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

 


2012 Award
Janod Kubix with Letters and Numbers
(Janod $28.99 Score:)

A colorful set of solid wood blocks with letters and numbers imprinted on them. They are marked 18 months and up. We suspect kids that young will like filling and dumping them and eventually lining them up. Building upwards will be something adults or older sibs can do for little ones. They will like knocking them down. This is definitely a toy that will get lots of mileage. Learning letter names and the sounds they say comes much later. 18 months and up, up,up.

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

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2012 Award
LEGO Star Wars Gungan Sub
(Lego Systems, Inc. $69.99 Score:)

Our LEGO Star Wars fans gave this set high marks: "the shape of the pieces are different", "the tail spins!", "fun build", "I like the minifigs!"   This 465 piece set comes with a cockpit that opens, two cargo containers and a rotating tail. You can detach the mini-sub -- providing more room for dramatic play.   The plus of these sets is that most kids both build and PLAY with the sets once they're together.  Cleverly, each set comes with different minifigures-- so that's also part of the appeal of putting together the fleet.  This build comes with Queen Amidala, OBi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn and of course, Jar Jar Binks.

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

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2012 Award
LEGO Creator 3-in 1 Transport Chopper
(Lego Systems, Inc. $34.99 Score:)

Kids can build a helicopter, a pontoon seaplane, or a ferry. The set comes with 383 pieces that can be rebuilt again and again. Our tester liked the motion of the propellers and the ramps for uploading vehicles. These are relatively easy builds with plenty of pretend play potential after the construction puzzle part is complete. 8 & 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
LEGO Friends Heartlake Stables
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)

Newest of the Lego Friends sets designed for horse lovers. There's a stable with horses, tools for grooming them and cleaning the stable. The themed setting comes with two mini-dolls: Katharina and Mia.  There are over 400 pieces and lots of play time potential once the setting is built. Like other sets in this line, we generally prefer gender free products, but we know from testers that many girls really like this gender specific setting.

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

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2012 Award
K'NEX Build A Bunch
(KNEX $19.99 Score:)

Our testers really enjoyed exploring and building with this 30 piece plastic construction set.  Comes with building ideas for 30 models--but we're big on allowing this to be an open-ended experience with no right or wrong results. The process of problem solving how pieces go together is what's valuable here as well as the creative aspect of making your own creations!  "I like the wheels" and the "funny eyes" - were some of the running dialogue of our testers in action.

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

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2012 Award
FAO Schwarz 150th Anniversary Playmobil Victorian City LIfe Set
(Playmobil $129 Score:)

To celebrate their 150th anniversary, FAO Schwarz has reintroduce a classic Playmobil set that is very special. In addition to the victorian house (that comes completely furnished), our testers loved the horse and buggy for taking the family out for a ride.  The attention to detail (as with all Playmobil sets) is unmatched-- our favorites:  the grandfather clock,  the flower boxes, the "modern" car, and the umbrella and purse for the lady of the house! A great parent/child project that will then be used a setting for dramatic play.  Available at the store or at TRU on line.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
TinkerToy Transit Building Set
(KNEX $43.99 Score:)

Many may remember TinkerToy sets that came with wooden pieces with a happy sense of nostalgia.  We think in this case, that this new set with "bendy" plastic pieces are even better than the original. K'NEX has licensed the trademark from Hasbro (in case you were wondering).  Our testers also liked the ability to make vehicles with this set that comes with lots of wheels as part of this 150 piece set. Fun to explore together. There are 15 suggested builds, but encourage your child to create their own builds.  The box the set comes in is sturdy enough to be used again and again for storage, also a plus!  The only comment of our testers "we wish there were more bendy pieces!"

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

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2012 Award
Janod Kubix Geometrix Blocks
(Janod $24.99 Score:)

A pleasing set of 50 wooden geometric cubes in an array of colors.  We love the open-endedness of this set-- exploring how the differently shaped cubes can fit together.  Fun to work on with your child - a great opportunity to talk about colors and shapes.  The blocks are also ideal for working on visual discriminaton skills. The only issue we had with the product was the recommended age. While an 18 month old could fill and dump with these pieces, the set is better suited for older preschoolers given the fine motor skills needed to turn the pieces - not to mention the problem solving skills required to fit the pieces together.

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

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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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