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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


2014 Award
eeBoo Patchwork Design Tiles
(eeBoo $19.99 Score:)

There seem to be so few open-ended toys left - so when one comes along we get very excited. Patchwork Design Tiles comes with 64 triangular pieces that have different "patchwork" patterns on them. Players can place them on the included grid to make any design that comes to them.   The inside of the box also comes with suggested patterns for kids who want to follow along.

 

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

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2014 Award
Stacking Veggie Game
(Hape $30 Score:)


Talk about healthy living. Here's a Janga-style stacking game played with colorfully painted wooden veggies. Once they are stacked the object is to pull the greatest number of veggies without making all the others tumble. A 55-piece set. The playing pieces can also be used for sorting, counting and other original games. Marked for 3 & up, but we think you need more dexterity and predicting skills than most 3's have. We think old fours and fives would find it fun, if tricky.

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

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2014 Award
Keva Colors , 120 Piece Set
(Mindware $39.99 Score:)

Non-stop open-ended building just got brighter with these brightly colored wooden planks made of precision cut pine. Kids can use the color guide to see multiple ways to stack these basic planks into horizontal as well as vertical constructions. Or, they can use their own imagination to build soaring towers and unique structures. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Awards
Felt Crown Set, Ballet
(Mudpuppy Press $19.99 Score:)

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 pink, lavender, purple, gold and white, this is a nice accessory for a ballet themed birthday or other special occasions. It will be enjoyed for other games of pretend by dancing princesses. The company makes several other crowns including a less gender specific birthday crown for boys and girls and a wonderful Pirate crown for dramatic play...yo ho ho!

SNAP:  More than a prop for pretend, this is also a toy that can be useful for refining fine motor skills and giving children with physical challenges a sense of empowerment...they can design something to wear thanks to the velcro pieces that can be lifted and rearranged.

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

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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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