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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Activity and Craft Kits

 

 
2015 Awards
Crayola Color Wonder Light-up Stamper
(Crayola $19.99 Score:)

Color Wonder has added a mess-free stamping set that will be satisfying for preschoolers. Kids put the stamper over the orange ink pad and the handle magically lights up orange! Stamp and you get an orange image. Hold it over the green ink pad and the handle will light up green. Now stamp it on the paper and you have a green image. Do the same with the purple ink pad. The kit comes with 12 pages of special paper for stamping. Three mini markers and 10 ocean-themed stamps. You simply change the images by slipping them on and off the stamper.  

SNAP: A playful way to get kids to build grasping and eye hand skills. The gripper on the stamper is pretty chunky, but it can be adapted with velcro applied to handle and to a glove, or enlarged by wrapping it with foam. Either way, the pay-off is pleasing for making designs on placemates, or wrapping paper for gifts. Encourage them to make patterns by demoing simple alternating colors.

They can use the stampers for making a counting book. Make up a pre-stapled booklet and write the numerals or number words from 1-5 or 1-10.  Have your child stamp the right number of fish (or other stamper) to go on each page.Kids love having books to "read" that they have made, especially if you put their name on the front cover.

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

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2015 Award
Play-Doh Crazy Cuts
(Hasbro $14.99 Score:)

Chances are you had a set that looked a lot like this old favorite play-doh hair styling kit. But, wait! We bet your set did not have the option for a Mohawk haircut. For the 21st century child, this updated classic comes with a three thimble heads, six cans of play-doh, a scissors for trimming and a tall barber chair with a crank that turns and makes the clients hair grow. It's a fun toy that many children will enjoy returning to often. For some, it's also a way to role play and work through feelings and fears about sitting in the barber's chair. Turning the crank calls for some muscle power and choice making, too. 3 & up

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

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2015 Awards
Curious Chef Boy's Chef Kit
(Curious Chef $25 Score:)

Getting boys involved in the kitchen just got a little easier with this chef's kit. They made the apron and tools less girlie by making them mostly blue, but girls as well as boys will like this set. You probably have most of these tools in your kitchen already, but having your own set of tools just makes it that much more fun. For good math, reading and creativity, few activities are more rewarding. Add to that the fun of sharing food you've made with family and friends. This kit with a blue and green chef's apron includes a real kitchen tools: a wire whisk, spoon, a silicon spatula, measuring spoons and a cookie cutter. Dishwasher safe. Bring home a cook book for kids or go online and pick out a recipe for something simple but fun to share. Cooking is science, math, reading and a whole lot of fun for parent and child together time. 4-8.

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

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2015 Award
Educational Insights Design & Drill Flower Power Studio
(Educational Insights $32.99 Score:)

What every girl needs! A power drill that has two bits and 60 colorful bolts to screw in and out of the flower shaped platform. Cleverly designed, the platform doubles as a carrying case to store the drill, design pieces, and bolts. Great for developing eye-hand coordination, making and seeing patterns, color concepts, counting and pretend fun. The drill requires 3 AA batteries that are not included. Most drill toys of this kind are gender specific for boys, so this is something of a breakthrough. The company also makes a hand operated bolt set for girls that is not powered by batteries called Dazzling Creations, that demands more action in the hands. The bolts get fitted into a crown, a ball gown, a castle and a horses head, pretty stereotyped choices, but probably fun for some girls, but we prefer the open-ended appeal of the Flower Power Studio. For both boys and girls be sure to look at this company's Bright Works version with power drill and light-up platform. Marked 3 & up, but may be better for upper ranges of preschool.

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

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2014 Awards
eeBoo Lacing Cards Friendly Animals
(eeBoo $14.99 Score:)

With adorable illustrations by Melissa Sweet, these five sturdy lacing cards are a classic for early school age kids. Holding the slender lace and putting it through the holes punched in the cards may seem a simple task, but for young children it is an excellent way to develop sequencing skills and the fine motor dexterity in small fingers and hand. A playful way to build the small muscles of fingers and hands--the same ones needed for pencil and paper tasks. 5 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Play-Doh Diggin’Rigs Buzz Saw Playset
(Hasbro $19.99 Score:)

With this fun truck kids create the play-doh logs with an extruder that pushes the tubular shapes out of the back-end of the truck. But that's not the end-all. Now they can use the crane with its child friendly buzz-saw blade to cut the logs to fit on the flat-bed of the truck. There are also molds all over the truck that can be used to make other tools. Even the play-doh containers can be used as barrels to carry things from one place to another. A nice choice that combines two of kids favorites--vehicles and fooling around with play-doh. 3 & up

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Awards
The Big Creativity Can
(Creativity for Kids $19.99 Score:)

We love this open-ended cardboard box with and amazing assortment of art materials that will invite all kinds of imaginative explorations! There are feathers, pompoms, bells, chenille sticks, pop sticks, holographic stickers, packs of clay, wiggly eyes, felt, mesh tubing, corrugated paper, sticky foams squares, patterned papers, scissors, foam shapes, satin cord--and NO INSTRUCTIONS! That is right. They are left out on purpose. It's all in the hands and eyes of the creative thinker. A great family gift that many children can share with more than 100 pieces. 4 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Crayola Window Markers
(Crayola $11.99 Score:)

One of our favorite art kits of the year! The set comes with a rainbow of 25 washable colors as well as some stencils and two window cling sheets. They work beautifully on windows and glass and wipe off easily. The juicy set of markers comes in a yellow case with a handle.  Fun for a playdate! Also fun, a  set of 25 washable Pip-Squeak Markers and 40 sheets of paper that come in a portable storage case.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
My Princess Crown
(Seedling $23.99 Score:)

Girls can design their own princess crown with the makings in this charming kit. There's a precut pink felt crown that gets laced with ribbon supplied along with glitter glue, felt butterflies, gemstones, and east to follow instructions. The trick with this kind of project is to allow the glue to dry even though most little Princesses can hardly wait to wear their creations. 4 and up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Awards
Creativity for Kids My First Fun Felt Masks
(Creativity for Kids $14.99 Score:)

Designed for young crafters, this kit comes with six colorful foam-backed felt masks that are already to wear with adjustable elastic bands and tons of felt stickers, self-adhesive rhinestones, curly yarn that is silky to the touch and instructions. Most kids will have their own ideas on how to make a one-of-a-kind mask. This is a mess-free kit with no glue needed. While this is a kit that can be enjoyed solo, it's also grand for a birthday or Halloween party activity—the masks becomes a favor to take home; also a good choice to share on a playdate. Our tester's mom wrote that when she first opened the box she "thought it would be a one and done art project but I was mistaken." Her 4 and 7 year olds both "spent about 30 minutes on their masks and came up with their own designs. The stickers were easy to peel and place." They liked the jeweled stickers and wished there were more. They put it away but the fun continued the next day. In fact her four year old wore the mask for hours that night and insisted on sleeping with it. "She made up her own super power lightening bolts to go with the masks lightening-shaped eyebrows. We still have plenty of masks still left to make."  We call that a real winner!  3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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