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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Games

 


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
Wonder Forge Dr. Seuss Charades
(Wonder Forge $10 Score:)

Charades for the preschool set. Players select the Dr. Seuss Character they want to be. One player draws a card and picks one of three actions to act out. Other players guess what the action is. The player who guesses first and the actor-outer both get to move on the playing board. First to cross the finish line wins. There is no reading in this game so it is designed for preschoolers. However the playing board has some twists along the way that can send players backwards (like Candlyland) and may be upsetting to younger players. They say 3 and up, we think doing charades may be tough for most threes and some fours. You may want to save this for older 4-5 year olds.

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

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2014 Awards
Number Pops
(Learning Resources $19.99 Score:)

For the youngest players, this is a color matching game that also involves beginning counting skills. Marked for two and up, we'd say this is probably a much better choice for threes and fours. That said, we can see how kids will be attracted to fitting the ice cream shaped pops into the colored pretend shells on top. These are color-coded with dots on the ice cream matching the colored shell that is marked with a numeral. Aside from pretend play these can be used for putting them in numerical order as well as matching dots and numerals. Or play, "I'm thinking of a pop that is one less than 6 or two more than five. For two's start with 1-3 and no more than five pops and gradually add more pops once they have a good grip on 1-5.

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

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2014 Awards
Crazy Pants
(Chatterbox Toys $20 Score:)

You'll like the quality of the art and feel of this sturdy board game that can be played in multiple ways—all of which challenge kids to use their listening and looking skills while also learning the rules of turn taking and the ups and downs gamesmanship. There are enough rounds so that kids can experience the fun of winning and inevitable alternative. There's no reading required but the games do play on matching, memory, color concepts, and listening. Cards can be used for Bingo style game, concentration, and sequencing. Develops a child's ability to see and hear differences as she finds not just a green dress, but a green dress with the purple bow. That kind of detail calls for more than chance, but is an important skill needed before reading. A good choice for 3-5.

Use this for language development as well as matching skills. A rich variety of games that can be adapted to your child.

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

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2014 Award
Pancake Pile-Up!
(Educational Insights $17.99 Score:)

An active fun game that's a lot like an egg race only this one is played with pancakes--made of plastic. Here's how it works. Players pull a card that shows a stack of pancakes with strawberries, blueberries, banana slices and chocolate chips. Players have to race to stack and serve a pile of pancakes that matches the order card. Teams or two players compete to carry the pancakes on the spatulas and be the first to make a stack topped with a pat of butter. This is an active game that can be played like a relay race with teams or a two-player match. Challenges visual matching, dexterity, and speed. A good party game. They say 4 & up, we think older 5-8's will like it best.

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

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2014 Award
Seek-a-Boo Game
(MindWare $19.99 Score:)

One of the most age appropriate games for older toddlers and younger preschoolers. The game can be scaled down for the youngest players by using fewer sets of matching images. There are six categories: food, toys, clothing, things found outdoors, animals and colors/shapes. For each category there are large circles with clear photos of each image- these are called the "Seek Me" cards. You place those on the floor. Now you select from the matching "Find Me" cards. Ask your child to find the image on the find me card.  You play until you have found all the matches. While this may seem very basic, it's just right for older toddlers and young preschoolers as a way of developing their vocabulary.  You can add more categories for older players. Bravo to Mindware for making a game on target for this age group!

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Dream Cakes
(Ravensburger $16.99 Score:)

Dream Cakes is great fun to play. The idea is to create the "biggest" cake by adding to the cake plate with tiers, frosting, and toppings.  There are LOTS of pieces to this game designed for 2 to 4 players. On your turn, spin the wheel to determine which kind of cake piece you get to add to your cake. The added fun comes with the cake measuring stick. Depending on how tall your cake is you get ribbons with point values. The player with the highest points (when there are no more pieces to play) wins! The pieces are sturdy and have a lovely storybook quality to the illustrations.

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

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2014 Award
Janod Who Am I? Game
(Janod $19.99 Score:)

Who Am I is a two player attribute game that is something like the classic game of Battleship for younger players. Each player picks one animal face that the other player cannot see. Players take turns asking questions about their opponent’s animal. Does your animal have glasses? If the answer is no the questioner crosses out all the animals with glasses. A marker is provided with a sponge eraser that removes the markings at the end of each round. By a process of elimination players deduce what animal their opponent has selected. This is a game that requires players to look at details and listen to clues. The game board reverses to reveal a whole other set of creatures. We have had other similar games, this one is slightly more complex and beautifully executed.  They say 4-7, we think fours can play this with a partner but not solo. That said this is an excellent choice for beginning readers who need to learn about looking closely at details. Instead of looking for the fine difference between bed and bad, here the game is played with pictorial details that are less abstract for beginners.

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

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2014 Award
Peaceable Kingdom Sunny Day Pond
(Peaceable Kingdom $15.99 Score:)

A ducky cooperative game that develops color matching, puzzle building, and fine motor skills. The big playing board has the images of three different four-piece puzzles. Players use the spinner on their turn that tells them what color puzzle piece they can take and match on the playing board. If you spin a rain-drop you must put one under the cloud. The object is for everyone to cooperatively finish the puzzles before there are no rain-drops left. So you are all playing against the game and the rain. Good fun, as well as helping beginners use their fine motor skill by learning how to rotate jigsaw puzzle pieces and fit them together. 3 & up.


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

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2013 Award
Disney Sofia the First Royal Prep Academy Game
(Wonder Forge $19.99 Score:)

Imagine a game that combines aspects of Battleship (but you're looking for charms), Memory (you're supposed to remember where characters are located) and a wild card (pure guessing to win a charm). The actual set up of the game is quite clever. There is the Royal Prep Academy Building with lots of windows that are covered with moving shutters. One player puts on a plastic charm bracelet and has to try to collect charms by guessing where the other player has placed them behind the shutters. Much more fun to be Sofia the First and wear the bracelet than being the "hidder." The idea is that you take turns. We have a feeling that a lot of parents will end up playing hidder more often, although our 4 year old tester equally enjoyed being the hidder! Marked 3 & up, but will be enjoyed more by 4-6 crowd.

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

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