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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Pretend Play


2004 Award
Doll Houses Comparison Shopper
(Brio $50 Score:) Dollhouses should be kept simple for little hands. In wooden dollhouses, there are three great collections. You can’t go wrong with any of them. From Plan Toys: Choose either of their modern-looking A-frames ($90–$125 ) with open roofs for easy access, or their Classic Dollhouse (Brio $70/$50 for add-on basement ). PLATINUM AWARD ’01. New for , a grand two-story Victorian Dollhouse ($200 1?2) with two staircases (which fall down too easily) and removable partitions for small-scale remodeling. From Small World Toys: Ryan’s Room Deluxe Home Is Where the Heart Is Dollhouse, three stories high (Small World Toys $100 ) PLATINUM AWARD ’03. An add-on balcony and garage with ramp are available ($50) or consider their smaller Home Again, Home Again A-Frame ($130) that can be enlarged with an add-on basement and stairs ($70). Multicultural families and furnishings for both companies are sold separately and run between $15–$20 per room. We thought the Ryan’s Room Making Muscles exercise equipment set was a sign of the times. From Alex: My Dollhouse, Platinum Award ’01 ($169 ), has three floors done in bright colors/patterns and comes with 22 pieces of furniture. Brio (888) 274-6869/Small World Toys (800) 421-4153/Alex (800) 666-2539. Fisher-Price’s plastic Special Edition Townhouse ($99.99 ) is fully furnished and has sound effects that our testers loved; crackling fireplace, ringing phone, running water, chiming doorbell, and lights! 4 & up. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2005 Award
(Playmobil $69.99 Score:) For construction-minded kids, you have to check out the incredible large working crane that moves up, down, and around! One of the coolest toys of the year. Also new and noteworthy from Playmobil this year, their Zoo ($66.99) with lots of animals, play areas. Be forewarned-there's a lot of parental construction time here but our playmobil fans couldn't wait to get started. Also new Noah's Ark ($66.99). Previous award-winning Airport ($49.99) and Fire Station ($64.99) have been scaled down in price and size. Add-ons include Fire Chief’s Car and, as a sign of the times, a HAZMAT Crew. 5 & up. (800) 752-9662.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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Make Your Own Twinkly Tiaras
(Klutz $12.95 Score:) There are three pre-cut foil-on-cardboard tiaras ready to be decorated with glue on gemstones and sequins. The book also includes some tiaras for dolls. A good choice for a playdate, teaparty or quiet time. Finished tiaras are ready for pretend play. Theys ay 4, we’d saw more like a task for 5’s & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2006 Award
Little Pretenders
(Chenille Kraft Co. $24.99 Score:) A new line of costumes made of wipe-able vinyl provides the most affordable choice. Each theme comes with accessories (stethoscopes, extinguishers, etc.) and appropriate headgear. Other costumes include Veterinarian, Hair Dresser (the pretend blow dryer makes a great sound), and Doctor. 3 & up. (800) 621-1261.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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