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Toy Hall of Fame

Some toys do more than entertain  -- they become childhood essentials. Cheers to our 2007 inductees, which have been charming our kids for five years or more

Birth to 18 months:

Gloworm

This friendly-faced lovely has been a favorite among sleep-deprived moms since it was first introduced by Hasbro in 1983. With a soft squeeze, it lights up, soothing babies to slumber. Over the years, different version have hit the market, including Storytime Gloworm, Bedtime Blessing Glowowrm, and today's basic model (which plays lullabies)  -- but all retain that original glow. (Hasbro, $10; hasbro.com)

Buy it!

18 months to 3 years:

Classic red tricycle

The shiny red chrome three-wheeler with snazzy tasseled handlebars was introduced more than 100 years ago but eventually discontinued. Luckily, in 1999 Radio Flyer brought back the iconic version we know and love (albeit tassle-free), prompting a wave of nostalgia and a new reason to get outdoors with the kids. (Radio Flyer, $56; radioflyer.com)

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3 to 5 years

Candy Land

There's nothing saccharine about Candy Land's origins: It was invented in the 1940s as a pastime for kids bedridden with polio. Fortunately, the dreaded disease is now history in America  -- but the game it inspired is still as fresh as a warm square of marshmallow fudge. (Milton Bradley, $9; hasbro.com/games)

Buy it!

5 to 8 years

Wiffle ball and bat

We can thank a few smashed window and irate neighbors for this summertime staple. David Mullany created the perforated plastic balls and plastic bats back in 1953 so his 12-year-old son and his buddies could go play in the backyard without wreaking havoc. The game got its trademark name because the kids called the striking out "whiffing"; Mullany dropped the h to save money on his first sign. (The Wiffle Ball, Inc., $4; wiffle.com)

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8 to 12 years

Mouse Trap

When Ideal presented its innovative new game, designed by the cartoonist Rube Goldberg, at the 1963 Toy Fair, it was seen as a risk. Would kids find the premise  -- catching pests  -- amusing? The answer: a resounding yes. The revolutionary 3-D board, as well as the intricate way in which the pieces are assembled, made Mouse Trap a surprise hit. (Milton Bradley, $17; hasbro.com/games)

Buy it!

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