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Product Type: Toys

 


2006 Award
Fast Car Race Cars
(Creativity for Kids $14.99 Score:)

Comes with three wooden cars with pull-back mechanisms that kids can paint (our kids used markers so that they use the cars sooner). Some of the included stickers did not stay put, but our testers still found these satisfying to use. Set up a roadway with some empty small boxes for simulated crashes and road races. (800) 311-8684.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2006 Award
Jumpers & Crawlers
(Ravensburger $10 Score:)

Look carefully at this 60-piece puzzle and you'll see all kinds of creatures sitting in and slithering along the branches and leaves of the jungle. Also special, Wildlife in Africa. And for a challenge, 3x49 Puzzles ($8.50 ), three 49-piece puzzles (which you sort out first by using the different patterns on the puzzle backs). Our testers liked the dinosaur and jungle motifs. (800) 886-1236.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Bug Tumble
(The Orb Factory $14.99 Score:) The graphics of this box don’t do justice to the stunning puzzle inside. Much like a DK book, the collage of bugs, worms, and other creepy things will appeal to bug-fascinated kids. While there are 48 pieces, it is still a very challenging puzzle with a pleasing oversized 2' x 3' size. Puzzle comes with a big poster chockful of info on the creepy crawlies in the puzzle. Marked 4 & up, but we’d say most 6s will find it challenging. Really depends on the child. (800) 741-0089.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Alphabet & Number Puzzle Pairs
(eeBoo $14.95 Score:)

A handsome set of two-piece puzzles with easy-to-recognize objects to pair with upper- and lower-case letters or objects and numerals. The letter/number sides are color-coded along the edges to help make the matches. Illustrated by Saxton Freymann, well-known artist of How are You Peeling? and Food for Thought. These can be used for simple games or solo puzzle play. (212) 222-0823.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2008 Award
FLY Fusion Pentop Computer
(LeapFrog $99 Score:)

A sleek update of a truly innovative product with the computer is built into the pen that works with special paper to create a variety of options: a working calculator, a translator, and our favorite, a musical keyboard you can draw and then play on your paper. But our testers LOVED that they could take notes on the special paper and that they were converted to a document on their computer. "So cool!" It might make you want to do seventh grade again...ok, not really, but you will want your own pen!

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

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2006 Award
Rapido
(HaPe $14.95 Score:) An elegant sequencing game. Players compete to pick up colored wooden marbles in special cylinders matching the pattern on their playing paddle. Seeing the pattern and responding quickly calls for good eye-hand coordination and memory. Fun quick rounds for 2–4 players. They say 4 & up, but we’d say more like 5–8. (800) 661-4142.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Dot 2 Dot Dinosaurs
(Lauri $11 Score:) Six dinosaur cards that kids lace by the numbers. These are sequenced from 1-to 26; Farm Animals go from 1 to 22; wild animals in the Animal Alphabet set go from A to Z. These will appeal to both genders and develop sequencing skills as well as fine motor skills. Marked 4 & up, but we’d say more like 5 & up since the numbers go into the teens. (800) 451-0520.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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The Scrambled States 2
(Gamewright $6 Score:)

There are 50 state cards, each with four different attributes for that card (region, population, land mass, and color). Fifteen cards are placed face up, one card from the draw pile is turned over. The first player to “slap” one of the 15 cards that has a shared attribute with the face card, wins that round. A fun way to introduce kids to geography. Some parents may find it light on content, but it’s a good way to get the subject introduced in a nonthreatening manner. 6 & up. Still recommended, the board edition. 


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Map Tangle
(Borderline Games $24.95 Score:) Think Twister, but here the play mat is 6' x 5'5" with a marvelous map of the world! We really love the design of the giant playing mat and the idea of cooperative play by teammates who help each other find the two locations they must stand on while avoiding a “Map Tangle” and falling down! This came too late to test with families and we are not sure if the game play is going to be satisfying. We suspect kids will be making up their own rules. Still top rated, Borderline ($9.95 ). Whether you play with the USA or new World Edition, here’s a painless way to make maps fun! The object is to get rid of all your cards, but you can only put cards down on a card that “borders” the state, body of water, or country in your hand. If you don’t know, flip your card for a map that shows the borderlines. A no-tears-or-fears geography game! 8 & up. (973) 761-6260.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Whoonu
(Cranium $16.95 Score:) It’s all about knowing the people you are playing with; players take turns at being the “whoozit” and others get points by guessing what objects named on the playing cards the “Whoozit” likes best. Even testers who do not like board games love this card game for three or more players. Still top-rated, Zigity ($12.95 ). Visual discrimination and word and number play are all part of the fun. 8 & up. (877) 272-6486.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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