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Product Type: Toys

 


2006 Award
Maya & Miguel Word Scramble
(Briarpatch $19.95 Score:) Like last year’s I Spy Word Scramble, this has a big game board with sliding tiles. Players take turns drawing a card, choosing a letter or image on the card, and spelling that word by sliding letters before the timer runs out. Inspired by the PBS TV show, this game can be played both in Spanish and English. 7 & up. (800) 232-7427.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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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
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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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
Monster Art Center
(Alex $69.99 Score:) Imagine the thrill of opening this double-hinged art center with trays to the right, trays to the left, and trays below! It comes loaded with 30 fine-tip markers, 28 colored pencils, 26 crayons, 24 oil pastels, 12 watercolors, brushes, pencil, glue, and palette. The crayons aren’t as juicy as Crayola, but the materials and kit would be a dream gift to most art-minded kids! They say 4 & up, we’d say this is more like a gift for 6 & up. (800) 666-2539.

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

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2006 Award
Beaded Dresser Set
(Creativity for Kids $14.99 Score:) Set comes with a small mirror set in wood, a ceramic heart frame and heart-shaped box, pastel colored beads, ribbons, and glue. A straightforward project that requires kids to spread the glue out and then spill beads onto the glue for decoration. The light beads have a “princess/fairy” look to them and will appeal to younger girls. 6 & up. (800) 311-8684.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
My Star Box
(Balitono $19.95 Score:) Our tester painted and then gave this star-shaped box as a gift for Mother’s Day. A real hit! A keepsake for any gift giving season.

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

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2006 Award
My Pinball Game Kit
(Balitono $19.95 Score:) Finding kits that will appeal to boys as well as girls is not always easy. This one was a hit with our eight-year old tester. Okay, it won’t compete with the electronic versions, but it will be unique! Also fun for dramatic play, My Doghouse Kit ($19.95 ), with pooch, house, and feeding bowl. Still top rated, My Horse Stable & Corral Kit ($25 ). PLATINUM AWARD ’05. (609) 936-8807.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Ceramic Swirl Art
(Alex $24.99 Score:) Classic spin art type toys are one of our all-time favorites so you can imagine how excited we were to find this new “spin” that includes ceramic plates and tiles that attach to the platform. You can set your designs by baking them. Adult supervision a must. Also fun and messy, Tie Dye Party ($19.99 4balls) but we’d skip Plaster Caster ($44.99 2 balls), which looked amazingly cool but we could not get a figure to form that wasn’t cracked. 8 & up. (800) 666-2539.

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

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2006 Award
Funky Bead Chest
(Bead Bazaar $ Score:) A dream gift for a beader! The Funky Bead Chest is a tall, brightly painted wooden chest with three lined drawers that comes topped with a juicy collection of wooden beads, charms, and colorful string to match. Our testers clearly loved the box as much as they liked the beads! Equally neat, Inspire Bead Chest, same idea with words on the front of the box. If you're having a party, consider Totally Fun Beads ($18.99) comes with 30 charms, 1000 plus beads and 30 strings. Plenty for a group. Our testers also raved about this company's Hemp and Mystic bead kits ($9.99 each) that will appeal to tweens, teens, and their mothers. (We had difficulty threading some of the beads in these kits with the included hemp string but that did not discourage our testers (they used elastic).

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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