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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


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 Say the Word Game
(Peaceable Kingdom $24.99 Score:)


Fun for the whole family, Say the Word is a word game that involves silly story telling and recall. An appointed Story Master picks a character card and deals out three cards and a cue card to each of the other players. Now players take turns adding a word to the story. As words are incorporated into the story the Story Master writes them down on the erasable storyboard. Once 10-12 words are used, the next player does not draw a new card, but begins to retell the story, recalling and incorporating the words that are on the storyboard. Here's where the cooperative but often silly play comes in: if a player can not recall a word you can give up your cue card and the Story Master must try to act it out for you. If you still can't remember another person can give you his cue card and act out the word. The round ends when there are no more cue cards. Great for a small group of mixed ages that involves memory, story telling, and charades. Comes with 200 word cards, cue cards, story board and marker and is best for three to six players. Age 10 & up.

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

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2014 Award
Peaceable Kingdom Noodle Speedoodle
(Peaceable Kingdom $24.99 Score:)

Players take turns at grabbing one of the squiggly looking plastic noodles and a word card. Player must incorporate the noodle into a doodle drawing that represents the word chosen. If anyone can guess what you have drawn, you get to keep the noodle. At the end of the game the person or team with the most noodles wins. There are several variations of play with a spinner deciding how you play. A fun party game for 3-6 players ages 8 and up.

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

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2013 Award
Back 2 Back
(Smart Games $14.99 Score:)

Our testers loved the challenge of this grid puzzle where you are working both sides of the vertical board. You have to completely fill both sides of the board with the 11 colored pieces. There are 60 challenges included. Each of the pieces have different configurations which makes it all that more difficult. The game is small and compact enough to take along as a "real life" game.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Play Like a Pro Basketball Hoop
(Little Tikes $72.99 Score:)

Basic gear for active play! This adjustable hoop (from 4 to 6feet) makes this a great choice for preschoolers and early school aged kids interested in learning how to shoot some hoops!  Light enough to make this a choice for inside or outside play.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Krazy Kars Max Traxxx Tracer Racers
(Skullduggery $29.99 Score:)

Awesome. If you're looking for a car track set, look no further. First, the set comes with two cars that have LED lights on the bottom (you can change the settings to adjust the type of pattern the car will leave on the track). Yes, the cars leave a trace of LIGHT. Did we mention that the tracks will light up in the dark from the LED lights?  Our testers loved  both leaving LED on all the way--this lit up the entire inside of the track or putting the LED lights on pulse...which left a broken pattern on the track. Either way - this is a hit. The tracks go together well and come with suction cups so that you can make two ramps and race the cars.  The company tells us that there is a patent pending, we just know this is sooo much fun.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Little Bits Deluxe 18 Bit Set
(littleBits $199.99 Score:)

Just as the name says, this is the biggest, deluxe version of a clever kit that allows kids to snap together a spectacular array of library of electronic modules. This kit has 18 color coded modules that budding engineers can explore to make sound, light, buttons and sensors without having to use wires, solder or programming. There is an excellent project book with instructions for 15 projects and many, many more projects on the littleBits website. Testers were amused with making a Tickle Machine, Prank Handshake, Auto Greeter, Truck Crane, among others. A science toy with a sense of humor. THere are smaller less pricey sets. The Base Kit $99 is a good introductory kit with 10 bits, a project book and a button, dimmer and buzzer to make a doorbell for your room. The Premium Kit $149 and has 14 bits and a good number of accessories to spark your child's creative circuits. Additonal base projects are are available online. Another good choice for STEM learning.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Thames & Kosmos Gyrobot
(Thames & Kosmos $50.49 Score:)

Did you know that there is a gyroscope in your smart phoe, your tablet, the video controllers, airplanes, space telescopes...you name it. But how about building one? Does that sound like a challenge? In fact, following the directions in this amazing new set, kids can explore the world of physics as they build 7-motorized models that give them hands-on playful experiences as they learn about the jobs gyroscopes do in our world. In an age when science and math are so vital, this is one of those smart toys that is not instantly consumed, but rather invites repeated exploration. The well-written 24-pg manual gives them 7 experiments: the gyroscope goes into a robot, gyrocompass, flight simulator, balance game, gyro horizon, personal transporter, and a tightrope walker.  A good choice for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning.

 

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
K'nex Education - Exploring Wind & Water Energy
(K'nex $69.99 Score:)

Designed originally for the classroom, this is one of a new series of construction toys with a scientific edge that will entertain as well as enhance their understanding of renewable energy. In an age when science and math are so vital, this is one of those smart toys that is not instantly consumed, but rather invites repeated exploration. There are six projects in the 288-piece kit that comes in a storage tub. Our tester started with a windmill that connects and powers a shuttle ride. They can also build a Water Lift and a Hydroelectric Generator, among other projects. A great way to get kids engaged with science, math, and technology. Once they have some of the basics, they may want to invent some energy inventions of their own. Also see, K'nex Investigating Solar Energy. Ages 9 & up. Both good choices for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
K'nex Education - Investigating Solar Energy
(K'nex $69.99 Score:)

Talk about going green, this is a construction set that runs of solar energy. Kids can make six different models with the 128 piece Knex set comes in a good size tub for easy storage. It is designed to give them a hands-on experience of building a working machine from scratch. In an age when science and math are so vital, this is one of those smart toys that will both entertains and educate without turning kids off. It's challenging but rewarding. Our tester was especially taken with the "crank man" that she built and put on a sunny windowsill. Designed originally for the classroom, this is one of a new series of construction toys with a scientific edge that will entertain as well as enhance their understanding of renewable energy. This amazing animated construction set comes with detailed instructions and is sure to be a hit for kids. 9 & up. Also see, K'nex Exploring Wind & Water Energy. Both good choices for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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