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Product Type: Toys

 


2007 Award
Combo King
(Gamewright $14.99 Score:)

Our testing family thought this was a kinder, friendlier form of Yahtzee. The cards you draw determine what kind of roll you need to get in order to win the round (e.g., three 5s, two 3s). Some dice challenges invite everyone to compete (e.g, first person to roll a four wins). Not difficult to learn and fun to play. You win chips for winning the rounds (so there is a poker-like element to the game as well); first player to make all their combos is the Combo King. 8 & up but you’ll need an adult.

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: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Award
Ugly Doll
(Gamewright $9.99 Score:)

This is like a disorderly game of concentration. Do not place the cards in neat rows. Spread all 70 out on the top of the table and turn three at a time. Do not turn them back down. Next player turns three over. First person to spot three that match calls out, “Ugly” three times and takes them. Silly, but fun and calls for speedy visual discrimination. 6 & up. Game based on Ugly Dolls ($20 each 4), Japanese animation-inspired dolls (created in Brooklyn!). Very quirky—not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but fun.

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. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Award
Thing-a-ma BOTS
(Gamewright $5.99 Score:)

Players turn over cards and name the funny looking robots. Others must remember the names others give and say that name when they recognize a matching robot that is turned up. Person who calls out name of match takes the stack and play continues. A quick 12-minute game that calls for listening, looking, and remembering. Kids will have less trouble coming up with silly names than most self-conscious adults. 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. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
Kid Tough Digital Camera
(Fisher-Price $69.95 Score:)

This was a Platinum winner in 2007. What has changed? It is now waterproof-not a bad idea when you think of how often cameras are taken along to the beach or pool. Technically, this is not a 2009 winner, but it is worth considering. Designed for beginners, this digital camera works surprisingly easily. There is a two-eye view finder as well as a small but adequate screen. It’s easy to use with chunky handgrips and big button. Comes with built-in flash, runs on four AA batteries, and you can add a card for extra memory. Compatible with Mac or PC. They say 3 & up, we’d say more like 6 & up. Available in pink or blue. (800) 432-5437.

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

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2007 Award
Imaginetics
(International Playthings $6.99 Score:) These are similar to the Colorforms we grew up with, but they are magnetic. 5s and 6s will enjoy playing with these in the car and airport on their own or with you. New sets include Angelina Ballerina Friends Forever and Bob the Builder Sunflower Valley. (800) 445-8347.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Games to Go
(Alex $25.99 Score:) Six oversized 36" game boards for classics such as checkers, mancala, tic-tac-toe, snakes and ladders, backgammon, and Chinese checkers are printed with colorful graphics on fabric. Games are bound together like a giant book along with big playing pieces that all store in a zip-up bag. Clever way to take games along to beach or grandmas or a sleep over party. 5 & up. 5 & up. (800) 666-2539.

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

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2007 Award
Connect Four
(Milton Bradley $19.99 Score:) Large enough to handle with ease and compact enough to take along for travel or the beach. A zip fabric case opens and the four-in-a-row checkerboard stands up; there is storage for the playing pieces. Learning this game of strategy gets better as kids become familiar with it. You can even stop in mid-play and continue a round later. 7 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Super Embroidery Kit
(Alex $19.99 Score:) Packaged in a red felt bag with a pocket, this is a charming sewing set for beginners. There’s an embroidery hoop and one practice cloth for trying out stitches as well as a dozen colors of floss, scissors, needles, transfer patterns to iron on, felt letters, shapes, and pieces to decorate with beads and sequins. A clear stitching guide is included. They have even included some buttons for practical needle-work. Marked 7 & up, we’d say more like 9 to ’tweens. (800) 666-2539.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Hug This Shrug Kit
(Fashion Angels Enterprises $17.99 Score:) Picking up on a big fashion trend, this kit provides clear directions and materials for making a small black shrug as well as a big fashion beaded safety pin for closure. Marked 8 & up, but we’d say more like 10 & up, and then new knitters will need assistance. Flash Dance, anyone? Check out Leg Warminators ($17.99 5), which allow another generation to make their own with very bright colors using a large plastic spool knitter. Still top rated, I Knit this Poncho! ($16 41⁄2). (800) 492-3237.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Wrist Pix
(Fashion Angels Enterprises $16 Score:) Set comes with small metal frames that you decorate using either the enclosed designs (ready for coloring with markers) or your own drawings or digital photos. Once you place your design, put a small acrylic cover over it; then you’re ready to make your bracelets by stringing the metal frames together using the enclosed elastic and glass beads. Still top rated, World Colors ($19.99 4), a more advanced kit with four colors of hemp to weave with a generous supply of shells, bells, wooden beads, and painted beads for bracelets, necklaces, and rings; Alphadot Bracelet Kit ($19.99 5), with 85 Alphadot beads that slide onto three thin watch-like bands; Ribbon Raps ($14 5), has beads to string on gossamer ribbon; and Mystix ($16 4), which includes semiprecious stones. 8 & up. (800) 492-3237. Editors’ Note: these new kits are marked 8 & up, but we found that kids often needed help getting started.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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