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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers

 

 
2006 Awards
Seven Pets to Lace and Trace
(Lauri $6.99 Score:) New for ’06, Seven Pets to Lace and Trace (Lauri $6.99 ) are made of sturdy chipboard punched with holes that kids “sew” with colorful laces. These activities develop eye hand skills and develop small muscles in hand needed for writing. Also recommended, Lace & Link Numbers ($14.99 ), crepe 4" rubber numerals that reinforce shapes in a tactile way. 4 & up. (800) 451-0520.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2005 Award
9 x 12 Jump n Slide
(Little Tikes $200 Score:) The neighborhood of kids that tested this for us gave this jumping toy high marks. The 3-5 year old crowd found the toy sufficiently bouncy! Note: Our older testers (7 and up) felt the toy did not give them enough bounce. We liked the protective walls on the sides and the kids loved the wide slide. Great fun for a birthday party and everyday play but does require parental supervision. We also recommend placing the toy a soft surface. Parents liked the fact that it inflated easily and quickly with the included pump. Grass stakes help keep the playset from moving around.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2006 Award
Angel Fish Rocker
(Step 2 $40 Score:) Reintroduced, this all-plastic fish has been an old favorite for toddlers. The seat is narrow and pretty easy to mount. Can be used indoors or out. But a warning: supervision is needed as rapid rocking can lead to spills. This is bigger than your average rocker and has been known to tip. (800) 347-8372.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Awards
WaterWheel Table
(Step 2 $39.99 Score:) We had mixed reviews on this one. For stand-up water play this seems a great choice for the patio or terrace. It doesn’t take up a lot of room and allows for spilling, filling, splashing, and getting good and wet! But be forewarned, there seem to be problems with leaks! The plugs on the table are not water tight, so you will have to refill this and not use it indoors. That said, this is also a toy that needs total adult supervision. (800) 347-8372. See Preschool chapter for sand and water table, p. 100.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Little Mommy Newborn Twin Dolls
(Fisher-Price $16.99 Score:) These bald-headed twin dolls have no moving eyes or small accessories. They’re truly toddler friendly. The realistic vinyl features are painted on. Both heavily scented dolls have soft bodies and the rompers they are wearing do not come off. Both come with a chunky molded bottle. Available now in girl/girl; boy/boy, and girl/boy combos. Also available in African American as well as Caucasian dolls. 18 mos. & up. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Little Pretenders
(Chenille Kraft Co. $24.99 Score:) A new line of costumes made of wipe-able vinyl provides the most affordable choice. Each theme comes with accessories (stethoscopes, extinguishers, etc.) and appropriate headgear. Other costumes include Veterinarian, Hair Dresser (the pretend blow dryer makes a great sound), and Doctor. 3 & up. (800) 621-1261.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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Super Star Sing-Along Vanity
(Little Tikes $47 Score:) “Mirror, mirror on the vanity, will I be part of the future American Idol insanity?” We’re not big on vanities that come loaded with a karaoke mirror, a wireless microphone (the hairbrush) . . . and an applause button (honest!). Not available for testing. 3 & up. (800) 321-0183.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Lili
(Corolle $60 Score:) Older preschoolers will love the articulated and fashionable 17" Lili dolls. Choose the blond Rose, auburn Melodie, dark brunette Belle, and strawberry blond Flore. Each is dressed in a très jolie outfit that is totally “now.” These will appeal to slightly older girls as well. Think younger American Girl dolls. 4 & up. Also new, Chouquettes ($39.95 1⁄2)—adorable 14" girl dolls come with blond or brunette hair and hairbrush for age-typical play. (800) 668-4846.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Jules
(Corolle $55 Score:) Finding a boy doll is not easy, yet it’s a great gift, especially when there’s a new baby in the family. Meet Jules, a 17" bald baby doll in blue romper with bottle, bib, and pacifier. Like last year’s winner, Lila, he cries, laughs, and babbles. Both are a perfect armful for pretend play. 3 & up. PLATINUM AWARD ’05. (800) 668-4846.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Baby Annabell
(Zapf Creation $39.99 Score:) For the first time, Annabell cries real tears. After her bottle, she randomly yawns and falls asleep, or starts to cry. Our testers liked the novelty and parents liked the “off” switch option. Crying, babbling Love Me Chou Chou ($49.99 ) disappointed our testers, who thought she was “too heavy… it had a seam on her head—looked like she had a brain surgery.” Take heart, there is still a My First Annabell ($19.95 ) a 14" baby doll, Caucasian or African American, who does whatever your child imagines. This doll is mislabeled 1 & up, however; the pacifier is too small to be safe for toddlers. (877) 629-9273.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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