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Fisher-Price® Play Expert Offers Tips for Selecting Perfect Age-Appropriate Holiday Toys

EAST AURORA, N.Y. --(Business Wire)-- Nov. 20, 2006 With more than 75 years of creating innovative, fun, age-appropriate toys, Fisher-Price, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NYSE: MAT), has been delighting children, parents and grandparents for generations. This holiday season, with Fisher-Price's "T.M.X.™" Elmo at the top of many wish lists, the leader in the preschool toys market offers tips on how to find the right gifts for the little ones in your life.

From roaring dinosaurs to interactive art centers, choosing the right toy from countless options can be a daunting task. Kathleen Alfano, Ph.D., Director of Child Research at Fisher-Price, provides useful tips for making the right selection. "Choosing the right toys at the right time will enrich your child's play experience and provide the foundation for learning that continues as they grow," Dr. Alfano says.

At Fisher-Price, toys are put through many tests in order to assess their play value and relevance for today's children. Among the many "test stops" is the Play Laboratory, which is the only one of its kind. At the Play Lab, which was created in 1968, toys face some of the toughest critics of all--kids. Children put new toys through their paces under the watchful eye of designers, engineers and early childhood education professionals.

According to Dr. Alfano, who has been observing children in the Play Lab for more than 25 years, there are three important factors to keep in mind when making toy selections: age appropriateness, interests and play needs.

    Age-appropriateness: Children need toys that are matched to their developmental abilities so they can achieve success and play safely.

    Interests: Children are more engaged, curious, entertained and willing to keep playing when they are interested in something. For example, if your child enjoys the zoo, choose animal-themed toys. The child who loves cars will be engaged by transportation-themed toys.

    Play needs: Provide your children with a variety of toys that serve various play needs: toys for playing alone, ones that promote sharing and interaction, those that encourage imaginative play or promote physical activity or constructive play.

Here are some suggestions to help you make the right toy selection:

0-18 months

    Baby Gymtastics™ Bounce & Spin Zebra™: Babies sit on the brightly colored, friendly-faced Zebra and enjoy music and lights as they play with the spinning bead roller on the handle bars. $44.99 (American Baby's "Best New Toys"; Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award; Toys "R" Us "Hot Toys" List; Toy Wishes All Star)

    Magic Rattle 'N Ride™ Pooh: When baby shakes the magic turtle rattle, Pooh's head and Turtle's head and legs all move to entertaining melodies and phrases. $29.99

18+ months - 2+ years
    "T.M.X.™" ELMO: Think of a great belly laugh that has you doubled over with giggles, until it finally sends you to the floor thumping your hand on the ground in absolute glee. Now imagine a toy that can do all that, and then get back on its feet, all by itself--that's "T.M.X.™" Elmo. $39.99 (eToys.com Hot Holiday Toy; KB Toys Hot Holiday Toys; Toy "R" Us "Fabulous 15" and "Hot Toy" List; Toy Wishes Hot Dozen and All Star)

    Sing & Spin Pablo: This plush Pablo sings the Backyardigans theme song and performs his signature dance moves, including a full spin. Pablo encourages kids to sing and dance, too! $29.99 (Nick Jr's. "10 Most Wanted" List)

3+ years
    Diego's Talking Rescue Center: With this playset, Diego can swing through the jungle on his vine, repel down his rescue wire, speed to the scene in his ATV or take to the sky in his helicopter! $39.99 (Family Fun's Grand Prize Winner and #2 in Top Ten List; Nick Jr.'s Best Toys and Gifts; Parents' Toys of the Year)

    Fairy Wishes™ Dora: Fairy Wishes Dora magically comes alive with a lifelike face that changes expressions while she talks, sings, and helps to grant wishes. $39.99

    Kid-Tough FP3™ Player: The Kid-Tough FP3™ Player is the first digital media player that provides preschoolers with a durable and easy way to play their favorite downloadable songs and stories. $69.99 (Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice Award; Redbook's Toy Insider Hot Toy)

    SparkArt Creativity System™ Easel: The full-sized SparkArt Easel with its giant dry-erase canvas is especially designed for interactive play. Audio prompts direct kids to use colors, sounds, objects and the alphabet. $79.99 (iParenting Media Best Products of 2006; Redbook's Toy Insider Hot Toy)

    Power Wheels® Jeep® Hurricane: This extreme Jeep has been pint-sized for preschoolers and features Ultimate Terrain Traction, taking it places other battery-powered ride-ons can't go. $399.99 (Toy Wishes All Star)

4+ years
    I Can Play™ Piano™: Kids simply plug the three-octave piano keyboard, with color-coded keys, into the TV to create a plug and play piano system. Complete with DVDs featuring fun graphics and popular music, the system turns piano lessons into game play. $79.99 (Dr. Toy's 100 Best Children's Products and 10 Best Creative Toys)

    Imaginext® Mega T-Rex™: This ultra-realistic T-Rex comes to life with awesome head swinging action, cool roaring sounds, and light up eyes. $29.99 (National Parenting Publications Gold Award)

6+ years
    ESPN Fast Action Football™: This indoor electronic game combines a digital display with physical head-to-head football action. For the ultimate football arena experience, it also includes play-by-play commentary, football sounds and electronic scoring. $199.99 (eToys.com Hot Holiday Toy; iParenting Media Awards Best Products of 2006; Redbook's Toy Insider Hot Toy; Toys "R" Us "Fabulous 15"; Toy Wishes All Star)
For more gift-giving suggestions and fun ideas for holiday activities you can share with your children, visit Fisher-Price's web site at http://www.fisher-price.com (in Spanish at http://www.fisher-price.com/espanol.com).


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About Fisher-Price:
Fisher-Price, Inc., a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NYSE:MAT) and located in East Aurora, New York, is the leading brand of infant and preschool toys in the world. The Company has a 75-year legacy of high-quality toys that enhance early childhood development. Its often-emulated Play Laboratory was the first child research center of its kind in the toy industry, allowing researchers to observe the way children play and how play benefits their development. Some of the Company's best-known "classic" brands include Little People®, Power Wheels® and View-Master®. Fisher-Price is also a leading developer of baby gear products (nursery monitors, infant swings, high chairs) as well as a wide array of character-based toys inspired by high quality children's programming such as Sesame Street®, Dora the Explorer™ and Winnie the Pooh. The Company's web site, at http://www.fisher-price.com, provides valuable information and resources to parents.