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

 


2012 Award
Dicecapades! Dice T, A Dice Rolling Crossword Game
(Haywire Group $20.99 Score:)

We see a lot of word games and this one has a fresh spin on spelling and word fun. Each player draws three cards and rolls a set of alphabet cubes. The object is to arrange the cubes on the cards and tally your score. Everyone plays at the same time and scoring depends in part on the luck of the cards you draw and their point value and the player's skill in using the cards to advantage. Beginners may need to learn strategies for moving their cubes to get the best play value. This can be played by a mixed age group or include beginners as partners to more advanced players till they learn the game. For 2-4 players. 8 and up

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

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2012 Award
Faber-Castell Drawing and Sketching
(Faber-Castell $11 Score:)

A beginner's drawing kit with four graphite pencils, hard and soft, a sharpener, eraser, one medium and one fine tip black marker, one black brush tip pen, a pouch for these items. The kit also includes a 24-pg spiral sketchbook, six sheets of drawing paper, eight sheets of vellum paper, and a copy grid. A well-done 24 page instruction booklet also introduces various techniques for exploring drawing. 9 & up.

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

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2012 Award
Creativity for Kids Rhinestone Rings
(Creativity for Kids $18.99 Score:)

Our tester liked everything about this kit with 12 adjustable rings and tons of flowers and butterflies that easily stick to them. The precut forms are attached with layers of foam squares and topped with a glue on the "gemstone" that is like icing on the cake. With a dozen rings, this makes a good kit for a play date. This kit calls for fine motor skills to handle the tiny foam adhesive squares. Of course, there are enough rings for every finger on both hands with two left over for toes! Marked 7 & up, but 7's will likely need help with the first few.

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
Array
(Funnybone Toys $14.99 Score:)

Players use the 12-sided cards to lay off as many cards in their hand as possible on their turn. To play a card you must connect like colors until you can make no further connections. Now it is the next player's turn. The game also includes some slam and splatter cards that can add cards and points to your hand or to your opponent's. There are 70 Array cards and 12 Action cards. Beautiful colors of the cards will appeal to the eye, especially of the artists in your midst. This company also made an interesting game of Spectrix that involves building color sequences. We liked the game, but found the directions lacked clarity. Both games are for 8 & up.

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

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2012 Award
Knex Corkscrew Coaster
(KNEX $22 Score:)

Scaled down to 337 pieces, the Corkscrew Roller Coaster not only takes up less space, it takes less time to build but is a satisfying motorized setting when it is complete. One of three new Amusement Park sets that are more realistic in size and scope for young builders. In previous years the huge five-foot tall Knex models with 2,000+ pieces required a significant amount of time and space. For most builders the new smaller model that stands a foot and a half tall when complete will be more do-able. That said, this is still a parent-child project for the suggested age on the box. We note that some builders had problems keeping this together, but our testers say if you follow the directions and fasten them properly the product stays together without any problems. For a more upright look, there is a Vertical Viper Coaster, with 318 pieces that stands a little more than a foot and a half tall, and uses the same scaled down size pieces. Takes 2 AA batteries that are not included. Labeled for 7+.

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

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2012 Award
Flingin' Frogs
(Patch Products $12.60 Score:)

Set up the five tier lily pads and get ready to flip your frogs. This is a tiddely winks game for a rainy summer day. Kids can play solo or with friends. All 12 frogs (in three colors) fit into the case for easy storage. This might be a good take along for the summer cottage or sleep away camp. 5-8

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

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2012 Award
Kerflip
(Creative Foundry Games $24.99 Score:)

Word lovers get ready for a fast playing game where you score highest when you score first. All play begins on the white side of the letter tiles. Each letter used is worth 10 points. Once used, the tiles are flipped and now worth only 5 points. You play against the timers and your opponents. But you have to act fast to win a round. This is a faster game than most--you can score with smaller words, but there's no time for dawdling or stalling or the timer will run out or someone else may grab the tiles you are thinking of! Designed for 8 and up. We'd say an even better bet for 10-adult.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Franklin Badminton/Volleyball Combo Set
(Franklin $41.69 Score:)

How about a family tournament for your own home grown Olympics? Play badminton or volleyball with this set; a surefire crowd pleaser for backyard summer fun, especially if you have a multi-generational crowd. This set includes the net (poles), 4 racquets, 2 birdies, a volleyball, pump, rules (always good!) and it all zips up into a carrying case. There are pricier sets that may be sturdier, but for a short season of fun, this will probably be quite sufficient. We reviewed this Franklin set from Target. All Ages.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Rainbow Ribbons
(University Games $7.77 Score:)

Your aspiring athlete can try a hand at a skill that was recently added to the Olympics. All they need is this rainbow colored ribbon that is 6 feet long and attached to a ribbon wrapped wand. In the "olden days" when this reviewer was growing up they were made of crepe paper and sold in the candy store along with penny candy. They never lasted long, but they were as much a part of summer as jump ropes and rollerskates. These are made of fabric and probably will not have a long life, either, but they are good fun. the company does make a larger ribbon that is a foot longer and twice as expensive.

Age: 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
Bill & Betty Bricks
(Smart Games $24.99 Score:)

Using the wooden blocks shown on each puzzle, players progress from sort-of-easy to really challenging tasks of building the image shown with just the blocks shown. There are 9 blocks all together of varying fixed shapes. But fitting them together to replicate the image takes logic and spatial/visual perception...not to mention patience and stick-ability. This is a game that can be played solo or take turns if you like. There are 60 challenges at 5 different levels. They say 5-99. We think 5 year olds are going to need help.

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

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