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Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Review Year: 2012

 


2012 Award
Spot it! MLB Edition
(Blue Orange Games $19.99 Score:)

How are you with details? Get ready to spot the matching image on each pair of cards. There is only one matching pair on any two cards and you have to be fast to be first to spot it! Naturally, on the MLB edition all the images relate to the great game of baseball and will keep players on their toes. A good take along for kids going to summer camp or a quick after dinner game for the family after some active rounds of catch. Comes in a round tin cannister in the shape of a baseball. Also, there's a new Spot It! Travel game that is played the same way, but the cards in this set have vehicles and other objects one sees as you travel along such as fire hydrants, signs, rainbows and mailboxes. For 2-8 players ages 7 to adult.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
American Girl McKenna, 2012 Girl of the Year Doll & Book
(American Girl $105 Score:)

Dressed for gymnastics practice, 18-inch McKenna is determined to master the challenges of the balance beam and more. She arrives with her long caramel-colored hair is tied up for her active life style. In this Summer Olympic season, you can be sure, the young athletes, in London, will inspire girls all over the world, as they go through their routines. McKenna is not an Olympian; though one day she may be one! American Girl has created a whole line of accessories for McKenna. There is an accessory bag ($26) with mini water bottle, trail mix, school papers, exercise booklet and more. We love her team gear with jacket, trousers, medal, and slippers($28.)  There is also a beam and bar set ($85) for McKenna to practice on, two outfits in a practice wardrobe ($35) and just in case, a cast and crutches ($30) should she stumble when she does a daring double backflip!

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Rhyme Out, the Triple Rhyming Game
(Educational Insights $12.99 Score:)

Players take turns drawing a card and reading the three clues aloud. Players then race to shout out the three correct responses that rhyme with each other and answer the riddles. For example: To place your arm around someone, a large cup for hot chocolate, a boat that tows other boats. So the winner would have to say: hug, mug and tug. The cards get progressively harder and there are two levels of play. Winner keeps the card. Winner is the first to collect ten cards. This game calls for both good listening, connecting ideas and coming up with rhyming words. Builds vocabulary as well as listening and rhyming skills. A fun word game for 3 or more players ages 10 to adult.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Seedling Color the Earth Ball
(Kid O $30 Score:)

A globe/ball for all ages. How kids use it will depend on their age. Some will like boucing it and simply playing with it. Others will love the fun of labeling the countires or color coding them. Inflate this jumbo 16-inch ball that comes with a set of permanent fabric markers. A word of warning, this has a strong odor when it comes out of the box that disappears in time. It's the size of a big beachball, though not intended for the water. It does bounce well. This ball is marked 3 & up, but will be of more interest to school aged kids.

 

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Rapid Response
(Fundex $29.99 Score:)

You do need to think quickly to win Rapid Response. One of your teammates poses a question "things with wheels" "famous women" "soups" "musical groups". For each correct answer you get to toss another marble into the top of the timer to buy you more time. When the marbles run out--your time is up. Fun and unlike many other games in this vein, the questions are family-friendly.  Great fun--our testers loved the novelty of the marbles and the bell! SAFETY NOTE: Because of the metal marbles we do not recommend this game in a house where there are small children. 

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Hexover
(Maranda Enterprises $35.99 Score:)

The goal here is to be the first player to get five of their own discs in a row. Much like the classic game of Othello, this mission is complicated by the fact that your opponent can flip your discs on their own move. This is the type of game where you "get" the game play, but you become much more sophisticated about your game play as you go along. They say 6 & up, but we'd say will still be challenging (and fun) to 9s & up.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Eternas
(Maranda Enterprises $$27.95 Score:)

Think Connect Four, but now imagine a beautifully crafted wooden board and you have Eternas. The game is designed for two-players. The dark wooden circular board allows you to place either your white or green wooden play pieces on one of the spokes.  You win if you get four of your pieces in a row--either vertically, horizontially or on the diagonal.  Learning how to play will be quick--but don't be fooled, this is a challenging game.  We love that it forces players to look at things differently in terms of strategy, offensive and defensive blocking moves.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Alex Scanimagic
(Alex $23.99 Score:)

You may have seen the book called Gallop with its moving images. This wonderful toy allows children to create their own moving images. The case and markers come with premade art that young kids color. Then they close the case and turn the dials to see their colorful creation come to life. The kit comes loaded with a roller in place and a spare roller with more images that can replace the original. We usually steer clear of coloring toys that are not open-ended. But this goes beyond simple coloring. It's a little magic, science and illusion. Younger kids will need help with setting it up and adding the second roller. 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Bananagrams 2012 London Edition
(Bananagrams $14.95 Score:)

To celebrate the upcoming Summer Olympics this version of Banangrams has five extra colorful joker tiles with pictograms of various Olympic sports. It is otherwise the same game in a convenient banana shaped zip up pouch. Players divvy up the tiles and play side by side creating their own connected words. It's different from Scrabble since you do not take turns, although you must take extra tiles when your opponent uses up her tiles and is ready to take more. A great take along for vacation time. Quick and easy to learn. 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Barbie Dolls of the World, Australia
(Mattel $29.99 Score:)

Collecting dolls of other lands is a passion that frequently begins in the later school years. Girls may feel "too old" to play with dolls but still like having them in their rooms. The current Australian and Irish dolls are fairly reasonably priced for entry level collectors. For this age group they may also spark an interest in finding out more about their doll's country and customs. Mattel has a website with map and games and information dedicated to this collection. Each doll comes with a passport and display stand and is dressed in clothes or costumes that reflect the traditional or modern dress. Each doll also has a related animal. The Australian doll wears a safari outfit and has a koala bear.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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