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Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Games

 

 
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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2013 Award
Disney Sofia the First Magical Tea Time Game
(Wonder Forge $19.99 Score:)

Love this innovative game based on Disney's Sofia the First having a tea party. The idea is to collect treats for your plate. The clever twist is how you determine which color treat you need. Each tea cup has a spinning piece in the middle that moves either by blowing on it or by using the "magical" tea pot that "puffs air" when squeezed.  (Some of the our testers needed help making this happen but still liked the game play.) In all of our years toy testing, this is one of the most unique game designs that incorporates the theme of the game perfectly. When all of the delicious treats are taken, the round is over and the player with the most treats wins the game. The game also rewards good manners with awarding treats for not having your elbows on the table, being the first to get up and curtsey (we are taking about a Princess in training after all) and saying please or thank you. A game that involves age-appropriate game play and a fun dose of role playing. Fun!

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Awards
Plan Toys Fruit and Veggie Domino
(Plan Toys $29 Score:)

28 playing pieces with 7 different fruits and veggies to match up in a traditional domino game. The pressed planwood is smooth and splinter free, though it feels different from old wooden dominos. Use this for reinforcing language and color concepts as well as matching skills and turn taking. They say 2 & up, we think 3's will be better able to do the matching.  Twos may like sorting and stacking them or knocking them down if you line them up and make them go kaboom!

SNAP: Use these for color matching sorting and knowing and naming, before playing a traditional matching game of dominoes. Fun for counting, too. Make stacks of two kinds of fruit. Are there more grapes or more apples.

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

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2013 Award
Educational Insights Raccoon Rumpus
(Educational Insights $14.99 Score:)

A card game with a clever new look. Each player has a raccoon card with a raised raccoon head and costume cards that fit over the head. Players take turns rolling the jumbo color die and costume die and then search for costume cards to match, i.e. a shirt of blue or pants in red. If you can find it, place the matching card on your raccoon card. First player to collect five costume cards wins. But watch out! If you roll an underwear image--oh, oh! You have to put all your cards back on the table. Marked for 3 and up, but most 3-year olds will need an older player and some learning time to master this. A clever game that develops an eye for spotting attributes and matching skills. 3 & up

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

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