Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978


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You are in:  Holiday Gift Guide | Holiday Gift Picks: 3 - 4 Years

Holiday Gift Picks: 3 - 4 Years

Our Holiday Gift Lists By Age offer a sampling of some of our favorite products from the past year.
Feed the Woozle Feed the Woozle
Ages: 3 - 6 yrs.
Peaceable Kingdom, $19.99

Fried socks and booger chili-what's not to love? The silliness of this game is perfect for its target age group. The directions of Feed the Woozle are easy to follow, and the object of the game is really cute. The game's box and its pieces (food cards, spoons, a die, a spinner, and a Woozle) are well-constructed, high quality, and sturdy. It will hold up for years. Children as young as 3 can play on 'Level 1' and older, more coordinated children can play on levels 2 or 3. This game not only helps children with counting, it also exercises and builds gross and fine motor skills as well as dexterity.

Find A Cow Now! Find A Cow Now!
Ages: 3 - 7 yrs.
Author: Janet Stevens   Author: Susan Stevens Crummel   Illustrator: Janet Stevens  
Holiday House, Inc., $16.95 (Hard Cover)   

Living in the city, the cattle dog star of Find a Cow Now! has no cattle. Tired of napping, Dog becomes destructive until Bird tells him, "Go! Find a cow NOW!" Dog sets forth determinedly through the city and out into the country in search of a cow. The main character, Dog, is realistically and humorously depicted. As Dog shouts "A COW!" at different animals, very small children who know their animals will enjoy correcting him. The full page, expressive picture of gray Dog looking toward the reader when he decides that he is tired of napping is trouble personified. This book is a spot on delight for its intended audience.

Treasury of 25 Storybook Classics: Dinosaurs, Trucks, Monsters...and More! Treasury of 25 Storybook Classics: Dinosaurs, Trucks, Monsters...and More!
Ages: 3 - 9 yrs.
New Video, $29.95 (DVD)   

Twenty-five favorite children's stories are adapted and brought to life in this 4-DVD collection featuring celebrity narration by Chevy Chase, Anthony Edwards, Michael McKean and many more! The books in this set are: How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?(Spanish version included). How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? Danny and the Dinosaur (Spanish version included). Dinosaur Bones. Stanley and the Dinosaurs. T is for Terrible. Pete's a Pizza. Moon Man (Spanish version included). Max's Words. The Great White Man-Eating Shark. The Island of the Skog. What's Under My Bed? The Five Chinese Brothers. I Stink! Trashy Town. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. The Remarkable Riderless Runaway Tricycle. The Beast of Monsieur Racine. Arnie the Doughnut. The Mouse and the Motorcycle. Wee Gillis.

Also look for the Treasury of 25 Storybook Classics: Fairytales, Magic...and More!

Anamalz Box Sets Anamalz Box Sets
Ages: 3 & Up
Anamalz NA, $24.95

Anamalz are beautifully designed eco-friendly toys made from sustainable wood and plush material that have bendable legs to help position them for pretend play fun. This set includes an elephant, giraffe, zebra orange tree and plant to create your own wild animal land. As with all Anamalz, the quality, design and durability of the products are exceptional. This is a great stand-alone set or perfect addition to a growing Anamalz collection.

Build-A-Road X-Track Build-A-Road X-Track
Ages: 3 & Up
International Playthings, Inc., $30.00

The Build-A-Road X-Track offers a set of pieces for kids to make their own track, and two battery operated cars. It includes a hard plastic 'X' road piece, as well as a little hill that can be used as a tunnel (with track under it) and a hill (with track over it). There are several ways to put the track together. The best part of the set is the track, which is made of over 200 colorful, thin pieces, which snap together incredibly easily, even for very young hands. The flexibility of the track (over 11 feet when assembled) makes it easy to make curves for the cars to follow.

