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

 


2013 Award
Lego City Cement Mixer
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

Another in the modular builds, designed to simplify the process. This cement mixer has a rotating drum, a movable chute and the cab section actually tips fir access to the engine! It includes two construction workers, with wheelbarrow, bricks, and a cup for coffee breaks. The 221-piece set is a challenging, but satisfying construction set. 5-12

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Lego City Fire Emergency
(Lego Systems, Inc. $39.99 Score:)

All the ingredients for exciting dramatic play are ready for build and play fun. The set comes with a house-on-fire and firefighters to put out the blaze! There is a fire truck with extendable rotating ladder with a retractable hose. The flames on the burning house are retractable, too. There are three action figures with axe, streetlight, saw, and other firefighting gear. This is a 300-piece modular set, which means the pieces are sorted and packaged in smaller bags for making sub-models and makes for a more organized and simpler build. 5 & up.

 

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
LEGO City Set Fire Boat
(Lego Systems, Inc. $48.90 Score:)

Once this 222-piece construction set is put together it really can be played with on water. It floats! Kids can build smaller sub-sets for quick builds. It includes a pontoon as well as a power-boat and action figures for dramatic play. According to his mom, our 5 year old tester "LOVED this build. He always likes the Lego City things and this was no exception." Though his mom usually does not allow Legos in the bath...since this is a boat, they gave it a test run in the tub. "It floats well (even the guys float when they fall in the water) and he is having a blast having play time with it and "fighting fires" in the bath."

A good build and good imaginary play once completed - a big winner.5-12

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Crayola Washable Sidewalk Chalk Bright Colors
(Crayola $1.99-8.99 Score:)

Just in time for outdoor fun, bright colors of sidewalk chalk for hopscotch games or sidewalk art shows. Colors include purple mountains majesty, granny smith apple green, orange, violet red, sepia, blue green and more. Really a new way to make their mark and it is labeled as washable. Comes in a big 48-piece pack or 24 or 12 pack.  4 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machines
(Goldie Blox $29.99 Score:)

Designed by a recent engineering graduate of Stanford, this young science kit is designed to entice girls to play around with easy to build machines with playful appeal. The kit comes with a book that guides the young builder, a pegboard base, 10 axles, blocks, ribbon, a crank, washers, five animal characters and 14 clever ideas for making constructions. It combines fantasy play with basic science all done up in colors girls seem to prefer. Given our need for future engineers and scientists, we think this is an entertaining and engaging toy that will hold their interest.  6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
LiteBrix Lumi-Port
(Cra-z-Art $54.99 Score:)

Build a control tower and a jet plane that light up and flash when you make the right circuitry connections. This is one of a new series of construction sets that comes with a battery pack and lots of challenges to dexterity and problem solving. Marked six and up but wed say it's more like an 8 and up, up, up kit. Younger builders are going to need parental help to learn how to install the plug in ports and figure out the less than clear directions, that the company says they hope to improve in the future. That said, the end results are showy and fun for dramatic play. This is the smaller kit and there are several still smaller ones (which might be a good way to try it out) as well as one big wow of a kit called Extreme City Lights ($99 ). Once built these will be fun to use for dramatic play with Lego and Playmobil settings. Kids can also use the components to create their own structures with the multiple building pieces. 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
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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