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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 

 
2014 Awards
Build a Bug Sorter
(Hape $19.99 Score:)


There are four bugs on this wooden board and eight puzzle pieces. The trick here is for tots to begin to see fine differences. Here the playing pieces fit over pegs only each bug has a different number of pegs. So this is a puzzle that calls for looking at finer details and seeing the difference between one, two, three and four pegs. 2 & up

SNAP: matching up the puzzle pieces to the on, two, three and four pegs calls for looking at details. Before you play, put some of the puzzle pieces away. Start with just one set and talk about where the pieces will fit. Add another set and put them on the post. Next mix up the pieces for two posts and work on sorting them. By going slowly, you are giving strategies for how to proceed with still more pieces.

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

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2014 Award
Baby Animals Block Puzzle
(Mudpuppy Press $14.99 Score:)

Using Clare Beaton's illustrations from Who Are You, Baby Kangaroo? Each of the six illustrations features an adult animal with babies. Turning the faces of the nine blocks, players must find the right side of each block to assemble the six separate images. A classic puzzle form with new images that challenge visual perception and patience.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY Arctic Outpost
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)


Build the Arctic Outpost that is part truck/part lab on skis that can drive into rugged conditions. It comes with plenty of tools that cut through ice and investigate findings in the mobile lab. It comes with three mini-figures, and all the accessories needed for outdoors and inside the lab. This is one of the LEGO modular sets that breaks the big sections into sub-sections for easier building. It is also smaller than the giant Arctic Base, but a satisfying add-on or place to start in this Arctic series.

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
LEGO CITY Arctic Helicrane
(Lego Systems, Inc. $39.99 Score:)

Smaller than the Arctic Base Camp, this 262-piece build has many of the fun pieces in the bigger set. The helicopter is equipped with a mighty crane for heavy lifting ans a husky sled with four dogs, a camera, radar screen, and ice block with crystal element. Comes with minifigures and assorted accessories for Arctic exploration. This is one of the modular builds that divides the models into sub-models for easy starts. A good choice for 6-12.

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
LEGO CITY Arctic Base
(Lego Systems, Inc. $89.99 Score:)

Arctic exploration has taken on a hi-tech turn with a team of scientists who have set out to explore the secrets of the ice. Sure, they have a dog sled, but they also have a helicopter, a winch, and net to bring ice back to the base. They have a snow-scooter and a secure base camp with a lab that has walls that open and a roof that holds radar devices and solar panels. There is a massive tractor-exploration vehicle with serious drill and lights. Hi-tech or not...the seven explorers had better be on the look-out for a polar bear that is curious about this Arctic Base camp. Plenty of building in the 735-piece set that is likely to become a great setting for pretend play. 6-12

 

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 Awards
Felt Crown Set, Pirate
(Mudpuppy Press $19.99 Score:)

 Yo, Ho! Ho! Get ready mates! Cleverly designed for versatility, this premade felt crown with a Velcro closing to adjust head sizes, comes with an assortment of stick-on badges that can be added to the frame of the crown. Done in black, red, teal, gold and white, this is a fun accessory for a pirate birthday or other special occasions. Great for games of pretend. The company makes several other crowns including a less gender specific birthday crown for boys and girls and a wonderful ballet crown for dramatic play.

 

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY Auto Transporter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

While we never like driving next to one of these big trucks on the highway, this is a fun build! The 350-piece set includes making the transporter truck itself, two vehicles and two mini-figures. And as with the real deal, you can off load the cars by lowering the ramps on the transporter. So, this is a great project that ends up being fun for dramatic play. 5-12.  

 

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
LEGO City Airport Fire Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

Call the fire truck to the rescue! A nice 326-piece build for beginner builders, this jaunty red fire truck comes with two firefighters, a retractable hose and fake water for putting out the pretend "engine fire." 5-12 years.

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 CITY Train Station
(Lego Systems, Inc. $64.99 Score:)

For those who own the new Lego City High Speed Train, here's a related build. Extend the pretend setting by adding the Train Station that includes a snack bar (hot dogs!), a LEGO shop (so you can buy mini sets), a ticket machine, a map, a clock, signs, and an overhang for the train to pass under. Also comes with a Taxi and assorted figured including a conductor. There are 5 minifigures in all and the main entrance has stairs, see-thru door that open, and ATM and tons of other small accessories. 5-12 years.

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
LEGO CITY High-speed Passenger Train
(Lego Systems, Inc. $149.99 Score:)

Our tester was very excited to see the reintroduction of a train set to LEGO. Modeled on a European high-speed train with three train cars, track and a remote control device that has 7 speeds. The set includes a IR-Receiver, a Motor and a Battery Box. The high speed train has side doors that open as well as the front for loading engineer and passengers. Compatible with the new Train Station set.
6-12 years.

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

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