OUR FAVORITE PLAYTHINGS

HERE ARE NINE TOYS THAT WILL GET YOUR KIDS THINKING, CREATING, PLAYING AND MAYBE EVEN FORGETTING SUPER MARIO 64

--Fort $115; dollsandreams.; ages 3 and up This smart, sturdy and uncreatively named fort will be the centerpiece of many games. Attack it, defend it, play king and queen, open the drawbridge and slide up the gate. Its simplicity is an invitation to more imaginative play than fussier--and more fragile--castles.

--To the Rescue $16; Discovery Toys; ages 3 to 5 The driver of this chunky little fire truck sways merrily enough as he's pushed along, but the real fun comes after the ladder is raised and the truck opens like a suitcase to reveal a treasure chest of little knobs and...

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