Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Pretend Play

 


2015 Award
Hape Ice Cream Emporium
(HaPe $149 Score:)

Our testers live in sunny California, so this is an outdoor/indoor year round pretend prop for them. A handsome ice cream cart with blue and white awning that is easy to move about. Young entrepreneurs can open the collapsible side table for serving customers. Our older tester loves to write the flavors of the day on the chalk-board front, along with her name. Her dad found it easy to assemble in about thirty minutes and sturdy, as well. It's a big but versatile prop that will be used over the long haul, not just for ice cream, but perhaps a lemonade stand, bookmobile, fruit stand, whatever creative players dream up. 3 & up

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Mattel Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage
(Mattel $99.99 Score:)

Our 8 and 5-year old testers enjoyed that there were so many stations and ways to play in this massive miniature setting (Whoa! Is that an oxymoron?) It can store up to 36 cars and has eight areas with lights, sounds, and a car-grabbing helicopter. The two elevators stop at four levels of the parking garage and there are side-by-side ramps for racing games as well as a spiral ramp. But watch out! There is a shark at the bottom of that ride. Can you get past those jaws? If you live in tight quarters this may be a bit over the top in terms of storage space. On the other hand all those cars in the hot wheels collection can find a home here. Another good feature is that it’s big enough for two kids to enjoy together having races and doing repairs. A great setting for pretend play. Our parent testers were split on whether this was easy to put together - depends on how handy you are with this type of build. In either case, you'll need to leave yourself some time - it does not come out of the box ready to go. They also liked that the garage was large enough for two kids to enjoy it together.

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
DigiPenguins
(Spin Master $11.99 Score:)

If you are collecting stocking stuffers for Christmas or small gifts for Hanukkah, these singing, dancing, and flapping novelty birds will be a hit. Bring home one and it will oblige with a solo act. Bring home two and they will interact. These are sold for less than the stated list price, so they would make fun novelty gifts for visiting cousins, or birthday party guests, too. Kids do need to be able to whistle, however, to activate them. Each comes with a whistle ring that the birdies perch on. Available in multiple colors. Marked 5 and up, but keep in mind, many 5's are not yet able to whistle.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
eeBoo Back to School Magnetic Playboard
(eeBoo $15 Score:)

A new version of the 'make me a story' collection that may be very helpful for kids with back to school jitters. It's metal playboard with a school setting provides the background for a classroom full of playful creatures and their wise old owl teacher. The magnetic backing on the playing pieces can be moved about as kids make up their own stories using the characters created by illustrator, Kevin Hawkes. A good prop for dramatic play or talking through typical angst over the opening of school and new situations. This is not for kids who still mouth their toys. The playing pieces are large and reasonably easy to move about. Good for story telling, listening, and pretend play.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015.

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2015 Award
Fisher-Price Imaginext Ultra T-Rex
(Fisher-Price $99.99 Score:)

For dino-haulics of a certain age, this Ultra T-Rex will be a heavily promoted and therefore a heavily desired holiday gift. This is no toy for the timid. It walks, it stomps, it roars and goes from crouching to standing at full height—2 ˝ feet tall! But that's not all; it opens its toothy jaws and closes them with chomping sounds. Sound and motion are blended with lights on its spikes and eyes that will scare off any little sisters or brothers. T-Rex can even fire boulders from its chest and claws (they do not go far; they sort of fall to the ground so they are not a safety problem as so many projectile toys can be.) Okay, it's true, this is a novelty toy that will probably gather dust before long, and end up in the landfill; that said, we have to admit, dino lovers are going to be wowed by this gy-normous motorized plastic-saurus. It will come to life with 4 AA batteries. Marked 36 months to 8 years. We say 5-7 is probably prime time for this one.  

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Jurassic World Heroes Dilophosaurus
(Hasbro $14.99 Score:)

Kids will no doubt love the sounds and lights as they press the tail of this fierce blue and orange trimmed Dilophosaurus. His jaw opens and his claws move as he roars. Small enough to use with building blocks; scary enough to add drama to pretend stories of prehistoric dimensions. If you need a lot of birthday gifts that will not break the bank, this is a likely pleaser.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015.

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2015 Award
Jurassic Park Tyrannosaurus Rex
(Hasbro $29.99 Score:)

Lights, sounds and a T-Rex that not only roars, you can hear it chew and swallow. This is one of the biggies in the Jurassic line-up, a giant green T-Rex with eyes that flash, spikes on its back, and a mouth full of teeth. Tip him forward and his jaw closes with a snap and the sounds of chewing and swallowing begins. Ferocious, and how! Being from the movies he comes with a handler who is small but tough and has his own leg gripper for grabbing T-Rex from behind. If you prefer a less noisy version, consider the brownish Tyrannosaurus Rex with a snapping jaw but no sounds or lights.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Hasbro Jurassic World Heroes Indominus Rex
(Hasbro $34.99 Score:)

Lights, sounds and a T-Rex that not only roars, she changes skin color on her thorny grey back when she eats. Even more frightening, you can hear her chomp, chew and swallow. This is the biggie in the Jurassic line-up, a giant grey T-Rex with eyes that flash, spikes all over, and a mouth full of teeth.  Super Ferocious, and how! Maybe a bit over the top for some preschoolers who have not sorted out real and make believe. Marked 4 and up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Calico Critters Family Seven Seater
(International Playthings $39.99 Score:)

Built for a large family of Calico Critters, this navy blue seven seater has an open air top, doors that open on either side, a door to the trunk and wheels that really roll. It has two seats up front, two full benches and car seats that fit over the benches for the littlest passengers. Of course, the passengers are not included. Don't be deceived, they show critters on the box. But if your kids collect these cute little families, this will be a welcome prop for pretend play. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Neat Oh Dinosaur Zip Bin 160
(Neat-Oh $23.99 Score:)

How to keep order to the oh so many little pieces of play? Here's a creative and playful solution. A colorful storage vinyl box where all those dino plant eaters and meat eaters can be contained between playtimes. Unzip the corners and there's a big mat with swamps, trees, and rocky ledged graphics where dramatic play can come to life. A lidded transformable box comes with two dino figures with room for lots more along with a setting for hours of imaginative play. 3 & up.  

Also nice for take along fun, Neat Oh Dinosaur Brings Along Backpack(19.99)

SNAP: Play settings and boxes for storing playthings can enhance playtime. Clean up time becomes another opportunity to sort playthings, as well. A storage box for animals, aone for vehicles another for blocks, perhaps can go a long way to staying ahead of chaos and a much better idea than one big toy box where everything gets lost in the shuffle. We like the idea of the big play setting that unzips with these Neat-oh containers.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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