Doc McStuffins Doc McStuffins "Time For Your Check-Up" Doll
Ages: 3 & Up
Just Play, $39.99

Doc McStuffins is the star of a popular show on Disney Jr. Children watch Doc as she figures out what is wrong with her "sick" toys and finds ways to fix them. This toy was an instant favorite for children who watch the show. They love playing with Doc and diagnosing what is wrong with their toys and coming up with ways to heal them. Doc comes with her pal Lambie, (a stuffed lamb who assists Doc in her practice) and a few tools in a doctors' bag with which she treats her patients. She also has her magic stethoscope which allows her to speak with and understand her toys.

Folkmanis Little Puppets Folkmanis Little Puppets
Ages: 3 & Up
Folkmanis, Inc., $12.99

The Folkmanis set of "Little Puppets" includes six half-body hand puppets ranging from six to ten inches in height. These tiny but fierce creatures (an alligator, hare, brown bear, polar bear, chipmunk, and lion) all have four "finger openings" that allow puppeteers (with a bit of practice) to "bite" their own two front legs/paws-or to "talk" and gesture at the same time. All are sturdily constructed with both realistic and cuddly features. Hours of entertainment and learning may occur with these charming toys, either singly or in groups.

Jake and the Never Land Pirates Never Land Challenge Game Jake and the Never Land Pirates Never Land Challenge Game
Ages: 3 & Up
Wonder Forge Inc., $19.99

The Never Land Challenge Game is a board game based on the Disney Show Jake and the Never Land Pirates. It comes with all of the pieces needed to play, including a "vine" (3 green foam tubes and plastic "feet" to hold them in place) that stands up enough for the kids to follow the challenge of climbing under the vine. To play, children choose a red doubloon and a blue one at the beginning of each turn. The red one might say "Slither under the vines," and the blue will add that this must be done "With the sword between your knees." If children think they can do the challenge, they shout, "Yo Ho, let's go!" and attempt to do it. Players collect the gold doubloons for their team if they complete the challenge, and whoever has the most doubloons at the end of the game wins. Children absolutely adored this game. Parents liked that the game inspires creativity and active play.

Life-Size Farm Life-Size Farm
Ages: 3 & Up
Author: Teruyuki Komiya   Photographer: Tamaki Ozaki  
Seven Footer Kids, $18.95 (Hard Cover)   

With informative facts and fun illustrations accompanying the superlative photographs that depict the animals at features in their actual life size (or at least as much of it that fits on the page!), Life-Size Farm brings readers eye to eye with an alpaca, chicken, dairy cow, donkey, duck, ferret, goose, horse, llama, pig, pony, goat, rabbit, sheep, turkey, and more! For more Parents' Choice Award-Winning Life-Size titles, click here >.

Master Workbench Master Workbench
Ages: 3 & Up
Hape International Inc., $119.99

The Hape Master Workbench is expensive at $119.99, but it is a solidly built toy which should last for a long time. The workbench set contains thirty-two pieces, including a saw, hammer, wrench, screwdriver, ruler, nuts, nails, and bolts. All are colored with water-based paints. It looks nice in our playroom and the boys began playing with it immediately. The tools are easy enough to manipulate and can be stored right on the work surface. It a good choice for a parent looking for a fun, long lasting, quality toy.

Peek ‘n Surprise Playhouse Peek ‘n Surprise Playhouse
Ages: 3 & Up
Fisher-Price, $45.23

Peppa Pig has a new playhouse and it's filled with surprises. The Peek 'n Surprise Playhouse features four rooms on two levels and eighteen play pieces, including Peppa and her brother George, in a folding playhouse with a sturdy handle for easy travel and storage. The house truly is full of surprises: the washing machine flips to show clean clothes; the bathtub flips to show bubbles; the fridge opens to reveal food, etc. Children can play and explore with the set for hours of creative and imaginative play either independently or cooperatively with others.

Richard Scarry's Busytown Busy, Busy Airport Game Richard Scarry's Busytown Busy, Busy Airport Game
Ages: 3 & Up
Wonder Forge Inc., $19.99

The Busytown Airport takes center stage in this game. The airport has actually been designed to fit in the bottom of the box with slots for passengers to sit and a large, three-dimensional clock tower that serves as a chute down which the dice roll. Four sturdy airplanes are pieced together, one for each player. There are also four destination cards which show scenes for a beach, city, mountain and forest. Before game play begins, these cards are positioned around the room. The object of the game is to fill your plane with passengers and fly them to their destinations.

