Parents' Choice, a nonprofit group, publishes a quarterly review of children's books, toys, home videos, audiocassettes (including rock music), movies, television, and computer programs. Last month's issue listed annual winners in those categories, as determined by parents, children, teachers, librarians, and other experts. Here's a partial list of new (1989-90) toys they recommend:
Toddler Tractor and Cart (Little Tikes, under $30, ages 11/2-3). A handsome green scoot-along vehicle with a detachable yellow wheelbarrow made of seamless plastic. Oversized tires and a fitted seat make for a secure perch; there's also a rather assertive horn.
Sand & Water Activity Table (Playskool, $60, ages 2-7). One of the most popular play areas at preschool finally comes home. This light but sturdy plastic picnic table seats up to six little ones. The hidden plus is a double sink, complete with drains, under a pair of fold-down lids.
Deluxe Awesome Tower (Darda, $60, ages 5 and up). This kit contains the makings of a three-foot-tall quadruple loop-the-loop, which two tiny (windup) race cars can execute - if you launch them right.
Stamp-a-Story: Neighborhood Adventures (All Night Media, $19.50, ages 5 and up). This compact set of 33 rubber stamps has everything from a squalling baby to a flying saucer.
Endangered (Family Games, $25-30, ages 8 and up). A game that teaches about world geography, threatened species, and scientific methodology? It sounds too good to be fun, but this game is gripping from the get-go. It's played on a large climatic map. Participants pick one of two dozen animals to champion.
A complete list of winners is available for $3 from: Parents' Choice, Box 185, Newton, MA, 02168.