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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years

 

 
2014 Awards
Plan Toys 50 Unit Blocks
(Plan Toys $90 Score:)

Fifty unit blocks makes a good place to start with basic gear for play. This handsome set comes with twelve shapes and no premade directions or suggestions. These are the most fundamental open-ended play materials that invite creative thinking and math concepts. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Crayola My Virtual Fashion Show
(Crayola $19.99 Score:)

Wow! Young fashion designers can create fabulous fashions in their 20-page Fashion Sketch Book by coloring the front and back images of clothes in the book. The kit comes with 12 colored pencils. Next, they take a photo of their designs with their "device" (meaning smart phones or i-pad) and use the My Virtual Fashion Show app to customize the model’s look and accessories. Got it all set? Now kids can watch their original fashions on the runway as the 3-D model walks and spins to show front and back of their high style creations. Their creations can be saved on the device to view again and again. Instead of giving over your device, most of the designing is done on paper and then viewed on the device. Now, this is technology they gotta love, if they are into fashion! They say 6 & up. We'd say slightly older girls will be using this as more than a coloring book. Older girls will be able to add the more design elements for impressive results. Our ten year old tester said this was the most exciting new electronic art toy of the year. We have to agree.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Crayola Light Designers Widescreen Light Designer
(Crayola $44.99 Score:)

A large light-up drawing board that comes with six gel markers that glow when the light is turned on. Kids can draw, doodle and even write letters on the LED screen. It has seven different effects that add interest and requires 3 AA batteries. There is a panel kickstand for standing the screen into a display. Since the board is big, it will make sense for playing school, signs for play restaurants, etc. It may also be a good way to motivate kids who need to work on shaping letters, and much more fun for practice runs with the weekly spelling list or math problems.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Spot it! Disney Pixar Words
(Blue Orange Games $13 Score:)

Take your choice of licenses: Disney Princesses or Pixar, whatever appeals to your beginning reader, here is a fun way to develop matching skills as well as sight word recognition. There is only one matching pair on any two cards and you have to be fast to be first to spot it! Kids identify the matching words pairs or word and image matches. A fun choice for 2-8 players ages 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Spot It! Disney Planes Alphabet Game
(Blue Orange Games $14 Score:)

Take your choice of licenses: Planes, Sofia the First, or Frozen, whatever appeals to your preschooler, this is a fun way to learn their letters by finding matching letters or images on a pair of cards. Kids identify the letter pairs by name and shape so this is a playful way to reinforce letter recognition. There are three ways to play with the 55 cards that fit neatly back in their round tin for take along ease. There is also a preschool game for matching numbers and shapes. Marked 3 & up, we think it is probably a better bet for 4-5's.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Plan Toys Braille Alphabet
(Plan Toys $29.99 Score:)


Two-sided wooden alphabet pieces have upper case on one side and lower case on the reverse. Made of wood, they are smooth and have a corner bent for ease of lifting and turning. They also have Braille symbols on each side. Use these for playing knowing and naming letter or sound games. Sort them by finding all the straight edged letters and then find all the ones with rounded lines. Plan Toys uses sustainable rubber wood that is coated with a non-toxic finish and colors from vegetable dye. Marked for 2 & up. We'd say more like a 3-5 year old choice.

SNAP: Useful for all sorts of knowing and naming letter names and sound games. Introduce just a few pieces at a time and play with those names and sounds.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Hape Dream House
(HaPe $199.99 Score:)

Our tester loves the see-through elevator that runs up and down the outside of this three-story house with chalk siding so kids can customize the exterior walls. It not only comes mostly furnished, it has decorative wallpapered interior walls that are magnetized to hold easy-to-fill picture frames for original artwork or photos. The 32-piece doll house kitchen counter, refrigerator, sofa, loveseat, 3 rugs, coffee table, floor lamp, toilet, bathtub, bed with comforter, pillows, 2 side table, armoir, media cabinet, magnetized wall sconces, wall clock, 2 art frames, bath vanity, toilet paper roll, mirror, shower,LCD/TV, and wall shelf. Note: Dolls are available in families or individually and sold separately. 3 & up

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Zingo! Word Builder
(Thinkfun $19.99 Score:)

Our testers loved the fast-paced action of sliding the zinger machine to reveal two letters. Players take letter that they can use to complete a word on their playing boards. Possible words do vary so this game is rarely ever the same. In fact, it helps beginners see all the variations they can make as well as demonstrating the need to look at all the letters to see the difference between words that look almost alike. First player to fill his board is the winner. A fun way to reinforce reading skills for beginners who are learning to build phonetically regular three letter words. 5 & up

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Disney Planes Matching Game
(Wonder Forge $10..99 Score:)

For kids who are fans of Planes will like playing the classic matching game of concentration. Put the cards face down and take turns turning over two to find a pair of matching planes. True, it may be an old game, but an important one for building memory skills. These cards with distinctive bright backgrounds make the task somewhat easier. 3 & up

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Hape Happy Harp
(HaPe $36.99 Score:)

A charming and not too noisy instrument that kids can play instantly with the sheet music that goes under the strings. The sturdy wooden harp with nylon strings comes with two picks for strumming and several song sheets with familiar folksongs such as Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Happy Birthday, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and more; songs that kids will soon be able to play and sing along to. Although there are songsheet, in time, children will be picking out songs they know and play by ear. You will need to tune this lovely auto harp before you present it. It comes with a tuner, so just keep track of that since it will need adjusting from time to time.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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