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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


2007 Award
Playmobil's Soccer Match
(Playmobil $39.99 Score:) Both Playmobil and Lego introduced new soccer sets for 2007 that scored high with our testers. Playmobil’s Soccer Match ($39.99 ) comes with six players with kicking action and an oversized 38" x 26" soccer mat that you build the frame around. Comes with a suggested scoring game, which our testers tried; then they made up their own games. The Lego Grand Soccer Stadium (Lego Systems $49.99/386 pieces) is an updated version that is much improved, with greater stability in the core playing field. The goalies have the greatest mobility and two players are also on slides to cover more of the field. Other players can kick (our testers thought two of them should also be on slides for great coverage). Much smaller and different in feel from Playmobil’s—our testers thought both were fun. Younger builders will need help putting both together. 7 & up. Lego (800) 233-8756/Playmobil (800) 752-9662.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
My Picnic Basket
(Alex $20 Score:)

We liked the sturdiness of this 18-piece set that comes with blue enamelware including plates, cups, spoons, forks, and tablecloth. Great for real picnics or pretend tea parties.   All stored in a lovely wicker basket that closes- just like the real thing.  5 & up.


Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Smoby Star Party Duo Mix Set
(International Playthings $59.99 Score:)

A set of mikes perfect for American Idol wannabes and host. Unfortunately, very gender specific in pink and lavender. For a solo mike there's Star Party Micro Star ($39.99 4). Both have applause sound effects. 5 & up. For the full disco effect, check out Smoby Star Party Disco Bubble and Light ($64.99). You might just need this faceted-mirrored disco ball that turns on a platform with an automatic bubble maker and spotlight. Not exactly a toy, this is more like a piece of equipment to add a twinkle to parties. 5 & up. (800) 445-8347. These products have been DISCONTINUED.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Airport
(Lego Systems, Inc. $79.99 Score:) You can’t go wrong with any of the new airport/plane sets from Lego—they’re all Lego at its best in terms of design. Really depends on what size plane you want and how much you like helicopters. The Airport set is wonderful, comes with a passenger plane, control tower, and baggage truck. Our testers loved the see-through ramp to the plane and the revolving door. 5–12. The City Airport ($89.99/863 pieces 5) comes with two helicopters, a smaller plane, control tower, and vehicles. Marked 9 & up. Passenger Plane PLATINUM AWARD ($39.99/401 pieces 5) is fun to put together down to the beverage cart, swivel chairs, and cockpit controls. The age label 5–12 is misleading on both this set and the Airport. You’d need to be an experience Lego builder to do this on your own—although we agree that 5s would love to play with this plane after putting it together with a parent. For a chunkier plane, look at Airport Action on page TK. The City Hospital ($49.99/377 pieces 4) also has a lot of play value after it’s built, with building, helicopter, and ambulance. For race fans, you’ll want to bring home the Lego Competition Racers set ($64.99/573 pieces) that features a Ferrari, pit stop, and all the props for race day. 8 & up. (800) 223-8756.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Wallamoppi
(Out of the Box Publishing $21 Score:) Here’s a clever variation on the classic game of Jenga. Players must remove their dark or light wooden playing pieces from a pyramid and add them to a tower on top of the pyramid. Wait, there’s one more thing! Do all of this before a marble races down a runway into the wooden storage box. Not easy! A quick two-player game that builds dexterity and strategy skills. 8 & up. (616) 844-5263.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Uno Spin
(Mattel $15.99 Score:)

Right off the bat, we loved the sound of the click play board as it spins. The spinning board adds interesting twists to the game (as you play the regular game of trying to discard all of your cards), including trading your hand with another player, showing all your cards to your opponents, or a variation on war. 7 & up. (800) 524-8697.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Award
Cast and Paint: Krazy Kars
(Skullduggery $16 Score:)

“Let’s do another,” and “so neat”—our testers really liked these fun model kits that are easy to do and produce Hot Wheels/Matchbox-scaled cars. Sets come with enough modeling material for four cars (but enough decorations for two). The cars take 30 minutes to set. New kits feature NASCAR winners like Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Kits come with NASCAR decals, paint, and blo-pens (not our favorites), but our testers really were less concerned with the decorating and more intent on making a toy they could really use!

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: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Award
Monster Trucks Custom Shop
(Creativity for Kids $24.99 Score:)

Customize the four monster trucks with paint and stickers, then let ’em rip! With pull-back mechanisms, these are ready for racing. The stickers go on well. The paint isn’t great, but really is beside the point. These four monster trucks are just FUN! For smaller vehicles, check out Fast Car Race Cars ($14.99 4). Set of three wooden cars with pull-back mechanisms to paint (our kids used markers to play with the cars sooner). With either the trucks or the cars, set up a roadway with some empty small boxes for simulated crashes and road races. (800) 311-8684. Let’s go to the races! We often complain that there are not a lot of great craft kits for boys. Here are three sets that will be a hit.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2008 Award
Kid Tough Digital Camera
(Fisher-Price $69.95 Score:)

This was a Platinum winner in 2007. What has changed? It is now waterproof-not a bad idea when you think of how often cameras are taken along to the beach or pool. Technically, this is not a 2009 winner, but it is worth considering. Designed for beginners, this digital camera works surprisingly easily. There is a two-eye view finder as well as a small but adequate screen. It’s easy to use with chunky handgrips and big button. Comes with built-in flash, runs on four AA batteries, and you can add a card for extra memory. Compatible with Mac or PC. They say 3 & up, we’d say more like 6 & up. Available in pink or blue. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Award
Thing-a-ma BOTS
(Gamewright $5.99 Score:)

Players turn over cards and name the funny looking robots. Others must remember the names others give and say that name when they recognize a matching robot that is turned up. Person who calls out name of match takes the stack and play continues. A quick 12-minute game that calls for listening, looking, and remembering. Kids will have less trouble coming up with silly names than most self-conscious adults. 6 & 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. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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