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2010 Awards
Playskool Explore 'N Grow Musical Gear Center
( Hasbro $24 Score: )

A great combination of two favorite play modes for learning about cause and effect and making things happen. There's an easy to activate ball drop with two balls that roll down a chute and best of all, there is a set of colorful gears that twirl and play music. Tots can activate the gears by moving them directly or by pressing the red happy face button. The gears on the side of the toy are locked in, but the ones at the base can be lifted off and stacked on each other. This is a wonderful floor toy for sitting up babies and young toddlers. It has musical sounds, but they can be turned off. Depends on your baby and your own tolerance for electronic sound effects.  One of our one year old testers was much more interested in tasting the gears and the balls than making any of the gears or motion happen. At this age, it will be a much more parent intensive toy.  Toddlers a little bit older will enjoy the repetitive action of making something happen.  9 months & up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

SNAP: There are good-sized pieces in this two-way cause and effect toy. The two balls are the right size for grasping with the whole hand and learning to release them from the hand is the second part of the trick. Unlike so many ball drops, this is uncomplicated and yet satisfying. The colorful gears can be used for reinforcing color names. They are usable for stacking as well as fitting together like a puzzle that moves. Best of all, the big red button allows them to make the gears spin...allowing a direct kind of lesson in cause and effect. Adaptation: This is an engaging toy that may need to be taped down for stability. That means leaving the sound off or using a tape that can be lifted and replaced with ease since the sound button is on the bottom of the toy.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Review Published: Click here to purchase the product on

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