Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Construction Toys

 

 
2015 Awards
Guidecraft 74-piece Organics-Powerclix
(Guidecraft $80.00 Score:)

Colorful translucent plastics in interesting new magnetic shapes give kids a new range of possibilities for creating some amazing constructions with 74-pieces in eight different shapes. There are instructions for reproducing some 3-D constructions and following those pictorial instructions will challenge kids to stay with a task and use visual clues as they hone their eye hand skills. But it's not just about reproducing a model. These pieces allow for discovery and open-ended creations. This is one of those STEM toys that gives children hands on experience with symmetry and spatial concepts and will be interesting to both girls and boys. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Lincoln Logs 100th Anniversary Set
(KNEX $73 Score:)

A giant size tin container holds a 111-piece set of Lincoln Logs; truly a collector's item with all wooden pieces. This is you dad's all wooden Lincoln Log set...if he is old enough. In any case, it is just the way today's grandparents remember their Lincoln Logs days before premade plastic eaves and roof pieces came along. A great set for multiple kids to enjoy together. Pull this out if you have frequent visiting grandkids. It will keep them busy or get down on the floor and build a village of log structures with them. Labels on Lincoln Logs are often marked for 3 and up. Forget that! All a three year old can do is watch you build, knock them down or be frustrated trying to build them up. Save this for your older 5, 6 and 7 year olds and be prepared to work with them until they get the hang of how the logs fit together and how to stack the roof pieces so they donít all clatter down. Kids get a real sense of accomplishment from learning how to do this and trying to assemble different structures. It calls for visual discrimination as well as dexterity and problem solving. This is no instantaneous toy. It takes patience and thinking.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Lincoln Logs Oak Creek Lodge
(KNEX $39.99 Score:)

This season's mid size Lincoln Log set has 137 pieces and a relatively simple build. A lodge built of traditional wooden logs with plastic door, windows and roof. Not quite your classic log cabin, by any means. Marked for 3 and up, this is simply not for 3's or most 4's. Getting the logs in place takes more visual and manual dexterity than any three year old can bring to it. You may have loved this toy, but if you are doing the building for them, you are simply diminishing of the real worth of this timeless building set. Save the Lincoln Logs for 5's, 6's and even 7's. That is when they can really figure out how these logs work and have the pleasure of making a house stand. For 3's bring on the wooden blocks or duplo blocks.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
K'nex Mighty Makers: Up, Up and Away Building Set
(K'nex $19.99 Score:)

Designed to appeal to girls, this is one of many models that K'nex has packaged with a female character and pastel building pieces. Though we think girls should not need gender speciafic building toys, we take seriously the fact that learning from building is a basic and too long overlooked. This Up, up and away set comes with clear instructions for building a small but satisfying airplane. Build it four different ways with directions for optional vehicles. 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Learning Resources Gears Build & Bloom Building Set
(Learning Resources $39.99 Score:)

Gears, Gears, Gears have always been a favorite of our testers. This new set, is clearly designed to appeal to girls with flowers and butterflies and bugs added to the basic gears. Done in bright pinks, greens, blues and oranges, the green base serves as the garden where the gears, bugs and butterflies can spin. A 116 piece set of gears comes with colorful stickers. An early science toy that invites kids to build basic machines by meshing the gears into continuous action. Problem solving and dexterity are built into the fun. 4 & up

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Hape Dynamo Dominoes
(Hape $39.99 Score:)

There is no one right way to build with the 100 colorful dominioes. Stand them on end and place the bridges, bells, rails and other tricks in their path. Give on a tap and watch the whole parade go tumbling down. An open-ended toy that probably will need parent-child building for starters. Predicting outcomes calls for some strategies that will come with experience. Develops problem solving skills as well as dexterity; most of all a fun kind of building designed to fall down! Marked 3 and up, but using it for this kind of building will be more like a late 4-5 year old trick.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
K'nex Mighty Makers Inventor's Clubhouse
(KNEX $49.99 Score:)

Designed to appeal to girls, this is the top of the line building set complete with motor and over 528 K'nex pieces and parts. Along with the motor it comes with pulleys and gears, wheels, star snaps, graphic panels and color coded intructions for many kinds of mechanical builds. Although we think gilrs should be able to enjoy gender free building sets, we know from research that they are less often chosen or gifted to girls. We are happy to see the options in play expanding as more building toys are being marketed to girls and such toys will help enable girls to develop spatial skills and enthusiasm for engineering and problem solving. This is a set that gives girls the tools for building from the instructions and then going on to build their own creations. Keep in mind that K'nex requires strong hands and is not always easy for beginners. Marked for 7 and up, we think 7's will need lots of help to get started. We also suggest it will be enjoyed more by slightly older girls.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
K'nex Mighty Makers Fun on a Ferris Wheel
(KNEX $22.99 Score:)

Designed to appeal to girls, this classic ferris wheel building set is done in pastels rather than the traditional primary colors. That said, it is less than an all-out pink and lavender girlie look and involves important skill sets that girls have often missed in traditional toyland where building was for boys only. Riding a ferris wheel is not just for boys and neither is building one! This set comes with clear instructions, a female action figure and 324 pieces to challenge young builders. Marked for 7 & up, we know that most 7's will need help and this may be a better choice for slightly older girls. We are happy to see the options in play expanding as more building toys are being made to enable girls to develop spatial skills and enthusiasm for engineering and problem solving. 7 & up

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Roominate Chateau
(Roominate $49.99 Score:)

Newest in this award winning construction set, all the makings for building a chateau with pieces for creating a spiral staircase, bunk beds and more. It has a motor and light circuits for running elevators, lamps, and windmills. The 131-piece set has walls, wheels, axles, and more. Along with ideas in the box there is a website with even more creative ideas for making the chateau run. This is more about building and less about typical dollhouse pretending. For future engineers, scientists and architects, this is the dollhouse of choice.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Playmobil City Action Crane
(Playmobil $118 Score:)


Talk about big--this is stands almost a yard tall and can be operated with a hand-held remote control. The Crane can move from side to side and the trolley goes forward, back, up and down. There is a construction worker who fits into the cab. There's a forklift for lifting loads up to the construction site. An amazing 32-piece set with step by step directions for assembling. Younger kids are going to need adult help to do this. Once it's put together, it will be a fun prop for moving toy blocks. Takes 6 AA batteries that are not provided in the package. 5 & up

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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