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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 

Janod Princess Carriage Floor Puzzle
(Janod $14.99 Score:)

In a royal coach that looks a lot like Cinderella's there is a young princess with a cat and a friend. Might be fun to make up some stories about who this friend might be and where they are going. But, first things first—putting the puzzle together is going to be the challenge. Designed for the younger pink set, this 39-piece floor puzzle has giant pieces. Though this has so many pieces, it does have outline cues that are strong and easily recognizable. Since children like to redo their puzzles multiple times, we look for those that can stand up to the wear and tear and remain interesting, too. Like other Janod puzzles, this one is sturdy, attractive and comes in a suitcase for storage. 5-8

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Janod Pierre's Helicopter Puzzle
(Janod $19.99 Score:)

Bring home this carrying case with four small puzzles inside. In the easiest puzzle Pierre is seen flying alone. In the 2nd puzzle he appears to be bringing in someone who is injured. Puzzles 3 and four show Pierre about to leave and actually flying away. For preschoolers, present the simple 6-piece puzzle first. Then move on to the 9-piece puzzle. On another day, introduce the 12 and 16-piece puzzles. These are going to be challenging since the backs of the puzzles are not color-coded and the background on three of the four puzzles is the same. Parents will need to sort them out if the puzzles get mixed together. Each of the four puzzles comes in its own plastic baggie. They need to be kept separated. Naturally, they get progressively harder, so you may want to put the harder ones away and introduce them gradually. That said, the picture cues on the carrying case will help. Marked 3-6; but we think this will work best for 4's who have done lots of puzzles; not for beginners. Walter's Scooter is another of the puzzle sets of four related puzzles.

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

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2014 Award
Janod Circus Puzzle
(Janod $14.99 Score:)

Before or after a trip to the circus, it's fun to work on a puzzle with images that remind kids of the fun. Janods 54-piece circus scene has tons of details to help with fitting it together and to pour over and discuss when it’s done. Kids will love the round red carrying case for safe keeping. Kids do their puzzles more than once and may need help if they are transitioning from larger pieces to smaller more challenging puzzles. For many, this is not an instantaneous build. Getting kids to take the time and return to problem solving with a challenging puzzle helps to develop important stick-to-it habits. Since children like to redo their puzzles multiple times, we look for those that can stand up to the wear and tear and remain interesting, too. 5-8

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

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2014 Award
Janod Horse Riding School Puzzle
(Janod $17.99 Score:)

For the many girls who are totally into horseback riding, a one hundred piece puzzle that the horsey set will love. It's a scene with young riders and a dozen horses. They will also like the rounded carrying case it comes in for storage. Since this may take more than one sitting to complete, set up a dedicated table or counter space, if possible, where this can be assembled gradually. For many, this is not an instantaneous build. Getting kids to take the time and return to problem solving with a challenging puzzle helps to develop important stick-to-it habits. . Since children like to redo their puzzles multiple times, we look for those that can stand up to the wear and tear and remain interesting, too. 5-8

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

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2014 Award
My Princess Crown
(Seedling $23.99 Score:)

Girls can design their own princess crown with the makings in this charming kit. There's a precut pink felt crown that gets laced with ribbon supplied along with glitter glue, felt butterflies, gemstones, and east to follow instructions. The trick with this kind of project is to allow the glue to dry even though most little Princesses can hardly wait to wear their creations. 4 and up.

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

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2014 Award
Seedling Design Your Own Birds House
(Seedlings $29.99 Score:)

A smooth pre-assembled birdhouse comes ready to paint and then put out for your feathered friends. The kit includes three tubes of acrylic paint, a stiff acrylic brush, and instructions. There is no hanging devise so you may want to tie this in place in a nook of a low tree where kids can keep watch. A great way to introduce kids to birding. Help them start their life list of the birds they have sighted.

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
Tape-a-Doodle Extreme
(Creativity for Kids $19.99 Score:)

Designed to appeal to boys, this kit includes five rolls of magical tape a doodle to apply to the pages of the activity sheets. There are paper airplanes to decorate and fold and fly as well as robots, aliens and rocket ships. To add more color there are markers and an idea/instruction leaflet. Putting the tape onto the page is easy and pleasing and the patterned tape can be used elsewhere as well. The tapes include sport balls, eyes, dots, flames and teeth. This is one way to get boys, who often avoid crafts that require fine motor skills, involved. 7 & up

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

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Tape-a-Doodle Arts and Crafts
(Creativity for Kids $19.99 Score:)

You get five different tape-a-doodle dispensers along with markers and a spiral bound journal to decorate. Using the tape is sheer magic. Each tape dispenser has a different color and pattern and there’s no problem with pulling the tape out or cutting it. All you do is roll it and it leaves a colorful trail. This set comes with 98 feet of tape and it will stick to surfaces other than the books provided. If you want to experiment with the tape alone you can bring home a three pack with 55 feet of tape. 7 & 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
Creativity for Kids What's Up Journal
(Creativity for Kids $24.99 Score:)

A 7" X 8" spiral bound journal has 20 pages with ready-made graphics that kids can enhance with the crafty ingredients in the kit. It includes three rolls of bright washi tape, pearls, rhinestones, canvas and acetate stickers, markers, and more. This is less elaborate than a scrapbooking kit, but a good place to start for younger girls. 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Creativity for Kids BFF Stamp Art Scarves
(Creativity for Kids $24.99 Score:)

Two silky-sheer white cotton scarves come in this craft kit along with permanent fabric paint, 2 sponge brushes, a peace sign, heart, flower, and cloud shaped foam stampers, a work tray, plastic sheet and very clear directions. Keep in mind that the fabric paint will stain clothes and counters, so the directions are very explicit with cautions. We also suggest wearing vinyl gloves, although they are not in the kit. Once the design is on the scarf it must dry for 24 hours and then rinsed to set the paint. In short, this is a kit that will need adult supervision and assistance. It's also the kind of kit that kids love since they make an end-product they can actually wear and share. Marked for 7 & up, we think it will be better for slightly older girls 9 & up, and even they will need supervision.

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

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