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Product Type: Toys

 


2005 Award
Geomag
(Ekos $20 Score:) We love these open-ended magnetic sets. Put one on the coffee table and everyone will take a turn. Geomag comes with straight magnetic rods in different colors and steel balls. The rods are not tapered like the competing Supermag sets (although our testers judged them to be equally enjoyable to use.) Geomag Panel kits were interesting at first, but not as open-ended as the classic sets. (888) 450-9858.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
KNEX Big Air Ball Tower
(KNEX $99.99 Score:) The wow-wee set of the season, this ball run is over five feet tall when completed (which will require some adult assistance). Comes with more than 1350 pieces, so not for the meek builders! Four D batteries power the fan that propels the plastic balls through a maze of tubing, and traditional Knex pieces! A fun parent–child project for those who love to build.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
4-Way Countdown
(Cadaco $19.95 Score:) This PLATINUM AWARD winner just got more interesting. The object is to be the first player to turn over all ten of your pegs by rolling dice. Players may add, subtract, multiply, or divide the numbers they roll in order to get the number they need. 6 & up. (800) 621-5426. SNAP: For two way game stick with the original Countdown. An excellent game with concrete as well as symbolic ways of looking at numbers.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Talking Math Mat Challenge
(Learning Resources $29.95 Score:) Kids step on this talking mat to answer math quizzes programmed at two levels of difficulty. Level One asks kids to find the numeral named and do simple addition and subtraction. More fun than flash cards, but not that different in content. It's for kids who are ready for drill. Labeled 4–7, most fours will do only the numeral game. Far more appropriate for mid-first and second graders. Forget the newer Factor Frenzy and Light 'N Strike Math. Both require too many steps to enter an answer—totally frustrating.. Also, testers gave the new-for-2007 ABC Chalk Talk! ($39.95 ) thumbs down because it is “buggy.” Players correctly identified “c” as the first letter of cup, but were told repeatedly that they were wrong. The tone of the machine isn’t mean but isn’t very pleasant, either. (800) 222-3909.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
3x49 Puzzles
(Ravensburger $8.5 Score:) Comes with 3 forty-nine-piece puzzles (that you sort out first by using the different patterns on the puzzle backs). Choose either the dinosaur or jungle animals motif. Challenging but satisfying.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Awards
Ceramic Allowance Bank
(Creativity for Kids $14.99 Score:) A chubby white ceramic pig ready to paint and hold spare change or allowance. It has an easy-to-pull-out rubber stopper, so they don’t need to break the bank when they want to spend some of their savings! Includes a “chores” booklet with star stickers… the idea being that they earn their allowance. We have mixed feelings about paying kids for chores… but we do like the idea of encouraging them to save their pennies, nickels, and dimes! Also new from the ceramic line, Le Most Petite Purses ($15.99 ) comes with three different small ceramic purses, paint, and rhinestones. Our testers thought these would make great gifts for mom or a decoration for their own vanity. 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Fashion Angels
(Fashion Angels Enterprises $24.99 Score:) Our 9- and 11-year-old testers worked seriously to make original costumes for the set of four super-sized fashion angels that come in a kit with fabric, patterns, glitter, trims, and glue for making very cool outfits. Sturdier than paper dolls, players need dexterity, patience, and the ability to deal with details. 8 & up. Slightly easier and more flexible, Groovy Girls Design Studio Woodkins (Pamela Drake $19.99) comes with one "woodkin" style doll with wooden frame that lifts and closes down to hold the fabric and trims. It comes with scissors, glitter, stickers, and lots of details for designing special outfits that are easy to keep changing. 8 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Box of Rocks
(GeoCentral $21.99 Score:)

If you have a young rock hound in the family, this box with 16 specimens and an informative booklet will be a hit and may inspire further discoveries. Activity Rocks ($5.25 ) has four specimens—including one that floats!

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2005. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2005 Award
Road Trip Activity Journal
(Mudpuppy Press $10 Score:) There's lots to keep a tween busy with this clever activity journal that has a place for addresses, bingo, lots of other games, and space to write and draw as they travel. 9 & up. Still top rated, Totable Journals ($10) These 144-page journals come with a handle, stickers, and an assortment of lined, graph, and blank pages for kids to keep track of their adventures. 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Push Around Buggy SAFETY RECALL
(Step 2 $40 Score:)

NOTE: This toy and the Whisper Buggy are subject to a safety recall from the CPSC (May 12, 2010). To read the release, click here,  and to arrange for a free repair kit from Step 2 call (866) 860-1887 or visit www.step2.com.  

Little toddlers can get into this vehicle without climbing. It is not a toy for them to run with foot power, it is more like a stroller for giving your tot a ride. It has a seat belt, push bar, and a storage compartment up front for treasures. Tested far better than Step 2's other ride-ons such as the Basket Ride-On ($21.99), a low-to-the-ground red three-wheeler with a big yellow basket for treasures. Testers found its lack of steering a drawback. Step 2's red Motorcycle ($21.99) was not balanced enough for toddlers and the small red Classy Cruiser ($34.99) was too difficult for young riders to get in and out of—and too small for older riders. None have steering.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2005.

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