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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Vehicles

 


2011 Award
Chuggington Wooden Railway Trainee Roundhouse Set
(Learning Curve International $119.99 Score:)

The middle sized set in this new series of trains from the folks that brought you Thomas the Tank. The set comes with 32 pieces of wooden track with plastic/wooden accessories. The set comes with two trains (Koko & Brewster) and a roundhouse that can hold three engines. One of the nice features of this series is that the accessories come apart so that they can be used in more than one way. For example in this set, the clock tower can stack on top of the roundhouse or be removed and used as a small tunnel elsewhere. Our testers have generally loved these sets but have noted that the tracks do not stay connected as well as the Thomas sets (which is odd since they're made by the same company!).

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Chuggington Wooden Railway Double-Decker Roundhouse with Elevated Turntable
(Learning Curve International $99.99 Score:)

Here's the "big" accessory for this new line of trains based on the show Chuggington. The roundhouse  can either be used stacked to provide an unusual two-story structure. It comes with a elevated turntable
in order to get the trains up and down from the second story (pretty cool). Or you can take the two halves of the roundhouse and use them to create a circle around your track. What we really love is that you can ascending pieces to add trains to the second story. There's something very cool about building height in train settings. Our tester did note that it seems more "plastic" than Thomas--but the amazing functionality of this prop outweighed all of those esthetic concerns. 


Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Chuggington Wooden Railway Over and Under Starter Set
(Learning Curve International $49.99 Score:)

Move over Thomas! There's a new train in town. Fans of the Chuggington series will enjoy this starter set. Comes with 22 pieces -including two trains (Wilson & Koko). One of our testers loved that the set came with two trains - just right for her two children ("no fighting").  What we liked about this set is that you
can make an elevated figure 8 with a clock tower in the center or take the tower apart and now you have two tunnels. Can be used with other wooden sets in this line and other wooden sets you may already have. All of our testing families noted that the tracks do not stay together as well as the Thomas tracks--something we also found - which is all the more curious given that these sets are made by the same company that makes Thomas!  Take a look at the accessories in these series.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Star Wars Millennium Falcon Remote Control
(Hasbro $49.99 Score:)

Star Wars fans are likely to have this remote controlled Millennium Falcon on the top of their wish list.  It is very lightweight and takes a certain amount of practice to get it to fly well which is the only reason it's not on the Platinum List. It's not the type of toy that you can hand off to your 8 year old and they will be good to go right from the start.  That said our tween and teen testers really liked adjusting the trim and working on their own ability to work the remote control. And it is the Millennium Falcon after all!

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Iron Man 2 Whip-It Racer RC Vehicle
(Silverlit Toys $39.99 Score:)

Our testers gave this Iron Man inspired RC a rave review.  Red, yellow with a big thick bumper in the front--this car was easy to steer. The "controllers work really well", "it really moves fast!" noted our kid testers and the parents commented that they really like the moderate price.   Silverlit also has a sleeker (all black and grey) RC for older fans ($29.99).  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, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Krazy Kars Light Up Marble Racers
(Skullduggery $7.99 Score:)

Kids can customize their own see-though racers with the stick-on decals. Give them a shake and the "marble" in the center of the vehicle lights up. These will make good party favors or stocking stuffers or a less than costly way to exit the toy store with a small purchase. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Hot Wheels Impavido ZipBin Race Case
(Neat-Oh $20 Score:)

A red backpack that opens to a small track and storage container for hot wheels. It comes with just one vehicle.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Hot Wheels ZipBin Wheelie Backpack
(Neat-Oh $20 Score:)

Just right for taking along to a play date or Gram's. This backpack opens to a play setting for drag racing your best cars. Shaped like a wheel it transforms to a working side-by-side race track for dramatic play fun. There's a garage area, a winner's circle and built-in parking. On line it says that it comes with two sturdy die cast sports cars, but in fact the toy we tested came with just one vehicle. There are three holders on each side of the drag racing track. Or you can fit as many as 100 loose vehicles in this as a storage bag. Also fun, the HotWheels ZipBin Skull ($20) Shaped like a ramp for race cars to zoom down, this opens into a track and also stores vehicles. It comes with just one car.   3 & up.

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: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Fisher-Price Steel Force Front Loader
(Fisher-Price $27.99 Score:)

A hefty front loader with working parts that will lift sand, or blocks and dump them wherever your construction worker steers it. This is a 15 inch truck that looks big but is not as heavy as your old Tonka trucks used to be. The painted metal trim is encased in plastic and sealed so there are no sharp edges and it should not rust. Also see the Steel Force Dump Truck. For smaller vehicles to take to beach or sandbox, see the Mini Front Loader and Mini Digger with treads from the same Steel Force line. ($16.99 each). 3 & up. 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: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Fisher-Price Steel Force Dump Truck
(Kid Galaxy $27.99 Score:)

A hefty working 15-inch plastic and steel trimmed dump truck that is light enough for kids to handle. The big wheels will ride through sand and mud and do a good day's work in sandbox or inside for dramatic play, loading and dumping with ease. The painted metal trim is encased in plastic and sealed so there are no sharp edges and it should not rust. 3 & up.

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: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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