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1995 Awards
Chimalong
(Woodstock Percussion $39.99 Score:)

Unlike most musical toys for kids, the tone of this metal-chime xylophone is lovely. Can be played by number/color or musical notation. Can be enjoyed by a preschooler, but becomes a true musical instrument for older children--also reinforces reading from left to right. Mini version is less expensive, but is not as sweet sounding. That said, this is a pleasant travel take-along toy. Says 3 & up; we'd say 4–8.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 1995. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2001 Awards
Mighty Mega Bouncing Zoom Balls
(Action Products $12 Score:) An update of a '98 PLATINUM AWARD winner, this kit has enough material for three 2" super-sized neon balls. A little science here with mixing crystals and water to change them into a solid, bounce-able material in just three minutes. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
Snuggle Pets
(tutti bambini $14.99 Score:) Choose a die-cut cat, dolphin, pup, dino, or bunny with pre-punched holes, blunt tapestry needle, polyfil stuffing, and colored yarn. Materials are washable and hypoallergenic. 5 & up. SNAP INFO: These pre-cut and pre-punched sewing kits come with a blunt tapestry needle, colored yarn and polyfill. Kids can make a cat, dolphin, pup, dino, or bunny that they can play with later. This kind of activity helps kids develop fine motor skills that are the underpinnings for penmanship. Materials are washable and hypoallergenic

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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Award
Deluxe Jewels & Gem
(Action Products $28 Score:) Jewelry makers loved using the 7H" X 9H" velvety tray with wells that beads can be arranged in. An amazing assortment of semiprecious stones, freshwater pearls, as well as glass, seed, and bugle beads! 8 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .

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1996 Awards
Wax Works
(Chenille Kraft Co. $4.95 Score:) Wax Works waxy sticks (now come in glow-in-the-dark hues) can be coiled, twisted, and shaped into free-form sculptures.Also great for shaping letters to get the feel of the direction letters go without needing pencil and paper. Develops visual and tactile sense. Also recommended Creativity Street, a great box full of supplies including Wax Works($14.95). 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 1996.

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2001 Awards
Creativity Street Colossal Stems
(Chenille Kraft Co. $6.99 Score:) You may have seen pipe cleaners, but none like these fuzzy 19"-long colossal stems—fifty in a package! Use these for developing fine motor skills. Shape them into zigzags, circles, triangles, letters, or free-form designs. Helpful for pre-writers to use in shaping letters and numerals and getting a hands-on feel for the directionlity. 5 & up. Need supervision so that they are not poked in eyes! New for 2002, an amazing pound bag of Colossal Pom-Poms (the size of baseball and golf balls) for making dolls and other projects. Also Wax Works BLUE CHIP($4.95), waxy sticks that can be twisted and shaped into letters, numerals and free-form sculptures. 5 & up. SNAP INFO: Use these giant fuzzy 19"pipe cleaners for developing fine motor skills. Use them to shape flowers, letters, figures, numbers- whatever. There are 50 in a package and few art materials that lend themselves better to imaginative creations. Also see new for 2002 Colossal Pom-poms( the size of baseballs and golf balls.) Activity : These pom-poms can be used for color and size sorting and counting games. Or use them for making patterns with size and color patterns that you create and ask a child to replicate. Once child gets the idea, switch rolls. Pom-poms are also fun for "hot-air" races. Line up two pom-poms and have two players use straw to move their pop-poms to the finish line. Still top-rated Wax Works, BLUE CHIP, waxy sticks that can be twisted and shaped into free-form sculpture.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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Gross Soap
(Action Products $15 Score:) There's a certain stage when gross is in. This kit comes with plastic bugs that you cover in glycerin soap. This is a parent-intensive project since melting soap in the microwave is potentially dangerous! For a less gross set, consider Soap-Scapes. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2011 Award
Yumbrella
(Alex $19.99 Score:)

An update on a kit that won our Platinum Award in 2000. Kids loved using the child-sized (24" diameter) umbrellas they  can decorate with the six included markers. This update reflects the Dylan Candy Store license- so now the kids are coloring in "candy" rather than flowers that decorated the earlier version of this product. Our 5 1/2 year old tester was so thrilled with the finished product.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Awards
Scratch Magic Packs
(Scratch-Art Co. $4.99 Score:) Remember making scratch art with crayon scribbles covered with black paint that you scratch away? Now Scratch & Sparkle has glittering holographic foil effects that appear. The Combo 4-Pack is fun with Holographic, Stained Glass, Rainbow, and Black-and-White sheets. An inexpensive but special treat! Also new, Super Stationery Kit ($15) has 20 sheets and envelopes—great for thank-you notes! 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: .

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2001 Award
Light Switches Gone Crazy
(Klutz $14.95 Score:) Kit comes with four blank light switch plates, materials for decorating, and a small idea booklet chockfull of great suggestions. A good play date or rainy day project. Will require some adult assistance. Bookstores.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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