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Product Type: Toys
Award: Platinum
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Review Year: 2013

 


2013 Award
Hedbanz Act Up!
(Spin Master $19.99 Score:)

We like this new take on the original Hedbanz.  This one is played more like charades. Players put cards on their head bands without knowing what the card says. The object is for the player to guess what that card says from the actions of the other players. But in this game NO TALKING and NO PROPS are allowed! Unlike the original Hedbanz game, which was played like 20 Questions, this Act UP version is a whole lot trickier, but good fun. Our testing family (with preteens and young adults) enjoyed the game a great deal. Marked for kids 8 & up - we still think the original Hedbanz where you can speak will be less frustrating for younger players.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
LEGO Friends Heartlake High
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)

Our testers loved the attention to detail on this two-level yellow and blue high school. We wish our high school had window boxes! The lab in tricked out with everything for science experiments including a microscope and there's even a telescope.  The school also includes a music and arts room, lockers and for your outdoor dining pleasure, there's a picnic table for lunch. Comes with Stephanie, Matthew and Ms. Stevens. With 487 pieces this is satisfying build for intermediate builders.  LEGO Friends remains a consistent hit with our girl testers who both enjoy the building experience and then use the settings for pretend play.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
University Games Very Hungry Caterpillar Twirl and Toss Game
(University Games $30 Score:)

Players have the fun of tossing small fabric fruits at the Very Hungry Caterpillar as it turns round and round. The object is to be the first to get all three of the pieces of fruit of one color to stick to the caterpillar. An active game that will keep kids pitching and picking up the mini plush apples, plums, pears and oranges. A decorative looking game that will reinforce color concepts, simple counting, and involves active play.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Yoga Spinner Game
(Upside Down Games $19.99 Score:)

A fun way to gain flexibility, strength, and improve posture while introducing kids to Yoga poses. Game can be played solo or with others. Players take turns hitting the spinner and choose a card of the same color shown on the spinner. Now, try to hold the pose for 10 seconds without laughing or falling down! The object is to be first to collect one card of each color. Perfect for sleepover, playdates, or family fun. Our test family Mom wrote that her whole family enjoyed this one...."We were laughing and having fun and the boys said the stretching felt good after soccer. I appreciate that the game doesn't assume you know yoga poses and the illustrations are quite clear (although it does help to be familiar with the poses to help the kids do them). The graphics are clean and very cute and you know I always like a game that is self contained (the cards are stored in the spinner itself) - always good for keeping up with all of the cards and for using in different rooms or places. I like that it is very active and teaches everyone something new as well. We give it a thumbs up! I can also see a big use for this in more of a classroom or group setting (such as a break from fine motor skills - at our school the kids take 'brain breaks' and do something more physical.)"

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Educational Insights Even Steven's Odd Game
(Educational Insights $19.99 Score:)

A rapid fire dice game that reinforces addition, subtraction skills. The game comes with 40 2-level challenge cards, four dice holders, and 24 dice in red, yellow, green, blue and white. Everyone plays at one time, rolling his dice again and again to be the first to complete the challenge and fill his dice holder playing board. First one to win 10 challenges is the winner. For 2-4 players ages 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Playmobil Large Furnished Hotel
(Playmobil $164 Score:)

A clever alternative to a traditional dollhouse, this large hotel has a grand lobby with check-in counter and a working elevator. There are two rooms upstairs, open the doors with key cards. The rooms include crib for baby, beds, chairs, side tables, phone, TV, and bathrooms with shower and toilet. Hungry? Go to the cafe where a waiter will provide you with all you need. Ready for a game? Try the playroom with lots of mini toys. The set includes, eight figures, luggage, food, dishes, and all the accessories you need for setting up a grand resort. 4 & up

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
North American Bear Girls on the Move Ballerina
(North American Bear Co. $12 Score:)

Girls will love putting this little 7-inch velour ballerina through her paces. Designed with pockets for two fingers, this puppet in sheer tutu, can twist and twirl and dance on her toes. Her hair and clothes are not removable, but her movements are only limited by the imagination. Available as blond or brunette.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
North American Bear, Dolly Pockets Cinderella
(North American Bear Co. $24.99 Score:)


A 14-inch rag doll that comes with three finger puppets (Godmother, Prince and pumpkin) Cinderella is ready to act out her story or play an all new one. Her pink and lavender dress is on to stay and does not turn into a ball gown like some of the North American Topsy Turvy flip dolls. Her fabric hair is permanently in place, too. A good choice for preschoolers to encourage retelling familiar stories. Also see Dolly Pockets Red Riding Hood or Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
North American Bear, Dolly Pockets Red Riding Hood
(North American Bear Co. $24.99 Score:)

A 14-inch rag doll that comes with three finger puppets (Granny, the big bad wolf and the woodsman) Little Red is ready to act out her story or play an all new one. Her red cape and polka-dotted dress are on to stay and her fabric hairs is permanently in place, too. A good choice for preschoolers to engourage retelling familiar stories. Also see Dolly Pockets Cinderella and Goldilocks and the three Bears. 3 & up.

SNAP: Telling stories without a book in hand, can bring a story to life and encourage children to participate in the telling. This kind of doll with finger puppets is a great prop for doing that kind of story telling and maybe even getting little listeners to turn into little story tellers. Before a repetative line...pause and say and 'what did the big bad wolf say then?'

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
North American Bear Girls on the Move Gymnast
(North American Bear Co. $12 Score:)

Girls will love putting this little 7-inch velour doll through her paces. Designed with pockets for two fingers, this puppet can twist and twirl and do a split. Her hair and clothes are not removable, but her movements are only limited by the imagination. Available in tan or pinkish skin tone.

SNAP: Getting their fingers to do the walking for this little puppet, may be good fun as well as a way to strengthen fingers and hands. This may be a good prop for physical therapists.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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