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Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Review Year: 2012

 

 
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
Eco-Bonk Jackson
(Pueri-Elemental $59.99 Score:)

Remember your old inflatable bop toy? You punched it and it popped right back up. A classic that has always been great for letting off steam or pent up energy on long winter days when going out is not possible. They were standard fare, although they often deflated into a useless heap after the patch kit was misplaced. These days there are still plenty of vinyl bop toys around, but this new collection comes with a choice of cotton fabric covers that will reduce the chances of the inflatable getting a quick knick. Choose a friendly brown bear, a goofy penguin, or a smooshed grey elephant. They are made of  eco-biodegradable vinyl that will eventually disappear rather than clog up the land fill. Yes, they are pricey and we hope the small start-up company will be able to bring their price down before long. That said, it is a toy that will see a lot of action. 2-6

SNAP:A great toy for active venting without getting scolded for punching or kicking. It's also big enough to be enjoyed by kids who are 5 or even 6.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Don't Rock the Boat
(Patch Products $16.99 Score:)

Deal out the penguins and take turns putting one on deck at a time. But watch out! Going through the Drake Passage can be rough and one too many penguins will send the all the others overboard! The tippy boat sits on a post that makes for a tricky balancing act. Takes some logical thinking, simple strategy, dexterity and good luck to avoid knocking them all off the boat. A quick to learn, fun game with lots of opportunities to win and lose. A word of caution, if you have small children who still mouth their toys, keep the penguins out of reach. 5 & up.

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

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2012 Award
Kiwi Crate Handmade Hanukkah Kit
(KiwiCrate $19.99 Score:)

Crafts, science, holiday traditions all come together in this Kiwi Crate. There's a wooden dreidel with discs that kids decorate with drips of paint. Watch the patterns that form as the dreidel twirls. Later put the Hebrew letters on a disk and play a traditional game using raisins, candies or pennies. The crate also comes with very special makings for a menorah. There are plastic holders for the nine battery operated lights that look like small white votive candles. Add tissue paper squares with mod podge and brush to decorate the holders. A safe enough Menorah for the youngest celebrants. What a nice kit for getting ready to celebrate the Festival of Lights. You can join this for a monthly treat or buy kits one month at a time. 6 & up.


http://www.kiwicrate.com/join

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Once Upon A Tree House Dolls
(Once Upon a Tree House $12-20 Score:)

For the dollhouse, you won't find a sweeter collection of multicultural dolls, both boys and girls to play in this company's treehouse or the dollhouse you may own. These fabric dolls have solid feet to stand on and are dressed in charming outfits. Some, like the dancer come with a ballet bar and there is a soccer player with a goal. Dolls are sold separately. The company also does a line of wooden outdoor equipment that could be used outside of any dollhouse. There is a picnic table, a see-saw, and a pop up cloth tent($80 for the set.) We did not see the wooden dollhouse as pictured online nor the furniture. We assume it is beautifully finished as all the other furnishings we did handle. We did see the Treehouse ($120) an open wooden setting with a swing and climbing ladder and a very long slide. It is a nice setting, but it probably will not take the place of a dollhouse. This is a new company with some pricey but beautiful looking products. We look forward to seeing more in the future. Meanwhile, we have to say these are the most special props for dollhouses we have seen in years!

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
LiteBrix Lumi-Port
(Cra-z-Art $54.99 Score:)

Build a control tower and a jet plane that light up and flash when you make the right circuitry connections. This is one of a new series of construction sets that comes with a battery pack and lots of challenges to dexterity and problem solving. Marked six and up but wed say it's more like an 8 and up, up, up kit. Younger builders are going to need parental help to learn how to install the plug in ports and figure out the less than clear directions, that the company says they hope to improve in the future. That said, the end results are showy and fun for dramatic play. This is the smaller kit and there are several still smaller ones (which might be a good way to try it out) as well as one big wow of a kit called Extreme City Lights ($99 ). Once built these will be fun to use for dramatic play with Lego and Playmobil settings. Kids can also use the components to create their own structures with the multiple building pieces. 8 & up.

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

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2012 Award
Cell Lock-Up
(EB Brands $19.99 Score:)

We generally do not cover non-toys, but this is a clever device that locks up cell phones for a set amount of time. It is one way to get everyone at the dinner table to talk to each other instead of their screens or to play a game together or read a book out loud after dinner where everyone is focused. Maybe not a toy, but one that allows a game to be played in real time with real people who are not plugged in or just half there. This is not widely available, but you can find it online.

Age: Adult. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Barbie: I Can Be President
(Mattel $13.60 Score:)

Choose a Caucasian, African, Asian or Hispanic American doll. Each of these Barbie for President dolls comes dressed in a smart suit that is pink, of course. Her jacket has red, white and blue trim and she is wearing pearls, earrings and a campaign button.

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

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2012 Award
Flexi Puzzle
(Brainwright $7.99 Score:)

Put this little twist and turn puzzle in a pocket along with the small challenge book. Twelve colorful blocks are attached with elastic and can be shaped into a variety of forms. Matching the pages of the challenge booklet starts off simply, but gradually gets tougher and tougher. There are 80 challenges and four levels of difficulty. This is a toy that helps develop visual skills, dexterity and spatial relationships.

A good stocking stuffer, secret Santa, or one night of Chanukah gift. Solo play for 8 & up.

 

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

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2012 Award
Cinderella Swirling Lights
(Mattel $29.99 Score:)

Push the blue gem on Cinderella's necklace and her dress lights up as fairy dust sounds tinkle. In her blue ball gown Cinderella is ready to go to the ball and her glass slippers are ready for dancing! Marked for 3 and up, but we think it will be enjoyed more by slightly older girls.

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

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