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

 


2008 Award
Lego City Coast Guard Patrol Boat and Tower
(Lego Systems, Inc. $59.99 Score:)

Young builders will be thrilled to have a 17" patrol boat that actually floats after they assemble it. It has a crane that turns and moves up and down to put rafts into the water and to lower the anchor. This kit includes a 12 tall control station tower and a 10" long dock. This 444 piece set also includes four mini figures, shark, surfboard, small boat and other accessories for dramatic play. 5 & up. Our testers noted that 5s will need help and older more experienced builders will find this set too easy. As always, we recommend starting with smaller sets of Lego--building your child's confidence and competence as they build up to bigger sets. Lego has also started putting all the pieces for a particular item in one bag--this makes it much easier. Most of us remember that "where is that one piece!" moment when confronted with a box with hundreds of pieces.

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

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2008 Award
Playmobil Circus Collection
(Playmobil $15 Score:)

When we first saw this amazing set at Toy Fair, we both scribbled in our notebooks looks great! When the toy went out to our testers the response was as we suspected: "Easy to follow instructions and attention to detail that is astounding" "Loved the flickering lights in the tent. Love the high wire!" If you're already a Playmobil fan, you know that these make great parent child projects. There are lots of pieces so adult assistance is a must but then your child will enjoy hours of pretend play. The backdrop to this collection is of course the Big Top that comes with a red and white tent, seating, and of course the ring leader. You can then add additional sets including the band (that has sound effects in their platform), the animal trailer, the horse circus act, animal trainer, tightrope artists, and dog circus act. Really very special! The additional sets make perfect presents for aunts and uncles.

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

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2008 Award
Playmobil Horse Farm Pony Set
(Playmobil $99.99 Score:)

If all things ponies and horses are big in your house, here's the perfect gift to bring home! A new horse farm that comes with a red roofed stable (with room for three ponies). Set includes three ponies, food, fence, grooming gear, wheel barrel, hay, ladder, three people and the all important shovel. As with all Playmobil sets, for a younger child you'll have to help with the set up - making this a great parent/child project. Your child will then have a wonderful pretend setting to enjoy with you or independently. Other add on that are fun and will extend the pretend possibilities: Horse Washing Station ($24.99), Horse Trailer ($42.99), and Trotting Racer ($8.99).

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

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2008 Award
Cheekeyes Wooden Dinosaur Animal Set
(Cheekeyes $29.99 Score:)

You know that we're big on wooden blocks as basic gear for the preschool set. Adding props to blocks can spark new directions for dramatic play. We love this new line of handsomely crafted wooden dinosaurs. The company also offers a set of farm animals, trees, a cave and a mountain. The dinos and the animals are outstanding in this category. They are very smooth (as all wooden toys should be) and they have paint only on the sides. Available only on line at oompa.com.

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

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2008 Award
Lego Racer Red Ace
(Lego Systems, Inc. $9.99 Score:)

A late arrival at a great price. This Red Ace is a small pull back racer that has red detailing. Pull it back and send it flying on the ramp. This is a relatively easy build with only 82 pieces but it has lots of play value. We'd recommend bringing home two so that you can have races.

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

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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
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. Its 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
Mega Bloks Streetz Series
(Mega Bloks $9.99 Score:)

A collection of small builds fit together to create a city setting. They come with two small vehicles, one of which lights up and a ramp for doing acrobatic stunts.  We tested the Donut Dash shop with a revolving giant donut on top and the Micro Motors garage with a pizza shop. These are small quick builds with play value. They will also appeal to the collecting bug that school age kids often have. 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: 2009.

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Mgears
(Learning Resources $36.95 Score:) From the folks that brought you the open-ended Gearbotic sets (BLUE CHIP), here's a more advanced 350-piece set that comes with gears and a motorized wheelbase. We thought this was going to be a huge hit but our testers found the set difficult to do independently and then they didn't think the vehicles went fast enough. We still highly recommend the original nonmotorized BLUE CHIP Gears! Gears! Gears! sets because they are more open-ended and develop problem-solving skills as kids make their own moving machines. ($20/$40). Also new this year, Dizzy Fun Land ($36.95), a gear set with an amusement park theme that our five-year-old tester enjoyed. 5 & up.

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

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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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