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

 


2013 Award
Lego Monster Trucks
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

Designed for younger builders, this 197-piece set comes with cards with step by step bold plans. Kids make three rough and tumble vehicles, and a judges stand. Once they build the vehicles there's plenty of dramatic play action. We think many 4's will have dexterity challenges and may need some help in getting started. These are marked for 4-7.

Note our more experienced 6 year old builder felt this set "wasn't like LEGOs"...because the instructions are simplified.  "It actually seems like they just omitted instructions. All that is included are three laminated cards (pics below) with the vehicle featured and small sections magnified. To (our builder), the chronological step by step instructions are what he loves about the build and what 'makes them Legos'."

""""""In otherwords, this is a good place to start with building LEGO sets.

 

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

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2013 Award
LEGO City Set Fire Boat
(Lego Systems, Inc. $48.90 Score:)

Once this 222-piece construction set is put together it really can be played with on water. It floats! Kids can build smaller sub-sets for quick builds. It includes a pontoon as well as a power-boat and action figures for dramatic play. According to his mom, our 5 year old tester "LOVED this build. He always likes the Lego City things and this was no exception." Though his mom usually does not allow Legos in the bath...since this is a boat, they gave it a test run in the tub. "It floats well (even the guys float when they fall in the water) and he is having a blast having play time with it and "fighting fires" in the bath."

A good build and good imaginary play once completed - a big winner.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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2012 Award
LEGO Star Wars Gungan Sub
(Lego Systems, Inc. $69.99 Score:)

Our LEGO Star Wars fans gave this set high marks: "the shape of the pieces are different", "the tail spins!", "fun build", "I like the minifigs!"   This 465 piece set comes with a cockpit that opens, two cargo containers and a rotating tail. You can detach the mini-sub -- providing more room for dramatic play.   The plus of these sets is that most kids both build and PLAY with the sets once they're together.  Cleverly, each set comes with different minifigures-- so that's also part of the appeal of putting together the fleet.  This build comes with Queen Amidala, OBi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn and of course, Jar Jar Binks.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
FAO Schwarz 150th Anniversary Playmobil Victorian City LIfe Set
(Playmobil $129 Score:)

To celebrate their 150th anniversary, FAO Schwarz has reintroduce a classic Playmobil set that is very special. In addition to the victorian house (that comes completely furnished), our testers loved the horse and buggy for taking the family out for a ride.  The attention to detail (as with all Playmobil sets) is unmatched-- our favorites:  the grandfather clock,  the flower boxes, the "modern" car, and the umbrella and purse for the lady of the house! A great parent/child project that will then be used a setting for dramatic play.  Available at the store or at TRU on line.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
LEGO Hulk Helicarrier Breakout
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)

The HULK action figure sold our testers on this Marvel Super Heroes Kit. With 389 pieces, it's a medium build with lots of pretend action when you're done. The set also includes Thor, Hawkeye and Loki.  The Helicarrier and jet fighter are also part of the build. If you have a child that's into LEGO and the HULK, this set will be a hit.  No one will be angry.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Playmobil Future Planet E-Rangers Headquarters
(Playmobil $129 Score:)

This large setting houses the E-Rangers who are trying to defend their energy source while their enemy, the power greedy Dark Rangers are trying to waste them. This futuristic eco-war story is played out in a variety of settings with this one being the flashiest and biggest. It has a working a solar-powered fan, and light up red crystals that connect to make a circuit to produce colorful lights inside the dome. There is also a light beam cannon for defending headquarters and five characters; one is a robot, of course. A convertible racer changes into a propeller or a jet-car and there are multiple accessories for playing out all sorts of imaginary adventures. For more elaborate play there is also a Dark Ranger Headquarters ($79.99) and several other theme related kits. Our tester liked many of the features but found that the building is not especially sturdy and is easily knocked apart. So our usual suggestion with Playmobil is to build on a tray or table where it is out of the line of traffic and younger siblings. Ages 7 and up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
LEGO City Fire Plane
(Lego Systems, Inc. $59.99 Score:)

We always asked our testers "What if anything didn't your child or you like about this?" The answer here from both parent and child was a resounding "Nothing!" Our eight-year old tester loved building the 12 inch long and 17 inch wide fire plane, but best of all, he loved the dramatic play features--the bay doors that open and water bricks he could release to put out the fire in the trees! This 522 piece set comes with three mini-figures, rotating propellers, two trees with flames, fire-fighting tools, and an off road fire-truck with trailer and hose. Our testers mom was most enthusiastic about the value of this set for building as well as dramatic play. Her son also customizes his models after he builds them, though she noted that her frinds glue their kids' sets together to make them hold better for pretend play. The problem with gluing is that you can't reuse the bricks or customize once that is done.   Note: No actual water is used with this. Marked for 6-12. Probably best for 8 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
LEGO Fun with Vehicles
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

Kids love to build toys that work and this 525 piece set comes with mechanics and all the parts needed to build five vehicles. These are building plans for building and assortment of racing cars, tow truck, flatbed, jeep and convertible. The set includes 2 male mini-figures, wheels, tools and color-coded basic elements
This set is marked for 4+, but for those with limited dexterity, this may be a better choice for 5's and 6's. The step-by-step plans are clear, but younger kids will need help in learning how to "read" the drawings.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Lego City 4X4 Fire Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

There's a tree on fire in Lego City! Quick! Go to the rescue with this 243-piece set that includes the makings for a 5" long firetruck with a rotating water cannon and big storage compartments. There's a firefighter with an axe and of course, a tree. Marked as an easy start modular build for 5-12. Others in the collection this season include a garbage truck and ambulance. We think kids on the younger end will still need help with following the plans.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
LEGO CITY Marina
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)

A fun beginning build with a lot of pretend play possibilities on the other side. We recommend that if your child is new to LEGO--this will make a great parent/child build. While there are lots of pieces- there are really several smaller builds here- making it a little less overwhelming.  And if you haven't played with LEGO in a while--you'll find that the builds are put in separate clear plastic bags...so there isn't that same frustrating "I can't find it" feeling. 

Our testers liked that there was a two part structure that connects with a walk way. There is also a boat (that floats) and a little yellow dune buggy type vehicle. We love the little details on this set. The surf board, the windsailer, the lifeguard, the binoculars, the buoy..you get the idea.  There's even a harpoon in case you want to fish for your dinner.

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

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