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Product Type: Toys

 


2014 Award
Green Toys Seacopter
(Green Toys $19.99 Score:)

With two spinning rotors-one on top and one on the tail, this bright orange and blue Seacopter has pontoons for floating on the water. A teddy bear pilot is in the forward position. Good fun for dramatic play in the tub, pool or on dry land. Made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic products that are tested for safety. There is also a regular helicopter (16.99) in the line sans water pontoons for dry land only. This Seacopter is more unusual and versatile. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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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 Awards
Mudpuppy Eric Carle Brown Bear Puzzle Wheel
(Mudpuppy Press $15.99 Score:)

Designed for the toddler beginning puzzle player. These two-sided puzzles have a center wheel that the other pieces fit around. One side of the puzzle is pure color matching. The reverse has patterns to match as well as characters from the Eric Carle books to know and name. There is a Very Hungry Caterpillar puzzle as well as this charming Brown Bear puzzle. The pieces are stored in a handsome round box. Ages 2 & up.

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

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2014 Award
Seedling French Knitting Spool
(Seedling $15.99 Score:)

A classic spool to knit long cords that can be stitched together to make doll clothes or bracelets or whatever young designers fancy. The wooden spool is painted like a white and red spotted mushroom and has good-sized loops to wrap the yarn around. It comes with a generous amount of yarn for initial designs, though, kids who get into this craft, will soon be asking you for more wool! Our package had lavender yarn, but the colors may vary. Knitter’s scrap wool is ideal for multicolored projects. 5 & up.

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
eeBoo Patchwork Design Tiles
(eeBoo $19.99 Score:)

There seem to be so few open-ended toys left - so when one comes along we get very excited. Patchwork Design Tiles comes with 64 triangular pieces that have different "patchwork" patterns on them. Players can place them on the included grid to make any design that comes to them.   The inside of the box also comes with suggested patterns for kids who want to follow along.

 

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

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2014 Award
Bananagrams Go Wild
(Bananagrams $14.99 Score:)

Like other Bananagrams word games, this is played with letter tiles but without a scrabble type board. Each player takes the correct number (depending on the number of players) and tries to be the first to use them horizontally and vertically. The game comes with six wild tiles that can be used for any letter. Our testers thought this newest game was going to take forever until they got going. As soon as one player uses up all of her tiles she must draw from the slush pile and so must everyone else. The game ends when there are fewer tiles than the number of people playing. Our testers liked this one and agreed that it was a game for older players. The package says 7 & up, but they thought this was more like a good choice for 9 & up.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2014.

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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
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 Awards
Kaloo Colors Activity Owl
(Janod $19.99 Score:)

A soft fabric ball is one of those pieces of basic gear for a sitting up and crawling baby. This owl faced one has ribbons and grab-able wings,feet, and ears. Some of those parts have crinkle and squeak sounds, all have interesting patterns and textures for sensory feedback. The whole ball has a quiet but pleasing jingle sound when you shake or roll it back and forth. 6 months and up.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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