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Practical Pre-School Awards 2013

Practical Pre-School and Primary Teacher Update magazines are proud to announce the winners of the Practical Pre-School Awards 2013, in association with Primary Teacher Update.

The Practical Pre-School Awards exist to acknowledge and reward the most brilliant, innovative and expertly designed equipment for early years and key stage 1 & 2 children in professional childcare and educational settings.

Over the years, the Practical Pre-School Awards have gone from strength to strength. The Primary Teacher Update Awards Scheme, which runs parallel to the Practical Pre-School Awards but is aimed at slightly older children in primary education includes its own categories for Toys & Games, Books & Publications, Creative Play, Outdoor Toys & Equipment and All Other Resources.

All the products which were entered into the awards have been tried and tested in detail by a scrupulous panel of practitioners, including perhaps the most discerning critics - the children themselves. Each product entered was tested in at least two separate settings by the children and their carers. Testers marked the equipment against a given set of criteria: appeal to children at start and end of the trial; durability; adaptability; educational value; play value; value for money and more.

With 90 per cent or more needed for products to attain the Gold award, 80 to 89 per cent for Silver and 70 to 79 per cent for Bronze, the entries were up against a formidable scoring system. This just goes to show the exceptional quality of these products, as well as the immense levels of thought and effort that have gone into producing them.

Without the testers - a full list of whom can be found on page 4 of this publication - none of this would have been possible, so we would like to thank them for their work in determining this as a valuable guide for anyone buying equipment for early years, childcare or primary education settings.

For 2014, the awards will continue to be run in association with our sister publication 'Primary Teacher Update' and as such will include products that are aimed at primary education as well.

The 2013 Practical Pre-School Awards digital edition is available to download here. This contains full listings of all the winning products in every category and is designed to provide you with an instantly accessible guide to all of the successful products.

Category winners

The overall winners for each category are as follows:

Teachers Resources, Equipment and Tools

We're Going on a Bear Hunt Story Set

Publisher: Yellow Door
Tel: 0845 603 5309
Price: £50 exc. VAT
Age range: 4-6 years
Description: Written by independent literacy consultant Jane Bunting, these resources combine 'talk and play' story packs including story cards for discussion and sequencing alongside tactile wooden character sets. This creates an engaging cross-curricular journey through one of our most well-loved picture books.
Score: 93.1%

Joint Overall Winner Toys and Games 0-3

Splash Along Mermaid

Manufacturer: Munchkin
Tel: 08717 021000
Price: £8.49
Age range: 18+ months
Description: Ideal for water play, this enchanting toy encourages imaginative play. The splash-along mermaid comes to life as her tail flaps and she swims away underwater. She is joined by a fun squirter.
Score: 97.3%

Joint Overall Winner Toys and Games 0-3

In the Night Garden Lullaby Igglepiggle

Manufacturer: Golden Bear
Tel: 01952 608 308
Price: £24.99
Age range: 10 months +
In The Night Garden is a magical place that exists between waking and sleeping in a child's imagination and through rhymes, song and pictures children become immersed in the wonderful world of Igglepiggle and his friends. There will be bedtime calm with the In the Night Garden Lullaby Igglepiggle making the perfect companion as little ones drift off to sleep. With a soft, huggable body and his famous red blanket, youngsters will love cuddling up to him and by pressing his hand they will hear soothing lullabies whilst Igglepiggle gently sways and his cheeks glow softly in different colours.
Score: 97.3%

Toys and Games 3-5

Leap Pad 2

Manufacturer: Leapfrog
Tel: 01702 200244
Price: From £89.99
Age range: 3-9 years
Description: Leap Pad 2 is the number one children's tablet, introducing the next generation of learning in an entertaining and creative way. Children can engage with a number of school subjects including reading, writing and maths while a two megapixel front and back camera and a library of more than 225 apps result in limitless learning and fun.
Score: 95.4%


Click Lock Snack Catcher

Manufacturer: Munchkin
Tel: 08717 021000
Price: £4.99
Age range: 12+ months
Description: The Munchkin Click Lock Snack Catcher is a unique feeding product that allows snacks to be eaten easily and without mess. Carers click the lid in to place and no food will come out. The soft flaps mean food can easily be reached, but if tipped upside down or shaken, nothing will come out.
Score: 98.0%

Music and Multimedia

Ten Town

Supplier/Manufacturer: Ten Town
Tel: 0845 474 1232
Price: From £80 for 30 child logins for 12 months including frieze and flash cards
Age range: 3-5 years
Description: Online numeracy scheme in which memorable characters such as King One and Fiona Five help reinforce number formation and build strong basic numeracy skills. The characters are brought alive in animations, songs, games, activities and even an online TV channel – all supported by physical resources and over 250 printable activities.
Score: 95%

Electronic and New Technology

The Reception Teacher App

Manufacturer: The Pedagogs
Tel: +852 2581 4800
Price: £1.99
Age range: 3-5 years
Description: The Reception Teacher App highlights the key concepts and skills from the reception year curriculum. Children work through: letter formation, addition and subtraction, initial letter sound and high frequency word recognition. Earn stars and then trade them for exciting virtual stickers and animation.
Score: 96.5%

