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

 


2011 Award
LEGO Creator Lighthouse Island
(Lego Systems, Inc. $39.99 Score:)

Talk about innovative, this 518 piece lighthouse has a working light that cranks and turns a rotating mirror that glows as it reflects the light. Want to get inside the lighthouse? No problem. It has a back door that swings open so that the lighthouse keeper can climb the ladder inside. It has a light brick and directions for rebuilding the same pieces into a boathouse or seafood restaurant. 


Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Laser Pegs 3D Lite Board
(Laser Pegs $99.95 Score:)

Our testers enjoyed playing with this construction toy both in an open-ended manner and by following the instructions for building the 21 suggested models.  The set comes with a light board and 115 laser pegs (a satisifying amount).  The board comes with a AC adapter but can also be run on 3 AA batteries. To make the laser pegs light up, you need to make complete the electrical circuit by making the proper connection (the pieces have male/female receptors)-- so there's some science involved here.  The real fun comes when you turn off the lights and see your build aglow!  Our eight and ten year old testers found the instructions easy to follow.  Pricey--but well worth it!  We also recommend the company's new Bug kits. 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: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Lego Star Wars Storage Toy Box
(Neat-Oh $19.99 Score:)

We loved last year's storage toy case with a battle bridge motif. That held 500 Legos. Now, a larger container is available that can hold 1,000 Legos. The sides of the unit zip open to a 29" X 26" play mat with graphics of the inside of the Empire Ship. This makes for a self contained play surface for building and dramatic play. When cleanup time comes all the big and little pieces can be easily put away with a zip at each corner and a lid on top. Still useful for smaller collections, the Lego Star Wars Storage Toy Case Battle Bridge. These cases are marked for 3 & up, but keep in mind that small Legos and especcially Star Wars themes are are a better choice for school aged kids.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
LEGO Space Shuttle
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

Marking the end of an era, Lego has introduced a new Space Shuttle. With 231 pieces, this is a fun build for intermediate builders. Comes wtih an astronaut and a space satellite to launch into orbit.  Sad to think that the next generation will probably ask, "What's a space shuttle?"

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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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, cafť, 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 dragonís 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 outóRex is trapped in a boxcar thatís packed with dynamite rigged by Evil Doctor PorkchopsÖ 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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