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Product Type: Toys

 

 
Award
Wooden Alphabet & Math Blocks with Braille
( $30 Score:) SNAP INFO: These Uncle Goose wooden blocks look like classic alphabet blocks, but with one wonderful difference! Two faces of each cube have a letter impression and raised Braille cell for that letter. Also top rated, a Braille math set ($17) includes zero through 9, and plus and minus signs. (888) 774-2046.

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

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2000 Awards
Touch N Play Lotto
(Guidecraft $32 Score:) SNAP INFO: Four wooden playing boards and matching Lotto pieces have raised textured shapes for sensory feedback through the fingertips. This is an excellent choice for children with visual disabilities. (800) 544-6526.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2000.

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1999 Award
Cool Cash Bingo
(Learning Resources $17.95 Score:) A fast- paced pair of games can be played with this Bingo like game that helps kids learn to add, subtract, and make small change with coins. 6 & up. Also, Presto-Chang-O Game($24.95) This board game deals with coins as well as dollars. This company also makes toy money as well as coin stampers that kids can use for making their own play money. This makes a hit with first and second graders.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 1999.

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2005 Awards
Woodkins
(Pamela Drake $11.95 Score:) These wooden "paper" dolls come with fabric choices that stay in place with a "frame" that lifts and closes over the edge of the doll. New for this year, a charming collection of fairies to dress in gossamer and glittery fabrics plus a necklace for the "designer." Perfect for quiet pretend time. 4 & up. (800) 966-3762. SNAP INFO: This is a non-messy abra-ca-dabra toy that holds the interest of children who may not be able to manipulate and dress a three dimensional doll. Fabric scraps of your own can be added to the mix and the cast of multi-ethnic characters include boys, girls, well loved storybook friends such as Arthur and Madeline. There are also changeable faces with differing emotions to talk about and manipulate. ACTIVITY: Try taking turns telling a story about the character. Players can change the Woodkins clothes and pick up the story thread as they pass it back and forth. Encouraging kids to tell original stories sometimes works best when you model how it's done. Keep it simple and funny if you want to keep their attention.

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

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Whoozit Activity Spiral
(Manhattan Toy $ Score:) This spiral toy wraps around a crib rail or stroller bar and has dangly toys to explore. The problem is that older babies may take this off the rail since there's no way to Velcro or strap it in place. Our concern is that once it's off the rail this is a toy that an older baby may wrap around his neck. It's fine for newborns gazing or batting at but not for babies who can pull on it or explore it with two hands!

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2002.

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Pull Up Ball Blast
(Fisher-Price $19.99 Score:) Designed for tots to pull up and stand at, this ball drop with a spiral chute looked promising. Trouble is, it's not weighted, so it doesn't hold still for tots who are still unsteady on their feet and the ramps don't connect smoothly for the ball run. Finally, like too many toys this season, the sound and lights are intrusive and loud. This is no substitute for the Tomy Ball Party toys. Marked 9 months to 3 years, we think it's too old for infants, too unsteady for young toddlers and not interesting enough for older toddlers.

Age: Infants,Toddlers. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Red Tricycle
(Radio Flyer $54 Score:) You probably had one of these! A classic little red metal trike with rubber tires with treads and a jingle bell. Available in 10" or 12". This year's "Retro" (***) trike has a seat that's higher over the front wheel. That makes it easier to pedal but more tippable, too. We suggest this only for bigger and older preschoolers. (800) 621-7613.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Castle and Bucket Set
(International Playthings $12.99 Score:) A castle-shaped bucket doubles as a mold and comes with watering can, three stout digging tools, and sand/water mill. Everything but the sun block for an afternoon at the beach! (800) 445-8347.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Rescue Squad
(Great American Puzzle Factory $6.5 Score:) When you open the box there are over 60 pieces that make up four different vehicles (police car, helicopter, truck, and fire truck). Each puzzle is over a foot long and has clear graphics. Unfortunately, the 60 pieces are not separated out. Our tip is to presort the otherwise terrific puzzles for your child. They say 3 & up, we'd say more like 4 & up with help. (800) 922-1194.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Bob the Builder Kid Sized Puzzle
(Milton Bradley $6.95 Score:) Thirty giant sized pieces with geometric cutout connections to make a 3'-tall picture of Bob in his hard hat and work tools. There are also simpler/smaller well-done puzzles featuring Bob. (800) 752-9755.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2002.

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