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Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Age: Preschoolers
Review Year: 2013

 


2013 Award
Brio Adventure Tunnel
(Brio $39.99 Score:)

We're always looking for add-on props to enliven train play. Action figures can climb up the side of this Adventure Tunnel with a lift up walking bridge on top. Figures can slide down one side or use the stone steps on the other side. Meanwhile, the train can go right under them. However, there are no figures in the package. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
Crayola Washable Sidewalk Chalk Bright Colors
(Crayola $1.99-8.99 Score:)

Just in time for outdoor fun, bright colors of sidewalk chalk for hopscotch games or sidewalk art shows. Colors include purple mountains majesty, granny smith apple green, orange, violet red, sepia, blue green and more. Really a new way to make their mark and it is labeled as washable. Comes in a big 48-piece pack or 24 or 12 pack.  4 & up.

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

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2013 Award
Clifford the Big Red Dog Kitchen Science
(Scholastic $19.99 Score:)

One of a series of science kits for preschoolers. This one uses things found in the kitchen to make a volcano explosion, slime, crystals, fungus and more. The items in the kit include plastic test tubes, mini-volcano form, a small tank for making slime and other props. Best of all there is a wonderful step-by-step experiment book that will walk you through all these together activities. In the past, most of these experiments were more typically done with kindegarten, 1st and 2nd graders. That said, there is nothing in this kit that preschoolers will not enjoy trying. Clearly, this is not a solo toy, but rather a chance to explore together. They have also done a Bubble Science Kit and Rainbow Science. These are available at PBS Kids site and the Scholastic site. As of this writing they were not elsewhere. Marked for 3+, we think they make more sense with 5+.

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

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2013 Award
Manhattan Toy Groovy Girls Paint-it-Cool Bag
(Manhattan Toy $12.99 Score:)

Decorate a small 8-inch square canvas bag with the six posh paint tubes loaded with puff paint to apply free hand or use with the stencils supplied. A satisfying craft kit that kids can use when they finish decorating the bag. There is no wrong or right way to do this open-ended craft kit. 4 & up.

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

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2013 Award
Manhattan Toy Groovy Girls Sparkletastic Jewelry
(Manhattan Toy $18 Score:)

All the makings for three bracelets, three pendants, gems, glitter, a work mat and cords come in this craft kit for true beginners. Aside from the glitter, which will need supervising, the gems shake out of a cleverly-designed container and stick to the pre-adhesived bracelets and necklaces. There is no glue or need for fine motor skills. This makes for nicely finished jewelry that girls will enjoy wearing. Marked for 3 and up. We think this will be a better choice for 4's and 5's, who will still need help with the necklace laces and keeping the glitter from spreading all over.  

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

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2013 Award
Hape High Chair
(Hape $45 Score:)

Easy to assemble, this all-wooden high chair is pink, white and natural wood finish. The feeding table does not lift, so no fear of pinched fingers. It is low enough for older two's to use for feeding dolls and teddy bears. Comes with a pink seat cushion for dolly's comfort. 2 & up

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

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2013 Award
eeBoo Animal Village Play Masks
(eeBoo $14.95 Score:)

A set of seven cardboard play masks. These do not get worn on the face like your old Halloween mask. They are flat faces with cut out eyes and handles to hold onto. Fun for making up stories and playing them as you would with puppets, only here the players use their whole bodies if they like. Also available, Mystery in the Forest Set with three humanoid faces, with hat, crown or flowers in addition to four animals. Marked 3 and up. We think children who are slightly older and have more language will enjoy these even more.

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

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2013 Award
Pairs in Pears
(Bananagrams $17 Score:)

This letter game is designed to be played with kids from pre-readers and up. It comes with directions for simple letter matching games, spelling, and even rhyming word games.  The four sets of letters, each with a different pattern can be used with pre readers for matching or for older kids--winning more points if they can make pairs of words with the same pattern.  There are a number of excellent ideas for using the letters with beginners that have nothing to do with playing a game, ideas that will challenge beginning spellers and readers. Frankly these extra games and others that you can make up are worth the price of the game. For example, pre-readers can be encouraged to sort the letters by patterns, looking at close differences. How many rhyming pairs can they make? How many three or four letter words can they make? Can they change the words they make with just one letter? The playing pieces are larger and easier to handle. They all fit into an attractive green pear shaped zippered bag. 

 

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

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2013 Awards
Bitty Baby Doll and book
(Pleasant Company $ 80 Score:)

15" soft-bodied Bitty Baby dolls with vinyl heads, arms and legs have been updated to allow for more options to customize. You have a choice of 11 dolls with differnt hair, skin and eye color combintions. Each doll arrives in a signature sleeper and a Bitty Baby & Me picture book. The updated doll now has a hairline brought forward and eyebrows for a more realistic look. The upper body was also redesigned with arms brought forward -- for better huggability. Beautiful clothes and furniture accessories available.  We also recommend the Bitty Baby Twins (boy and girl toddler dolls $115). As always there are extra outfits for the baby and matching clothes for the child. 

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

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