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Product Type: Toys

 


2014 Award
Hape Magnetic Bullet Train
(Hape $9.99 Score:)

Have tracks? Add a sleek high-speed wooden train for the most up-to-date look. Adding new trains and props brings new life and interest to old train sets. This little train set is a neat stocking stuffer, won't-break-the-bank birthday present, or perfect for a one night of Hanukkah gift. Made of wood and painted white with blue and red trim, the four piece set is compatible with almost all wooden train tracks, so it is a good mix and match addition. Also from the same company, a four-piece set with red engine, and three other cars: an orange passenger car, a green freight car and a blue tanker.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Roaring Power
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

Newest in the clever 3-in-1 builds the 374-piece set gives kids instructions for a roaring race-car, a T-Rex, and a sea plane. A mid-size kit that shows kids they can use the same pieces for new constructions.

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 Creator 3-in-1 Roaring Power
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

Newest in the clever 3-in-1 builds the 374-piece set gives kids instructions for a roaring race-car, a T-Rex, and a sea plane. A mid-size kit that shows kids they can use the same pieces for new constructions.

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

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LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Roaring Power
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2014 Award
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 STAR WARS V-Wing Starfighter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24.99 Score:)

STAR WARS fans will love building this small red and grey spaceship. With 201 pieces this is a good place to start if you have a beginning LEGO/STAR WARS fan. Set comes with a V-Wing Pilot and an Astromech Droid. Also new this year and in the same level of building experiences: the yellow and grey Jedi Interceptor ($24.99 with 223 pieces and comes with Anakin Skywalker and R2-D2) and the blue/grey Vulture Droid ($24.99 with 205 pieces and comes with Buzz Droid, Pilot Battle Droid and Neimoidian Warrior). All marked 7-12. All come with new spring-loaded shooters which need some supervision.

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
Mudpuppy Shadow Puppets, Monster Mania
(Mudpuppy Press $16.99 Score:)

Eight laser cut monster faced shadow puppets on sticks come in this set that invites kids to explore the science of making shadows and the ancient art form of storytelling with those shadows. These come with no premade story. Cast the shadow on a light or white wall with a flashlight and let the action begin. Try using them to dance to spooky monsterous sounding music or tell a story of three monsters, a la Three Bears or create a totally original story. There is also a set of premade Madeline shadow puppets for younger players. They are marked 3 & up, but this is really a toy that is more appropriate for school aged players.

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
Mudpuppy Shadow Puppets, Madeline
(Mudpuppy Press $16.99 Score:)

Eight laser-cut shadow puppets on sticks are ready to lights and action as kids retell some of their favorite Madeline tales or make up their own stories based on thie classic adventures of young Madeline. The puppets give kids a chance to explore the science of making shadows and the ancient art form of storytelling with those shadows. We were surprised not to find all those girls in a long straight line as one of the puppets, but this set does include Madeline, the Eifel Tower, a house all covered with vines, Miss Clavel, and several of Madeline’s friends and pooch. Older kids will enjoy the Monster Mania set in the same line. Marked for 3 & up, we think older 4 and 5 year olds would be better able to make this happen.

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
Mudpuppy Cooper Hewitt Magnetic Letters
(Mudpuppy Press $17.99 Score:)

A set of 40 upper case magnetic letters with patterns selected from the Cooper Hewitt Museum collection. These have full magnetic coverage on the back instead of the old fashioned little magnets that were typical of letters you may have played with on the fridge. 3 & up

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

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2014 Awards
Green Toys Submarine
(Green Toys $14.99 Score:)

Kids are going to love this fish-shaped submarine that not only floats, it can fill up with water (thorough the mouth and portholes to be submerged. Lift it, let it spill and spout and it floats again! Perfect for tub-time and pool. There are no small parts so this is fun for toddlers and preschool play. Made of 100% recycled plastic this is also dishwasher cleanable. It comes with a book that is mostly forgettable for the very young, but that said, this is a wonderful water toy! 12 months and up, up, up.

Age: Infants, Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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