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

 


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
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
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 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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2013 Award
Lego Friends Rehearsal Stage
(Lego Systems $19.99 Score:)

Stephanie wants to be a superstar. She works out in her rehearsal studio with a revolving platform. She has a guitar, keyboard, and microphone. For dancing she has a ballet bar and mirror and before she goes on stage she puts on her make-up at a dressing table. A 198-piece set with one mini-figure. 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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2013 Award
Lego Friends Stephanie's Soccer Practice
(Lego Systems, Inc. $9.99 Score:)

A small 80-piece kit with props and Stephanie mini-figure and her pup with props for soccer and snacks. Packed full of items such as a goal, ball, soccer ball launcher, obstacle course and more.   Also new and top-rated in the Friends line, Emma's Karate Class, a 93-piece set. 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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2013 Award
LEGO City Tanker Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:) A 191-piece tanker truck that is somewhat simpler than some of the others. Designed for less experienced builders, it is a modular build. The set includes a stand alone gas pump with retractable hose, valve and fire extinguisher. The green and white tanker comes with an action figure driver who fits in the cab, can climb on the truck ladder and work the gas pump. A good build with plenty of dramatic play once the pieces are fit together. Marked 5 -12, it took our seven year old tester just under 2 hours to build.  Feedback included: "He likes that the truck side pivots open so you can put the race car inside (it does make it less stable though). The back of the truck also flips open and you can insert the car that way as well. He also likes that the cab of the truck swivels left and right as you "drive" it around. He says he wishes the little cabinet was big enough to fit all of the tools. He also likes that the set comes with three guys!"

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 3-in-1 Super Racer
(Lego Systems, Inc. $16.99 Score:)

New to the clever Creator line of builds, this 121-piece set can be put together in three different versions: a quad bike, go-kart or racing car. These make terrific birthday gifts for all the parties your child attends. 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 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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