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Product Type: Toys

 


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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2006 Award
Comfy Chic Flip Flops
(Creativity for Kids $17.99 Score:) Set comes with two pairs of flip flops (sizes 11-2 and 4-7). The project is fun to do. One set comes with chenille yarn, the other with confetti ribbon that you simply wrap around the upper part of the flip-flop. "We got our yarn tangled up but it still came out fine" - then you paste a flower to the top and you're done. (Be forewarned - the flip-flops and yarns are not identical, which can create a problem with some siblings/friends).

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Charm Watch
(Klutz $21.95 Score:) For older girls who can tell time (the watch has numbers only the quarter hour), consider this watch kit from Klutz that comes with a silvery linked bracelet and charms and beads to attach. Requires a great deal of fine-motor skills to do. If you're looking for a watch for a younger girl, we'd recommend the Watch It! kit from Alex ($24.95)- it comes with a watch and seven ribbon watch bands. Not a lot of crafting here, but the colorful bands were a hit with our testers.

Age: . Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Power Brain YoYo
(Hasbro $10.99 Score:) We wish we had had this yo-yo when we were kids! While some purists may think of it as the yo-yo for dummies, we love the fact that it knows how to come back up with its "auto-return technology." It also makes doing tricks such as "walk the dog" that much easier! One of our testers did warn that "you have you watch out not to hit yourself in the face--it comes up really fast!" That said, this was one of the favorite toys of our older testers.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Wild Adventure Mini Golf
(Milton Bradley $49.99 Score:) This is a plug-in-and-putt game for multigenerational fun! Better than a trip to the miniature golf course, it has six different settings that players can swing through with the plastic putter and a tee that you turn to change the direction of the ball. Can be played solo or with others. Another good choice for getting kids up on their feet and playing actively. 6 & up. (888) 836-7025.

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

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2006 Award
Teddy the Teaching Bear
(Educational Insights $19.99 Score:) Colors, shapes, counting and other matching games are built into this clever little no-batteries needed quiz machine. More fun than a workbook, but the content is similar. There are 24 two sided cards that fit into a grid. Look at item on the left and find the matching item in the grid. Place the Teddy on the right match and its arm goes up. SO this is a self-correcting toy that reinforces reading symbols from left to right. No reading is required, but the mechanics of reading line-by-line and left to write and seeing details, as well as matching and language are all built into the play. They say 3 & up. We’d say more like 4-5. (800) 995-4436.

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

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Bella Dancerella
(Spinmaster $29.99 Score:) This dancing DVD with props did not impress our testers or their moms. One word: “Boring,” said our 8-year-old testers who felt the intro took way too long. The references to using your left and right foot are going to be well beyond most 4, 5 and 6s. One tester liked the new Tap Dance DVD but the adjustable tap dance shoes did not stay on—no matter what they tried. (800) 622-8339.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Star Wars Game Saga Edition
(Tiger Electronics $49.99 Score:) Plug the training droid into your TV and players with wireless light saber are ready to become Jedi warriors. Testers had an aerobic workout swinging the light saber and ridding the galaxy of droids and other evildoers! We don’t usually review zap-it games, but this is more fantasy than war, and multi-generational—may even get parents up and on their feet! May the Force be with you. 8 & up. (888) 836-7025.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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