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Product Type: Toys
Award: Blue Chip
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 

 
1995 Awards
Music Maker Harp
(Peeleman-McLaughlin $50 Score:) No electronic sounds here. This is a cross between a zither and an autoharp, but much easier to learn to play. Slip one of 12 follow-the-dot song sheets under the strings and pluck on the dotted lines. Has a soft and lovely tone. Includes folk, Beatles, and classical music sheets. You can buy extra music for this once the first set is mastered. 6 and up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 1995.

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1995 Awards
Giant Periscope
(Tasco $15 Score:) For exploring around corners, this sturdy, plastic double-handled periscope is just right. Made of sturdy plastic this is a fun toy for dramatic play as well as visual discoveries. This company also makes a full line of microscopes and telescopes.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 1995.

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2001 Awards
Razor Scooter
(Razor Scooter $99 Score:)

Since we first reviewed the Razor Scooter in 2001, it has become the granddaddy of them all. When they first arrived on the scene, it was hard to walk around the streets of our Greenwich Village office without seeing dozens of kids on them (or parents carrying them to their kids for pick up!)  They have maintained their apply with kids as one the experiences of childhood. Here in New York City--they have replaced the "first bike" as the main mode of childhood transportation. We are always amazed by the really little kids that have mastered the scooter! 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2001. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Awards
Alex's Puppet Theatre
(Alex $80 Score:) An updated version, this puppet theatre has a clock for show time and new eye-appealing graphics! This stable floor model is 48" high, with painted trim on one side and a chalk surface for messages. Their small tabletop model is also available ($27).

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

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2001 Award
Go Bananas!
(Gamewright $10 Score:)

Players try to get all the cards in the deck by being the first to spot a pair of wild and mild monkeys, a wild 'gator, or bananas. But spotting them is not enough! You have to remember to call out the right command. Staying in the swing, so to speak, takes memory and concentration. Our 7-year old tester beat the grown-ups every time!   A fun card game to take along for traveling and playing as you go and when you get to your vacation spot.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2001. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Awards
Les Cheries
(Corolle $45 Score:)

We loved these dolls when they first hit the market back in 2003. They received a Platinum Award and we are now giving them a Blue Chip Award for 2009. Chloe, Camille, Clare, Cecile and Cathy are a multicultural collection of 13" dolls and are marketed as "best friend" dolls and are purposefully not fashion dolls. Our favorites this year are Cecile, an African American girl, with jeans, a knit shrug and glorious hair or Chloe, a brunette ballerina in a gossamer tutu. They are meant to look like girls of today. There are new clothes almost every year--but this is a collection that should not be missed.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Awards
Elmer's 3D Washable Paint Pens
(Elmer's $14.99 Score:)

Imagine getting a set of 31 squeezable "pens" with writing tips for drawing on posters or cards. Paints puff when dry and set includes primary colors plus pastels, glitter, and pearlized pens. This is a wow-wee kind of present that will get lots of use. Editor's note: These pens have been updated this year with gender-specific themes from Disney (fairies, cars, and princesses). While we preferred the gender-free cast of the original sets (Platinum from 2003) --these are still a great choice and the price still makes this a really affordable gift.

SNAP Activity: Motivating kids to practice writing just got easier with this huge set of colorful gluepens. To get the feel for shaping letters or numbers, this is a terrific material. Write letters that he needs to practice on separate index cards. Now have child trace the letters and make them big enough to see with ease. Make one card with the upper case and a matching card with the lower case. When the cards are dry your child will be able to play a mach it up game, matching the upper and lower case letters. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Awards
PDQ
(Gamewright $9.99 Score:)

PDQ, short for the Pretty Darn Quick Word Game, works by players drawing three letter cards. The first player to call out a word that uses those three letters wins those cards. Not for shy game players! Much like Word Sense, but without the tiles. Great for travel. 8 & up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Awards
Mad Math
(Patrix Communications $22.95 Score:) If math facts are a source of tension in your house, here are two games for working on those skills. Mad Math is a board game that has addition facts on one side and multiplication on the other. The goal is to get three pawns in a row on the board. You collect spaces by rolling the dice and finding the corresponding math fact on the playing board. The board is self-correcting, which is a plus.New for 2007, Delicio ($18.99 4), a clever memory game that teaches food families (in French and English). (888) 834-2380.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2004 Award
Moose in the House
(Gamewright $9.99 Score:)

There's a Moose in the House remains one of our all time favorite card games.  It's unlike most other games you'll play with your kids nad has a sense of humor and great artwork. Calls for visual discrimination skills!  So we have elevated this unique game to BLUE CHIP status!

Here's our original review:

One of the most innovative card games we have played in years. The cards have pictures of empty rooms, doors, and moose in the same rooms. The object is to place as many moose in your opponents’ house of cards as possible. The player with the fewest moose at the end of the game, wins. Easy to learn and a lot of fun to play! 2-5 players.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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