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

 


2004 Award
Doll Houses Comparison Shopper
(Brio $50 Score:) Dollhouses should be kept simple for little hands. In wooden dollhouses, there are three great collections. You can’t go wrong with any of them. From Plan Toys: Choose either of their modern-looking A-frames ($90–$125 ) with open roofs for easy access, or their Classic Dollhouse (Brio $70/$50 for add-on basement ). PLATINUM AWARD ’01. New for , a grand two-story Victorian Dollhouse ($200 1?2) with two staircases (which fall down too easily) and removable partitions for small-scale remodeling. From Small World Toys: Ryan’s Room Deluxe Home Is Where the Heart Is Dollhouse, three stories high (Small World Toys $100 ) PLATINUM AWARD ’03. An add-on balcony and garage with ramp are available ($50) or consider their smaller Home Again, Home Again A-Frame ($130) that can be enlarged with an add-on basement and stairs ($70). Multicultural families and furnishings for both companies are sold separately and run between $15–$20 per room. We thought the Ryan’s Room Making Muscles exercise equipment set was a sign of the times. From Alex: My Dollhouse, Platinum Award ’01 ($169 ), has three floors done in bright colors/patterns and comes with 22 pieces of furniture. Brio (888) 274-6869/Small World Toys (800) 421-4153/Alex (800) 666-2539. Fisher-Price’s plastic Special Edition Townhouse ($99.99 ) is fully furnished and has sound effects that our testers loved; crackling fireplace, ringing phone, running water, chiming doorbell, and lights! 4 & up. (800) 432-5437.

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

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2004 Award
Plan City Station
(Brio $70 Score:) The latest addition to the Plan City. A multi-level station with bright green curved roof gives this a modern look. Can be used with the Deluxe Road System ($40 ) with bridges and ramps for trucks and cars. Still top rated, PlanToys Airport ($75 ). Ready for take-offs, a wooden airport with soaring roof, tower, ramps, and elevator. PLATINUM AWARD ’03. Parking Garage ($60 ) is a handsome, nonelectronic garage with elevator, ramps, and heliport on top. 3 & up. PLATINUM AWARD ’02. (888) 274-6869.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2004.

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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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