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Product Type: Toys

 


2004 Award
Word for Word Game
(ThinkFun $10 Score:) Here's a fun word game for mixed ages. Players take five different letter rods. Start the two-minute timer and combine rods making as many words as you can. Time's up! Write down your words. Now swap play pieces with the person sitting next to you, how many words can you each get? The person with the most words wins! A fun combination of Boggle and Scrabble with a hands-on experience in phonics. 7 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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Twister Moves
(Hasbro $19.99 Score:) Unfortunately, this updated talking version of the game went too fast for our testers. The speed of the commands was beyond our most coordinated testers. We hope they repackage with music and commands at a slower pace!

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: .

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Groovy Girls Best Friends Sleepover Game
(Briarpatch $19.99 Score:) Our die-hard Groovy Girls fans were very disappointed with this game because the directions were "too complicated, unclear, and way too long!" Testers used the play pieces in their dollhouse instead. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: .

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2004 Award
Gobblet Junior
(Blue Orange Games $19.95 Score:)

This junior edition of PLATINUM AWARD ’03 winner is just as much fun. The object is to be the first player to have three gobblets in a row, as in Tic Tac Toe. But beware, you can capture the spot with a larger gobblet! PLATINUM AWARD ’04. For an easy color memory game, consider Maask ($19.95). (415) 572-3885.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Awards
Cranium Hullabaloo
(Cranium $24.95 Score:) Players have to listen carefully to the electronic ringmaster that directs play among the 16 playmats. The player on the "lucky" mat when the ringmaster says, "freeze!" is the winner. Pace slow enough that most 4s would also enjoy playing. Also new, Conga ($19.95 ), an interactive trivia game based on how well you know your friends and family. Still top rated, Cranium Cadoo for Kids ($19.99 ): in order to win, players must draw, act out, use clay, and retrieve objects from around the house. 7 & up. PLATINUM AWARD '02. SNAP: Active fun while building listening skills and concepts. For kids who cannot get up and jump from mat to mat...adapt the game for a floor sitting find it fun. Give children a long cardboard tube and place mats in easy reach around the player(s)..object is to touch the right mat first.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Blokus
(Mattel $29.95 Score:)

Older players say this is a game like classic Go, played on the diagonal. But here the playing pieces are in a variety of geometric shapes, so seeing the special relationships can be challenging. Still, even younger players begin to use strategy as they find ways to use all their pieces while blocking others from their moves. A handsome game for 2-4 players. 5 & up. 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Mgears
(Learning Resources $36.95 Score:) From the folks that brought you the open-ended Gearbotic sets (BLUE CHIP), here's a more advanced 350-piece set that comes with gears and a motorized wheelbase. We thought this was going to be a huge hit but our testers found the set difficult to do independently and then they didn't think the vehicles went fast enough. We still highly recommend the original nonmotorized BLUE CHIP Gears! Gears! Gears! sets because they are more open-ended and develop problem-solving skills as kids make their own moving machines. ($20/$40). Also new this year, Dizzy Fun Land ($36.95), a gear set with an amusement park theme that our five-year-old tester enjoyed. 5 & up.

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

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2004 Award
Lego Inventors Series
(Lego Systems, Inc. $14.99 Score:) (Lego Systems $14.99 & up ) These are more challenging sets that come with a motor. Once built, models can travel on ropes across your room. 9 & up. For beginning builders we still recommend a Lego System Classic Building Set BLUE CHIP (Lego Systems $3.99-$29.99) for more open-ended creations. 5-7.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Quercetti Skyrail Suspension Marble Run Sets
(International Playthings $69.99 Score:) You need a lot of space and a good dose of patience to put this together (an adult is needed) but once you're done, you have a truly amazing structure. It takes some finessing to keep the marbles on the track, "but that's part of the fun." Not for the "it's got to work right out of the box" crowd. Marked 6 & up, but really, a grown up will be needed from beginning to end. For a simpler wooden marble run, consider the original BLUE CHIP Blocks & Marbles (Tedco $30 & up).

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Empire State Building
(B.C. Bones $44.99 Score:) Our office is decorated with these stunning wooden structures that include the Eiffel Tower and Golden Gate Bridge. Our complaint with these beautiful sets is that there are no clear directions. The company insists that they make "puzzles," not construction sets. The company promises to post a cheat sheet up on their website. Still recommended, their Wooden Prehistoric Animal Models ($30 & up). Good parent-child projects. 9 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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