Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Categories: Construction Toys
Subcategories: Themed: Plastic

 


2014 Award
Knex Typhoon Frenzy Roller Coaster
(Knex $49.99 Score:)

Our twelve-year old tester took four days to complete, working approximately two hours a day. He considers this particular set very difficult and in his words, "Kids with short attention spans will take a lot longer to do this because each of the steps takes at least 10-15 minutes, and I believe there were 53 steps in this set." When asked about the age label on the box When I asked him if the 9 & up age range on the box he said, "There is no way that a 9-year-old could put this together.” He thinks that a more realistic age bracket would be ages 11+ but it would have to be a pretty disciplined eleven year old because with the rail, for example, one false move and you'd end up having to reassemble a huge portion of this." Unlike other builds, our tester felt there as not a lot he could do with it after it was built. He played with it for a few days and then it has been untouched. His mom, a teacher of gifted kids, thinks it will appeal to engineer-type kids for whom the assembly is the thrill. On the positive side, our tester reported, "One good thing about playing with this is that the little car keeps its momentum all the way down, which you wouldn’t expect since it goes upside down."

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

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2014 Awards
LEGO STAR WARS Droid Gunship
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)

The grey and blue Droid Gunship is an intermediate build with 439 pieces. If your Star Wars fan is building his fleet from the cartoon show (as opposed to the movies), this is a fine addition. Comes with a spring-loaded shooter, Chewbacca, Super Battle Droid, Battle Droid and 41st Elite Corps Trooper. We find that the included minifigs are a big part of the collectability appeal of the line for fans of the line. 8-14.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CREATOR Turbo Quad
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24.99 Score:)

The 3-in-1 series is always a hit with our testers who love the ability to take their models apart and try their hand at another two builds. This one has instructions for the Turbo Quad, a Monster Truck or a Buggy. With 186 pieces, this is a beginning/ intermediate build for kids 7-12. Also new in this line this year, the Twinblade Adventure (models also include making a biplane or helicopter). For even smaller builds, look at Red Thunder (66 pieces) and Power Digger (64 pieces) - ideal for stocking stuffers.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY Auto Transporter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

While we never like driving next to one of these big trucks on the highway, this is a fun build! The 350-piece set includes making the transporter truck itself, two vehicles and two mini-figures. And as with the real deal, you can off load the cars by lowering the ramps on the transporter. So, this is a great project that ends up being fun for dramatic play. 5-12.  

 

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

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2014 Award
LEGO City Camper Van
(LEGO Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

It's time to go camping! Why not with this big white camper van.. This is another of Lego's clever modular builds that is divided into sub-models to give builders an easier start. This 195-piece set is loaded with fine details that add to the builder’s delighted and plans that guide each step in the process. Kids will love the red canoe and two play figures, as well as the van with all of its accessories and working door. A relatively small set that helps develop fine motor and spatial skills along with their ability to stay with a task and deal with some problem solving--all important kinds of learning. Marked for 5-12, we think many 5-7's will need help getting started. Doing this gives them a roadmap for how to approach complex tasks.

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
LEGO City Camper Van
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

It's time to go camping! Why not with this big white camper van.. This is another of Lego's clever modular builds that is divided into sub-models to give builders an easier start. This 195-piece set is loaded with fine details that add to the builder’s delighted and plans that guide each step in the process. Kids will love the red canoe and two play figures, as well as the van with all of its accessories and working door. A relatively small set that helps develop fine motor and spatial skills along with their ability to stay with a task and deal with some problem solving--all important kinds of learning. Marked for 5-12, we think many 5-7's will need help getting started. Doing this gives them a roadmap for how to approach complex tasks.

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
LEGO Friends Heartlake Juice Bar
(Lego Systems, Inc. $ 29.99 Score:)

Andrea and Naya are definitely thinking and eating healthy! They have opened a juice bar at Heartlake. What better way to deliver cool refreshment for the summer to all their friends? This is a big step beyond the typical lemonade stand. It has a very current look and all the equipment for smashing and whipping up smoothies and fresh juice are ready! Another fun setting for dramatic play once all the 277-pieces are assembled. We know there are some who find the Friends sets as too gender specific, but in fact, we like the active roles the Friends play with their jobs and entertainment. If it brings girls to the construction toy aisle we say go for it! That's the way to help them develop dexterity, patience, spatial skills and imagination. 6-12

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
LEGO Mia’s Lemonade Stand
(Lego Systems, Inc. $9.99 Score:)

Who wouldn't love a glass of lemonade on these hot days of summer? Mia's stand has all kinds of accessories to squeeze the lemons, pour cool drinks and she even has cookies to sell. She also has a motor scooter that can carry some of her supplies and a safety helmet to wear on her way to work. A 112-piece set that will keep hands busy to build and enjoying as a mini- setting for pretend play. A good choice for developing dexterity, patience, and imagination. Makes a nice birthday party gift--without breaking the bank. 5-12

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
LEGO Friends Emma's Lifeguard Post
(LEGO $9.99 Score:)

Just in time to keep the Lego Friends safe at the beach! Emma has her binoculars, whistle, swim fins and flags on her Lifeguard Post so she can tell swimmers if it is safe or not to go into the water. A good choice for developing dexterity, patience, and imagination. A 72-piece build, with Emma and her accessories, that makes a nice birthday party gift--without breaking the bank. 5-12

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

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2013 Award
LEGO Galaxy Squad Hive Crawler
(Lego Systems, Inc. $69.99 Score:)

"One of the most unusual LEGO builds, ever." "Awesome."  We agree that the Galaxy Squad line has some of the most creative builds this year.  The Hive Crawler, in particular, has interesting moving legs that make a great sound as it moves. The minifig in the front opening cockpit reminds us of the bad guys from Independence Day. The Crawler has an egg launcher and two hatching eggs.  The build also comes with a smaller speedster and hero.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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