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Product Type: Toys
Award: Blue Chip

 

  
Awards
Plan Toys Fruit Play Set
(Brio $15 Score:) Like a real knife, there's a right and wrong side of the wooden "knife" that kids use to cut apart Velcroed halves of three wooden fruits. Veggies set also available. SNAP: Wooden fruits and veggies can be “cut” apart with wooden knife that seems to cut the Velcro-ed segments. Comes with lemon, orange, pear, mushroom, carrot, and tomato, plus board and wooden knife. Activity: Use fraction words when you ask child to cut you a half of one fruit or a quarter of something else. (888) 274-6869.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: .

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2003 Awards
Earlyears Soft Busy Blocks
(International Playthings $15 Score:) Four soft stackable blocks have soft sides and corded piping that makes them easy for baby to grasp. Colorful graphics and patterns and quiet sounds make these good floor toys for beginners. Also, Earlyears Sweet Baby Blocks ($13 ). Six soft, squeezable vinyl blocks, easy to grasp, with a colorful single image on each face of the cubes. Fun for stacking, knocking down, and tossing. SNAP:These have been scaled down in size and are easier to grab than the originals. The set of four fabric blocks has interesting texture and patterns and a quiet sound in each block. Activity: Sit on the floor and put one or more blocks on your head or shoulder and encourage your tot to knock 'em off! (800) 445-8347. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2003.

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2009 Awards
Les Cheries
(Corolle $45 Score:)

We loved these dolls when they first hit the market back in 2003. They received a Platinum Award and we are now giving them a Blue Chip Award for 2009. Chloe, Camille, Clare, Cecile and Cathy are a multicultural collection of 13" dolls and are marketed as "best friend" dolls and are purposefully not fashion dolls. Our favorites this year are Cecile, an African American girl, with jeans, a knit shrug and glorious hair or Chloe, a brunette ballerina in a gossamer tutu. They are meant to look like girls of today. There are new clothes almost every year--but this is a collection that should not be missed.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Awards
Elmer's 3D Washable Paint Pens
(Elmer's $14.99 Score:)

Imagine getting a set of 31 squeezable "pens" with writing tips for drawing on posters or cards. Paints puff when dry and set includes primary colors plus pastels, glitter, and pearlized pens. This is a wow-wee kind of present that will get lots of use. Editor's note: These pens have been updated this year with gender-specific themes from Disney (fairies, cars, and princesses). While we preferred the gender-free cast of the original sets (Platinum from 2003) --these are still a great choice and the price still makes this a really affordable gift.

SNAP Activity: Motivating kids to practice writing just got easier with this huge set of colorful gluepens. To get the feel for shaping letters or numbers, this is a terrific material. Write letters that he needs to practice on separate index cards. Now have child trace the letters and make them big enough to see with ease. Make one card with the upper case and a matching card with the lower case. When the cards are dry your child will be able to play a mach it up game, matching the upper and lower case letters. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2003 Awards
Alex's Floor Standing Easel
(Alex $95 Score:) Taking the paints out of doors gives young artists a new scene- and if you add a bit of white paint to the colors they have an all new palette that looks like summer. Adding different paints and paper often inspires kids. Alex's wooden easel has a chalk board on one side and a dry-erase board on the other. Comes with a roll of paper, but we find that using clips and a pad of paper is easier for kids to handle with independence.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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Awards
ALEX Funky Brushes
(Alex $8.99 Score:) These extra-large brushes with interesting cloth/rope "brushes" are fun to use and the large bulb handles fit the fist shape grip of young painters. SNAP:These fat handled brushes help kids with fine-motor difficulties to grasp the brush handle and paint. Also, see this company's Sponge Painters that now come with color-changing wands. (800) 666-2539.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: .

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2003 Awards
Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim-Mobile
(Manhattan Toy $27.99 Score:)

Newborns will be fascinated with the black-and-white, high-contrast patterns of the ten vinyl 3" discs and squares that dance and dangle on this nonmusical mobile for the crib or changing table.  Not as cute looking as other mobiles, but babies do react to the visual stimulation of this crib toy.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2003. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Award
Tolo First Friends Carousel
(Reeves International $20 Score:)

So happy that this wonderful toy is back in the market! A former Platinum Award winner, it's now on our Blue Chip Award List. What we wrote in 2002: Finding easy-to-activate toys is key for young babies who are just learning the power of making something happen. Tolo First Friends Carousel comes with a big knob to make the little people spin inside a see-through dome.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Awards
Snuffles
(Gund $12 Score:)

With his round tummy, this short, lovable armful of a bear is likely to become a constant companion. New for , he has a shinier finish to his fur—but still huggable. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Awards
PDQ
(Gamewright $9.99 Score:)

PDQ, short for the Pretty Darn Quick Word Game, works by players drawing three letter cards. The first player to call out a word that uses those three letters wins those cards. Not for shy game players! Much like Word Sense, but without the tiles. Great for travel. 8 & up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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