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Product Type: Toys
Age: Toddlers

 

 
200 Awards
Rollipop Toddler Starter and Advanced Sets
(Edushape $19.95 Score:) These are among our favorite toddler toys. Toddlers love to drop the oversized colorful plastic balls into the starter set (a tower) and track them as they go down. The balls also travel slowly down the advance set (a bridge) making it an ideal toy for developing visual tracking. 18 mos & 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. Award Year: 200.

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Kettrike Happy
(Kettler $119.99 Score:) This gender-proof primary-colored line of trikes comes with a push bar you can control the trike like a stroller. This line tends to run small and fit younger, smaller preschoolers. Our recommendation with all bikes is to take your child and try them out first.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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2004 Awards
Crayola Dough
(Crayola $1.99 Score:) A super-soft colorful dough that comes in four-or six-pack sets in vivid colors. Will air-harden. 2 & up SNAP ACTIVITY: Encourage school age kids to shape snakes and then use them for making letters or numbers that will harden. Paste finished dried letters onto wood for name plates. Or make small disks of dough and have kids trace their pictures or names in the douch with a toothpick. Make a hole at the top and when dry this can become a necklace.

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

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2005 Awards
Puzzle Totes
(Lauri $8.99 Score:) Our testers enjoyed playing with this collection of puzzles from Lauri, well known for their textured crepe rubber puzzles. Rather than having the traditional tray, these double-thick seven- or eight-piece puzzles have a handle just right for travel and carrying about. Two-toned pieces are able to stand up for dramatic play. Four versions: Marine Life, Earthmovers, Dinosaurs, and, new for this year Big Shapes. Older 2s will be able to manipulate these whole-piece puzzles that 3s and 4s will continue to enjoy. (800) 451-0520.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Potty Elmo
(Fisher-Price $19 Score:) In the novelty doll category, Potty Elmo is amazing. Give Elmo his sippy cup and you’ll hear him drink; if you don’t get him to the potty, he says, "Oops, Elmo didn’t get to the potty. Accidents happen," and if he makes it, "Elmo can do it and so can you!" One of the best and most polite interactive dolls we’ve ever tested. We pass on Zapf Creations’ Baby Born ($39.99) who got low marks from our testers because they had difficulty getting the pretend poop out (no joke).

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Push Around Buggy SAFETY RECALL
(Step 2 $40 Score:)

NOTE: This toy and the Whisper Buggy are subject to a safety recall from the CPSC (May 12, 2010). To read the release, click here,  and to arrange for a free repair kit from Step 2 call (866) 860-1887 or visit www.step2.com.  

Little toddlers can get into this vehicle without climbing. It is not a toy for them to run with foot power, it is more like a stroller for giving your tot a ride. It has a seat belt, push bar, and a storage compartment up front for treasures. Tested far better than Step 2's other ride-ons such as the Basket Ride-On ($21.99), a low-to-the-ground red three-wheeler with a big yellow basket for treasures. Testers found its lack of steering a drawback. Step 2's red Motorcycle ($21.99) was not balanced enough for toddlers and the small red Classy Cruiser ($34.99) was too difficult for young riders to get in and out of—and too small for older riders. None have steering.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Little Tikes Climb and Slide Castle
(Little Tikes $74.99 Score:) Designed for toddlers, this mini-castle-style climber has a low slide and steering wheel on top for dramatic play. It's 43" high. They say one and up; we'd say more like steady-on-their-feet toddlers—who are rarely younger than 18–24 mos. Requires supervision.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Musical Stack & Play
(Tiny Love $19.95 Score:) This cleverly designed elephant stacking toy has a place for dropping balls in its top. The balls come out at the base with some fanfare (lights/sound) but nothing over the top. Our testers also liked the soft fabric rings for stacking but really spent most of the time playing with the plastic balls. Marked 6 mos. & up, but will be most enjoyed by 1s and up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2005.

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Dance Baby Dance Sit & Stand Danceband
(Fisher-Price $39.95 Score:) Great idea, poorly executed. When toddlers activate sounds by stepping on the play mat or by hitting the keys on the console, too much music plays—so the lessons in cause and effect are lost. Marked 6 mos. & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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2005 Award
Fire Truck and My Little Puppy Playsets
(Gund $19.95 Score:) If you're in the back seat with your toddler and you need to go five more exits, these playsets make great choices! The all-fabric fire truck zips open to reveal a firefighter, Dalmatian, hydrant, and water bucket. My Little Puppy comes in his own dog house, with a ball, bone, and bowl, and barks quietly when squeezed. Also top rated: My First Sports Bag with three fabric balls.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2005.

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