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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


2003 Award
Le Most Cute Objects & Hand Painted Shakers
(Creativity for Kids $14 Score:) Three charming ceramic boxes, shaped like an over-stuffed chair, a tiny birdhouse, and a stack of luggage. These come glazed in white with metal rims, hinges and clasps. Kids can paint and either bake them or simply leave them for a week to lock the colors. Since these have more details to paint than most, they are a better choice for older painters with the dexterity for fine details. Also new for 2003, Hand Painted Shakers ($12 12) Two hefty white ceramic shakers for salt or pepper. Still top rated, Paint Your Own Ceramic Tea Set ($15 ) or a Dog Dish ($18 ). Adult supervision required for baking. 7 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
Paint-Your-Own Chair
(Action Products $34.99 Score:) A '50s-styled 36" folding canvas sling chair that kids paint with their own design. However, the company's Bubble Chair ($16 ) received poor marks from our testers for being too small and hard to paint.

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

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Super Gymnast Barbie
(Mattel $19.99 Score:) No great unusual Barbies this year. Our top pick: Super Gymnast or, of the straight "pink" variety, the Ballet Star Barbie-comes complete with long and short tutus and two crowns. At least they're all active! Also Barbie Rapunzel with hair that grows (with extensions).

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

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2003 Award
Kart Maniax Stunt Pit
(Mattel $19.99 Score:) Of all the new track sets from Hot Wheels our testers gave the highest marks to the Kart Maniax Stunt Pit. However, they all thought the set should come with two karts ($9.99 for each additional kart). We agree! Our testers also liked the Octoblast ($39.99 ) - the marquee racing set of the year. The cars travel quickly and it is more stable than most of its predecessors. Like most of these closed sets it will likely have short-term appeal.

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

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2003 Award
K'NEX Electronic Arcade
(KNEX $89.99 Score:) You can build this as either a one-person pinball or a two-person speedball machine. Very challenging to build but satisfying to our advanced K'nex testers. Even our teen testers needed adult assistance. 10 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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GeoSafari Challenge Globe
(Educational Insights $59 Score:) We had trouble knowing how to "buzz in" on the quiz-styled globe with 7,500 questions for up to four players. Like all the new talking globes, you can't answer many of the questions by simply using the globe-better have an atlas! 8 & up. The GeoSafari World ($59) has 5,000 questions, but again you'd need an atlas, since many questions cannot be answered by looking at the globe.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .

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2003 Award
Extreme Sports X Mountain
(Ritvik (Mega Bloks) $19.99 Score:) Our extreme sports fans gave high marks ot this set because it had lots of play figures to use (although they noted that the ramp "didn't stay on as well as it should!"). Our 8- and 9-year-old testers preferred this to the Island Adventure series from Lego, because it came with more cool vehicles. Either way, no trips to the ER! (800) 465-6342.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Look-Alikes Playground
(Briarpatch $5.99 Score:) (Briarpatch $5.99 four ) Joan Steiner's wonderful scenes of everyday life are a perfect fit for puzzles (ha!). Sixty-three pieces make up this inventive playground, including a tambourine for a sandbox and a shoehorn for a slide! Also fun, Look-Alikes Harbor. 8 & up. Or try Look-Alikes Soda Shop with 500 pieces. They say 7 & up, we say a good family project!

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

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Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine
(Hasbro $9.99 Score:) In the battle of the Snow Cone our 4th grade testers were initially attracted to Snoopy, but they reported that the directions were not as clear and it is harder to work than some of the others in the market.

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

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2003 Award
Paint Pail Beads
(Fashion Angels Enterprises $15 Score:) New and special this bead kit makes bracelets with round wooden beads that you paint with toothpicks! Comes with enough material for a play date that company will enjoy doing and wearing home! 8 & up.

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

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