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NAPPA 2001 Toys Gold Awards

Kids are almost always in a hurry to grow up. They canít wait to drive, work and be like Mom and Dad. Some of this yearís toys give kids a sneak peak into the grown-up world -- but from the safety net of a childís arena. Kids can learn about big concepts by building a toy speedboat or small machine that really moves. Or they can find out what itís like to direct a movie using a real camera and computer. Whether for younger children or older ones, these Gold Award-winning toys are sure to stimulate your childís imagination.



  • Infants


  • Preschool


  • Early Elementary


  • Upper Elementary
























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    The Baby Einstein Company Baby Shakespeare Find and Rhyme, Hasbro; $29.99; www.hasbro.com; ages 18 months and up.




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    This unique and delightful toy introduces vocabulary to infants and toddlers through object identification, poetry and classical music. Flashing lights help guide play, while brightly colored dials have specially designed finger grooves and dozens of rhyming words and phrases. This toy offers hours of stimulation as your baby grows.




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    Preschool






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    Kids Around the World, Fisher-Price; $30;
    www.Fisher-Price.com; ages 3 and up.




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    Say bonjour to an updated See íní Say that introduces children to music, foreign language phrases and facts from countries around the world. The two-sided toy features 3-D graphics and six modes of play: Facts, Words, Counting, Music, Find Me and Do You Know? Children press on a country to learn about it: Press "Japan" and youíll discover that the country has more than 70 volcanoes while traditional Japanese music plays. Children can also learn to count to five in more than 10 languages.

































































































    Infants











    Boppy 5-in-1 Fun, The Boppy Company; $39.99;
    www.boppy.com; ages birth to 10 months.







    Babies will love to play, nurse, lie down, exercise and sit up with this new Boppy 5-in-1 pillow. The bright fabric offers babies comfort and encouragement to explore their surroundings, while the soft, flexible toy arch offers visual stimulation and moves with the babyís motions as she grows and changes. A twist on the classic
    Boppy, this pillow comes with three whimsical Sassy toys and six fabric links that allow toys to attach to the arch.








    Character Blocks, BRIO; $20; www.briotoy.com, 888-274-6869; ages 12 months and up.









    Infants and young children will take building to a whole new level of creativity with these zany and fun blocks. Kids can pile them up, knock them down or mix and match them with this 25-piece set of colorful, wooden blocks. Ten blocks in this well-made group feature hats, eyes and mouths to create funny friends.








    Small Miracles Letís Pretend Career Collection, Learning Curve; $30 per outfit or $240 for the entire career collection; www.learningcurve.com, 800-704-8697; ages 3 to 8.
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    The timeless play of dress-up never goes out of style. This fine-quality dress-up collection offers a variety of clothes and accessories, such as a veterinarian outfit that includes a jacket, mask, stethoscope and syringe and a puppy with a bandaged leg! Other outfits include a construction worker, astronaut, firefighter, chef and dino digger.
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    Tea For Two Trunk Collection, Learning Curve; $80; www.learningcurve.com, 800-704-8697; ages 3 to 8.
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    Includes two skirts, two tops, a sequin purse, necklaces and other treasures housed in an elegant trunk.
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    Old West Fort, T.C. Timber/Habermass Corp.; $50; 800-468-6873; ages 3 and up.
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    Recreate scenes from the wild frontier with this finely crafted 85-piece natural wood block set. Smooth to the touch and easy to handle, the blocks come in a variety of shapes and sizes and include colorful soldiers, horses, cowboys, cacti and felt flags to fuel the imagination for endless adventure.
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    Early Elementary














    The Flying Turtle, Mason Corp.; $69.95; 800-821-4141; ages 3 to 12.










    Sit in the seat, place your hands and feet on the handlebars, swing your arms from side to side and off you fly. With no pedaling or motor required, this unique outdoor toy is entirely kid-powered. Coasting on roller-skate wheels, The Flying Turtle is downright cool.










    Time Blocks, T.C. Timber/Habermass Corp.; $25; 800-468-6873; ages 7 and up.










    Challenge your powers of shape, color and pattern recognition in this fast-paced block-stacking game for the whole family. Using a deck of cards and wooden blocks, players build the structure pictured on the card before the sand timer runs out. Sounds easy, but some of the configurations are quite challenging. Young children can practice replicating the patterns without a timer.










    Folkmanis Puppets, Folkmanis Inc.; Red Dragon Puppet $60, Panda Puppet $56, Goose Puppet $46, Jack Russell Terrier Puppet $26;
    www.folkmanis.com; ages 3 and up.









    Breathing new and exciting life into puppetry and storytelling, this yearís Folkmanis puppets are an invitation to the imagination. Itís hard to pick just one of these amazingly well-crafted puppets, so check them all out and pick your favorite. The Red Dragon is 4 feet long and has a playfully exaggerated tongue and moveable eyes. The life-size Mother Goose can sit on your lap, the Jack Russell Terrier is a dazzling rendition of the real thing and the Pandaís weighted paws and soft claws will make him a most realistic companion for your child.





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    Upper Elementary









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    Play TV Snowboarder, Radica; $49.99; ages 8 and up.







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    Practice shredding up the course before you even hit the slopes with this snowboard game that hooks up to your TV or VCR. The unit comes with a mini-snowboard that you actually ride while watching the corresponding action on your screen. Games include Free Ride, Half Pipe, Slalom and Big Air. Compete for time and style points.







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    LEGO & Steven Spielberg Moviemaker Set, LEGO; $179.99; ages 8 to 16.







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    Create the next blockbuster movie with this exciting new LEGO set that includes a PC movie camera and editing software. First, you build a movie studio with the LEGO bricks. Then, shoot your scenes using a real, high-tech Webcam with built-in microphone. Youíre the director -- get creative! Add sounds, special effects and text with the easy-to-use editing software. Show your film privately on your computer or release it to the general public on the LEGO Studiosí Web site. Thatís a wrap!












    Capsela MX Trooper, Educational Insights; $39.99; 800-995-4436; ages 7 and up.










    Kids learn how machines work by building projects with this construction set and watching the visible gears and wheels operate. Build 22 land and water projects -- including a speedboat -- and learn about electric circuits, motion, energy and torque. The sets are built around eight interlocking transparent capsules that affect power, direction and speed. Octagonal connectors and couplers attach pieces to each other. No tools necessary!










    Mimi Slawoff, a mother of three, is the new products editor for United Parenting Publications. Melani Morose, a mother of two, is a free-lance writer and Emmy Award-winning TV news producer.











    See also:



  • 2001 Honors Award-Winning Toys



  • Back to NAPPA






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