The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game! The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game!
Ages: 3 & Up
Educational Insights, $19.99

This game is so fun to look at and so well made that our testers were excited to play with it even before we started. Each player begins with an empty "log" that has space for five different colored acorns. Players spin to try to pick up each of the colored acorns they need to fill their log. The first player to do so wins. But along the way, the luck (or bad luck) of their spin may twist their fate with a wind-storm that blows all of their acorns away or having another player steal a needed color.

Rise and Shine Rise and Shine
Ages: 4 - 10 yrs.
Little Monster Records, $12.98 (CD)   

Whimsy, humor, originality, and talent flourish in this zany boardbook packaged CD from the musical duo Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke. Bluegrass, 80s punk rock, rock 'n roll, and more styles abound on this 10-song CD beautifully packaged in a colorful board book that includes Wilde's song-related illustrations. These two have teamed up to create an astonishingly witty collection of songs about pigs growing as big as tractor trailers, flying to the moon in a red balloon, and a dog who thinks he's a frog. Clever, laugh out loud lyrics, from musicians who clearly enjoy their work.

My Take Along Puppet Theater My Take Along Puppet Theater
Ages: 4 & Up
Playmobil USA, Inc., $49.99

My Take Along Puppet Theater is a well constructed theater made by Playmobil. The theater houses seven figures: a grandmother, two kids, a jester, a soldier, a pirate, and an alligator. In addition, there is a variety of other props such as flowers, trees, mushrooms, and a sound effect machine that plays four different sounds. Our testers like how easily the scenes could be changed using cardboard sets. When they were done playing, everything fit nicely into the theater, which closes up into a carrying case.

Recycled Cardboard Dollhouse Recycled Cardboard Dollhouse
Ages: 4 & Up
Creativity for Kids, $29.99

How many toys out there appeal equally to a preschooler and a "tween", while being environmentally friendly at the same time? The Recycled Cardboard Dollhouse turns out to be a wonderful art project for a range of ages. The package wastes nothing - even the box itself becomes part of the house. Testers loved seeing the house take shape. They spent hours decorating and coloring the many accessories, then embarked on days upon days of using the house as a centerpiece for pretend play, adding and rotating their own embellishments from household items and scraps, to small playthings and trinkets.

Skittle & Tossing Game Skittle & Tossing Game
Ages: 4 & Up
PlanToys, Inc., $35.00

At first glance, this game seems very simple. PlanToys does not fail to impress with this little gem, however, and our testers were pleasantly surprised to discover a fun and engaging variety of games playable with this set. As always, the pieces are solid and durable. The balls and targets are all made of solid wood, and the colors are bright and vibrant. Our testers had a great time using them to come up with new ways to play these tossing games. The targets can be stacked in various ways, creating new challenges. Players can choose whether to score points by knocking them down or avoiding them. Think somewhere between target practice, bowling, beanbag tossing and horseshoes, and you'll have an understanding of the game. It is perfect for teaching hand -eye coordination and good sportsmanship, and parents will be delighted to watch kids giggle as the targets fall over.

Songs For Little Folks Songs For Little Folks
Ages: 4 & Up
Author: Peter Yarrow   Author: Frances Gilbert   Illustrator: Terry Widener  
Sterling Publishing, Inc. Imprint: Children's, $16.95 (Hard Cover)   

Another treasurable collection of traditional children's songs served fresh to a new generation by Peter Yarrow (of the iconic folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary). Illustrator Terry Widener renders lyrics to "This Old Man, Billy Boy, The Green Grass Grew and other evergreen folk songs as warm and evocative visual stories in their own right. On the accompanying CD, Yarrow sings each song and plays guitar, joined by singer Bethany Yarrow-his daughter-and other vocalists and skilled acoustic musicians. The book is a resource for budding musicians and folk music fans, too.


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