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

 


2012 Award
LEGO Creator Prehistoric Hunters 3-in-1
(Lego Systems, Inc. $23.99 Score:)

A three in one kit that means you can make three different models with the 191 pieces in this kit. The red, black and white pieces can create a two-legged T-Tex like figure; a four-legged creature; or a flying beast with a wide wingspan. This is a pretty complex model marked for 7-12. Also available several 3-in-1 minisets($6) with 69-70 pieces. There's a Mini fire rescuer and a Mini sports car. These would be good stocking stuffers or grab bag gifts for parties. For kids 6-12.

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

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Duplo My First Build
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24.99 Score:)

This set might have been an award winner, but it is one of those toys that comes with such a broad age label that it may end up fitting no one! My First Build comes with 59 bright blocks and elements plus four cards that are designed to help your child select the pieces needed and 'visualize the build' before they start. The cards are like a matching game that guide the builder step by step. We think this may be useful for older fours and fives, though way beyond most of the age group listed on the box, which says, 1  1/2 -5. We also think that some of the pieces are a bit too small for toddlers who typically still mouth their toys. The hose for the "gas pump" is long and snake like and sure to interest toddlers who frequently taste and chew on their toys. Although the toys appear to have passed the choke tube test, by being too long, many do fit down a toilet paper tube and are therefore a close call from our more guarded point of view. Why take the risk of having a toddler gag on a toy? We suggest you remove the hose and flowers if your toddler receives this set. We also question the value of building cards for this age group.
We do not believe preschoolers need to replicate a boat or vehicle others design rather than discovering how the blocks can combine to make objects of their own imagining. Developmentally, this proscribed kind of building is really far more appropriate for older children who want to make representational constructions. Young preschooler and certainly toddlers benefit more from exploring and discovering for themselves how to make their own symbolic settings. They often name something after they build it rather than setting out to make an object. This set includes a Duplo man figure, dog, windows, chair and cash register.

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

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2012 Award
LEGO Fun with Vehicles
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

Kids love to build toys that work and this 525 piece set comes with mechanics and all the parts needed to build five vehicles. These are building plans for building and assortment of racing cars, tow truck, flatbed, jeep and convertible. The set includes 2 male mini-figures, wheels, tools and color-coded basic elements
This set is marked for 4+, but for those with limited dexterity, this may be a better choice for 5's and 6's. The step-by-step plans are clear, but younger kids will need help in learning how to "read" the drawings.

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

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2012 Award
Lego Ultimate Race Set
(Lego Systems, Inc. $26 Score:)

Based on the Disney Pixar, Cars, this racing car set features Raoul CaRoule, the world's greatest rally car that is about to race his biggest rivals, Lightning McQueen and Max Schnell. Can Raoul win the race or will he be our maneuvered? First players have to assemble the cars and slammers. There are three separate building plan booklets that show step by step how to build the racing pieces. Hit the slammers to see who is the fastest! Includes the following vehicles: Lightning McQueen, Max Schnell, Raoul CaRoule and Raoul's pittie. This is the kind of set that does more than gather dust on a shelf. It's a fun setting to play with when the building part is done. It's marked 6-12 but kids at the younger edge will need help with the building.

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 City Garbage Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24 Score:)

Part of the easy start modular build kits, this new garbage truck is bright green and white and assembles with 208 pieces. It includes two play figures, a lifting rear loader, two trash bins, shovel, brush and some plastic garbage, i.e. a fish and banana. The truck measures over 8" and will add to the city scene.  Others in the collection this season include an ambulance and firetruck. We know kids at the younger end of this will need help with the plans and small pieces. 5-12

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 City Town Ambulance
(Lego Systems, Inc. $23 Score:)

Call 911! There's an emergency. We need an ambulance! This set includes the makings for a 6" long ambulance with opening rear door, a removable stretcher, movable roof, and three minifigures--2 doctors and a patient. There is also a bicycle, helmet, trash bin and doctor's equipment. Like the City Fire Truck and Garbage Truck, this is marked and easy start modular build for 5-12. We know kids at the younger end of this will need help with the plans and small pieces.

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 City 4X4 Fire Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

There's a tree on fire in Lego City! Quick! Go to the rescue with this 243-piece set that includes the makings for a 5" long firetruck with a rotating water cannon and big storage compartments. There's a firefighter with an axe and of course, a tree. Marked as an easy start modular build for 5-12. Others in the collection this season include a garbage truck and ambulance. We think kids on the younger end will still need help with following the plans.

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 Bricks and More Pink Brick Box
(Lego Systems, Inc. $14.99 Score:)

Designed to appeal to girls, this pink storage box filled with 224 pieces comes with building directions for building a house, vehicle, and outdoor area. While we still prefer the traditional tubs and buckets with primary color building bricks that are gender neutral and appropriate for boys and girls, we understand that some girls prefer these colors. Since building is such an important skill for developing spatial relationships and math skills, we would say pink building is better than no building. So, we avoid being absolutists on this subject. Unlike earlier pink block sets from other makers, the themes of most of the new girlie Lego collection doesn't center on malls and beauty shops. This set is marked 4+. We'd say these tiny pieces will be a challenge to many 4's and even 5's.

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

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Duplo Creative Sorter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $20 Score:)

Although all the bricks are big enough for toddlers to handle with safety, this 23-piece bucket is jazzed up with three different shape sorter lids that are way too hard for most toddlers, yet the package is marked 1/2-5. First of all there are as many as 6 openings in each lid. They are supposedly color coded-which would have helped some-but there are green shapes that fit in the red lid and blue shapes that fit in the yellow. All very confusing if you want to talk about matching and establish color concepts with beginners. Besides, the pieces have to be turned just so in order for the peg fittings to match the cut-out opening. This kind of precision matching calls for visual acuity as well as fine motor skills that are way too challenging for most little ones. By putting such a broad age range on the product, the label seerve no purpose. If you get this as a gift and you have a toddler, put the lids away for now and use the pail and blocks for a fill-and-dump toy and for open-ended building set to stack and snap. That alone will be more than enough for anyone under two. Before you start pressing kids to fit their bricks in the right opening, keep in mind that little children are learning about themselves as learners and toys that are beyond their developmental level can undo their confidence. It is far more important to build their sense of competence than to rush them with toys that are frustrating. Sorry, the age label on this keeps it from being a winner.

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

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2012 Award
CitiBlocs Glow in the Dark Blocks
(Citiblocs $29.99 Score:)

70 Glow in the dark and 30 natural blocks come in this new set of blocks. If you expose them to light for 10 minutes they will glow for over 40 minutes. These are fun to use separately or as additions to other building sets. We can report that they do work and add a new kind of sensory dimension to building fun. Build before bedtime and there is a nightlight when the overhead light is turned off. Also new this season, a set of Neon color Citiblocs.

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

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