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Product Type: Toys

 


2002 Award
Tolo Musical Surprise Bear
(Reeves International $15 Score:)

Push the white button on the blue cube and it opens to reveal a yellow teddy bear spinning to the tune of "Old MacDonald." For extra visual interest, teddy is reflected in a curved mirror in the lid. Adults will need to wind it up, but this is a non-scary pop-up with music box rather than electronic sounds. 1 and up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Lamaze Octotunes
(Learning Curve International $29 Score:) A big velour octopus with stitched features and lug-along handle has eight colorful legs that squeak when they are squeezed. You can play a simple tune on them, but this is more a make-something-happen toy than a musical instrument. They say birth and up, we day better for 1 and up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Tolo Play Triangle
(Reeves International $10 Score:)

A spinning mirror and large beads invite baby to use two hands and individual fingers to activate this handsome rolling rattle. Also top rated: Tolo Acitvity cube, Roller Ball or Gripper Rattle, all beautifully crafted in sturdy primary-colored plastic with interesting action for baby to manipulate.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2002.

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Awards
Play-Doh
(Hasbro $2 Score:) Classic Play-Doh is still a favorite. Doh should be used with supervision in a place established for messy play. We prefer the dough without the doodads, since most of the kits are less open-ended, and tough to do. This self-hardening dough dries out if left uncovered.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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Children's Furniture
(Various $ Score:) Table and chairs are basic pieces of gear that will be used for years of snacks, art projects, and tea parties. Best bets are going to have steady legs and a washable table surface. After that, it's a matter of budget and style to fit your tast. Check the undersides of tables and chairs for smooth finishes that won't snag little fingers. Twos and threes also enjoy rocking or arm chairs scaled to their size. Some basic safety and design questions you may want to ask: Can your child get on and off chairs/bench easily? Is this a set that will work when your child gets a little bigger? If you're looking at a wooden set, are there exposed screws or nuts (check the underside) that can cut your child? Is the table surface washable and ready for abuse? (A beautiful painted piece will be destroyed by paint, play dough, crayons, etc.)

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

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Action Figures
(Various $ Score:) Because most action figures involve violent play themes, we generally do not write about them.

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

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2001 Awards
I Dig Dinosaurs and Egyptian Dig
(Action Products $24.95 Score:) These archeological digs got high ratings even though they are harder to chip away. This is a craft that takes time and patience. In time kids unearth treasures that they can paint and display. These kits come with safety goggles. 7 and up

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Award
Kidology's Buried Treasure Kits
(Learning Resources $17.95 Score:) For beginners look for these easy to chip away at kits with Castle, Egyptian, or Mayan Treasure themes. These do not come with protective glasses- we wish they did! We are not recommending the new for 2002 hanging dig projects. testers found these extremely difficult to unearth.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Award
PegLoom
(Harrisville $19.95 Score:) (Harrisville Designs $19.95)A small over/under loom with large needle, is also a good choice for true beginners. 5 & up. For a larger loom, consider Harrisville Easy Weaver ****($89), which comes pre-threaded with projects that slip right onto the loom. Refill kits ($25.95).

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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Award
Stegosaurus 3-D Giant Floor Puzzle
(Frank Schaffer $ Score:) One of the neatest puzzles we've reviewed! Comes with 48 large pieces that make a 24" x 36" puzzle of a stegosaurus. Once the puzzle is put together, the 3-D glasses bring the stegosaurus to life. 4s will need assistance with this challenging but innovative puzzle.

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

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