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Product Type: Toys
Award: Blue Chip

 

 
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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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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