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Product Type: Toys
Award: Blue Chip

 

 
2001 Awards
Green Turtle Sandbox
(Little Tikes $49.95 Score:)

This has become a classic. A small beginners sandbox for tight spaces. This won't accommodate lots of tots and is apt to be outgrown quickly. But if it is all the space you have-go with it. For bigger spaces consider the Dinosaur Sandbox.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2001. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Awards
Beads on Wire Toys
(Educo $16 Score:) This company makes beads on wire toys in many sizes and shapes. You have probably seen them in your pediatrician's office and toy shops. Children of mixed ages enjoy them simply as a manipulative or for open-ended pretend games. If the beads were loose, of course they would be a choking hazard. Yet toddlers love to handle the little beads and sliding them up and over. You'll find some platforms with suction cups that fit on a high chair- that will buy you some time. Or some that are lightweight enough for baby to pass from hand to hand. Big and pricey are the floor or table models with lots of beads and pathways. These abstract toys develop pretending, eye-hand, language, and counting skills.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: .

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2013 Awards
Bitty Baby Doll and book
(Pleasant Company $ 80 Score:)

15" soft-bodied Bitty Baby dolls with vinyl heads, arms and legs have been updated to allow for more options to customize. You have a choice of 11 dolls with differnt hair, skin and eye color combintions. Each doll arrives in a signature sleeper and a Bitty Baby & Me picture book. The updated doll now has a hairline brought forward and eyebrows for a more realistic look. The upper body was also redesigned with arms brought forward -- for better huggability. Beautiful clothes and furniture accessories available.  We also recommend the Bitty Baby Twins (boy and girl toddler dolls $115). As always there are extra outfits for the baby and matching clothes for the child. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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Awards
Alex's Puppet Theatre
(Alex $80 Score:) An updated version, this puppet theatre has a clock for show time and new eye-appealing graphics! This stable floor model is 48" high, with painted trim on one side and a chalk surface for messages. Their small tabletop model is also available ($27).

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

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1995 Awards
Jumbo Stringing Beads
(T.C. Timber $20 Score:) 31 large wooden beads in different colors and shapes. A great way to develop the fine motor skills they'll need for writing. While stringing beads, they can also sort by color and make patterns, learning to see likes and differences.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 1995.

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Awards
Brio Waterway
(Brio $40 Score:) Learn how locks lift ships with this wet and entertaining hands-on waterway. We've seen waterways before, but this system goes together with greater ease and no leaks. New for 2001 (and very pricey), Waterway Waterslide set ($90), designed for younger kids, was not ready for testing. Adult help needed.

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

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1995 Awards
Little Tikes Playground
(Little Tikes $480 Score:) This top-of-the-line climber is part playhouse, part climber. It does not provide the kind of big-muscle climbing, dangling, and jumping that classic monkey bars do, but kids had no complaints. They loved the multiple play areas with mini-tunnel, slides, and platforms for imaginative play. Expensive but a solid investment.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 1995.

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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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