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Product Type: Toys
Age: Infants
Categories: The Vertical Infant

 

  
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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2003 Awards
Earlyears Sweet Baby Blocks
(International Playthings $13 Score:) 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. These have been updated with new graphics on every side of the cubes. They have added graphic patterns that can also be matched by older children. These are a bit large for little hands to grasps easily, but the raised edge may help. Fun for stacking and knocking down. Images are a bit cartoonish so may be harder for kids to identify than more realistic images would be. Also, the Earlyears Soft Busy Blocks ($10) are soft stackable blocks which have soft sides and corded piping. Colorful graphics and patterns and quiet sounds make these good floor toys for beginners. 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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2004 Award
Tolo First Friends Rocker
(Reeves International $10 Score:)

Just a swipe of the hand makes the beads roll and two little figures spin as it rocks. Interesting for gazing at, but even better for two-handed play. Also top rated: Twist & Turn, Play Triangle Activity Cube, or Gripper Rattle, all beautifully crafted in sturdy primary-colored plastic with interesting action for baby to manipulate.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2004.

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2003 Award
Discover & Play Color Blocks
(Baby Einstein $12.99 Score:)

We like the new Discover & Play Color Blocks that have interesting textures on each side. One block makes a quacking sound that your baby will enjoy hearing long before she'll be able to make it happen. These are fun for stacking and knocking down. Editor's Note: Unfortunately, these blocks are no longer available.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2003.

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2004 Award
Developlay Activity Center
(Tiny Love $44.95 Score:)

Sadly, this product has been discontinued. A two-sided activity center loaded with interesting challenges for the senses. A polka-dotted spinner reflects in a mirror; music plays with a press of the happy face; pull a ring to make a "hammer" rise and fall. Flip it over for musical buttons, knobs to turn, a gentle pop-up, and gears that spin. 9 mos. & up.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Awards
Roll & Rhyme Melody Block
(LeapFrog $19.99 Score:) Turn this big fabric block and it either plays music or says a rhyme about the animal featured on the topmost face. The block includes a small mirror, peek-a-boo leaves that open to reveal a parrot, a polar bear that slides on the snow, a fox that pops in and out of its den, and a lion with a satiny mane. Fun for rolling as well as exploring its textures and sounds. They say birth & up, we’d say more like 6 mos. & up. SNAP: Pleasingly easy to activate. Use this for a sing along or talking moment..naming the illustrations on the block or immitating the sounds.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Tolo First Friends Carousel
(Reeves International $20 Score:)

So happy that this wonderful toy is back in the market! A former Platinum Award winner, it's now on our Blue Chip Award List. What we wrote in 2002: Finding easy-to-activate toys is key for young babies who are just learning the power of making something happen. Tolo First Friends Carousel comes with a big knob to make the little people spin inside a see-through dome.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Awards
Melody & Motion Activity Toy
(Baby Einstein $9.99 Score:) Our tester loved batting at this rolling musical toy and making the paddle wheel spin, or crawling after it as it rolled and played “Für Elise.” Unlike some of the other musicals in this line, the music is slow and calming—not frenetic. Winding it up calls for adult help, but this is a good choice to motivate baby to get moving. 6 mos. & up. SNAP: Winding it up calls for adult help, but this is a good choice to motivate baby’s to get moving. Play a simple I'll roll it to you -you roll it to me game with this toy. (800) 793-1454.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2004.

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2005 Award
Put and Peek Birdhouse
(Manhattan Toy $19.95 Score:) This cheerful fabric birdhouse is a parent-intensive toy with lots of possibilities for hamming it up. You an fly the four birds into the house (the roof opens wide, as does one side). Our nine month old tester favored holding (and tasting) the red bird as he watched his father fly the other ones about. Preferrable to Infantino's Puppies Playhouse (same idea, but the animals aren't as nice and the house is smaller and not see-through).

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2005.

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2006 Award
Earlyears Click & Play Triangles
(International Playthings $6.99 Score:) Ideal for two-handed play, these three-hinged triangles click as they are opened and closed. A central triangle has a small mirror and the textured triangles are fine for teething. Also new for , Busy Bead Rattle ($9.99 ); this hourglass-shaped toy has beads that drop from one cone to another. The cones turn with a quiet click and the colorful central ring has beads that turn. (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: 2006.

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