Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Award: Platinum
Age: Preschoolers
Review Year: 2012

 


2012 Award
Blabla Luigi Frog
(blabla kids $48 Score:)

Soft and huggable, Luigi is a green frog with big eyes and a pencil thin curled mustachio. He wears long brown pants with suspenders and a white shirt. Every detail of this adorable frog is knitted. Like other dolls in the line it is also available in a 12-inch size. If you fancy a girl frog, consider Lilipop, in a paler shade of green ith ballet slippers and a pink yarn tutu.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Hape Gourmet Kitchen
(HaPe $129.99 Score:)

A classic piece of equipment for pretend play. This has no sounds except the ones your child will make. Beautifully finished in white, with licks of yellow and natural wood, this is not the usual gender specific pink and will be enjoyed by boys as well as girls. Crafted with round edges and smooth surfaces, this wooden kitchen has red dials that turn on the stove with two pretend burners, an oven, and frig underneath. We like the sink with turning faucets and a small take-out plastic tub that can actually hold water for sudsy play. There is a rack at the top for storing plates and utensils, however the plates, etc. do not come with the kitchen. You can buy Hape wooden accessories or stock up on sturdy plastic ones for soap and water fun. Unlike so many oversized kitchens, this will not take up most of a room. It is scaled down but ideal for 3 and up.

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

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2012 Award
TinkerToy Transit Building Set
(KNEX $43.99 Score:)

Many may remember TinkerToy sets that came with wooden pieces with a happy sense of nostalgia.  We think in this case, that this new set with "bendy" plastic pieces are even better than the original. K'NEX has licensed the trademark from Hasbro (in case you were wondering).  Our testers also liked the ability to make vehicles with this set that comes with lots of wheels as part of this 150 piece set. Fun to explore together. There are 15 suggested builds, but encourage your child to create their own builds.  The box the set comes in is sturdy enough to be used again and again for storage, also a plus!  The only comment of our testers "we wish there were more bendy pieces!"

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Flying Super Grover 2.0
(Hasbro $32.99 Score:)

Hands down our favorite novelty doll of 2012. Grover playfully engages your child in his ability to fly like a super hero.  He comes with a bright red cape (hey, he's a super hero) and a big "G" on his chest.  The best part -- his arms move as you "fly" him up and down.  All the while Grover provides the narrative of him going up, up, up or down, down, down.  Truth be told, he doesn't always know which way he's going. Cute sound effects that propel him as he soars.  He has a sense of humor-- something we really appreciate.

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

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2012 Award
Janod Grand Xylo Confetti
(Janod $19.99 Score:)

We were delighted to find that this beautiful line of French toys is now available in the US market. The music line is particularly welcomed.  Most of the musical toys on the market in the past several years have had terrible tone. As Randy would say - way too "pitchy". This oversized wooden xylo is cheerfully designed in white with bold dots of color. Take a listen to the video so you can hear the lovely sound quality. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Blabla Coral Mermaid
(blabla kids $42 Score:)

Soft and huggable, Coral, an 18"long mermaid is created with cotton yarn. Her multicolored braids are as bright as the coral reef and her tail has scalloped embroidery. An unusual huggable, she has no nose, but they did not forget her bellybutton.   Like other dolls in the line it is also available in a 12-inch size.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Blabla Giant Pumpkin
(blabla kids $196 Score:)

Three feet tall and ready to listen, dance, and play pretend, Pumpkin is dressed in an adorable striped dress. She has rosy cheeks, and reddish hair. Oversized dolls like this one become more than decorations in a child's room. They often become the play companion of tea parties, storytime, and bedtime, too. Blabla makes a number of giant size dolls. This is the most humanoid of the group and a smaller version of the doll is also available.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Hape Park and Go Garage
(HaPe $69.99 Score:)

A handsome wooden garage with ramps and working elevator with a heliport on top. A classic setting for dramatic play as cars zoom up and down the roadway ramps. Your child makes the sounds rather than premade ones. It comes with a helicopter and two small wooden cars that move on the slick surface. It also has a gas station for fueling up the vehicles. Well finished with black, and red graphics. This will get hours of playtime and can be incorporated into block building play. This takes some assembling time, but it goes together without anything more than a screwdriver and some patience. Our experienced tester/builder says putting the tower in place is the only challenging part, but the directions are perfect and easy to follow.  We note not all reviews online have been positive in term of the strength of the ramps. This is not a toy for toddlers who may lean on it and even sit on the top ramp. 3 & up.

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

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2012 Award
Playmobil Pirates' Ship 5135
(Playmobil $79.99 Score:)

Ahoy! Is that the infamous Captain Hook on deck shouting orders to the crew? They are sailing the blue sea in a two masted sailing vessel complete with crow's nest, flags, netting, a crane for uploading the treasure chest, parrot, and a good supply of weapons and stout red cannons. 176 pieces of fun to assemble and then use for pretend play or put on display. The ship is 26.8 inches from stem to stern and comes with four action figures and plenty of detailed accessories. There is also a magic coin that can be used on the Adventure Island kit. There are a lot of very small pieces on this that are a choking hazard for children who still mouth their toys. Set this up out of reach of younger sibs. The boat can float. They say 4-10, we'd say this is more like a 6 & up toy. Preschoolers who love pirates will enjoy this after it is built by an adult. They may enjoy handing you the pieces needed but this will be your build. Parental help will also be needed with early school aged kids. It should be part of the fun. Showing kids how to assemble a big model like this gives you a chance to model working from plans and doing the steps in a systematic way. It will not get completed in one sitting but that too is a learning experience. Be forewarned stringing the rigging on this ship was challenging to our adult tester.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Playmobil Princess Fantasy Magic Castle
(Playmobil $169.99 Score:)

Totally gender specific, this pink castle is huge and comes with ready to move in furnishings plus two royal figures. There is a big outside staircase and roundish rooms in the tall turrets. They have built in a secret chamber for keeping the royal jewels in the great tower. For the real life owner of the castle, there is a tiara, bracelet and ring to wear while playing with the Magic Castle. Putting this together will be a parent child project. Use a table or a board that can hold the building in a safe place out of family traffic. With all the small pieces, you want to put this somewhere that small sibs cannot reach. Once built this is a setting with miniatures that will hold the interest of young pretenders. 4 & up

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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