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Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Review Year: 2012

 


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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2012 Award
Kid O Tugboat
(Kid O $16.95 Score:)

Smooth and sleek, these chubby tugboats comes in red, green or blue and each has a life buoy that can fit on the boat or float beside it. There's nothing complicated here. Ideal for tubtime fun. Solidly built, they will not take on dirty bathwater. Choose your favorite color - red, green or blue or buy a fleet. 1 & up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Willy's Wiggly Web
(Peaceable Kingdom $19.99 Score:)

Unlike the usual game of adding items without making everything fall, this is a cooperative game where you want bugs to fall out of the web, one at a time, without letting Willy the Spider fall out of the web! This is a fun game for 2-5 players to help kids learn to use a scissors and learn to the concept of left and right. Set up will need help by an adult, as the paper web is stretched across the cardboard twigs. Now the cardboard bugs are poked into the web and Willy is added, too. Play begins as each player takes three snips with the safety scissors trying to make a bug fall. There are three levels of play. Game One is just about the cutting and having some strategies to avoid Willy from falling. In Game Two players pass the scissors to the person on their left. In Game Three you draw a card that says if you pass the scissors left or right and how many cuts you can make. Each game takes about 15 minutes. This comes with 50 stretchy paper nets but you can order more for free by contacting the company at info@peaceablekingdom.com. It's marked 3-6. We think older 4's and up will do best

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

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2012 Award
Ivy and Bean Paper Doll Play Set
(Chronicle $14.99 Score:)

What a playful paper doll set this is! Fans of the Ivy and Bean books are going to love the two stand up dolls that step right out of the pages of their books. They come with a reversible setting showing indoors and out and 100 vinyl stickers for dressing up. Best of all the stickers themselves are funny, with masks, funny glasses, zany clothing that will produce smiles. Enough here for play-date fun. While you are at it, bring home a new Ivy and Bean book. 5 & up.

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

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2012 Award
eeBoo Learn to Draw with Lizzy Rockwell-Book 1
(Lizzy Rockwell, eeBoo $6.99 Score:)

First in a new series of drawing books for school aged kids. We usually prefer a blank sheet of paper, but we know that kids of a certain age begin to want their end products to look more realistic. Having some techniques for making that happen can be helpful. This is the first of a series that shows kids the step-by-step process of drawing simple items such as a bird, a cup and saucer, a tulip. These instructions are somewhat like the Ed Emberly drawing books but less cartoonish. The instruction pages are followed by a double-page illustration that provides a frame and setting. Here kids can use what they have learned in a more open-ended picture.  Tuck this in to your travel bag for a long flight or for quiet time at your destination. 5 & up.

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

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2012 Award
Feed the Woozle
(Peaceable Kingdom $20 Score:)

Designed for beginning game players, this is a cooperative game that involves some fine and gross motor skills, simple counting, and turn taking. Set the Woozle playing board with its big mouth on a table that kids can easily reach. Players take turns tossing the die and putting that number of snacks in a big plastic spoon. Now the trick is to carry the snacks on the spoon to the Woozle without spilling them. For every piece that gets in the Woozles big mouth you get a yummy card. There are thee levels of play. Level one involves simple walking to the Woozle and feeding it. Level Two involves following the directions on the spinner. Players may have to walk backwards, hop or wiggle and still not spill the pieces. The third version calls for a blindfold! This will make a fun party game. Level Two sounds like the most fun. Blindfolds are sometimes a little scary for threes...but try it once they have the hang of this game.

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

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2012 Awards
Educational Insights Puppet-on-a-Stick
(Educational Insights $24 Score:)

Three zany looking puppet heads are on rods with levers that make their mouths move. They have googly eyes, three colors, and odd-looking head shapes. These may in fact be easier for kids to manipulate than the usual hand glove puppets and with their strange look may lend themselves to original story telling. 4 & up.

SNAP AWARD: Given their rod holding design, these may be easier for kids with physical challenges to operate. They can be held in one hand and the mouths made to move with the other hand. So these may be real find.

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

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