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Product Type: Toys

 


2006 Award
Alfredo's Food Fight
(Fundex $19.99 Score:) Set up Alfredo the chef with his Velcro plates and apron; push the button on the base and he turns. while players use “forks” to launch meatballs covered with yarn spaghetti strands that stick. Our school-aged testers thought this was pure “silliness” and fun to play. For 2–4 players. 5 & up. (800) 486-9787.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Charoodles
(ThinkFun $19.99 Score:) Our families with older kids, 8 to 12, really enjoyed this new version of Charades that includes “props” (a foam ball, tube, square, and plastic cup) for acting out one of the 3,000 charades on the play cards. Timer included. A good choice for a family party. (800) 468-1864.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Castle Keep
(Gamewright $11.99 Score:)

The object is to be the first to complete a castle with a total of nine castle cards (walls, towers, and a keep). But beware—opposing players can seize your pieces if they have a duplicate! A game of strategy that involves flexible thinking as builders must match geometric and color attributes. 8 & up. For younger players, Leaping Lizards ($9.99 ) is also an attribute game. The novel “game board” is actually a long shoestring and beads. With each turn players choose a “lucky” picture token that will help determine how many spaces they can move. Watch out, if you roll a sad face you move backwards! This can be frustrating for younger players. With adult participation, 5s & 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: 2006. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2006 Award
Star Wars ARC-170 Starfighter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $39.99 Score:) Some of the best Lego sets this year came from the Star Wars line. Top marks went to this new fighter featured in the last film. Our testers also enjoyed the Wookiee Catamaran ($49.99 /376 pieces) which comes with Jedi lightsabers that really light up (very cool). 8 & up. Editors’ note: Also noteworthy—Lego Factory, where you build your own creations online at lego.com and then they ship you the parts. (800) 223-8756.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Quadrilla
(HaPe $30 Score:) A new line of imported marble run toys caught our attention for their design (they are beautiful). An unusual funnel-shaped piece is the center post of both the Basic Set ($49.95) and the big Twist Set ($149.95). Their Rail Set ($129.95) is also a beauty, with releases that add surprise motion. The first batch of these sets had some rough pieces that impeded the marble from rolling, but this issue has been addressed. If you got one of the old sets, exchange it. (800) 661-4142.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Magbots Scorpion
(Mindscope $19.95 Score:) A magnetically assembled robotic scorpion, was “awesome.” “This is totally different from anything else,” noted our tester. The embedded magnets make putting together this 96-piece futuristic scorpion a unique building experience. (800) 903-6249.

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

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K'nex Pirate Ship Park
(KNEX $49.99 Score:) Pirate Ship Park is over two feet tall. This motorized kit can build three different amusement park-style rides with screaming sounds and swinging action.Not for beginners! Not available for testing.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
City
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:) The consensus from our builders this year was, “no way a 5 year old could do this.” That said, our older testers enjoyed the city-themed sets that include a Fire and Construction set. Our 8-year-old tester enjoyed building and playing with the Fire Truck ($19.99/214 pieces ) that comes with a movable ladder, two firefighters, and a boat for sea rescues. The same family had more difficulty with the Fire Station ($29.99/260 pieces ). One tester’s parent commented that it’s “like a boy’s ultimate dollhouse,” but the 6-year-old builder had trouble following the directions and the lift in the station “did not work well.” Once assembled it was enjoyed as a pretend setting. Marked 5 & up, but most 5s will need assistance. (800) 223-8756.

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

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2006 Award
Roboraptor
(WowWee $100 Score:) As friendly as Robosapien was last year, Roboraptor is scary. A 32"-long white robotic dino, he acts like a predator! His sensors allow him to react to his environment which sometimes means he’ll hiss, snap, and generally creep you out. For our older toy testers this was cool. (Some little siblings may truly be freaked out by his aggressive nature). Easy to control, although “running” mode looks more like a fast walk. Also new for 2006, WowWee Alive Chimpanzee ($130) is a chimp head with “facetronics” that come alive with motion and sounds. Talk about creepy! Prototype was amazing, but it was not ready for testing. 10 & up. (800) 310-3033.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Magical Mystique Puppets
(Manhattan Toy $10 Score:) These hand puppets are perfect for fairy tales: a splendid new dragon, a unicorn, and a pup who’s dressed as a wizard. Still top rated, Knightingtales Pup-pets ($10 each). You need all five fingers to make the most of these velour royals—a king, queen, and knight. (800) 541-1345.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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