Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Categories: Active Physical Play

 


2004 Award
Bucket Blast
(LoLo $34.99 Score:) This arrived too late for our 2004 book, but it's a winner! Our mixed-aged testors(5-9) had fun not only playing inside and outside but also making up their own games. About thte only thing they didn't like was misplacing a few beanbags! The product not only held interest after the newness wore off...our testors friends asked if they could play Bucket Blast at a sleep over party this weekend. These are 9 year old girls- but the 5 year old brother in the group loved it,too. The buckets that strap onto the and belts are sturdy, and easily assembled. The kids were able to assemble them. This is a fun active game with 15 suggested games and room for kids to make up their own. It's a fun game set for indoors, outdoors. Our parent tester wrote, "Easy to take to the beach or even just fun day trips where there is a block of time whether a picnic or something, great time could be had by all." Kids learn a lot about turn taking, color recognition, counting and team playing. According to our parent tester ...."There was very little bickering going on with this. The kids all seemed to find their own place and were able to play at whatever level they could. They all enjoyed it." (800)760-9930.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2006 Award
Back Yard Flyer
(Kid Galaxy $15 Score:) "One of the best toys of the year" was the consensus among our tween testers. They were thrilled with this small blue and yellow plane that is launched by using the battery powered hand-held launcher. Everyone found the launcher easy to use and had a great time running after the plane that really took off! The company says that when the trigger is pulled the plane will fly for 30 seconds or more. It kept our testers (parents included) well occupied for part of an afternoon--even when it went flying into the neighbor's backyard! A great toy for the price. (While our testers gave rave reviews to this product, they found the company's remote control plane very difficult to make work.)

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Awards
PlasmaCar
(PlaSmart $69.95 Score:) Our testers from ages 4 to 12 could not get enough of this new ride-on that according to the manufacturer runs on “inertia, centrifugal force, and friction.” Sounds like a lot of serious scientific principles - but this is sheer fun rolled up in one zippy vehicle! There are no pedals, or batteries needed. Rotate the steering wheel and you’re off on any smooth surface. This was tested indoors in a room with the furniture moved out of the way for clear sailing. Your feet are your brakes and this will support riders up to 220 pounds on a smooth, even surface and 120 pounds on an uneven, rough surface. One mom suggested the manufacturer should add bumpers to the front and back to protect the walls. That said- it’s the new favorite toy in their neighborhood. 4 & up. (877) 289-0730.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2007 Award
Wet Head
(Imagination Entertainment $19.99 Score:) On a hot day, this water roulette toy is the perfect outdoor game. After you fill the hat's reservoir with water, each player takes a turn wearing the hat and having the other players pull one of the water plugs on the hat. Watch out, one of them will release all the water! Best played in bathing suits!

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Mattel Hot Wheels ESS Radar Gun
(Mattel $24.99 Score:)

This really works! We tracked cars (we don’t recommend this to kids—but we couldn’t help ourselves), baseball pitches, and bicycles going by. Fun for outdoor play. (800) 542-8697. Our testers also tried the Discovery Speed Detector ($39.95 ) and gave it strong reviews as well. In a head-to-head competition, the Mattel gun is more sensitive and responds better than the Discovery version, which takes more finesse to work. That said, both did well with our kid testers. Both 8 & up. These toys have been discontinued.


Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2009 Award
BeeBoo Big Bubble Mix Kit and Dip Stix
(Extreme Bubbles, Inc. $10 & up Score:)

Hands down one of our new favorite products of the year! The unique bubble wand consists of two long wooden handles connected by soft rope. Dip the wand into the bucket with the handles closed. Take the wand out of the solution and open the handles slowly and amazingly, extremely large bubbles that will impress even the most "I'm so over bubbles"  teenager. Great fun for the backyard with mixed ages.  New for 2010, Dip Stix.  The big handles on the wands are now painted (they look less homemade)--and you can mix your own bubble solution in the built in container.  For the Tang generation, the mix your own mixture will seem like fun. Some of our parents (with younger kids) prefer the "it's good to go from the start" approach.  You can still buy the original bubble mixture.  While we found that younger children were delighted with running after these super big bubbles (and their parents had fun making them), this is truly one of the few outdoor toys that will capture the attention of teens and adults.   If you're having a family reunion--this is fun to have around!

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Bocce Ball Set
(Restoration Hardware $119 Score:)

What we love about bocce is that it really can be enjoyed by a multi-generation team of players. The pace is just right for a lazy summer afternoon. Perhaps because we are not a very coordinated family, bocce has always had a special place in our summer rituals (you really don't need to have too much athletic ability to play!)  This set comes with a brown canvas bag for storage.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .

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2008 Award
FlyTech Butterfly and Moth
(WowWee $24.99 Score:)

Ok, so it's probably too early in the season to declare our favorite toy...but these butterflies and moths are clearly front runners! Easy to launch- you just hold the button down on the launcher until the wings really start to go-and then pull it back all the way-the butterfly or moth will take off! Also available, a pretty sharp looking red and black Mosquito (only on-line). This is the type of toy everyone will want a turn playing with- including the adults. (Editors Update: So these remain one of our top fun picks of the entire year.)

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Maxi Kick Scooter
(Kickboard USA $149 Score:)

The Maxi Scooter is designed for kids ages 6-10. Based on the 3-wheel design of the Mini Scooter, the Maxi is the Mini's big sister and big brother, designed for bigger kids. It is - bigger, cooler, tougher, stronger for the action it is sure to get. Our testers like the convertible handle that can be used upright, like a joy stick or sideways in the traditional style. Available in black or purple. 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, Later School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Award
Green Machine
(Huffy $100 Score:) You'll want a turn on this truly innovative ride-on. Steer the two chunky rear wheels by moving the two hand levers (one also has a brake). Solidly made for even bigger kids (and small adults!).

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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