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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


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
Manhattan Toy Delightfuls Duffy Dog
(Manhattan Toy $18 & up Score:)

A delicious armful, Duffy Dog is a taffy colored pooch with dark brown floppy ears, velvety nose and tail. His furry coat is shaggy and his body has pellets to weigh down the bottom for sitting. He's huggable as a pooch can be and comes in two sizes, large 15" and medium 12".

Age: Infants, Toddlers, Preschool, Early 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
Manhattan Toy Lovelies Mocha Monkey
(Manhattan Toy $10-25 Score:)

Totally loveable and huggable, this 15-inch Mocha Monkey with silky plush body, long tail, and sweet peachy face set off with brown velvety snout and tiny eyes. Mocha's bottom is weighted with pellets inside so it sits with ease. Also available in a 12 inch ($18) or 7 inch ($10) variation. All three of these are adorable dolls that will listen and have no hidden agenda premade storyline. It's all in the imagination of the child. All ages.

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

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2014 Award
American Girl Beforever Samantha & Book
(American Girl $115 Score:)

Samantha, an American girl at the dawn of the 20th Century, is being brought up by her grandparents to be a proper young lady of her day. But her privileged life does not prevent her from befriending a servant girl and understanding her very different circumstances. American Girl introduced Samantha in 1986 and she is reintroduced this season in a new line of historical dolls with a refreshed look. Her original look had more of a historic period piece costume; while the update has a far more modern look. That said, we expect that many of the original Samantha doll owners will be eager to bring their daughters an update of their memorable doll. Samantha is the first, but not the last of the well-loved collection to be updated. There are new books and accessories, as well. Dressed in a charming pink dress with ruffled collar and velvet sash, she is a beauty. 6 & up.

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

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2014 Award
Krazy Kars Max Traxxx Tracer Racers Truck Set
(Skullduggery $29.99 Score:)

Awesome described last year's Max Traxxx Racing cars and the awesome-ness continues with the new Tracer Racer Truck set. With 16 feet of glow-in-the-dark track and two LED light-up trucks with lights on the bottom, kids can change the setting to adjust the type of pattern the trucks will leave on the track. Yes, like the cars the trucks leave a trace of LIGHT. Did we mention that the tracks will light up in the dark from the LED lights? Our testers loved both leaving LED on all the way--this lit up the entire inside of the track or putting the LED lights on pulse...which left a broken pattern on the track. Either way - this is another big hit. The tracks go together well and come with suction cups so that you can make two ramps and race the cars. Use this dual track set alone or combine it with last years car set and they are ready for amazing tract time. The company tells us that there is a patent pending, we just know this is sooo much fun. 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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