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Product Type: Toys
Award: Blue Chip
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 

 
2015 Awards
Lincoln Logs 100th Anniversary Set
(KNEX $73 Score:)

A giant size tin container holds a 111-piece set of Lincoln Logs; truly a collector's item with all wooden pieces. This is your dad's all wooden Lincoln Log set...if he is old enough. In any case, it is just the way today's grandparents remember their Lincoln Logs before premade plastic eaves and roof pieces came along. A great set for multiple kids to enjoy together. Pull this out of the closet if you have frequent visiting grandkids. It will keep them busy and why not get down on the floor and build a village of log structures with them. Labels on Lincoln Logs are often marked for 3 and up. Forget that! All a three year old can do is watch you build, knock them down or be frustrated trying to build them up. Save this for your older 5, 6 and 7 year olds and be prepared to work with them until they get the hang of how the logs fit together and how to stack the roof pieces so they don’t all clatter down. Kids get a real sense of accomplishment from learning how to do this and trying to assemble different structures. It calls for visual discrimination as well as dexterity and problem solving. This is no instantaneous toy. It takes patience and thinking.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
LEGO Classic Creative Building Sets
(Lego Systems, Inc. $14.99 Score:)

We love the open-endedness of these classic kits that have a pleasing array of colors. Our favorites are the sets that come in yellow "brick" plastic buckets that can be used for storage: the Classic Large Creative Brick Box ($59.95) with 790 pieces; the Classic Medium Creative Brick Box ($29.99) with 484 pieces or the Classic Small Creative Brick Box ($14.99) with 221 pieces.  The bigger sets not only have more bricks, they include more pieces such as wheels, doors, faces, etc.  Each comes with ideas for building but the beauty of these sets is really enjoying them as an open-ended building opportunity!

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Awards
Monopoly 80th Anniversary Edition
(Hasbro $20.99 Score:)

Need a gift for Grandma or Grandpa for a family celebration? This version of the original game comes with retro cards and money, wooden hotels and houses, and tokens that were used by grandparents, parents and kids from the 30's to the Millennium. A perfect choice for keeping some of the crowd quiet and engrossed at your next family reunion. There is a fancier version of this with golden playing pieces. Game play and playing pieces are otherwise the same. 8 & up.

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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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. 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
Rand McNally World Wall Map
(Rand McNally $13.95 Score:)

A giant 50"X 32" wall map for young geographers. Bring home this or a similar U.S.A. map for their room. Kids will like marking the places they have been or following sports or world news by seeing where in the world things are happening.

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

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2014 Awards
Rand McNally U.S. Wall Map
(Rand McNally $14.95 Score:)

A giant 50” X 32” wall map for young geographers. Bring home this or a similar World Map ($8.99) for their room. Kids will like putting stickers on their personal map--marking the places they have been (or want to see) and following sports or world news; locating where in the world things are happening. An interest in mapping begins early if encouraged by making maps relate to their interests and experiences.

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

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2014 Awards
Lincoln Logs Redfield Ranch
(KNEX $50 Score:)

A barrel of building fun comes in this giant size container with 109 wooden logs, plastic door, windows, roof plus a cowboy, horse, corral gates and corral, flag, feeding trough, hay and other small accessories. An instruction booklet will help beginners, but once they get the feel for this classic building set, kids come up with their own structures. Fun to use for dramatic play once the buildings are made.They are marked 3 & up. No doubt preschoolers will play with the forts and log cabins after an adult builds them, but as a construction toy, this is a much better choice for early school years from 5-8.   

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

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2012 Awards
Creativity For Kids Complete Paper Making Kit
(Creativity for Kids $29 Score:)

Part Science/part art this is a kit with everything needed to turn old paper into new. Kids can make their own paper and decorate it for cards. Comes with shredded paper, but you can recycle the many kinds of paper that come into your home. The kit includes a basin, paper making tray, screens, sponge, paper punch, scissors, stencil and many more goodies. This is a kit that introduces how to create your own tags, cards and even jewelry.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Shake It up, America Etch-A-Sketch
(Hasbro $17.99 Score:)

Picking up on this year's political banter, the folks at Etch-A-Sketch have provided both blue and red versions of their classic product.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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