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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 


2008 Award
Shake n Go Flyers
(Fisher-Price $14.95 Score:)

We loved the original Shake n Go Cars and these Flyers are the airborne version for active fun. The hand held launcher does look a little like a gun, but it is really a docking place for the lightweight plane. YOu click it into place and then shake the launcher until the lights and plane sounds begin. Press the trigger and va, va, va, voom! It takes off! They say 3-7. We'd say more like 5-8 would be able to make this happen and enjoy it! Comes in four different designs. Players will love the orange and silver Hawk, the green Show Plane, the silver and blue Ghost Jet and the green Fighter Plane. It is soft enough to use indoors, but not anywhere near your delicate treasures. Has great sound effects! A good buy for the money.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
HearthSong Connectagons
(HearthSong $24.98 Score:)

Connectagons is an old-fashion kind of construction toy. The set comes in a wooden box with a slide opening--and inside there are 240 wooden discs. Each disc has eight notches-and there are five different colors. All in all, making this a very open-ended and pleasing building toy. Much like the magnetic toy sets of recent years, Connectagons is a set you'll enjoy having on your coffee table. There's no right or wrong way to build with this set -- appealing to both boys and girls (and their parents).

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: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Villa Paletti
(Wiggles 3D Inc. $24.99 Score:)

Subtitled the Game of Construction Chaos, this is a lot like other stacking games...with the object being not to be the one who knocks the pieces over first. Players begin with all the playing pieces standing on the first floor. Now they put a layer of wood on top of the pieces and take turns moving the pieces to the next level. You can play random style taking any piece you like or play with a color-coded die. Players agree on when no more pieces can be moved above and put another layer on top. The first person to knock down the construction gets one point. Agree on how many rounds you are going to play and then the winner is the one with the least number of points. There is some skill involved but still a lot of luck of the draw. A good game for beginning readers with plenty of rounds and chances for winning and losing. 6 and 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: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Curious George Discovery Beach Game
(I Can Do That Games $16.99 Score:)

This is a memory game with a new format. Small objects are buried in “sand” under the playing board. Shake the box and they move around some. Puzzle like pieces cover over the “windows” to the beach. Players draw a card and put it face up for everyone to see. Spin the spinner and lift the puzzle cover and see if you can find the treasures on the cards. If you spin a “wave” you get to shake the box and move the treasures. Object is to collect the largest number of cards. A fun way to build matching skills, color concepts, as well as memory. 3 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Backseat Drawing Junior
(Out of the Box Publishing $19.99 Score:)

A "director" looks at a secret card with image and word in a special viewing box. The "director" tells the “listener’ to follow directions for making a drawing without saying the name of what the picture must be. Both parties have an important role in the game. The drawer has to be a good listener AND the director has to give very clear directions. So this is challenging to all players. The game comes with a drawing board, marker and dry eraser. Can be played with 3-8 players ages 7 & 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: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Guidecraft Block Mates
(Guidecraft $25 Score:) Choose from a set of dinosaurs, farm animals or safari animals. These are part puzzle, part construction toy and finally a toy for creative play. Four pieces fit onto five wooden unit blocks (not included in the kit) to build a set of creatures that will fit into block structures. We have to say that we found the pieces fit tightly onto the blocks. Kids without hand power will find them hard to put together, though they will still like playing with them. We do think older pre- schoolers and kindergarteners will learn how to make these pieces into a whole. Although each animal is color coded, kids will also like mixing up the head of a stegosaurus with the back end of the brontosaurus. It’s also nice that there are so many critters in a set, making them a good choice for cooperative play and play dates. One reviewer felt that pre-made animals suited her block builders better than having to assemble them.So, we've had mixed comments on this concept. 4 & up.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
SAMi Block Puzzle
(Briarpatch $12.99 Score:)

This is a classic kind of puzzle with a fresh look. Nine blocks fit into a tray. Turn the blocks to make six different puzzles. Four have a playful animal face, one has numerals to put in order and the final one has shapes to match by color and shape. 3 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
SAMi 4 in 1 Vehicles Shapes Puzzle
(Briarpatch $16.99 Score:)

SAMi’s bold colors and forms make this set of vehicle puzzles a special treat for the eye. There’s an oval puzzle that reveals a submarine; a triangle with a construction shovel; a circle with a bike, and a square with an engineer in a train engine. The four puzzles come packed separately and the background colors give kids clues for sorting the pieces. They say 3+. We think 3’s and some 4’s will need help with sorting these if they get mixed together. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
SAMi 1 2 3 Counting 7 ft. Floor Puzzle
(Briarpatch $18.99 Score:)

Clear the decks! You need a big open space for this 7 foot long puzzle. There are 48 big pieces that are perfect for young puzzle players. With background colors as clues, kids will find the images on this oversized puzzle fun to count. From 1-12 there are entertaining images to talk about. Each image comes in four pieces and hooks into the image before and after. They say 3-6. We think 3's and some 4's will need help in putting this together. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Simms Taback Jumbo Animals Floor Puzzle
(Briarpatch $18.99 Score:)

34 big pieces fit together to form a jolly 20 X 30 inch floor puzzle featuring two stacks of animals saying what each of them say…as in 'Woof!' 'Oink!' 'Moo!' and so on. All the pieces fit into a sturdy box with magnetic closure buried inside. Taback's amusing critters add special delight to this colorful choice for young puzzle players. They say 3-6. We're sure 3's will need help. So will most 4's. Also fun, Simms Taback Animal Parade. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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