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Award: SNAP
Age: Toddlers
Review Year: 2013

 

 
2013 Awards
Step Two Easy Turn Coupe
(Step 2 $59.99 Score:)

Our testers spent several happy afternoons driving around in this new kiddie car that runs on foot power. It has a front castor wheel for added maneuver-ability. With a working horn and ignition key there are miles of pretend fun with the Easy Turn Coupe. As an added bonus, it can be used with younger riders that an adult can push along, however, there is no safety belt. There's a removable floorboard to protect little feet when they are being pushed. Also nice, this has a front trunk storage area and cup holders for both child and adult. 1 & up.

 

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Mega Bloks Fairy Tale Castle
(Mega Bloks $99 Score:)

A wow-ee of a gift with hours of open-ended play possibilities. A 44-pieces building set with oversized pink and white plastic bocks, a working gate, and fabric trim that can become play settings big enough to inhabit. The big blocks are easy to clean and will be used in ever-more complex ways as children's pretend play changes. Be forewarned, it takes up a fair amount of space so may not be ideal in a small apartment; the door does fall off easily and the stickers do not stick. That said, our testing family feels the positives outweighed the negatives and this is a toy with miles of good play. Also available in a less gender specific red, white and blue version. They are marked 1-5. We think 2's and up will be more on target.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Mega Bloks Knight's Castle
(Mega Bloks $99 Score:)

A wow-ee of a gift with hours of open-ended play possibilities. A 44-pieces building set with oversized red, white and blue plastic bocks, a working gate, and fabric trim that can become play settings big enough to inhabit. The big blocks are easy to clean and will be used in ever-more complex ways as children's pretend play changes. Be forewarned, it takes up a fair amount of space so may not be ideal in a small apartment; the door does fall off easily and the stickers do not stick. That said, one of our testing families felt the positives outweighed the negatives and this is a toy with miles of good play. One of our other testing families with a tall 5 year old found putting the structure together was fun (and enjoyed the stickers), but ultimately found the structure too small for him to play in. Also available in a pink and white Princess version. They are marked 1-5. We think 2's-3's and up will be more on target.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Play-Doh Plus
(Hasbro $8.99 Score:)

Play-doh has been updated to make it softer and smoother than ever. It has an almost silky feel and will stay that way if stored in air-tight containers. This set has eight different vibrant colors that can also be used with special tools that are sold separately. The package indicates that it is non-toxic, but does contain wheat. 2 & up.

SNAP : A classic model material that is even more pliable now. Excellent for developing hand and fingers. Also good for shaping snakes to form letters, giving children a sensory feel of forming letters.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Springtime Collection, Max's Chocolate Chicken
(Scholastic $24.95 Score:)

After they finish coloring or hunting Easter eggs, we found a perfect seasonal collection featuring Max's Chocolate Chicken along with twelve stories on three DVD's. Among the other tales, Chicken Little, The Red Hen, and How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food. The collection also includes author/illustrator interviews and narrations by Lily Tomlin, Randy Travis, Michael McKean and others. The Max DVD also includes some Christmas stories, so this can be your go-to for seasonal celebrations. It also has a read-along option for beginning readers and these stories are mostly simple enough for young readers to decode or at least follow along. Most of the stories are for the younger family members. 2-7.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Awards
Hape Galloping Zebra Cart
(Hape $69.99 Score:)

Perfectly balanced for beginning walkers to pull up and walk around with. Toddlers will love making the two black and white zebras go back and forth as they push this smoothly finished cart about. Designed for that still not all-together steady stage when wobbly tots are getting their balance. It allows them to hold on while they take those first independent steps to becoming true walkers. Though this is a short-term use toy, it is one that has a real function and is sturdy enough to pass along to cousins, new siblings, or good friends. 12 months & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Rain, Rain Go Away!
(illus. by Caroline Jayne Church, Scholastic $6.99 Score:)

We like books you can sing with babies and toddlers. This metallic covered cardboard book is sturdy enough for repeated sharing and little hands that will want to turn the pages with independence. The familiar Rain, Rain Go Way rhyme needs no introduction to grownups and children alike. 1 & up

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Quack Like a Duck
(By Harriet Ziefert/ illus. by Simms Taback, Blue Apple $8.99 Score:)

Great illustrations of barnyard animals by the late Simms Taback. Printed on sturdy stock, this is a good lapbook for hamming it up and playing around with animal sounds. A good knowing and naming book to share with toddlers, who will love the "magical" motion of the hologram duck on the cover and making animal sounds.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
I Spy on the Farm
(by Edward Gibbs, Candlewick $14.99 Score:)

Big bold illustrations of familiar farm animals are featured in the playful book with cutout holes that allow a partial view of the animal hidden on the next page. The text offers a clue to help the little listener guess who will show up when the page is turned. Based on the original game and always popular game of I Spy With My Little Eye, this is a fun way to introduce toddlers to knowing and naming, color concepts and animal sounds. It includes letter names. For young toddlers we suggest skipping the letter names - use the sound the letter make as a hint or skip the letters altogether for young listeners. That's something they can grow into.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
eeBoo Animal Face Tot Tower
(eeBoo $20 Score:)

A fresh look to a classic set of nesting and stacking cardboard blocks. With art from illustrator, Stephanie Graegin, there is a lot to look at here and talk about with tots. Each block has a jaunty colorful animal face, a rhyme, a numeral, and objects to count from 1-10. For starters you will do the stacking, but in time toddlers will be doing the action. Use them for where did it go games, put a small toy under one back and mix up a few...where is the hiding toy? There are so many ways to incorporate a classic like this into meaningful interactions that expand your toddler's language and size order concepts. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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