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Product Type: Toys

 

 
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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2002 Award
Mega Bloks Wagon
(Mega Bloks $30 Score:) A tot-sized red wagon loaded with 50 pieces of oversized plastic pegged blocks is fun for making big, fast constructions. Pegs on side of wagon can be used for building up and over. (800) 465-6342.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Little 3-in-1 Sports Set
(Little Tikes $24.99 Score:) Toddlers often long to shoot hoops and swing at baseballs like their big siblings. Scaled for little players, this satisfies their love of repetition. Basketballs drop into chutes and there are baseball and golf balls to swing at. (800) 321-0183.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Awards
Magical Color Changing Gertie Balls
(Small World Toys $6 Score:) These gummy inflatable balls are soft enough for kids who may be scared of big heavy balls coming toward them. We particularly like the new-for- magical color-changing Gertie. Put in a cold place, it turns pink; toss it and your handprints show up in blue! SNAP ACTIVITY: Start out with a cold ball and count how many catches back and forth it takes to turn the ball to another color. An active counting game.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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