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

 


2010 Award
Lego City Airport
(Lego Systems, Inc. $99.99 Score:)

Here's a top of the line airport, control tower, and jet with 703 pieces to assemble and then use for dramatic play. It's all here, from the revolving doors, ticket desk, security checkpoint with X-ray machine, café, and lounge. Every small detail from baggage carts, passengers, and crew are included. But perhaps best of all, the jet itself is a big 20" long and over 7" tall. This is a great choice for Lego builders 6-12.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks
(Tegu $55 & up Score:)

We need to start the review with the safety warning that there are magnets in these beautifully crafted wooden blocks.  The toy is marked 3 & up, but if you have smaller children in your house or older kids that still mouth their toys wait on this toy for another day.  That said, these are exquisitely crafted blocks of different sizes (there are long and short slates and cubes) that have such a smooth finish-they're just fun to handle.  Then there is the added bonus of the magnets.  A perfect toy for the coffee table--and delightfully open-ended.  The other major draw back--the price. The 52 set will put you back an impressive $100, 26 pieces is $55.  On the upside, the company is promoting the planting of Tegu trees in Honduras and sending kids to school in Honduras as well. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Playmobil Great Dragon Castle
(Playmobil $159.99 Score:)

For fantasy play, this Great Dragon Castle is an amazing setting with two towers, a trap door, a working drawbridge, clinging trees, dungeon cells and beacons that light up. The set comes a lot of props for dramatic play...a red dragon, four fantasy knight figures with swords, shields and rune jewel. There's a working catapult, glow-in-the-dark skeleton and even a red badge that kids can wear. Requires 2 "AA" batteries, not included. In case that is not a big enough setting, you can add on The Dragon's Dungeon($78.99) another tower with giant light beam and lighted dart that flies. Our testers think this setting is awesome. They say 4 & up. We think you will need to be older to put the pieces together. More like a great choice for 7 & up, up,up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Playmobil Giant Dragon with LED-Fire
(Playmobil $35 Score:)

The "giant" red and black Giant Red Dragon with a giant 16" wing span has an integrated LED-Fire (sort of) coming out of its nostrils. In fact the nostrils light up in red, but nothing comes out, except in the imagination. The dragon’s jaw moves and its wings pivot. This fantasy action figure is a big but quick build. It has 23 pieces and comes with a knight in black and red that carries a battle ax and long silverfish lance. They say 4-9, we'd say more like 5-6's will need help and this looks like a toy for school aged kids, not preschoolers. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Lego Toy Story 3 Western Train Chase
(Lego Systems, Inc. $79.99 Score:)

"Time is running out—Rex is trapped in a boxcar that’s packed with dynamite rigged by Evil Doctor Porkchops… can his friends rescue him in time?" That's just part of the scenario of the action packed Toy Story 3 movie. To go along with the launch of the new movie, Buzz is aboard and ready for adventures once the red engine and three cars are assembled. Our builder said this was a pretty easy build with not too many surprises. He especially liked the trap door action on top of the boxcar, the moving doors on all the cars, and magnetic couplers. Once built the train holds together well and moves with ease. All the characters of the movie, Evil Doctor Porkchops, Rex, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie and Bullseye figures are included. 584 pieces. For preschool builders see the smaller Duplo version with 39 big pieces that build an engine and one car. 7 -14.
       The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
LEGO CITY Fire Station
(Lego Systems, Inc. $79.99 Score:)

A multi-level fire station that also includes a ladder truck and a smaller vehicle. We love that the truck ladder extends and turns 180 degrees. The Fire Station is part of the LEGO CITY theme - a fun collection of rescue vehicles and figures. We also like the new Fire Boat. Our only complaint about this set is the scale- as with many of the new LEGO structures, they have gotten smaller over recent years.  Our testers, unaware of the skrinkage issue, have no complaints. In fact, he really loved working on this set.  His review was so detailed that we need to share the mini-interview he had with his mom in regard to this product:

1. The set is very easy to build.  (He is an 8 year old experienced LEGO builder--and felt this set was particularly easy. He had to be dragged away to go to a ballgame!

2. The "storage" spaces on the building where the accessories go click  in". He mentioned fire hoses, axes, fire hydrants. "It makes it less confusing because every little piece has a place where it goes."

