Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Pretend Play

 


2005 Award
Plan Toys Stable Set
(Brio $30 Score:) Charming small stable with a red roof, two wooden horses (with movable heads), hay box, broom, and bucket. Designed to go with a larger and handsome Farm House ($84.99). A dandy play setting sans farm animals (sold separately). Has hinged side that opens for dramatic play and working pulley. Still top rated, PLATINUM AWARD-winning Airport ($75) or Garage ($75). (888) 274-6869.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Folding Castle Play Set
(Melissa & Doug $70 Score:) An all-wood castle that measures 16" x 16" x 12" when closed; 31" x 16" x 12" when open. Comes with three human figures and a horse. (800) 284-3948.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
My Pirate Ship
(Mega Bloks $29.99 Score:) This is a play theme preschoolers often enjoy. Here the play pieces are big enough for small hands to enjoy safely. The ship has sound effects, a crew of two pirates, a monkey, a parrot and a mermaid. They say 1 & up- we’d say more like 2 and a half to three. This would have been a gold winner except for the misleading age label. (800) 465-6342

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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Cool Crew Magic Talking Kitchen Crew
(Playskool $39.99 Score:) Smaller than your average toy kitchen, this is more of a novelty item than the kind of play setting that should be open ended and have long term play value. It’s only 17.6 X 16.2 X 8.6. Hardly big enough for even pretend chefs over the age of 2 and a half. We don’t think kids need anthropomorphic doors that talk and ask them the same question again and again. For toddlers who are still sorting out real from make believe this kind of cartoon-ish toy only clouds their thinking. Young children are magical thinkers by nature- but they come up with enough magic without the added confusion of stoves with eyes and mouths that move. Nor do kids need toys that crack corny jokes. Keep in mind that these seemingly cute extras are apt to get “tired” with continued use. True, the price is low for a toy kitchen, but that’s about the only thing it has on the plus side. Think of a toy kitchen as an investment toy that will be used for three or four years and then can be passed on to another child. This is not that kind of kitchen.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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Make Your Own Twinkly Tiaras
(Klutz $12.95 Score:) There are three pre-cut foil-on-cardboard tiaras ready to be decorated with glue on gemstones and sequins. The book also includes some tiaras for dolls. A good choice for a playdate, teaparty or quiet time. Finished tiaras are ready for pretend play. Theys ay 4, we’d saw more like a task for 5’s & up.

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

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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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Twin Time Dollhouse
(Fisher-Price $69.95 Score:) This big eight-room house has a patio, garage, a mom and dad and twins, plus 10 pieces of furniture and accessories. It opens to a spacious setting that folds up after playtime is done. The color scheme screams plastic, but a good value for the price. 3 & up. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2007 Awards
Inside Outside Cook 'n Grill Kitchen
(Little Tikes $149 Score:) Both Little Tikes and Step 2 get high marks this year for gender-free pretend cooking sets with an outdoor twist. The Inside Outside Cook n Grill Kitchen (Little Tikes $149 ) is a combo unit right on the mark for “pretend” cooking with a kitchen on one side and an outdoor grill on the other. (800) 321-0183. With an even more outdoor feel, Bistro Grille (Step 2 $99.99 ) comes with a cook surface, counter, and stool. While we like the design of the Bistro very much, the lower rating reflects the plastic hot dogs that are unnecessarily small and should be removed for kids who still mouth their toys. (800) 347-8372. For more kitchens, see Toddlers chapter.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Pretend & Play Office
(Learning Resources $29.99 Score:) A briefcase loaded with 75 items is full of props for playing office. Few of the props are electronic except for the calculator and cell phone. Kit includes a kid’s checkbook, blank calendar, wipe-off chart, and very skinny laptop (just a piece of cardboard that opens like a book cover with screen and keyboard printed). 3 & up. (800) 222-3909.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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