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Product Type: Toys
Award: SNAP
Age: Infants
Review Year: 2012

 

 
2012 Awards
Sassy My Own Monster
(Sassy $7.99 Score:)

We don't usually suggest monsters for babies, but this is one sweet square-ish blue plush toy that is silky to the touch and not in the least monster-ish. He sports a mirror on his belly, stitched features, a striped tail and some very small discreet horns. The dangly striped arms have chewy textured hands and the hot pink. The body has a crisp crinkle sound to attract baby's attention. There is nothing scary about this very friendly so-called monster. It resembles some of the Ugly dolls more than any monster we have seen. Newborn & up.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Awards
Sassy My First Rattles
(Sassy $5.99 Score:)

Choose a predominantly hot pink or blue set of ring or dumbbell rattles. These are classic rattles that have been updated many times, but the basic shapes are exactly on the mark for baby. There are patterns for visual stimulation, textures to interest little hands, and quiet rattle sounds that are not too loud. In other words, this is just right.

SNAP: Use these colorful rattles for tracking games and early interactions. At first you will do all the actions to get a reaction. These are easy to grab and fit well in little hands when your child is ready to reach out and take hold of things.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Cruise and Groove Ballapalooza
(Fisher-Price $60 Score:)

Finding toys that are just right for sitting up babies and toddlers can be difficult. The Cruise and Groove Ballapalooza fills the bill.  You'll need space for this large "making something happen" toy that both older babies and toddlers will enjoy exploring.  There are two different ways for the big balls to go from the top of the structure to the base. Of course at first, you'll be making it happen--but soon enough your toddler will enjoy making the balls drop again and again.  The small green "gate" will be another aspect of the toy your child will enjoy pushing back and forth.  There is also an arch for babies to go under.  There is music that happily you can turn off and still enjoy the toy. A definite plus in our book. The tripod design of the base makes the toy steady but of course a cruising baby will still need a watchful hand. Our older toddler twin testers loved how the ball could be placed at the top so that it bounces off a platform onto the ramp: "high marks for innovative design." Comes with 8 oversized balls so if two end up under the sofa, you're not out of business. 

SNAP: This is big enough to satisfy slightly older kids who may not have the dexterity for more complex ball runs and tracks. Though our testers found this pretty steady, you may want to stabilize it with some tape to the floor. This is not just a good social toy that two or more can use, it is a great hands on setting for dexterity, tracking, color concepts and language.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
ELC Music Garden
(International Playthings $29.99 Score:)

Talk about making things happen, this is it! Touch the flowers and set off the music and lights and sounds. There is no right or wrong way to make this work. We really like the musical selections, not because they ar classic melodies, but the quality of the sound is excellent! That alone sets this toy apart from all too many of the so-called musical toys for tots. There are several modes of play to explore: the scale, animal sounds, silly ones and pure music. The tote handle will please toddlers who like carrying their favorite toys as they move from one room to another.  This does have a volume control and teaches kids about cause and effect as well as empowering them to make music.  6 months & up.

SNAP: For all the reasons above, this is a pleasing and interesting toy for learning about cause and effect and giveing children a sense of power, by making things happen. It has a lot of sensory play value.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Chicco Baby Bunny Rattle
(Chicco $5 Score:)

A bright yellow rattle has an easy to grab hollow body and a head with two ribbon "ears." Turn it over and there's a small peek-a-boo unbreakable mirror. The ring shape body has ridges and chewy parts. Also from Chicco, a Baby Mouse rattle with a turning wheel and chewy tabs.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Awards
North American Baby Long Legs Puppy
(North American Bear Co. $28 Score:)

These black and white puppies, an 18-inch or 8-inch squeaker will grab the attention of newborns and continue to please for a long time ahead. Like the other Baby Long Legs from the same maker, these dolls are a lovely combination of knit and plush. The big one is totally on the mark for toddlers who like a big but light enough huggable to drag about. The photo of this soft cuddly doll with long legs and arms and floppy ears does not really convey just how cute it is. The legs are not rigid or wired, but soft and easy for little ones to grasp. The features are stitched and baby safe. There is also a grey elephant version as well as a pink mouse and a pink or blue bunny. Also adorable, Baby Long Legs Squeakers, Puppies, Bunnies, Elephants and Pink Mouse ($12.99 each) 8-inch miniatures of the bigger dolls that are good for tracking games and will be easy for baby to clutch and carry. Baby safe and machine washable.   All ages.

SNAP: We suggest the Baby Long Legs Squeaker from this collection. Use the small high contrast black and white pup for tracking games. It is eye catching and the squeaker inside will attract baby's listening as well as visual attention. Soft,safe and totally cleanable for infants and toddlers.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Wimmer-Ferguson Learn and Play Ball
(Manhattan Toy $20 Score:)

Amazing play value has been rolled into one fabric ball. For newborns, the high contrast images printed on the fabric ball will be interesting to gaze at. They have used faces, targets, and patterns that will attract the visual attention of infants. The panels of the ball are piped with bright satin with lots of colorful ribbon taggies. Give it a shake to hear the jingling bell. This is one of those wonderful fabric toys that plays to all the senses and invites you to play early socializing games with your sitting up baby. A terrific gift for a baby shower or first visits.  Marked for 6 months but this will be good as visual stimulation long before baby can reach out and touch.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Tranquil Turtle
(Cloud B $44.99 Score:)

Our parent tester aptly described this electronic turtle as a night light with spa music. It is a purple fabric turtle with a light in the clear plastic shell. Put it on a cabinet in baby's room and the wave-like light will reflect on the ceiling while two tunes of quiet spa music play. It will turn off automatically after 23 minutes. This does not go in the crib. Newborn and up.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Hape Little School Bus
(HaPe $10 Score:)

Beep, beep! A little wooden yellow school bus with finger holes for easy grasping. It has no sounds, except the sounds you and your little one provide. Scaled for early games of pretend, this is a good choice for crawling babies 10 months & up.

SNAP: The finger holes on this little vehicle makes it easier for grasping than others. 

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Creeper Sleeper Cozy
(North American Bear Co. $10 Score:)

We love the many various forms of these cozy toys. Easy to grasp, soft and comforting. Look for the new Cozy sets that are coming soon with  two super soft cozy dolls in a pack($20). That way, if one goes missing you have a replacement. Choose from the Bunny, Cat, or Dog Cozy. These are the kind of unstuffed easy-to-clutch “lovies” that babies often find a great comfort to hold as they make the transition to sleep.

SNAP: Comfort toys need to be easy to wash and to hold. These soft bodies dolls are easier for children with physical challenges to grasp.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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