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Product Type: Toys
Age: Toddlers

 


2006 Award
Small World Living Wooden Kitchen Appliances
(Small World Toys $124 Score:) Wooden sets usually cost a lot more. That’s why we were thrilled to find these updated handsome individual pieces (a sink, a stove/oven, a refrigerator) or the two-in-one sink & stove ($179). Done in birch-toned wood with bright licks of red. Newest addition, a BBQ Grill ($124) with a set of tools. Best of all, the sinks are removable so that you can use “real” water. Most sinks no longer have this feature. These are gender neutral, a plus. They are a bit challenging to put together. (800) 421-4153.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Awards
Neurosmith Together Tunes Block
(Small World Toys $59.99 Score:) Also reintroduced this year, an active musical toy for young toddlers. Just a turn of the oversized fabric block activates a familiar nursery tune along with peek-a-boo surprises built in. Songs include “Wheels on the Bus” and “Old MacDonald.” A good choice for cruising toddlers. PLATINUM AWARD ’04. (800) 421-4153.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
S.S. Duckie and Up, Up and Away
(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! These are toys for telling little stories to your tot and hamming it up. There are lots of choices this year! A little ship loaded with two quacking ducks, crinkly starfish, and squeaker fish; or choose a white, red, and blue jet with rattle sounds, male and female pilots, and luggage; or My Doctor kit with two medical play figures and stethoscope. Finally, consider the Lavender Backpack with My Little Baby doll in the carrier and accessories inside the pack. (800) 448-4863.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Roll-a-Rounds Swirlin' Surprise Gumballs
(Fisher-Price $17.99 Score:) Roll-a-Rounds Swirlin’ Surprise Gumballs is a ball drop with a lever that pops the gumballs out. It employs more direct cause and effect, but it does tip over easily. Either is a better choice than the Jungle Friends Treehouse, a frenetic ball drop with over-the-top sounds and twirling bases. We really like the big Drop & Roar Dinosaur best. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

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Penguin Bowling
(Infantino $19.99 Score:) Cheerful and colorfully attired penguins are numbered and ready to be knocked down. Our parent testers had some difficulty getting the penguins to stand up before their kids lost interest in bowling. “Throwing” the penguins quckly became the name of the game. (800) 840-4916.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Triple Track Tower
(Playskool $14.95 Score:) Three little cars race down three parallel tracks that are like a giant slide. They can roll free, or be operated with the push of a button that also gives the sound effects of speeding vehicles. Kids can also turn the lever and stop them at the bottom. Good for repetitive action and dramatic play. Since the slides go straight down there is less tracking, or interest, than the typical ball runs with twist-and-turn action. 2 & up. (800) 327-8264.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Peek-a-Blocks Bucket o' Builders
(Fisher-Price $19.95 Score:) Fifteen interesting blocks with see-though sides and interesting objects inside come in a large bucket with a textured lid. Each of the blocks has a bristle-like surface that fits into the lid and into each other. Fun for filling and dumping games, and for tossing and tasting, too. 1 & up. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Gotz Precious Day Mini Muffin Boy and Girl
(International Playthings $14 Score:) These little 8" realistic dolls have painted eyes, bald heads, easy-to-hold beanbag bodies, and no small doo-dads. Dressed in striped rompers, they are light enough for older tots to carry and cuter in person than they appear online. 18 mos. & up. (800) 445-8347.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Latitude Enfant Grannimals Collection
(Latitude Enfant $5 Score:) Done in knitted fabric and stitched features, these are an unusual collection of machine washable soft dolls that are gender neutral. A real departure from the usual plush. Choose Lucien the rabbit, Mona the cow, Sasha the cat, Marie the mouse. The medium (8" $20) and large (16" $30) arrive in a special box that might well turn into a bed. The mini (5" $5) and giant (40" $100) come sans box. PLATINUM AWARD ’06. New characters (available in only the smaller size) include Lou the wolf, Leon the Pig, Theo the Bear, Hugo the Hedgehog. Also new and extremely cute, parent/child pairs Celestine and Celeste (cats), and Justin and Justine (dogs)and Emile and Emilien (mice). (800) 544-9183.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Mega Blok Lil' Cement Truck and Lil' Dump Truck
(Mega Bloks $9.99 Score:) These plastic vehicles are just right for 2s and up to enjoy spilling blocks from and refilling. They both come with a truckload of Mega Bloks, just right for pretend construction sites. While we liked the concept of the new Lil’ Copter and the plastic blades are neat, it is much harder to load than the trucks because of the angle of the cutaway lid. (800) 465-6342.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2007.

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