Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Review Year: 2011

 


2011 Award
Sketch it!
(Blue Orange Games $19.99 Score:)

How well do you think you can draw a clue for sun glasses? How about barbed wire? In this fast paced game each player gets a secret card with six words on it. One player rolls the die and all the players must draw a picture of the object labeled with that number. Now the pictures are exchanged and players try to name the objects other players have drawn. If the answer is correct both the artist and the "namer" get points. You need 3-6 players for this game. So, would you draw glasses with dark lenses or a sun and a pair of glasses? 10 & up.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Scrabble Alphabet Scoop
(Hasbro $19.99 Score:)

Give each player an orange playing scoop and a word card. Each player announces the word on their card that they will try to match with the letter chips. Stir up the letters in the pot and then all the players use their scoops to pull the letters out to match one of the words they have chosen on their word cards. But watch out! If you scoop up a fly in the soup pot you have to put all the chips back, including the ones you already matched up in your chosen word. Designed for beginning readers as well as older kids, this can be played by kids at different reading levels. Caution: this fly element just may be too nasty to deal with--sort of like falling backwards in Chutes and Ladders. For very younger players take the fly out and just play the matching game. Marked for 6 & up. Well, maybe. But it might be a bit hard for may 6 year old kids who do not have a sight vocabulary and cannot yet read the word cards. We'd say maybe more like 7-8 or kids who read at a 2nd grade level. 6 & up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Pixy Cubes
(Blue Orange Games $15.99 Score:)

Although there are several challenging games that can be played with the colorful plastic cubes in this set, perhaps the best use of Pixy Cubes is for solo play. The 16 dice-size cubes come with patterns that can be used for matching the geometric designs or creating your own, in much the same way as parquetry blocks. While classic wooden parquetry blocks are larger and easier to manipulate, Pixy Cubes are better suited for older kids with finer eye-hand skills. Packaged in a neat metal container, this involves visual perception skills and problem solving. The set comes with a number of games that can be played with others.  However, we suggest that before kids try the competitive game play, all players should have time to work with the patterns and cubes on their own and /or in a cooperative puzzle solving way. The games can be played with 1-4 players. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
eeBoo Sidewalk Games
(eeBoo $8.50 Score:)

If you want to introduce another generation to sidewalk games you probably played as a kid, this is a good choice. Inside a small box are four pieces of thick sidewalk chalk, a gold token and a small booklet with rules and pictures of how to draw and play a variety of hopscotch games. Once learned, these active games build social skills as well as physical coordination. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011.

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2011 Awards
Labyrinth, A Race for Treasures in a Moving Maze
(Ravensburger $28 Score:)

You may have played this game as a kid. This is the 25th Anniversary Edition of a challenging game that is never the same twice. The playing board keeps changing so there are always new mazes to travel. This anniversary edition is packaged in a tin box for safe-keeping and includes 12 extra maze cards with encrypted messages. You move your character through the maze seeking treasures hidden in the sliding tiles of the labyrinth. After 25 years and millions of players, this qualifies as a classic for 10's & up.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Hyper Games Balance Bender
(Wild Planet Toys $11.99 Score:)

Hyper Games has launched a new line of electronic active games. See our Gold Seal review of Speed Slider. Balance Bender, in contrast, is decidedly low-tech and...fun!  The game comes with 10 plastic pods that are numbered. There are several different games that are suggested - all require kids to balance on the pods while they either pick up other pods or move along the pods.  For example, in one game-- you build your course with the pods, you step on the pods and pick up the pods behind you--this requires a great deal of balancing!!  In another game, you can play in teams and pass the pods along. The team that makes it to the finish line wins. It's easier to play when you have child-sized feet we discovered (and you wear sneakers).

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.  We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
LEGO Space Shuttle
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

Marking the end of an era, Lego has introduced a new Space Shuttle. With 231 pieces, this is a fun build for intermediate builders. Comes wtih an astronaut and a space satellite to launch into orbit.  Sad to think that the next generation will probably ask, "What's a space shuttle?"

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Crayola Glow Explosion Gear
(Crayola $9.99 Score:)

You have probably seen these glow sticks at parties, but here's a new twist. These come with plastic connectors with sprockets that allow you to construct some amazing structures that kids can wear or display. These would be fun for a pajama party to keep kids busy and eager to turn off the lights--so they can wear their glow in the dark creations. The set comes with three colors, 40 glow sticks, and 18 connectors. Of course, the glow part fades after a few hours, so this is basically a disposable novelty item. But, so are birthday celebrations and family events. This buys you a little quiet time for busy hands and ooos and ahhhs.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
eeBoo Metallic Color Pencils and Sketchbook
(eeBoo $7.99 Score:)

Getting kids to pick up a pencil can be no fun, especially when kids find writing letters challenging. The very kids who need to practice the most are often the most reluctant. Enter a set of six metallic colored pencils ($7.99) that are slightly fatter but shaped with three sides, to make the gripping all the easier. Choose a robot graphic box or one with birds. Best of all there's a gold, silver, aqua, green, bronze and pinkish pencil for making unusual drawings and signs. Sure to please even the most reluctant beginning writers. There are also larger sets of metallic pencils with 24 pencils in a metal container($14.95. ) For inspiration, bring home matching spiral covered sketch books ($6) with Golden Bird or Silver Robot. The paper is smooth and heavy enough for color pencils and even watercolors. 5 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.  We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Creativity for Kids Quick Knit Loom
(Creativity for Kids $19.99 Score:)

Remember those small wooden looms that you could make a really, really long knitted tube from? I never quite got the hang of them or really understood what to do with the tube when I was done. Well, this kit has both a plastic version of the old school size as well as a really big loom!  With the big loom you can make a hat, a tube dress for your doll, or maybe even a small purse. The set comes with three skeins of colorful yarn (pink, red and purple), embroidery thread, pony beads, a knitting hook, a yarn needle, a thread needle, needle threader, a tassle maker and ideas for projects.  A nice starter kit for needlework. Althought I think these kits work best if someone is around who remembers how to do these crafts!

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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