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Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Review Year: 2012

 


2012 Award
eeBoo Fancy Scissors
(eeBoo $5 Score:)

There are six pairs of Fancy Scissors, each with a different kind of edge. There are zig zags, scallops, sawtooth edges that are perfect for making cards, giftwrapping, borders for bookmarks, or scrapbooking. Getting kids to develop their fine motor skills has never been more fun. These work well for righties as well as lefties. Pair these with some of eeBoo's new paper packs of printed squares. Also available Plain stainless steel scissors with two color handles($3.50) and a blunt tip but sharp enough for success. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Camping: A Mr. and Mrs. Green Adventure
(by Keith Baker, Houghton Mifflin $12.95/4.99 Score:)

Beginning readers will giggle as they read about the Mr. Green's ridiculous ideas of what to take on a camping trip and his fears of going too far from home. One of a new series about a droll couple who just happen to be alligators. Also good fun, Fishing, another amusing adventure in which Mrs. Green seems to think that Mr. Green has the better side of the boat and the better fishing pole, since he keeps catching fish and she does not. A light breezy new series for beginners. Level 2.

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

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2012 Awards
4M Bubble Science
(4M Kidzlabs $12.99 Score:)

A great way to explore the science of bubbles! Includes a tray, a pyramid framed wand, a cube frames wand, other shaped wands, yarn, straws, wand sticks, a mouthpiece to form a cone shaped blower, a small container of bubble solution and best of all an experiment booklet for making all sort of bubble magic happen. You will need to add more dish washing detergent. Younger kids will need your help with reading the directions and your participation in making some of the experiments work. That said, this is an interesting kit that our tester really loved. Making a bubble within a bubble took some try-try-again efforts, but in the end there was triumph! 5 & up with parent's help. 8 & up independently.

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
Jake and the Never Land Pirates Who Shook Captain Hook? Game
(Wonder Forge $19.99 Score:)

Fans of everything pirates and specifically the Disney show Jake and the Never Land Pirates will enjoy this treasure grabbing game. The board sets up with Captain Hook taking a nap on his hammock -- he's surrounded by all of his treasures.  On each turn you will be instructed (by where you land) on which tool you will use to remove the treasure from the hammock.  Use the little plastic sword, fishing pole, tweezers (the easiest) or the shovel to grab your treasure. BUT be careful--if Captain Hook falls off the hammock, you lose the round. Fun and fast rounds.

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

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2012 Awards
Huggalo Collection
(Huggalo $19.95 Score:)

Huggalos are soft huggable dolls with a dedicated place on their chest for placing a photo of someone special. There's Doodle Dude (made of canvas and intended to be written on), Camo Joe (done in green fleece camaflouge), Huggsley (our favorite - he comes with a cape and is clearly the super hero of the line), and Camo Flo (same idea as Camo Joe but done in pink).  We think this collection will have an audience with not only the preschool set--but tweens/teens.  The line has a sense of humor and whimsy to it that will likely have wide appeal.

SNAP: Having a photo of a family member can be a comfort take-along when going out into the world. This one is less young looking than most and a little more amusing.

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

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2012 Award
FAO Schwarz 150th Anniversary Playmobil Victorian City LIfe Set
(Playmobil $129 Score:)

To celebrate their 150th anniversary, FAO Schwarz has reintroduce a classic Playmobil set that is very special. In addition to the victorian house (that comes completely furnished), our testers loved the horse and buggy for taking the family out for a ride.  The attention to detail (as with all Playmobil sets) is unmatched-- our favorites:  the grandfather clock,  the flower boxes, the "modern" car, and the umbrella and purse for the lady of the house! A great parent/child project that will then be used a setting for dramatic play.  Available at the store or at TRU on line.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Janod Body Magnets
(Janod $29.99 Score:)

For school-aged kids who are curious about what's inside their bodies, this magnet body set is a great place to start. Comes with 36 cards that show the different systems (skeletal, vascular, etc.) and the 76 body magnet parts are fun for layering on the human body form.

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Janod Kubix Geometrix Blocks
(Janod $24.99 Score:)

A pleasing set of 50 wooden geometric cubes in an array of colors.  We love the open-endedness of this set-- exploring how the differently shaped cubes can fit together.  Fun to work on with your child - a great opportunity to talk about colors and shapes.  The blocks are also ideal for working on visual discriminaton skills. The only issue we had with the product was the recommended age. While an 18 month old could fill and dump with these pieces, the set is better suited for older preschoolers given the fine motor skills needed to turn the pieces - not to mention the problem solving skills required to fit the pieces together.

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

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2012 Award
Polly Pocket Spin 'N Surprise Hotel
(Mattel $49.99 Score:)

Whether you're a fan of Polly Pockets or not, there is something about the clever/silliness of the tiny settings that makes you think about the design team behind this line.  The new hotel feels like Polly Pockets meets Austin Powers/Get Smart. The rooms move and are dual purposed to give the two level structure a 60s POP feel.  We also love the little suction cups on the Polly Pockets shoes that allow them to stand up and play ping-pong on the flip down table.  Our testers also gave high marks for the slide that takes the girls from the top level to their waiting pool below. The elevator also twirls the Polly Pockets as they go up and down.  Take a look at the video to see all the transformations packed into this little space.

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

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2012 Award
LEGO Hulk Helicarrier Breakout
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)

The HULK action figure sold our testers on this Marvel Super Heroes Kit. With 389 pieces, it's a medium build with lots of pretend action when you're done. The set also includes Thor, Hawkeye and Loki.  The Helicarrier and jet fighter are also part of the build. If you have a child that's into LEGO and the HULK, this set will be a hit.  No one will be angry.

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

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