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Product Type: Toys

 


2005 Award
Scratch & Sparkle Deluxe Kit
(Scratch-Art Co. $14.99 Score:) For fans of Scratch art products, this is a satisfying kit. Comes with 16 sheets (four each multicolor, glitzy gold, silver, and blue), stencils, drawing tools and frames. Still top rated, Scratch-Lite Sketcher ($19.99) a lightbox on which kids place scratch art paper and draw or write with one of two fancy tipped drawing tools. Comes with stencils and 10 sheets of special paper, so bring home a refill pack. A good quiet-time toy that develops dexterity needed for writing. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
My Jewelry Box Kit
(Balitono $19 Score:) Our testers gave this 8" wooden jewelry box high marks for the way it was finished inside with velvet finished fittings and little hooks for hanging necklaces. This is a more grown-up jewelry box than most we've tested. While marked 6 & up, it was appealing to our 11-year-old testers. For our horse fans, My Horse Stable & Corral Kit ($25) got rave reviews. Comes with a wooden stable (8" x 6" x 7") with two stalls, one wooden horse, and an 18"-long wooden corral, and paint.

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

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2005 Award
Crayola Window Mega Markers
(Binney & Smith $4.99 Score:) Great for a rainy day. Kids can decorate sliding doors and windows with these four extra-thick washable markers. Also a good way to temporarily note a special occasion. For sunny days, Crayola Sidewalk Paint ($9.99) Have your own sidewalk art show with this three-color paint kit. "Colors not as vibrant as on the box, but the kids had a great time. I had to fight with the kids to get them to stop and get ready for bed!" New for 2005, comes in a reusable plastic paint tray. 5 & up.

Age: Early 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
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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Turbo Extreme
(LeapFrog $34.99 Score:) You can work on math, spelling, science, and social studies with this hand-held toy with add-on cartridges ($9.99 each). For drilling this got high marks: "games are fun"; "better than flash cards." When you enter a math answer, however, the machine asks for the tens place. Since kids are taught to add the "ones" first, this can be confusing. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: .

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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 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
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 Award
Zigity
(Cranium $12.95 Score:) Our own family played many heated rounds of Zigity! The object is to be the first to get rid of your cards, but watch out—there are different activities that can change the course of the game dramatically. For example, just as you think you’re going to win, you may be forced to draw three additional cards. Visual discrimination and word and number play are all part of the fun. 8 & up. (877) 272-6486.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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