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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Construction Toys

 

 
2014 Awards
Tinkertoy 30 Model Super Set
(KNEX $49.99 Score:)

With 200 colorful pieces, this classic building toy is packaged this season with bendable pieces as well as some that snap and stay together. Tinkertoys constructions tend to be more abstract and bare boned. Yet they are also more mechanical challenging kids to build their own moving parts to make a windmill that turns, a truck that rolls and other imaginative devices. Though it is marked for 3 & up and preschoolers will poke the rods and wheels together, to use the real possibilities of this construction toy, we think it’s a better choice for early school years builders.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Roaring Power
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

Newest in the clever 3-in-1 builds the 374-piece set gives kids instructions for a roaring race-car, a T-Rex, and a sea plane. A mid-size kit that shows kids they can use the same pieces for new constructions.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO STAR WARS V-Wing Starfighter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24.99 Score:)

STAR WARS fans will love building this small red and grey spaceship. With 201 pieces this is a good place to start if you have a beginning LEGO/STAR WARS fan. Set comes with a V-Wing Pilot and an Astromech Droid. Also new this year and in the same level of building experiences: the yellow and grey Jedi Interceptor ($24.99 with 223 pieces and comes with Anakin Skywalker and R2-D2) and the blue/grey Vulture Droid ($24.99 with 205 pieces and comes with Buzz Droid, Pilot Battle Droid and Neimoidian Warrior). All marked 7-12. All come with new spring-loaded shooters which need some supervision.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CREATOR Turbo Quad
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24.99 Score:)

The 3-in-1 series is always a hit with our testers who love the ability to take their models apart and try their hand at another two builds. This one has instructions for the Turbo Quad, a Monster Truck or a Buggy. With 186 pieces, this is a beginning/ intermediate build for kids 7-12. Also new in this line this year, the Twinblade Adventure (models also include making a biplane or helicopter). For even smaller builds, look at Red Thunder (66 pieces) and Power Digger (64 pieces) - ideal for stocking stuffers.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY Monster Truck and Race Car
(Lego Systems, Inc. $9.99 Score:)

Both of these small builds are a great place to start with LEGO builds. The truck comes with 78 pieces, the race car with 100 pieces. Quite affordable for birthday party presents—especially when the parties come in rapid succession! 5-12

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. 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 Award
LEGO CITY Arctic Outpost
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)


Build the Arctic Outpost that is part truck/part lab on skis that can drive into rugged conditions. It comes with plenty of tools that cut through ice and investigate findings in the mobile lab. It comes with three mini-figures, and all the accessories needed for outdoors and inside the lab. This is one of the LEGO modular sets that breaks the big sections into sub-sections for easier building. It is also smaller than the giant Arctic Base, but a satisfying add-on or place to start in this Arctic series.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY Arctic Helicrane
(Lego Systems, Inc. $39.99 Score:)

Smaller than the Arctic Base Camp, this 262-piece build has many of the fun pieces in the bigger set. The helicopter is equipped with a mighty crane for heavy lifting ans a husky sled with four dogs, a camera, radar screen, and ice block with crystal element. Comes with minifigures and assorted accessories for Arctic exploration. This is one of the modular builds that divides the models into sub-models for easy starts. A good choice for 6-12.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY Arctic Base
(Lego Systems, Inc. $89.99 Score:)

Arctic exploration has taken on a hi-tech turn with a team of scientists who have set out to explore the secrets of the ice. Sure, they have a dog sled, but they also have a helicopter, a winch, and net to bring ice back to the base. They have a snow-scooter and a secure base camp with a lab that has walls that open and a roof that holds radar devices and solar panels. There is a massive tractor-exploration vehicle with serious drill and lights. Hi-tech or not...the seven explorers had better be on the look-out for a polar bear that is curious about this Arctic Base camp. Plenty of building in the 735-piece set that is likely to become a great setting for pretend play. 6-12

 

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY Auto Transporter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

While we never like driving next to one of these big trucks on the highway, this is a fun build! The 350-piece set includes making the transporter truck itself, two vehicles and two mini-figures. And as with the real deal, you can off load the cars by lowering the ramps on the transporter. So, this is a great project that ends up being fun for dramatic play. 5-12.  

 

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

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