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Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Review Year: 2013

 


2013 Award
Gamewright Iota
(Gamewright $8.95 Score:)

Our testers liked the design of the teeny-weeny tin loaded with 66 teeny-weeny cards that are played by creating a lines of matching colors, numbers, or shapes. Sounds simple, but you are juggling multiple attributes each time. As the grid gets more complex, so do the opportunities to score. It's small enough to take along, though you need a big space to play as the grid expands. Along with the fun, this is a game that involves, spatial relations, visual discrimination, strategy skills and simple addition or multiplication as the value of lines build with every play. 8 & up.

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

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2013 Award
Hasbro Bop It Tetris
(Hasbro $26.99 Score:)

For those who love Bop It and Tetris -- this is a dream come true. Unlike the Tetris game you may play on a screen, this puts Tetris in a new and bigger format. You have to slide, spin or slam to get the shapes to fall where you want them to. You can play solo or play it by passing it around with friends. 3 "AA" batteries required. 8 & up.

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

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2013 Award
Loop De Doo Bracelet Kit
(Loopdedoo $16.99 Score:)

Designed to be used with the Loop De Doo Spinning Loom, (not included) this kit includes the makings for six bracelets. It has 18 precut threads, 6 silvery bracelet chains that get wrapped with threads. They are adjustable and have an easy on/off clasp. This is just one of three new kits that extend the use of the original loom. Our tester who gave the original loom high grades loved this and the other new kits that will extend the life of the original spinning loom. They say 8 & up. We'd say 8-9 will need adult help in getting it started. That said, this is a winner.

 

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

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2013 Award
Hedbanz Act Up
(Spin Master $19.99 Score:)

We like this new take on the original Hedbanz.  This one is played more like charades. Players put cards on their head bands without knowing what the card says. The object is for the player to guess what that card says from the actions of the other players. But in this game NO TALKING and NO PROPS are allowed! Unlike the original Hedbanz game, which was played like 20 Questions, this Act UP version is a whole lot trickier, but good fun. Our testing family (with preteens and young adults) enjoyed the game a great deal. Marked for kids 8 & up - we still think the original Hedbanz where you can speak will be less frustrating for younger players.

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

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2013 Awards
Creativity for Kids Grow a Hedgehog
(Creativity for Kids $12 Score:)

Paint the plastic hedgehog planter, paste on the wiggly eyes and bow. Now, you are ready to grow a hedgehog! Add and fill the planter tray with the supplied potting mix. Plant the seeds and keep them moist with the spray bottle until the wheatgrass seeds sprout in 3-5 days. A little art, a little science, and a lot of learning fun. Be forewarned: the box shows the hedgehog's face blushed with yellow, but there is no yellow in the kit. It comes with white, tan and black paint. Perhaps you can use a yellow marker to add this detail. 5 & up.

SNAP: Keep a photo journal of the process with your child in the pictures. Turn them into a small book that tells about each stage. This kind of activity builds reading and pre-reading skills and puts the child in the center of the action.

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
Calico Critters Lakeside Lodge
(International Playthings $60 Score:)

A small summer house of logs with an orange roof; perfect for vacation living. Instead of beds there are two hammocks and a loft with ladder. It has a raised entry and a terrace with a hot tub, plus a clever little upstairs balcony--just right for critters to use for viewing the great outdoors. In fact, this small house might be just the right scale as a dollhouse to keep at a summer cottage. Although it is shown with furniture and critters on the box, they are not included, but sold separately. The Lodge can also be combined with the new Treehouse, making a miniature setting of grand proportions.

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
Calico Critters Ice Cream Truck
(International Playthings $35 Score:)

Get ready for soft ice cream and scoops of the regular kind, too. We don't see any good humor pops or fudgicals, but maybe they don't know about them at Cloverleaf Corners. Our brother/sister testers loved the working soft ice cream machine. They spent many happy hours puttiing the stickers on and playing to sell yummy treats once they got the shop all set up. Like other settings in this line the critters are not included, although they are shown on the packaging. 3 & up.

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 Awards
Calico Critters Border Collie Family
(International Playthings $22.99 Score:)

Mama, Papa, brother and sister Border Coolies are done up with faces in crisp black and white markings. Also new this season, an Outback Koala Family. Mama is carrying the newest little one in a soft fabric backpack while their toddler size child is able to walk along with Papa. These are charming posable figures to use as props for the Calico Critter settings or for pretend play with blocks and other mini-settings.

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
Quartex
(CSE Games $24.99 Score:)

A strategy game that calls for visual discrimination. You play your tile by completing a four-corner shape to earn a point and collect a colored chip that matches the shape you completed. No two games are alike. This is a good multi-generational game that is easy to learn and fun to play. For 2-5 players, 10 and up.

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

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2013 Award
LEGO Galaxy Squad Warp Stinger
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

We thought this was one of the most unusual LEGO builds we've ever seen. Comes with 310 pieces, including three minifigures. When built it's over 8" high and 10" wide. It was less flexible than we imagined (we thought a wasp would have a flying position.) Our testers agreed that the colors were pretty amazing. It comes with one ball that shoots out of the bottom of the tail (they thought it should come with more).  The set includes many really small pieces that require greater fine motor skills as well as strength to make happen.

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

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