3. "I never thought the Lego City stuff was cool,  but it actually is really AWESOME." (This from a die-hard Lego "action" afficionado. )

4. He likes the moving parts -- sliding garage doors, swinging doors, removeable "hatches," etc.

5. He  also really likes that the bunk beds and all of the spaces for the mini-figures.

What I really love about his review is that the Fire Station has now become a "base" for all of his action figures--including his Star Wars characters--they all think the base is a pretty cool place to hang out!

The Fire Station comes with lots of props for pretend play after the building is done (there's even a cat  and tree). Five year olds will enjoy playing with this set, but they will not be able to build it independently-there are 662 pieces! We recommend making this a parent/child project for less experienced LEGO builders. 

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Lego Storage & Play Sets
(Neat-Oh! $12.99 & up Score:)

Just about the neatest new toy/storage idea we've seen in years! Unzip the sides of these soft fabric boxes and they become mats for building and dramatic play. They have roadways and city scenes on them for giving story ideas a jumpstart. Best of all when playtime is over, simply zip the corners and all the pieces are stored away for another day. They come in various sizes; some with lids and handles to take along on a play date or trip, others more like a tote with strap handles for easy picking up. Look for the Lego Head ZipBin($12.99) an 8"square box with handles and lid that opens to 21" play mat with roadway graphics. Lego City ZipBin ($19.99) A 13” box that opens to a 29 inch mat with city graphics and roadway. Lego City Fire ZipBin( 24.99) A 16" box that opens to 35" playmat with firefighters, roadways and graphics for dramatic fire fighting. Lego City ZipBin($19.99) A 16"tote that opens to 29" mat with city construction scenes, has with no lid, but tote handles cut outs on the side. Lego Racers ZipBin ($17.99) is a clever tool box shape with lid and handle that open up to a ramp for racers to ride down. Also newest addition to the line, Lego Duplo Zip Bins with simpler graphics when the storage container is opened into a play mat. THere's one with a big fire engine graphic with cut out hand grips and lid or one with animal graphics and the play mat has a fenced in scene for playing zoo or farm. NOTE: Lego bricks do not come in these boxes. They are all about the storage, play mat and neat clean- up to keep all those little bricks contained. Great idea. Neat-oh! also makes container/playmates for Hot Wheels. Farm, Dinos, Road & Rail. Airport, and Train Depot. A good way to take some of the jumbled chaos out of the usual mess. 3-8

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Lego Pink Brick Box
(Lego Systems, Inc. $16.99 Score:)

While we're usually not big fans of such gender-specific toys, if this product will get your daughter interested in building --go for it!  Playing with construction toys improves spatial relations and related math skills--so if we want more female engineers--we need to start when they're small with opportunities that introduce them to these concepts. While this set suggests you can build a house and does come with a pony, it also is open-ended (just stop looking at the box color)...with 216 pieces. Earlier color-coded building sets for girls,that were  introduced a while back tended to provide gender specific themes such as beauty shops, mall, kitchens (really!) At least this Pink Brick Box is more open ended. The models shown are a vehicle, people, pets, and a house. We can live with that. As always we're big fans of these sets that come in sturdy buckets for easy storage. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Playmobil Pyramid & Egyptian Collection
(Playmobil $109 Score:)

For history buffs, here is an amazing build! Enter the world of mystery and danger! A world of mummies and ancient curses! A 20" X 20" pyramid with removable side panels, a hidden chute with buried treasures, secret chambers with a trapdoor, collapsible stairs, and a deadly scorpian trap to ward off grave robbers. The kit includes four figures, golden trinkets, scorpions, snakes, and other accessories.  Pyramid measures 20.6"Lx20.6"Wx13.7"H. Marked for 4 " up - we'd say this is a good set as a follow-up to a museum visit or for kids who are studying Ancient Egypt in school. This is not an easy build and may require parental help, even for school aged kids. Like most big Playmobil settings, this is a good parent & child together project. Also great are the smaller builds: a Sphinx($34.95), Chariot ($17.99), Royal Ship($45), Tomb and Treasures ($39.95).

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Lego City Crawler Crane
(Lego Systems, Inc. $59.99 Score:)

A working crane that fits into the Lego City scene. This is not an easy build. It has working treads, a massive rotating boom, and stands 17.7 inches tall. The crane rotates 360 degrees and comes with a stout lifting mechanism along with 2 mini-figures, a house section, and safety barrier. They say 5-12. Inexperienced builders will need adult help. This is not an instant out of the box build. It takes time and attention to details.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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