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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 

 
2014 Awards
LeapFrog LeapTV
(LeapFrog $149 Score:)

Designed for younger player, 3-8, this is like the Wii for wee folks with a console, camera and controller that you hook up to your TV. These are largely games that will get kids off the couch and playing active physical games that are non-violent and have some educational content that parents can choose to fit their kids' ages and stages. Kids play by moving their bodies, using the controller that is designed for child size hands. They can use the controller two-handed play as with a joystick and buttons or change the handle into pointer mode and swing it like a wand. One of our test families liked the fact that they had access to LeapFrog's giant library of educational games. They did have some challenges in getting the children of different heights onto the screen at the same time.

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

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2014 Award
eeBoo 9 Piece Puzzles, A Nice Snowy Day
(eeBoo $8 Score:)

One of four nine-piece puzzles with delightful illustrations by Kevin Hawkes. Good sized cardboard pieces fit into the sturdy frames and each piece of the frame has a connecting clue that will help kids get it together. We love the dapper fox ice skating in this winter scene with his forest friends skiing and skating along the edges. Also special in the series, A Great Hot Day with a dog splashing in the water; a springtime Planting Time scene with Bear, Pig, Rabbit and Goose gardening; and a fall scene called First Day of School. Choose any of the above or all four for 3's and up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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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 Awards
Go! Go! Sports Girls Read & Play Doll & Book
(Dream Big Toy Co. $19 Score:)

We've told you about Go! Go! Sports Girls dolls before, soft fabric dolls that promote a positive image of girls as active players. Now, the sporty dolls are each being sold with a book that adds another dimension to their learning value along with information about their sport. Each doll and book set also comes with sporting equipment, a backpack and towel. Choose the one (or ones) that mirror your child’s sport interests. Consider Cassie and her Soccer Story, Maya, a gymnast, M.C. a dancer, Suzi, a swimmer, Ella, a runner, and Roxy, a cheerleader. 3 & up

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

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2014 Award
Diggin Circus Balancing Shapes
(Diggin $20.99 Score:)

Players will need a sense of humor as thy try to balance the playing pieces on the blue elephant. Take turns tossing the die to determine what shape stalk you are to put on the elephant. The wooden stalks are cut in square, semi-circle, triangular, and circles. But the pieces are long, so they give a new twist to the concepts of shape. There will be lots of rounds and plenty of laughter, we hope as everyone learns to stack their playing pieces with great care. It is a little trickier to balance these slender pieces than the classic pieces of Mr. Blockhead. They say 3 & up, but we think this is going to call for more dexterity. A better choice for older 4's and 5's.

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

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2014 Awards
Melissa & Doug Mega Race Car Carrier
(Melissa & Doug $29.99 Score:)

Hours of play possibilities will take off with this wonderful wooden car carrier that is loaded with six race cars. The blue truck cab attaches to the two-level carrier that opens into one long rampway. There are grooves on the carrier to hold the vehicles in place. Kids will like loading and unloading the race cars and having races with the vehicles. Want to add some math? The vehicles are numbered, so load them up from 1-6. This is one of those toys that will be used with blocks or solo. 3 & up

SNAP GAME: A playful way to reinforce colors and counting, recognizing numerals, putting things in number order. Play a what's missing game: Line up three cars in numerical order with one car missing. Can your player name the missing car? Find the missing car?

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

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Awards
Leap Frog LeapPad3
(LeapFrog $99.99 Score:)

A new, improved, 5-inch touchscreen and Wi-Fi protected content that keeps kid safe but gives them access to more content. This is the fastest 5-inch tablet that us designed to withstand drops and such unavoidable wear and tear. It has kid-friendly web content that is 100% pre-screened and approved by learning experts and has 4GB of memory; enough to allow kids to store 20,000 photos plus a two-megapixel front and back cameras and a video recorder for young film makers. It has a built in rechargeable battery. LeapPad3 includes 10 Apps:Music player plus 10 songs; Pet Party, 5 utility apps and a choice of 1 App download. Like previous LeapPads it gives kids access to a learning library with more than 1,000 games, ebooks, and videos approved by educators. For more memory (8GB and a larger 7-inch screen consider the LeapPad Ultra XDi ($129) comes in green and pink. 3-9

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

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2014 Award
Faber-Castell Gel Crayons
(Creativity for Kids $15 Score:)

Delicious! That is the best word to describe what rich beautiful color you get from the 12 Gel Crayons you get in this set of washable gel crayons with intense colors. The blue gel crayon pictured here is just one of a dozen brilliant colors. They are nothing like any crayons you have ever used. An exciting new medium that will invite kids to develop their creativity as well as their dexterity. Using big arm motions these crayons glide over the paper leaving bright lines that are as bold as tempera paint without the problem of dripping. They do not blend as well as paint, but they do offer an easy way to encourage kids to explore color, line and expressing themselves in non-verbal ways. The set comes with 12 buttery crayons in chunky plastic that turns up as the color is used. Includes red, yellow, orange, dark blue, grass green, black, silver, neon yellow, neon orange, neon pink, neon blue and neon green. Color on textures and it shows through. They say these can be used on windows and mirrors and washed off; we have not tried them that way.These are marked 3 & up, but we suspect these make a better choice for slightly older kids.

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

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2014 Award
Manhattan Toy Groovy Girls Blissful Bubbles Bathtub
(Manhattan Toy $25 Score:)

Who but a Groovy Girl would have a satin lined bathtub? Of course, this fantasy tub can take no water or bubbles, despite its fancy name. But it is perfectly proportioned for on Groovy Girl doll at a time. Come with terry towel and a few other bath accessories. For the Groovy Gal collector. 3 & up.

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

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2014 Award
Playmobil Wild Life, Noah's Ark
(Playmobil $95 Score:)

Not surprisingly, this is subtitled, Noah's Ark, even though a lot of the animal pairs you might have expected to be here are not. Noah and his wife are here and the Ark could take a lot more passengers. That said, there are 101 pieces in the box and plenty of play potential. You may want to add the African Savannah elephants and rhinos to the other African animals in the set, i.e. giraffes, lions, zebras, monkeys, parrots, and ostriches. There is food on board, a ramp for getting off and on. A classic play setting for the ages. 4 & up.

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

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