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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


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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2014 Award
Creativity for Kids Rhinestone Headbands
(Creativity for Kids $20 Score:)

Ten flocked headbands come with stick-on strips of glittery rhinestones as well as sheer ribbons to tie on. A fun kit for solo use...make a wardrobe of headbands to go with all of her outfits or use this for a sleep over craft that the girls can share. To avoid bad feelings over color choices have them draw slips with color names. You may want to add ribbons or cut these in half since there are only five ribbons and ten headbands. This craft calls for some dexterity, but basically it is an easy to do and satisfying craft with wearable end products. 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 Rubber Band Snap Wraps
(Creativity for Kids $17.99 Score:)

A terrific craft kit that can be enjoyed at a party, overnight, playdate or solo.
It comes with five brightly colored silicone snap wrap bracelets and more than 300 thick and thin rubber bands in vivid colors for making patterns that make each a unique creation. The kit also includes 10 metallic charms (peace signs, flowers, keys, hearts, and stars) with easy to use jump rings that attach to the colorful bracelets. Kids can use the ideas in the instructions or design their own. A satisfying craft kit with end products kids will like to wear.

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

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2014 Award
Peaceable Kingdom Sunny Day Pond
(Peaceable Kingdom $15.99 Score:)

A ducky cooperative game that develops color matching, puzzle building, and fine motor skills. The big playing board has the images of three different four-piece puzzles. Players use the spinner on their turn that tells them what color puzzle piece they can take and match on the playing board. If you spin a rain-drop you must put one under the cloud. The object is for everyone to cooperatively finish the puzzles before there are no rain-drops left. So you are all playing against the game and the rain. Good fun, as well as helping beginners use their fine motor skill by learning how to rotate jigsaw puzzle pieces and fit them together. 3 & up.


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

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2014 Awards
Clifford the Big Red Dog Food Science Kit
(The Young Scientists Club $19.99 Score:)

One of the award winning Young Scientist Club kits designed for preschoolers. These are age appropriate experiments for parent & child projects. An interesting way to introduce preschoolers to some fundamental science experiences. Most of the ingredients needed have to come from your refrigerator or pantry. The kit contains a paper booklet with recipes for each experiment and some minimal plastic pieces: a funnel, tray, test tubes, two so-called cups, a lab tray, pipette, spoon, clothespin, special papers, and sticks for rock candy making. Be forewarned, the images and text may be a bit confusing. For example, the recipe for making ice cream says to use a "measuring cup" and the illustration further confounds the confusion by showing a hand with a good size cup in it, but do not use your own measuring cup. You are supposed to use the thimble-size measuring cup in the kit or there is no way the ingredients will fit in the plastic bags they provide. An unfortunate choice of words or materials. That said, the ideas here are going to be appealing to kids and promote the world of STEM right from the start. 3-6

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

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2014 Award
Magic School Bus Engineering Kit
(Young Scientists Club $39.99 Score:)

Our 7 & 9-year old testers had good fun exploring Ms Frizzles wonderful world of engineering. Their mom wrote the kit was "high on educational value, high on adult participation." There are experiments that involve designing a car, constructing a bridge, building a solar oven, a submarine, and an electric game and many other activities. Our testers liked the balloon jet experiment best. An active way to introduce them to the world of chemical, electrical, mechanical and civil engineering. The bus-shaped kit comes with 33 easy-to-understand and follow experiment cards, a notebook for recording experiments, and is chock full of science components: a solar panel, motor, buzzer, electric wires, and lots more. Another good choice for playful and engaging STEM learning. Ages: 5 and up.

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

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2014 Awards
Tobo Toy Track Set
(Tobo Toys $50 Score:)


Our tester liked this versatile and unusual new track that comes with only one small wooden car, but will be used with other vehicles and wooden train track set-ups. The twelve wooden pieces have multiple interlocking tabs in several shapes that are imprinted with numerals to match up. There are a variety of ways to make these connections, so in spite of the numerals, it is a pretty open-ended track that is compatible with Hot Wheels, Thomas & Friends, Brio and other car and train tracks. A fun accessory for problem solving, matching numerals, fine motor skills, creative thinking, and giving old track toys a new possibilities. 3 & up.

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

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2014 Awards
Creativity for Kids My First Fun Felt Masks
(Creativity for Kids $14.99 Score:)

Designed for young crafters, this kit comes with six colorful foam-backed felt masks that are already to wear with adjustable elastic bands and tons of felt stickers, self-adhesive rhinestones, curly yarn that is silky to the touch and instructions. Most kids will have their own ideas on how to make a one-of-a-kind mask. This is a mess-free kit with no glue needed. While this is a kit that can be enjoyed solo, it’s also grand for a birthday or Halloween party activity—the masks becomes a favor to take home; also a good choice to share on a playdate. 3 & up.

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

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2014 Award
Calico Critters Berry Grove Elementary School
(International Playthings $79.99 Score:)

Fans of Calico Critters will love this two-level school setting that comes with desks, chairs, a working clock, books and even an apple for the teacher. Our testers always love the minature world of these little animal families. In keeping with the new school theme, there is also a wonderful new School Bus that comes with a working handle that opens the door (very neat). Critters can also be accessed through the opening on the top of the bus. New families for 2014 include: Beavers, Chipmunks and Polar Bears. The "family" can also get about in the new very spiffy Cherry Cruiser. One note: The school and bus do not come with any Calico Critters even though the box shows them so occupied.

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

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2014 Award
Neat Oh ZipBin 1000 Brick Toy Box
(Neat-Oh $22.99 Score:)

No reason to step on another LEGO brick with these hand and lightweight storage containers from Neat Oh. We like that they zip open so your child can uses them as a play space. They zip up and come with a cover that also attaches well. The line includes a basic LEGO Toy Box as well as one for the LEGO FRIENDS line. If 1,000 Bricks doesn't feel big enough, they also have a box intended for 4,000 Bricks!

Without lids. We like the idea of the lid, but if you're looking for something open, they also have smaller 3000 Brick Bins in both the original LEGO colors and the LEGO FRIENDS lavender/purple combo. The Storage Baskets come with the added featured of printed motifs on the inside.

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

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