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Product Type: Toys
Age: Toddlers

 

 
2014 Awards
Little People City Skyway
(Fisher-Price $39.99 Score:)

It is a race to the surprise finish to discover where the winner is going to exit from this mighty three-foot skyway. Will it come out of the side exits or jump off a ramp. It is different every time. Besides, kids can flip the switches and to change the cars path. No batteries are needed to make the two little vehicles zip and zoom down the ramps. The set up also includes a working crane, gas pump, traffic signals, parking meter, and a gate that opens and closes. All great ingredients for early dramatic play. This is a really big piece of plastic that will be a wow-eee gift for toddlers who love playing the same game again and again. It may be a stretch for small toddlers to reach the top, but most twos will enjoy taking charge of the action. It is definitely big enough for two kids to enjoy together...think twins. Marked 18 months to 5 years. We think twos and threes are the right age for this.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Jumbo Forest Friends Puzzle
(Mudpuppy Press $14.95 Score:)

It's autumn in the forest and the animals are all out under the colorful trees. This jumbo floor puzzle has 25 big pieces that beginners can handle. When put together it is a big 22 by 22 inch square. Also fun, their Jumbo Pirate Puzzle, though this one is older in look and subject. They say 2 & up; we think twos are not ready for this many pieces. It will be enjoyed by  older 3-4's more.

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

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2014 Awards
Shake It Up Duo
(HaPe $12.99 Score:)

Two wooden shakers with a gentle quiet sound that are easy to live with for adults as well as kids. These unusual shapes for maracas are easier for young kids to grasp and hold onto while they keep the beat to music you put on for them to respond to.

SNAP: Unlike regular marachas which may be harder to grasp these wooden shakers have handles that may be easier to grasp. They also have a less strident sound. making them easier for sound sensitive kids to tolerate and even enjoy.

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

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2014 Award
Best Bugs Magnetic Maze
(HaPe $24.99 Score:)

An old fashioned game for solo play. Older toddlers like being able to manipulate tiny beads that are safely under a see-through cover. There is no right or wrong way to play with this square board. Older players may like to try and get all the beads of the same color into the home of that matching bug's maze. Doing so will take patience and some skill. 2 & up.

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

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2014 Awards
Bunnies by the Bay Peanut and Wee Peanut Elephants
(Bunnies By the Bay $25 Score:)

A super sweet 13-inch huggable elephant, called Peanut, with embroidered face, a sideways trunk, and curly tail. It has satin lined ears and is available in pink or blue. Slightly under-stuffed, making it easy for tots to grab. Also available in pink or blue, a Wee Sized Peanuts($15) that is a pudgy but adorable 7-inches.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Blue-Box Speedy’s Magical Shell
(Blue Box $15 Score:)

Part pull toy, part hammer toy, part drum, this bright yellow snail turns the drum shell as it rolls along. Take the rum off of Speedy’s back and take the feelers out of the top of his head and you have a drumstick to beat on the see-thru drum head or open the side of the drum to get the three balls out. Now close the drum and hammer the balls back into the drum. Since the balls and round openings are color coded to match, you can build language and early color concepts as well as matching. For such a small toy this is one versatile plaything that is age appropriate and not a major investment. On the mark for 12 months and up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Awards
Let's Imagine Elmo
(Playskool $35 Score:)

A new interactive Elmo changes from Prince to Cowboy to Pirate, with a change of hats. Kids can count to 20 with him and he'll sing a reward song; they can play a version of Simon Says--only here the game is Prince Elmo Says; they can squeeze Elmo's tummy and he'll play a Sounds of the Sea Game. As always, Elmo is a novelty toy that may be a wow-ee kind of toy out of the box, but will probably hold interest for a limited time. Since he is electronic, this is not a cuddly Elmo. That said, it is likely to be highly desired and heavily promoted on TV. 2-4.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
LEGO DUPLO School Bus
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

With just 26-pieces kids can build and rebuild this chunky school bus and play pretend games with it. The set comes with a driver and two students and a lot of ways to build settings. Best of all, kids can load and unload passengers and driver and make up their own stories as they play with the vehicle they build. 2-5

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

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2014 Awards
ELC Bendy Bird
(International Playthings $14.95 Score:)

A strong suction cup holds this zany looking bird to the high chair tray and invites little hands to twirl its wings that have tiny rattle beads inside; push the beak for a squeaky sound, push the tail feathers up and down or use them for teething; and make the birdy’s neck bend with a swipe of the hand. May be a good diversion for a few extra minutes of high chair sitting.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
LEGO DUPLO All-in-One-Box-of Fun
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

Introduce kids to building with a nice big Duplo box with 65-pieces to stack, sort, and build into all sorts of creations. It includes a wheeled base for making a vehicle, two working windows, variety of shaped blocks and a play figure and doggie. There are no right or wrong ways to build, though there are pictures for ideas. For beginners, this kind of open-ended construction toy is age appropriate. Don't hurry them into copying the pictures. Give them time to develop a sense of how the blocks fit together and what you can do with them and their imagination. Little children sometimes name what they are building after the fact, but more often than not they like exploring the materials and seeing how tall they can make a stack or how wide. The colorful blocks are also good for reinforcing color names.  Marked 1 1/2 -5, these will be used in ever more elaborate ways as time goes on.

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

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