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Product Type: Toys

 


2014 Award
Bananagrams Go Wild
(Bananagrams $14.99 Score:)

Like other Bananagrams word games, this is played with letter tiles but without a scrabble type board. Each player takes the correct number (depending on the number of players) and tries to be the first to use them horizontally and vertically. The game comes with six wild tiles that can be used for any letter. Our testers thought this newest game was going to take forever until they got going. As soon as one player uses up all of her tiles she must draw from the slush pile and so must everyone else. The game ends when there are fewer tiles than the number of people playing. Our testers liked this one and agreed that it was a game for older players. The package says 7 & up, but they thought this was more like a good choice for 9 & up.

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

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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
Kaloo Colors Activity Owl
(Janod $19.99 Score:)

A soft fabric ball is one of those pieces of basic gear for a sitting up and crawling baby. This owl faced one has ribbons and grab-able wings,feet, and ears. Some of those parts have crinkle and squeak sounds, all have interesting patterns and textures for sensory feedback. The whole ball has a quiet but pleasing jingle sound when you shake or roll it back and forth. 6 months and up.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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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 THE LEGO MOVIE Benny's Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP
(Lego Systems, Inc. $99.99 Score:)

Benny has been begging to build a spaceship throughout the movie--and finally he's given permission. This is that super spaceship with lots of moving parts including the cockpit cover and some missiles to launch. It also comes with three other smaller space vehicles for the other characters to fly. This is a big build with 940 pieces that also includes Astro Kitty, Benny, Space Wyldstyle, Robo Emmet, and Robo Pilot. Younger builders can enjoy playing with it, but adults will have to do a good part of the building. Somehow a 7-year old tester received this (in error) and his dad reports that he loved it so much he slept with the box the first night it arrived. His dad plans to have his son help with a rebuild so that he can have a sense of accomplishment in the construction as well as in having a toy for dramatic play. Marked 9-12

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

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2014 Award
LEGO THE LEGO MOVIE Emmet's Construct-o-Mech
(Lego Systems, Inc. $59.99 Score:)

A super fun build of the main character, Emmet. What our builders loved about this set is that there are so many moving pieces including his legs, his cranes, his excavator like arm. And fans will be delighted that they also get the angry UniKitty.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO THE LEGO MOVIE MetalBeard's Duel
(Lego Systems, Inc. $34.99 Score:)

Straight from the hit movie, MetalBeard's Duel set allows kids to build a key character. In addition there is a Micro Manager (hence the duel aspect of the set). There are also three mini-figs. With 412 pieces this is a beginning build. Unlike a lot of "movie merchandise" there is some constructive building going on. Sorry we couldn't resist.

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

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