Modern Foreign Languages

Tel: 0844 225 3060
Price: £85 starting price per module
Age range: Foundation stage
Description: A BETT award-winning resource providing excellence in curriculum content for early years. Delivered online; anytime and anywhere. Modules include maths, science and literacy with letters and sound phonic activities and cross curricular 'themes' designed to engage young learners with exciting graphics and interactive activities.
Score: 95.5%

Books and Publications

Drag's Birthday Surprise

Publisher: Tiberius Publishing
Tel: 07850 191174
Price: £5.99
Age range: 3-7 years
Description: Tiberius' holiday with his friends gets off to an exciting start. This story is from the Tiberius range, which is written to help with the emotional development of children and will encourage discussion on making friends, helping each other, sharing and coping with situations.
Score: 96.9%
ISBN: 978-1-902604-84-8

Classic Toys and Games

My Wheels

Manufacturer: Gibsons
Tel: 0208 661 8866
Web: or
Price: £11.99
Age range: 3+ years
Description: Set of eight vehicle-themed puzzles – comprising 4, 6, 8, 12 and 16 puzzle pieces – with interchangeable drivers. Puzzles feature a police car, ambulance, fire engine, bus, train, lorry, tractor and digger. Made in Britain on chunky, good quality puzzle pieces.
Score: 96.1%

Creative Play


Supplier: Flair
Tel: 020 8643 0320
Price: £2.99-£29.99
Age range: 3+ years
Description: A completely new compound unlike anything before. One minute it's mouldable, the next it flows like liquid, creating a stream of fluid colour which is utterly un-put-down-able! It never makes a mess and never dries out, ensuring hours of fun.
Score: 91.5%

Outdoor Toys and Equipment

Cork Solid Blocks

Manufacturer: Playforce Ltd
Tel: 01225 792686
Price: £259 + VAT
Age range: 3-5 years
Description: A 28 piece cork solid block set, designed by Play Force in response to rising demand for natural play materials for early years settings. Containing different sized blocks, the set supports free-flow open-ended play, construction and imaginative role play, combining the well documented benefits of block play with a robust, natural play material.
Score: 98.0%

Primary Teacher Update Toys and Games


Manufacturer: Bananagrams
Tel: 020 8876 3013
Price: £14.99
Age range: 7-107 years
Description: Bananagrams is a fast and fun anagram game that drives players bananas! Requiring no pencil, paper or board, Bananagrams comes in a small portable banana shaped pouch and is perfect fun for kids 7-107 years old, at home or on the go.
Score: 91.6%

Primary Teacher Update Books and Publications

DiscoveryBox Magazine

Publisher: Bayard
Tel: +852 3753 8498
Price: £4.25 per issue, £45 per year
Age range: 9-12 years
Description: DiscoveryBox is a high-quality, educational and fun magazine for young readers. Each month, readers set off on a journey of discovery through science, nature, history and world articles. Beautiful illustrations, spectacular photographs and fascinating information make reading and learning a real pleasure.
Score: 96.4%
ISBN: 1366-9028

Primary Teacher Update Creative Play

4M Glow-in-the-dark Fairy Buttons & 4M Light Up Fairy Plaque

Manufacturer: Great Gizmos
Tel: 01293 543221
Price: £9.99 for both
Age range: 5+ years
Description: Make your own glow in the dark fairy buttons with these fun kits! Each kit has everything needed
to make 12 glowing buttons, eight with pins and four with elastic to wear as hair bands. Contents include: 12 plastic button sets, button making tool, 12 fairy graphic shrink film circles, plus 4 extra blanks that can be used with your own drawings, 8 safety pins, elastic cord for hair bands and detailed instructions
Score: 87.5%

Primary Teacher Update All Other Resources

Marking Stamps KS1

Manufacturer: The Pedagogs
Tel: +852 2581 4800
Price: £31.50
Age range: Key Stage 1
Description: Time saving, visual, self-inking stampers for target setting and marking all written work within key stage 1. Instant marking policy!
Score: 98.3%

Primary Teacher Update Outdoor Toys and Equipment

Play Planetarium

Supplier/Manufacturer: Science Play
Tel: 01726 828413
Price: £14,995 + VAT
Age range: 4-11 years
Description: The Play Planetarium offers unique and inspiring outdoor play. Sit inside and gaze at the (shining) stars or climb the solar system on the outside. Science Play brings alive the magic of science, manufacturing with the highest quality materials and the most robust health and safety standards.
Score: 100%

Practical Pre-School Awards 2014

For 2014 the annual Practical Pre-School Awards will once again be run in association with our sister publication dedicated to primary education, 'Primary Teacher Update'. This will ensure that the overall reach of the awards continues to grow and will include products that are aimed at professional childcare and early years settings as well as those that are relevant to both key stages 1 and 2 in primary education. Ultimately, our aim is to ensure that these awards provide those who specialise in developing products for the pre-school, childcare and key stages 1 and 2 markets with the best possible range of categories into which products can be entered. Following on from the success of the 2013 Awards, we are again working very closely with Evolution PR who are overseeing the awards process.

The final deadline for entries is 30th April 2014 so make sure that you get your entries in by then. Please contact Lauren Green or call on 01327 227010 or via to discuss your entry. In special cases, if you feel you cannot make the 30th April deadline, please let Lauren know and she will be as flexible as possible with any additional extension.

The 2013 Practical Pre-School Awards digital edition is available to download here.

Would you like to be a tester? Find out more.