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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Construction Toys

 


2014 Award
Magformers 83 Piece Magnets in Motion Power Set
(Magformers $179.99 Score:)

Here is the super duper uber size Magformer set that includes gears, a generator, and all the shapes needed for building exciting constructions that move. A pricey set that will challenge and large enough for several kids to share. Like all Magformer sets, this involves science, problem solving, fine motor skills, patience and imagination. Kids are going to have good fun building machines that they can activate with the colorful gears and crank for getting all those parts moving or use the generator to get things going. There are big and little gears, colorful image plates that swirl when they turn, creating optical illusions. This primary colored set is gender neutral and comes with step by step instructions for making their models, though the pieces can be used in an open ended way for making their own creations.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Awards
Magformers 62 piece Classic Set
(Magformers $99 Score:)

This is where we started when Magformers were first introduced. It has all the basic pieces for making a dome, a square, a star and so many other geometric forms. We have to confess, we loved the dome that goes together like magic and remains a favorite at the toyportfolio. Like all of the Magformer sets, this involves, problem solving, fine motor skills, patience, science, and imagination. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Magformers 62 piece Inspire Design
(Magformers $99 Score:)

Designed to appeal to girls with hot pink, lavender, powder blue, pink and magenta pieces, this construction set had magnets embedded in plastic shapes, so it is safe, yet challenging, inviting kids to investigate in a hands on way how magnets attract and repel, how they can put the pieces together to make three dimensional designs. This big set comes with a step-by-step instruction booklet for creating all sorts of geometric constructions. Like so many of the Magformer sets, this involves, problem solving, fine motor skills, patience, science, and imagination. Do we think girls need special colors to entice them? No, but apparently it does appeal to some who might otherwise not do any construction play. That would be a greater loss, since developing spatial skills and this kind of thinking should not be reserved for boys only. It this is the ticket--we say go for it.  6 & up.

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
Magformers Magnets in Motion 37 Piece Set
(Magformers $59.99 Score:)

This is a mid size variation of the big Magnets in Motion set that combines gears and magformers to build some amazing machines. It has a snap on crank handle and plenty of big and small gears with colorful discs that create optical illusions in motion. Like so many of the Magformer sets, this involves, problem solving, fine motor skills, patience, science, and imagination. This interesting set comes with a step-by-step instruction booklet for creating all sorts of constructions with gears. 6 & up.

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
Magformers 61 piece Magnets in Motion
(Magformers $99 Score:)

What could be more fun than combining gears and magformers? Kids are going to have good fun building machines that they can activate with the colorful gears and crank for getting all those parts moving. There are big and little gears, colorful image plates that swirl when they turn, creating optical illusions. This primary colored set is gender neutral sets it comes with step by step instructions for making their models, though the pieces can be used in an open ended way for making their own creations. Like so many of the Magformer sets, this involves, science, problem solving, fine motor skills, patience and imagination. A smaller 32-piece set is $39.99. Or, you can add a 20 piece Magnets in Motion Accessory Set (19.99) with large and small gears and crank to enlarge the possibilities of your basic Magnets in Motion set. 6 & up

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

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2014 Awards
Magformers 55 piece Dinosaur Set
(Magformers $99 Score:)

There are step-by-step instructions for creating a brontosaurus, velociraptor, stegoaurus, tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops with the colorful magnetic pieces. Of course, the finished pieces are rather abstract representations, but, satisfying for kids who are heavily into dinosaurs. Of course, kids can make their own creations, as well. Like so many of the Magformer sets, this involves, problem solving, fine motor skills, patience and imagination. Also fun, for Deep Sea ($89) enthusiasts, a 46 piece set with instructions for making 10 nautical builds or the Forest Friends ($89) 47 piece set for making bats, butterflies, bunnies and other creatures of the forest. They say 3 & up, we think 3's will like playing with the pieces that are safe since the magnets are embedded in large plastic pieces. But making these complex builds is more like a task for 5's and up.

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

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2014 Award
Quercetti Tubation Transparent
(International Playthings $49.99 Score:)

A 70 piece set of transparent tubes that connect like pipes. What we love about this kind of building set is that it is completely open-ended. Putting the pieces together is not only fun, but it helps build hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills and creativity. Comes with 28 straight pieces, 7 t-shaped pieces, 7 crosses and 28 curved pieces. A nice set to explore together.

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

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2014 Award
Hape The Challenger Quadrilla Marble Run
(HaPe $199.99 Score:)

With three spiral boards this is a step up from last year's two spiral Cyclone Quadrilla. Like all the Quardrilla Marble runs, this is a great and elegant marble run--a building toy that is more complex than most. It comes with two suggested ways of building and no doubt your young builder will come up with other ideas as well. It comes with straight and curved rails, high-velocity funnels, a see-saw, accelerators, blocks, levelers, bases and 50 marbles. Made with birch and rubber woods. The box says 4 & up, but 4's will not be able to construct this. They will play with the marbles, but even 5-6-7's are going to need adult help with building this.

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

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2014 Awards
Plan Toys 50 Unit Blocks
(Plan Toys $90 Score:)

Fifty unit blocks makes a good place to start with basic gear for play. This handsome set comes with twelve shapes and no premade directions or suggestions. These are the most fundamental open-ended play materials that invite creative thinking and math concepts. 3 & up.

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

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2014 Awards
Lincoln Log Collector's Edition Homestead
(KNEX $99 Score:)

305 wooden logs, a covered wagon, plenty of roof slats and eaves, a chimney, a frontiersman and plenty of instructions all in a large barrel for storage. This classic building toy is marked for 3 & up but we suggest that Lincoln Logs are a more appropriate choice and challenge for 6 & up

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

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