Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Award: Blue Chip
Age: Preschoolers


2001 Awards
Lauri Alphabet Puzzle Boards
(Patch $29.99 Score:)

Crepe rubber puzzle boards.  There is one 5 piece puzzle for each letter of the alphabet. Each board has an upper and lower case letter and an object that starts with that sound. There are a lot of Alphabet puzzles around, but these have cut out letters that give kids a 'feel' for the shape and direction of the letters.

SNAP IDEAS: Kids can trace the letters or use them for spelling out their names. When kids are learning letters it's fun to put three in a bag and have child feel inside without looking. Can she pull out the letter "T" or one that says "M-m-m-m."

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

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2001 Awards
Color Wonder Paper and Markers
(Crayola $7.99 Score:)

This innovative art material is great for travel as well as home because the chunky markers are colorless and won't stain anything. Best of all, they have a magic quality-they turn color as kids draw on the special paper. This comes with coloring books that keep color inside the lines, but we prefer the open-ended paper that kids can use any way they like. 2 & up.

SNAP INFO: There's something magical about these markers with colorless tips that turn to true colors when used on special paper. A great choice for encouraging kids to develop the eye hand skills they need for writing. Activity: Use a crayon or regular marker to make dots kids can connect with the special markers. Draw dots to form letters, numbers, or pictures.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2001. Click here to purchase the product on

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1995 Awards
Cozy Coupe
(Little Tikes $49.99 Score:)

The ultimate classic ride-in toy comes with a fun "ignition switch". We love that the front wheels really turn so that kids can steer in any direction. Many wheel toys have surprisingly lost that feature. Happily it's also done in gender free colors so that it can be enjoyed by everyone. More recently the company produced a pink vehicle for those that need their vehicle genderized. We [refer the yellow and red vehicle that can be passed along from brothers to sisters and between cousins of both genders.  

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 1995. Click here to purchase the product on

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1996 Awards
Master Builder Block System
(T.C. Timber $25 Score:) These wooden blocks are 40 percent smaller than regular unit blocks but maintain their size relationships. Aside from mini-unit shapes there are interesting architectural sets for school-age builders: Roman, Egyptian, Mayan, Middle Eastern, Russian, and Japanese, and new for , the Coliseum ($50/110 pieces ) and the Leaning Tower of Pisa ($45/27 pieces).

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 1996.

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Push/Pull Wagon
(Radio Flyer $60 Score:) Bigger than the classic red wagon, this plastic update has higher sides, a well, and a stout handle for pushing or pulling kids or cargo. This and the BLUE CHIP classic version are ideal for carting plants, tools, imaginary playmates—you name it.

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

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Emergency Rescue Squad Puppets
(Learning Resources $19.95 Score:) Multicultural worker puppets include a doctor, paramedic, police officer, and firefighter. They have vinyl heads and cloth bodies and are ready for dramatic play. The same company makes multicultural families. 4 & up.

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

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Lego System Classic Building Sets
(Lego Systems, Inc. $3.99 Score:) Lego, the granddaddy of plastic building blocks, is a must-have for this age group. Unlike the themed models in the line these open-ended sets with a mix of bricks, wheels, doors, and mini-figures allow kids to build and design their own creations. Also a great value, Lego Classic Play Desk ($19) comes with 225 pieces. 5–7.

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

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1995 Awards
A–Z Panels
(Lauri $8.95 Score:) Not only does fitting the rubbery letters in and out of the puzzle frame help kids learn to know and name the letters, but handling the 3-D letters also gives kids a feel for their shapes. Also, Kids Perception Puzzle ($7.50), figures in slightly different poses that help kids look at small differences, just as they must when reading words that look almost alike, such as "cap" and "cup." Also recommended: Number Play ($14.95) with 10 puzzle boards each with a numeral and matching number of objects. 4–7. SNAP INFO: Getting a feel for the shape of letters is easier with the rubbery letters in this A-Z puzzle. Kids can use the empty puzzle board as a stencil to trace the letters, too. ACTIVITY: Use the letters to play a find my sound game. Put three letters on the table and say several words that stat with one of the letters. For example, if you say "sun, sit, smile" the child will pick up the S.- If the child picks up the right letter he keeps it.

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

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1995 Awards
(Woodstock Percussion $39.99 Score:)

Unlike most musical toys for kids, the tone of this metal-chime xylophone is lovely. Can be played by number/color or musical notation. Can be enjoyed by a preschooler, but becomes a true musical instrument for older children--also reinforces reading from left to right. Mini version is less expensive, but is not as sweet sounding. That said, this is a pleasant travel take-along toy. Says 3 & up; we'd say 4–8.

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

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 1995. Click here to purchase the product on

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2007 Awards
Groovy Girls and Groovy Boys
(Manhattan Toy $10 Score:)

This continues to be a BLUE CHIP collection of soft 13" multi-ethnic dolls with stitched features, yarn hair, and groovy clothes. Happily, there is a boy doll in this line.  Still the superlative gift, consider Supersize Yvette or Gwen ($50 each 5), a 40" child-sized fabric doll that’s like a pretend play pal. We found the new Groovy Girls’ PetRageous ($16.99) disappointing. If you didn’t see the hangtags you wouldn’t know they were from the same folks—they lack the wonderful design quality and spirit of the dolls. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on

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