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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


2005 Award
Supermag
(Plastwood $24.99 Score:) We love these open-ended magnetic sets. Put one on the coffee table and everyone will take a turn. Testers enjoyed working with these magnetic rods and steel balls. The rods are thinner and more tapered at the ends than Geomag (although our testers judged them to be equally enjoyable to use.) We recommend the colorful 50-piece sets. New model sets sound promising but were not ready for testing.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Prehistoric Creatures and Titan XP
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:) The large red T-Rex that you can build with this set is "amazing looking." Our experienced builders warned: "It's very delicate and could break easily." Set comes with instructions for 10 creatures. Marked 7 & up, we’d say more like 9 & up. About Titan XP ($49.99/782 pieces ) from the same series, our tester wrote "wow, there are a lot of pieces!" Builds a 14"-tall creature that swivels at the waist—but he too is very fragile. (800) 223-8756.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
I Spy Word Scramble
(Briarpatch $19.99 Score:) This has a big game board with sliding tiles. Players take turns drawing a card, choosing a letter or image on the card, and spelling that word by sliding letters before the timer runs out. Challenging fun for 7 & up. (800) 232-7427.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Operation Shrek
(Milton Bradley $16.99 Score:) If you were an "Operation" fan when you were a kid, you won’t be disappointed with the Shrek update. Instead of retrieving just your regular body parts, you’re after earwax and humongous fungus! As with the original, the player who collects the most money for successful operations, wins. 6 & up. (888) 836-7025.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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Turbo Extreme
(LeapFrog $34.99 Score:) You can work on math, spelling, science, and social studies with this hand-held toy with add-on cartridges ($9.99 each). For drilling this got high marks: "games are fun"; "better than flash cards." When you enter a math answer, however, the machine asks for the tens place. Since kids are taught to add the "ones" first, this can be confusing. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: .

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2005 Award
Crayola Window Mega Markers
(Binney & Smith $4.99 Score:) Great for a rainy day. Kids can decorate sliding doors and windows with these four extra-thick washable markers. Also a good way to temporarily note a special occasion. For sunny days, Crayola Sidewalk Paint ($9.99) Have your own sidewalk art show with this three-color paint kit. "Colors not as vibrant as on the box, but the kids had a great time. I had to fight with the kids to get them to stop and get ready for bed!" New for 2005, comes in a reusable plastic paint tray. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
My Jewelry Box Kit
(Balitono $19 Score:) Our testers gave this 8" wooden jewelry box high marks for the way it was finished inside with velvet finished fittings and little hooks for hanging necklaces. This is a more grown-up jewelry box than most we've tested. While marked 6 & up, it was appealing to our 11-year-old testers. For our horse fans, My Horse Stable & Corral Kit ($25) got rave reviews. Comes with a wooden stable (8" x 6" x 7") with two stalls, one wooden horse, and an 18"-long wooden corral, and paint.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Scratch & Sparkle Deluxe Kit
(Scratch-Art Co. $14.99 Score:) For fans of Scratch art products, this is a satisfying kit. Comes with 16 sheets (four each multicolor, glitzy gold, silver, and blue), stencils, drawing tools and frames. Still top rated, Scratch-Lite Sketcher ($19.99) a lightbox on which kids place scratch art paper and draw or write with one of two fancy tipped drawing tools. Comes with stencils and 10 sheets of special paper, so bring home a refill pack. A good quiet-time toy that develops dexterity needed for writing. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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ESPN Game Station
(Fisher-Price $179 Score:) We worry when a toy comes with a warning not to return the toy to the store, but to call the help line. The thick instruction book and three hours of assembly are ridiculous for a $179 toy. Proceed at your own risk with this 6-in-1 play center for soccer, basketball, golf, hockey, football, and baseball games. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: .

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2005 Award
Jelly Flyer Night Flyer
(Noodle Head $10 Score:) Bringing along an active toy is important for those long road trips when kids need to get out of the car and stretch their legs. The Jelly Flyer is made of a soft material so it won't hurt like a traditional Frisbee. We liked the Night Flyer, which glows in the dark.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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