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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Categories: Construction Toys

 


2013 Award
Magformers Light Show
(Magformers $119.99 Score:)

Light up power adds a new dimension to this 55-piece set of magnetic shapes. With large and small triangles, squares, clear pyramids, and a chargeable light, kids can turn their constructions into showy towers that change colors. All magnets are safely inside the plastic forms. This kit comes with an idea booklet for building models and all sorts of light shows. Like all Magformers, it can be used in open-ended construction, as well. Hands-on experiments help kids discover not only some math concepts, they have to deal directly with the magnetic poles inside the plastic forms, turning them so that they attract. This combines stealth learning: math, science, visual and manual dexterity, creative problem solving, construction play, imagination, and good fun. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
LEGO Galaxy Squad Warp Stinger
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

We thought this was one of the most unusual LEGO builds we've ever seen. Comes with 310 pieces, including three minifigures. When built it's over 8" high and 10" wide. It was less flexible than we imagined (we thought a wasp would have a flying position.) Our testers agreed that the colors were pretty amazing. It comes with one ball that shoots out of the bottom of the tail (they thought it should come with more).  The set includes many really small pieces that require greater fine motor skills as well as strength to make happen.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Lego Friends Rehearsal Stage
(Lego Systems $19.99 Score:)

Stephanie wants to be a superstar. She works out in her rehearsal studio with a revolving platform. She has a guitar, keyboard, and microphone. For dancing she has a ballet bar and mirror and before she goes on stage she puts on her make-up at a dressing table. A 198-piece set with one mini-figure. 5-12

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Lego Creator Power Mech
(Lego $19.99 Score:)

One of the clever 3-in-1 building sets. Our tester liked making the action figure, a robot and then converted it to a helicopter and then to a pick-up truck. Makes a good birthday party gift for school age kids. A versatile construction set with 223-pieces and clear directions for 7-12.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Lego Creator Power Mech
(Lego $19.99 Score:)

One of the clever 3-in-1 building sets. Our tester liked making the action figure, a robot and then converted it to a helicopter and then to a pick-up truck. A versatile construction set with 223-pieces and clear directions for 7-12.


Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Lego Friends Stephanie's Soccer Practice
(Lego Systems, Inc. $9.99 Score:)

A small 80-piece kit with props and Stephanie mini-figure and her pup with props for soccer and snacks. Packed full of items such as a goal, ball, soccer ball launcher, obstacle course and more.   Also new and top-rated in the Friends line, Emma's Karate Class, a 93-piece set. 5-12

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
LEGO City Tanker Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:) A 191-piece tanker truck that is somewhat simpler than some of the others. Designed for less experienced builders, it is a modular build. The set includes a stand alone gas pump with retractable hose, valve and fire extinguisher. The green and white tanker comes with an action figure driver who fits in the cab, can climb on the truck ladder and work the gas pump. A good build with plenty of dramatic play once the pieces are fit together. Marked 5 -12, it took our seven year old tester just under 2 hours to build.  Feedback included: "He likes that the truck side pivots open so you can put the race car inside (it does make it less stable though). The back of the truck also flips open and you can insert the car that way as well. He also likes that the cab of the truck swivels left and right as you "drive" it around. He says he wishes the little cabinet was big enough to fit all of the tools. He also likes that the set comes with three guys!"

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Lego 3-in-1 Super Racer
(Lego Systems, Inc. $16.99 Score:)

New to the clever Creator line of builds, this 121-piece set can be put together in three different versions: a quad bike, go-kart or racing car. These make terrific birthday gifts for all the parties your child attends. 6-12.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Lego City Fire Station
(Lego Systems, Inc. $91.36 Score:)

Top of the LEGO City Fire line, this three-story fire station is a perfect setting for all the action and drama of a firehouse. There's a firetruck with reeling hose, extending ladder, and real rubber tires; a helicopter with spinning rotors; five minifigures, a fire van with emergency lights and fire extinguisher. The building itself has bay doors that open to let the truck drive in and out. It has a helipad on top and a 3-story fire pole that figures can go down. There are al sort of firefighting accessories such as walkie-talkies, phone, toolbox, computer, and furniture. The modular build means that related pieces are packaged together and can be assembled in sub-sections. No more dumping all the pieces and then trying to find little pieces in a sea of many. The process is partially sorted to make it less confusing. This elaborate set has 752 pieces in all and will provide a wonderful dramatic play setting after the challenge of building is completed.  6-12.

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Lego City Cement Mixer
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

Another in the modular builds, designed to simplify the process. This cement mixer has a rotating drum, a movable chute and the cab section actually tips fir access to the engine! It includes two construction workers, with wheelbarrow, bricks, and a cup for coffee breaks. The 221-piece set is a challenging, but satisfying construction set. 5-12

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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