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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


2004 Award
Olivia Saves the Circus Set
(Madame Alexander $99 Score:) This collection is as scrumptious as Olivia herself. The Circus Set comes in a big hatbox with ringmaster, clown, tight rope-walker, and dog and lion trainer outfits. Lion, dog, and pop-up tent also included. Olivia's Trunk Set ($85) also is very special with Olivia plus ball gown, bathing suit, tutu, two dresses, and lots of jewelry. You can buy Olivia in her red sailor dress with her red purse, striped tights-with articulated ears. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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Mgears
(Learning Resources $36.95 Score:) From the folks that brought you the open-ended Gearbotic sets (BLUE CHIP), here's a more advanced 350-piece set that comes with gears and a motorized wheelbase. We thought this was going to be a huge hit but our testers found the set difficult to do independently and then they didn't think the vehicles went fast enough. We still highly recommend the original nonmotorized BLUE CHIP Gears! Gears! Gears! sets because they are more open-ended and develop problem-solving skills as kids make their own moving machines. ($20/$40). Also new this year, Dizzy Fun Land ($36.95), a gear set with an amusement park theme that our five-year-old tester enjoyed. 5 & up.

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

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Groovy Girls Best Friends Sleepover Game
(Briarpatch $19.99 Score:) Our die-hard Groovy Girls fans were very disappointed with this game because the directions were "too complicated, unclear, and way too long!" Testers used the play pieces in their dollhouse instead. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: .

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Twister Moves
(Hasbro $19.99 Score:) Unfortunately, this updated talking version of the game went too fast for our testers. The speed of the commands was beyond our most coordinated testers. We hope they repackage with music and commands at a slower pace!

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: .

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2004 Award
Crayola Sidewalk Paint
(Crayola $14.99 Score:) Have your own sidewalk art show with this four-color paint kit. "Colors not as vibrant as on the box, but the kids had a great time. I had to fight with the kids to get them to stop and get ready for bed!" 5 & up. Also fun, Crayola Window FX ($3.99 1?2) Remember using glass wax with stencils for holiday decorations? Here's a much more colorful and easy-to-use update that comes right off with water. 4 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Yoga Play & Learn System
(YogaYears $69 Score:) Yoga is catching on as a great activity for kids. Here's a child-sized mat (24" x 50") with many standard yoga positions printed on the mat. Also comes with a fun game for introducing the concepts and positions.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Bird Diner Kit
(Balitono $17 Score:) This diner attracts smaller birds such as finches, chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches. We'd pair it with a set of binoculars, a bird book, and a log. Also for the outdoors, Spiral Windchime Kit ($17). 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Build a Bird Bath
(Creativity for Kids $24.95 Score:) A parent/child project for the garden. Three pieces need to be put together and painted. Part of the National Keep America's Birds Clean Campaign.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Color Wonder Mazes & Puzzles
(Crayola $7.99 Score:) 30 self-correcting mazes and puzzles that are sure to challenge without frustrating young travelers. Used with special no-mess Color Wonder markers. Some reading required on each page. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Crunch Art Travel Set
(Hands on Toys $11.95 Score:) A travel version of this innovative, open-ended art project (see page 138) comes with sectioned holders loaded with tools and supplies-great busy work for car or plane.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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