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Product Type: Toys
Award: Blue Chip

 

 
2000 Awards
Double Easel
(Little Tikes $50 Score:)

This bright red easel has a chalkboard on one side and a large clip that holds a pad of 17" x 20" paper.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2000. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2000 Awards
Lollipop Drum
(Woodstock Percussion $25 Score:) Preschoolers can easily hold onto the handle of this lollipop-shaped drum. Makes a pleasing sound, according to both kid and parent testers. New and small enough for little hands, Chick-itas Maracas ($6.50), small maracas that have great sound and a perfect fit for little hands. This lollipop-shaped drum makes a pleasing sound and is ideal for games. Adaptation: For kids who can't grasp the handle, tape the handle to a tabletop with drumhead hanging off. SNAP Activity: One person hits the drum and the other person must change positions with every beat. When you are moving, use exaggerated goofy motions and freeze into funny poses. Switch roles-kids love the power of making you move. Also top rated, Chick-itas Maracas ($6.50), small maracas that have a great sound and a perfect fit for little hands. (800) 422-4463.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2000.

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2001 Award
Go Bananas!
(Gamewright $10 Score:)

Players try to get all the cards in the deck by being the first to spot a pair of wild and mild monkeys, a wild 'gator, or bananas. But spotting them is not enough! You have to remember to call out the right command. Staying in the swing, so to speak, takes memory and concentration. Our 7-year old tester beat the grown-ups every time!   A fun card game to take along for traveling and playing as you go and when you get to your vacation spot.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2001. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Awards
Play-Doh
(Hasbro $2 Score:) Classic Play-Doh is still a favorite. Doh should be used with supervision in a place established for messy play. We prefer the dough without the doodads, since most of the kits are less open-ended, and tough to do. This self-hardening dough dries out if left uncovered.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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2000 Awards
Touch N Play Lotto
(Guidecraft $32 Score:) SNAP INFO: Four wooden playing boards and matching Lotto pieces have raised textured shapes for sensory feedback through the fingertips. This is an excellent choice for children with visual disabilities. (800) 544-6526.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2000.

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Awards
Plan Toys Fruit Play Set
(Brio $15 Score:) Like a real knife, there's a right and wrong side of the wooden "knife" that kids use to cut apart Velcroed halves of three wooden fruits. Veggies set also available. SNAP: Wooden fruits and veggies can be “cut” apart with wooden knife that seems to cut the Velcro-ed segments. Comes with lemon, orange, pear, mushroom, carrot, and tomato, plus board and wooden knife. Activity: Use fraction words when you ask child to cut you a half of one fruit or a quarter of something else. (888) 274-6869.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: .

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2003 Awards
Earlyears Soft Busy Blocks
(International Playthings $15 Score:) Four soft stackable blocks have soft sides and corded piping that makes them easy for baby to grasp. Colorful graphics and patterns and quiet sounds make these good floor toys for beginners. Also, Earlyears Sweet Baby Blocks ($13 ). Six soft, squeezable vinyl blocks, easy to grasp, with a colorful single image on each face of the cubes. Fun for stacking, knocking down, and tossing. SNAP:These have been scaled down in size and are easier to grab than the originals. The set of four fabric blocks has interesting texture and patterns and a quiet sound in each block. Activity: Sit on the floor and put one or more blocks on your head or shoulder and encourage your tot to knock 'em off! (800) 445-8347. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2003.

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2009 Awards
Les Cheries
(Corolle $45 Score:)

We loved these dolls when they first hit the market back in 2003. They received a Platinum Award and we are now giving them a Blue Chip Award for 2009. Chloe, Camille, Clare, Cecile and Cathy are a multicultural collection of 13" dolls and are marketed as "best friend" dolls and are purposefully not fashion dolls. Our favorites this year are Cecile, an African American girl, with jeans, a knit shrug and glorious hair or Chloe, a brunette ballerina in a gossamer tutu. They are meant to look like girls of today. There are new clothes almost every year--but this is a collection that should not be missed.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Awards
Elmer's 3D Washable Paint Pens
(Elmer's $14.99 Score:)

Imagine getting a set of 31 squeezable "pens" with writing tips for drawing on posters or cards. Paints puff when dry and set includes primary colors plus pastels, glitter, and pearlized pens. This is a wow-wee kind of present that will get lots of use. Editor's note: These pens have been updated this year with gender-specific themes from Disney (fairies, cars, and princesses). While we preferred the gender-free cast of the original sets (Platinum from 2003) --these are still a great choice and the price still makes this a really affordable gift.

SNAP Activity: Motivating kids to practice writing just got easier with this huge set of colorful gluepens. To get the feel for shaping letters or numbers, this is a terrific material. Write letters that he needs to practice on separate index cards. Now have child trace the letters and make them big enough to see with ease. Make one card with the upper case and a matching card with the lower case. When the cards are dry your child will be able to play a mach it up game, matching the upper and lower case letters. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

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

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2003 Awards
Alex's Floor Standing Easel
(Alex $95 Score:) Taking the paints out of doors gives young artists a new scene- and if you add a bit of white paint to the colors they have an all new palette that looks like summer. Adding different paints and paper often inspires kids. Alex's wooden easel has a chalk board on one side and a dry-erase board on the other. Comes with a roll of paper, but we find that using clips and a pad of paper is easier for kids to handle with independence.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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