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Product Type: Toys
Age: Toddlers

 

Lamaze Balancing Bug Stacker
(Learning Curve International $14.95 Score:) Five chunky bugs and a snail can be stacked one on top of another or explored one at a time. Our 8 month old tester thought they were best for teething and tossing. Each has eyes, colorful patterns and chewable wings, legs, or feelers. With magnets safely enclosed in the body of each, these are safe for mouthing and fun for little hands to explore. Add a box or bowl and they will be fun for filling and spilling. Marked 6 months & up, but will be enjoyed most when your baby is able to grasp and release--usually comes a little further down the road. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Infants,Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2008 Award
Lamaze Chime Garden
(Learning Curve International $24.99 Score:) Our eight-month old tester enjoyed tapping the flowers on this colorful floor toy. Talk about making things happen, his touch set off a not-too-loud chime and a light, as well. This is scaled just right for the sitting up baby. Flick a switch and instead of single sounds each flower will play a familiar song. An attractive musical toy that gives baby a sense of empowerment and a beginning grasp of cause and effect. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. A sample of this toy was tested in an independent lab and determined to be lead free.

Age: Infants,Toddlers. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
Madeline Cloth Doll
(Alexander Doll Company $69.00 Score:)

Here she is in her blue coat, plaid dress and yellow hat on her red yarn hair, an oversized 29” tall, all fabric, with stitched features. Her coat and dress come off, but the rest of her clothing is not. This is safe enough for toddlers but appealing to preschoolers who will know Madeline’s stories from books and videos.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Award
Walker to Wagon
(Fisher-Price $24.99 Score:) A step past the cruising stage, toddlers often like to hold on to some thing as they become independent walkers. This is not a weighted wagon, so it is not for tots who are still unsteady on their feet. It has some spinning beads, a clicking dial, and other activity toys to manipulate, including a shape sorter, for sit-down fun. This colorful get-about toy converts to a pull wagon, but will probably have the most use as a pusher. They say 9 months, we'd say more like 12-16 months & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Grand Walk In Kitchen
(Step 2 $259.99 Score:) This kitchen is so big it can double as a playhouse for several kids together. There’s a place to cook, wash dishes, sit down for a snack-whatever! It has “granite” countertops, a sink with swivel faucet and push buttons, “stainless steel” appliances, a phone, and a huge accessory set. It has a “hardwood” floor, just like the most up to date luxury kitchens. Throw a sheet over the top and it will be a tent. Editor's Note: Please note that this toy comes with lots of small plastic food. While it may stick out of a choke tube, many of the pieces are still very small. We recommend putting most of the food away if your child is under three or if your child still mouths his toys. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Sand and Sea Play Table
(Little Tikes $79.99 Score:) Cleverly designed for separate sand and water play, this is nevertheless, likely to lead to some muddy exploration. These two tables are side by side and ideal for digging, spilling and messing around. This comes equipped with an umbrella, sand and water wheels, tools, boats and bridge. It comes with lids to protect the sand (which is not included) from the elements. 2-6 The company has signed a verification form that this product contains no lead or phthalates.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
No Mess Fingerpaint Trays
(Alex $12.99 Score:)

Here’s a way to contain the mess…a big tray that holds 12” x 18” paper. Comes with 50 sheets of glossy heavy weight finger paint paper. Put the tray in the sink or under a hose for easy clean up.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
My Finger Paint
(Alex $4.99 Score:) You get almost 12 oz. of vibrant fingerpaint in each of these cleverly designed pump bottles. Available in many colors, but don’t overlook the fun of mixing colors with the basic primary colors. 2 & up. Fingerpainting is more than fun, its a great way for kids to make direct contact with the paint without the need to manipulate the paint brush. It's truly hands-on and a legit way to be messy.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Naturally Playful Lookout Treehouse
(Step 2 $129.99 Score:) Low to the ground, this climber and slide allows for the repetitive fun of climbing up and sliding down-again and again! Although this will be outgrown, it is the right size for toddlers who are steady on their feet. It has protective siding on the platform, something that taller slides often lack. That said, this will still need adult supervision and protective padding under it. They say 18 months, we’d say more like 2 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2000 Awards
Tomy Roll Around Tower
(International Playthings $24.99 Score:) When people ask us for our favorite two year old birthday present, this ball run is high on the list. It's just right for toddlers who love the repetitive action of making something happen. The plastic colorful balls are oversized and fun to drop into the tower. The balls make a pleasing sound as they move down the tower. Unlike many new ball runs, kids can track the balls from beginnning to end- a plus in this category. Also fun and a little more advanced, Ball Party Bounce (here you can position the ball to bounce off one level and into another chute).

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2000.

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