a much lighter hue of these colors. As a result they don't exactly match the patterns. They say three and up. We would say, no way that most threes can use this without a struggle. Save this for 5 year olds & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Imaginetics Flying High
(International Playthings $11 Score:)

Perfect for your next flight or a pretend trip. This magnetic play setting board opens like a big picture book. It features an air field with hanger, control tower and all kinds of airplanes. With 18 magnetic pieces, this is the kind of setting that is fun to use for telling their own stories.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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