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

 


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 Pirates' Ship 5135
(Playmobil $79.99 Score:)

Ahoy! Is that the infamous Captain Hook on deck shouting orders to the crew? They are sailing the blue sea in a two masted sailing vessel complete with crow's nest, flags, netting, a crane for uploading the treasure chest, parrot, and a good supply of weapons and stout red cannons. 176 pieces of fun to assemble and then use for pretend play or put on display. The ship is 26.8 inches from stem to stern and comes with four action figures and plenty of detailed accessories. There is also a magic coin that can be used on the Adventure Island kit. There are a lot of very small pieces on this that are a choking hazard for children who still mouth their toys. Set this up out of reach of younger sibs. The boat can float. They say 4-10, we'd say this is more like a 6 & up toy. Preschoolers who love pirates will enjoy this after it is built by an adult. They may enjoy handing you the pieces needed but this will be your build. Parental help will also be needed with early school aged kids. It should be part of the fun. Showing kids how to assemble a big model like this gives you a chance to model working from plans and doing the steps in a systematic way. It will not get completed in one sitting but that too is a learning experience. Be forewarned stringing the rigging on this ship was challenging to our adult tester.

Age: Preschool, 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 Ferry Boat
(Playmobil $59.99 Score:)

A big 21-inch ferry that opens to 25 inches when the on and off ramps are opened. It comes with four passengers, a motor scooter and bike, life preservers and a landing station with piers to tie up to.  This is a 63-piece set to assemble and use for dramatic play. Kids will no doubt add cars and other props to the setting. This will work in the tub or pool as well. 4-10

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

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2012 Award
Playmobil Princess Fantasy Magic Castle
(Playmobil $169.99 Score:)

Totally gender specific, this pink castle is huge and comes with ready to move in furnishings plus two royal figures. There is a big outside staircase and roundish rooms in the tall turrets. They have built in a secret chamber for keeping the royal jewels in the great tower. For the real life owner of the castle, there is a tiara, bracelet and ring to wear while playing with the Magic Castle. Putting this together will be a parent child project. Use a table or a board that can hold the building in a safe place out of family traffic. With all the small pieces, you want to put this somewhere that small sibs cannot reach. Once built this is a setting with miniatures that will hold the interest of young pretenders. 4 & up

Age: Preschool, Early 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
K'nex Maxi Building Set
(K'NEX $12 Score:)

This is one of three building sets designed for beginning builders in the Kid K'nex line. Maxi, a yellow racing car has just 18 pieces and assembles pretty easily - with a little adult help, of course. The directions are pretty clear. You could call this Model Building 101. Best of all when the pieces are put together there's a vehicle that can be played with. It even has an extra set of wheels to roll on toy railroad tracks, a probable option for preschoolers. These are not Disney characters from Cars, but will please kids who are seriously into racing car mania. There is also a Tin Top Building set, 16 pieces and blue or the Roary Building Set with a red racer. All three come in canisters with a model on top and the canister will be fun in the tub for sprinkling since it has holes in the bottom for safety. Though kids may like to build and rebuild, be forewarned, getting the pieces back into the cannister is not easy. It is marked 3 & up, though we think threes are going to need a lot of help with this. This will make a good birthday party gift for fours and fives, especially if you are doing a lot of party going and need multiple gifts.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Quercetti Georello Basic
(International Playthings $19.99 Score:)

The newest in a Quercetti gear construction set with 80 pieces. Use the patterns shown to create a gear board "machine" with connecting gears or a standing animal form. Once kids get the hang of it, they will be exploring ways to fit the gears together in their own designs. There are lots of little pieces here, so this is one of those terrific toys for building dexterity for school age kids. It should not be anywhere around younger sibs or those who still mouth their toys.They say 4-8, we'd say this will be a stretch for 4's and some 5's.

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

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2012 Award
Hape Totter Tower
(Hape $39 Score:)

Play one of many balancing games or use the lovely wooden playing pieces to build amazing structures! The edges of the 24 hollow wooden rings are flocked with a velvety finish that helps them stick together. There are six different size and shapes to these bamboo rings with endless possibilities. Making the stand at crazy angles or stacked upright, these are an invitation for creative thinking as well as game play. An interesting toy for developing eye-hand dexterity as well as spatial awareness. Soooo good! 3 & up.

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

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2012 Award
Laser Peg Bot
(Laser Pegs $19.95 Score:)

Want a fun introduction to circuits?  This intro set from Laser Pegs comes with instructions for 6 different models, but our testers loved treating this as an open-ended set. Make the connection between the pieces and they light up.  The low watts come from the 3 AA batteries (not included).  The company makes more extensive (and expensive kits)-- one of our favorites was last year's award winning 3D Light board.

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

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2012 Award
Magformers Carnival
(Rainbow Products $79.99 Score:)

Welcome back! We have been long time fans of magformers but they were unavailable for a while. We like that the magnets in these sets are completely encased, so there is no danger of magnets going into kids mouths or beyond! Yet, they hold together well and this new set, has ideas and instructions for making mini spinning carnival like rides. This set comes with two play figures that can ride the Ferris wheel and cyclone type structures that kids can build. The set has 46 pieces and a stand.  6 & up.

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

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