Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Construction Toys

 


2013 Award
Hearthsong Connectagons Glow-in-the-Dark Celestial
(Hearthsong $29.99 Score:)

ongKids use their creativity, eye-hand skills and problem solving to build a stabile construction with the 157-piece set of glow-in-the-dark connectogons. Put the pieces in sunny place all day and they will glow well into the night. There is no right or wrong way to build with this set of different sized disks that can be redone again and again with ease. Begin with the10-inch base with a glow-in-the-dark full moon. An open-ended construction set that also doubles as a pleasing night light. 5 & up

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
Playmobil PopStars Stage
(Playmobil $40 Score:)

Hook up an MP3-compatable player with the cable that comes with the setting and kids can play their favorite music through this mini setting. The set includes four figures, a stage with flashing lights, drums, guitars, microphones, built-in speakers and other goodies.

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

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2013 Award
Playmobil Large Furnished Hotel
(Playmobil $164 Score:)

A clever alternative to a traditional dollhouse, this large hotel has a grand lobby with check-in counter and a working elevator. There are two rooms upstairs, open the doors with key cards. The rooms include crib for baby, beds, chairs, side tables, phone, TV, and bathrooms with shower and toilet. Hungry? Go to the cafe where a waiter will provide you with all you need. Ready for a game? Try the playroom with lots of mini toys. The set includes, eight figures, luggage, food, dishes, and all the accessories you need for setting up a grand resort. 4 & up

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

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2013 Award
LEGO STAR WARS Corporate Alliance Tank Droid
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24.00 Score:)

With only 271 pieces this is not a huge build but a very satisfying set because of the interesting and unusual treads that the droid tank moves on.  Our 6 year old tester really loved that aspect of this build.  The entire Star Wars series from LEGO has really challenged their designers to come up with new and what we find to be very exciting new builds.  Here's our builder's model:

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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
LEGO STAR WARS Battle of Hoth
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)

Our testers enjoyed this set a great deal.  The more detail in these sets the better the reviews they receive from our Star Wars fans.  According to our 9 year old tester: "The biggest and 'coolest' part of this Lego set was the snowspeeder (aircraft). He really liked that the hatch covers opened up to reveal detailed control panels underneath. Other 'cool' realistic details: the wings have articulated and poseable flaps; there is a working tow hook cable that can be let out or wound up; and the clear canopy opensup so that minifigure Luke can be placed inside the cockpit.

Our  six year old tester also enjoyed the build and loved that there was a Luke Skywalker minifigure. Both our six year old and 9 year old separately noted that Luke's outfit was more detailed with a snowspeeder suit and helmet.

We were delighted to hear that once the 9 year old finished building, the set became key to a reenactments of the Batttle of Hoth (with variations) for the next two weeks.

The set also got a thumbs up for the "new and improved brick separator (with axel-pusher)! Such an invaluable little tool greatly aids in the release of stuck Lego pieces."

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

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2013 Award
Laser Pegs MPS Aircraft
(Laser Pegs $14.99 Score:)

Here's a good way to try Laser Pegs, construction sets that light up. MPS Aircraft builds four models and comes with 2 laser pegs, 37 parts, a poser base and a small but clear manual. Our tester really liked the ease of the build and the dramatic color when the models were completed. An affordable birthday gift or stocking stuffer that will not be consumed or run out of interest before noon. 5 & up.

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

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2013 Award
Laser Pegs Sports Car
(Laser Pegs $24.99 Score:)

Builders can make 8 different vehicles that light-up. The Sports Car has 83 construction parts, 4 tire pegs, 2 laser pegs and 1 power block. It requires 3 AAA batteries. Our tester gave the directions a thumbs up for clarity and had a lot of fun with variety of vehicles he could build. 5 & up.

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

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2013 Award
Playmobil City Action Cargo & Passenger Aircraft & Tower
(Playmobil $109 Score:)

Wait till they see this enormous jetliner and control tower! Once assembled this becomes a setting for dramatic play. The cargo jetliner has a lift-up nose allowing kids to see the controls and the pilot and copilot. It has a removable roof to put mini-figures in the five seats. No detail left to chance, the cabin has an on-board toilet! You may want to add extra characters since it comes with just five mini-figures. Our builder had some trouble fitting the windows into place and getting one of the doors to stay put and he was way over the 4-10 age on the box. This is not a set younger kids of 4-7 can build on their own. It is a parent child project that takes time and patience. But by all means, involve your beginner in the process of finding the pieces and even snapping some of them in place. Young chidren like to feel they are helping with the building, so announce things for them to give you as you work on the big pieces. It is a fine way to show them how working step by step and following directions works to create a finished end product to enjoy. Older Playmobil builders with have no trouble getting this setting ready for playing and displaying. 134 pieces 4-10

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
LEGO City Cargo Terminal
(Lego Systems, Inc. $99 Score:)

The first step to becoming a computer programmer begins with learning about sequence. For  builders this is a great place to start as a stepping stone to more advanced robotic sets offered by LEGO (see Mindstorms EV3).  Our testers found this giant size jet and control tower "totally awesome!" The handsome cargo plane has wheels that pivot allowing it to turn with ease on the ground. It has a big cargo door where the conveyer belt hooks up and the back end hinges open for alternate access. Testers loved the working conveyer belt they could turn to put cargo in or out of the plane. They also liked the working fork lift that is loaded with gold bars! Like all Lego sets, this is designed with an eye for details and clever accessories: there is a fuel truck, a complete cast of five mini-characters; a pilot, controllor and three workers. The control tower features a rotating radar dish, antenna and space for a mini-figure. 658 pieces. For the younger child this will be a parent-child project in the building stage. Once it is put together however, the set becomes a mini-setting for pretend play. 6-12

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
Lego City Cargo Heliplane
(Lego Systems, Inc. $50 Score:)

This 393-piece set is loaded with wonderful working parts: it has a working cargo lift for moving logs, a cargo bay door at the back that opens for loading and the wheels that turn for easy ground navigation. Best of all, the way the adjustable propellers turn is awesome! Kit includes three mini-figures, a pilot and two lumberjacks, a quad bike and other accessories. Our tester also found the building directions clear and appreciated the way the packages of parts helped to keep him organized. Building this kind of model helps develop a sense working in an orderly step-by-step way, following directions, using fine motor skills, as well as patience for projects that are not instantaneous. Though some models are strictly for display, this is one that lends itself to imaginative dramatic play. 5-12

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

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