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2015 Awards
Guidecraft Power Clix Solids
(Guidecraft $99 Score:)

A 70-piece set of translucent magnified pieces in geometric shapes. These handsome pieces are an invitation for kids to explore creating new shapes and forms. It's a more open-ended kind of building material that can be used to make abstract designs rather than heavily representational art. Kids are likely to reproduce what they see on the back of the box or in the creativity guide, but hopefully, before long they will try inventions of their own and learn about symmetry and balance in a hands-on unique way. This set, unlike others in the collection is designed for the younger players and all magnets are embedded inside the plastic for safety. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015.

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2015 Awards
Sassy Zoomin' Zoo Train Set
(Sassy $29.99 Score:)

We liked the simplicity and play-ability of this little plastic train. An engine and two flatcars can be joined together and tots can load and unload the colorful blocks that can be stacked on the cars. The sensory blocks have rattle sounds that will interest young players. Each block comes with a small tray to hold the blocks and holds it in place. Of course, putting the small tray in place calls for more dexterity and maybe some help for the first however many times. 

SNAP: A good choice for encouaging eye-hand skills and dexterity along with dramatic play.Use color words as you handle the blocks to reinforce language and concepts. Use them for stacking and a singing game to the tune of Skip to My Lou:

"Mommy found the yellow block, the yellow block, the yellow block, Mommy found the yellow block...now let's find the blue."

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
LEGO Juniors Supermarket Suitcase
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

For your older preschooler and early school age child who has outgrown Duplos and is ready for a little more complex building, this 134-piece Lego Juniors Supermarket Suitcase is a great transition set. It includes a easy to build supermarket with an ice cream bar, vegetable stand plus a bright red scooter and two minifigures and a cat. It becomes a mini-setting for dramatic play as they sort the fruit and other accessories, such as flowers, bread, bottles, and veggies. Testers liked all the small details, including a cash register, money and ice cream. We think it's unfortunate that this one is packed in pink. Supermarkets are fun for boys and girls and this one could have been gender neutral. That said, it is a fun set. 4-7

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
LEGO Juniors Fire Suitcase
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

For that older preschooler and early school age child who has outgrown his duplos and is ready for more complex building, this 134-piece Lego Juniors Fire Suitcase is on the mark. Kids can build a fire helicopter, motorbike and a base station. It includes a number of fun accessories for dramatic play: 2 firefighter minifigures, a water hose, map, barrier, fire and lights. Includes easy instructions for the easy build. 4-7

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Manhattan Toy Puppy Go Round
(Manhattan Toy $10.90 Score:)

With a big red suction cup to hold it down, this highchair toy has plenty of action. It spins, squeaks and the little pups spin independently. This calls for fine motor skills with little fingers rather than a simple swipe of the hand. 6 months & up.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2015.

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2015 Award
Gamewright Outfoxed!
(Gamewright $17.99 Score:)

Our testers liked working together to catch the critter that stole Mrs. Plumpertís pot pie. Gathering clues as they moved around the board, they used the clue detector to eliminate possible thieves in this coperative game. It does call for an elaborate set up, but once the game begins itís anybodyís guess who done it! But work fast before the culprit escapes and you and your pals are outfoxed! Game play is about 15 minutes. For 2-4 players ages 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2015.

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Fisher-Price Imaginext Ultra T-Rex
(Fisher-Price $99.99 Score:)

For dino-haulics of a certain age, this Ultra T-Rex will be a heavily promoted holiday gift. This is no toy for the timid. It walks, it stomps, it roars and goes from crouching to standing at full heightó2 Ĺ feet tall! But that's not all, it opens its toothy jaws and closes them with chomping sounds. Sound and motion are blended with lights on its spikes and eyes that will scare off any little sisters or brothers. T-Rex can even fire boulders from its chest and claws (they do not go far; they sort of fall to the ground so they are not a safety problem as so many projectile toys can be.) Okay, it's true, this is a novelty toy that will probably gather dust before long, and end up in the landfill; that said, we have to admit, dino lovers are going to be wowed by this gy-normous motorized plastic-saurus. It will come to life with 4 AA batteries. Marked 36 months to 8 years. We say 5-7 is probably prime time for this one. AWARD pending testing.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
North American Bear Sleepyhead Jumbo Cozy Set Blue or Pink
(North American Bear Co. $25 Score:)

An unstuffed 15" snuggle bunny plus a smaller baby bunny that has a crinkle sound when touched; both in velvety soft velour complete with stitched eyes and stripe jersey knit stocking cap. Oversized big cozy bunny is can be embroidered with baby's name on the floppy long ears or flat body. Available in pink or baby blue with all stitched features and ears that are white on one side.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Hasbro Robots in Disguise, Super Bumblebee
(Hasbro $19.99 Score:)

One of three over-sized vehicles that transforms into a standup robot with sounds and lights. Made of lightweight plastic, this has a big look without a big ticket. There are some projectile parts that do not go far and have no punchthough it does have some scary sounds. It also comes with a backstory of the Transformer Autobots going after the evil Decepticons that are loose on Earth. For extra action and story, older kids, 9 & up can download the app, scan it into your phone and play the pre-made games. Better yet, encourage your kids to make up their own adventure stories and play them out. Award pending testing.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Thames and Kosmos Dimension Game
(Thames and Kosmos 49 $39.99 Score:)

Dimension is a handsome looking and fast paced game with players racing the timer and other players to arrange their balls to match the image on the task card. Everyone plays at the same time. Players get a point for every ball they use correctly and win a bonus if they manage to use all five. But watch out! You lose two points for any task card you do wrong. 1-4 players. Testers gave this a high five. 10 & up.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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