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Get Your Kids Moving!
Tags: Active Physical Play, Toddlers, Preschoolers, Early School, NBC's TODAY SHOW
Posted: 2011-09-22 12:36:26 By: by Stephanie

 

Here are some of our favorite new toys that encourage your kids to be active:

Playsettting that are scaled just right for older toddlers and preschoolers:

 

 

 
2011 Awards
Pacific Play Tents Very Hungry Caterpillar Tent
(Pacific Play Tents $49.95 Score: )

Young children LOVE having spaces that are scaled to their size.  Fans of Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar will especially enjoy this small pop up tent (42" high) that's just right for pretend play, being cozy, reading a book, etc. The tent is made with washable nylon that features art from the best-selling book.  We paired it with the company's Tunnel ($49)  for added active play!  Our parent testers liked that there was a mesh see-through window so that they could peek in from above--and as an added plus-it does let the air in.

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

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 
2011 Awards
Pacific Play Tents Very Hungry Caterpillar Tunnel
(Pacific Play Tents $49.95 Score: )

Our preschool testers enjoyed going through this six foot tunnel. Some of our parents thought that the joints could have been more padded--but our kid testers didn't seem to mind. This tunnel works with the company's tents in their Eric Carle Very Hungry Caterpillar series.  The tunnel has a mesh top so that you can watch your child work their way through -- also a plus for a younger child who may otherwise be tentative about going through a solid enclosed tunnel.  We also liked how easily the tunnel folds up  -- making this a great choice for smaller play spaces.

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

SNAP: This is a good choice for developing gross motor skills. It's a real challenge but offers an open mesh view that makes it more kid friendly.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 
2011 Awards
Step2 Grill and Play Patio Cafe
(Step 2 $129.99 Score: )

We love that this combines kitchen/grilling pretend play with a real place for kids to sit down and have a snack. Preschoolers can make all kinds of meals on the cooking side of this unit while their friends take turns being the guests or customers. There is an adjustable umbrella to cover all...a nice toy to bring outside while the grown ups are grilling or to entertain the troops indoors on a rainy day.  Comes with lots of accessories and food-- if you're using this toy with a toddler, we'd recommend putting most of the utensils and food away.  A pot, a dish, and a cup are about all you need when you're 2 1/2.  We're also not big on plastic food--most kids do very well making up their own imaginary "dishes"! The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.  We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

SNAP:This kind of housekeeping toy has great appeal to spark pretend play and language. Using scaled down utensils in make believe games will help develop eye hand skills, social skills, and dramatic play.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

A New Ride-On

 

 


2011 Award
YBIKE PEWI
(National Sporting Goods $60 Score: )

One of our pet peeves at the moment is that most ride-on vehicles do not have the ability to move from side to side. Steering has gone out the window. So we were particularly thrilled with the PEWI - it has caster wheels - allowing your child to move freely in any direction.  Our two year old testers gave positive feedback.  Our three year old tester found that her legs were too long for this one.  (We should note that this toy is also marketed as a push toy for toddlers.  Since it has casters that move freely, this can only be used with toddlers who are completely steady on their feet. It will not work as a "walker" for wobbly, just learning how to walk tots.)  The manufacturer's age range is from 12 months to 36 months (maximum weight of 44 pounds)...but we'd really suggest this is more for true walkers.  Comes in blue, pink and red...we'd always go for the red.

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

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

Classic Games

 

 

 
2011 Awards
Twist & Turn Ring Toss
(International Playthings $29.99 Score: )

In every sense, this is a ring toss game with several new twists. First of all the posts turn at two different speeds when the switch is on. They also move to two different musical tunes. Best of all the set-up can be varied. You can arrange the posts in a straight line or as they are pictured here in a more traditional configuration. For those who prefer, the sound can be turned off and the posts will not move. A fun active toy for indoor play. 3 & up, up, up.

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

SNAP: Getting kids involved in active play will be a lot easier with this fresh looking game. Use this game for score keeping if your child is working on numbers or turn taking if that is an issue.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2011 Award
Diggin PopOut Ring Toss
(Diggin $19.99 Score: )

One of new line of active games from Diggin that are designed for easy take along and storage. The game comes in a red sack with a drawstring, a pop-out playmat, three blue post  that attach to the mat with Velcro, and three foam red rings ready to be tossed.Very clever.  In our view the most satisfying of the line (there is also a bowling set, bean toss and horseshoes). Marked 3 & up, but will be enjoyed by the five year old set as well! The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.    We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

Noteable and New

 

 


2011 Award
Angelina Ballerina Dance with Me Game
(The Wonder Forge $19.99 Score: )

If you have a fan of Angelina Ballerina, she's going to enjoy this active game that requires flexing both her ballerina skills and ability to follow a dance routine. Each player moves along the play board where she may be asked to practice doing certain ballet positions (first, third, reverence, tendu front, etc.). When the first player gets to the end of the play board, she is then required to repeat all of the positions on the cards that have been turned over. This can be challenging--but since there are several opportunities to "practice" - most kids will get the routine. There's also the "it's ok to peek" approach when playing this type of game with older preschoolers and early school aged kids.

Now that's only part of the game play. The actual winner is the player who has collected the most number of star cards of the same color.  Winning is therefore determined by how many times you land on practice (where you get the most number of star cards) and how many cards are of the same color.  This aspect is random. 

Our testers were much less concerned about the star cards-than doing the positions for the dance routine. The game comes with a bonus CD with music from the cartoon. It doesn't really fit with the ballet dancing that each dancer will do at the end of the game. Our suggestion to have some pretty music on the ready for your ballerinas!!

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

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011.

 

 

 


2011 Award
Hyper Games Speed Slider
(Wild Planet Toys $24.99 Score: )

Think of a blend of Hot Potato and Bop-it...but here all the game play is done with your feet! What we really liked about the Speed Slider is that you can play the four games at different levels. Our favorite is the speed pass where you kick the speed slider according the numbers or colors it calls out. The game requires players to listen and react.  Unlike a lot of other electronic games, it's a kind machine.  It encourages you - that's a plus.  You can play by yourself to work on your speed and agility or play it in a group.  The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.  We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2011 Award
Hyper Games Balance Bender
(Wild Planet Toys $11.99 Score: )

Hyper Games has launched a new line of electronic active games. See our Gold Seal review of Speed Slider. Balance Bender, in contrast, is decidedly low-tech and...fun!  The game comes with 10 plastic pods that are numbered. There are several different games that are suggested - all require kids to balance on the pods while they either pick up other pods or move along the pods.  For example, in one game-- you build your course with the pods, you step on the pods and pick up the pods behind you--this requires a great deal of balancing!!  In another game, you can play in teams and pass the pods along. The team that makes it to the finish line wins. It's easier to play when you have child-sized feet we discovered (and you wear sneakers).

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

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 
Products for Infants
Products for Toddlers
Products for Preschoolers
Products for Early School Years
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