Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Award: Platinum
Age: Preschoolers
Review Year: 2013

 


2013 Award
Magformers Inspire Sets
(Magformers $24.99-49.99 Score:)

Getting some girls into construction play seems to work by coloring the building materials to their taste. Although we prefer gender free materials, we still think it more important for girls to be building, since this is one of the ways that kids develop their understanding of spatial relationships and basic math concepts. For generations, boys excelled in these areas, in part, because of the experience they had from building models and construction sets. Giving girls construction sets is one way to give girls the mindset and can-do math skills needed for wider career choices. New from Magformers, two gender specific sets of magnetic shapes colored in shades of pink, purple, aqua and blue. Choose a 14 or 30 piece set. Each comes with triangles and squares that can be used to copy models or for open-ended creations and discoveries. All magnets are safely inside the plastic forms. Hands-on experiments help kids discover not only some math concepts, they have to deal directly with the magnetic poles inside the plastic forms, turning them so that they attract. Also see: Magformers Light Show. This combines stealth learning: math, science, visual and manual dexterity, creative problem solving, construction play, imagination, and good fun.  Marked for 3 & up, we think these make more sense for slightly older players.

 

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

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2013 Award
All Season Doll House
(HaPe $199.99 Score:)

Our testers really loved this multi-leveled home with a balcony and solar panels. We recommend buying it with furnished (includes bed, living room furniture, kitchen appliances, a toliet, bath and shower and even a flat screen tv!). The design of the house is very open (including from the sides of the structure) making it easily accessible to younger kids. While we had some trouble putting this together, our testing family (more adept with a screwdriver) had no complaints in getting it all level. It has a more modern feel to it than many traditional dollhouses.

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

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2013 Award
Shipwreck Beach Treasure Hunt
(Wonder Forge $24.99 Score:)

Our testers thought this was really fun since it's not just a board game for sitting, but involved an actual treasure hunt. To start the game the players take each of the five treasures and hide them around the house. Next, players take turns trying to match two doubloons a la the memory game. Our testers liked the special spyglass that is used to "decode" the image of the treasure featured on the doubloons. When a player has a match, that player uses the pirate sword to carry back the treasure from around the house. So, memory involved in finding the hidden treasure, as well. Their mom wrote, "I like that it gets everyone moving and I think it a bonus that the treasure map doubles as a bag to hold all of the game materials so that you don't need a box to keep it in. This feature lends itself well to taking this game
on a family trip, eg to the beach?"  They say 3 & up. We think 3s will enjoy playing this with older siblings. Our testers were 6 & 8 and really got into the game.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
Baby Abuelito Pancho
(Kids Preferred $27.99 Score:)

First let us say, this looks like few Grandpas of the past fifty years that we have known. Even Great Grandpas of today do not look like this steroptyical. That said, this is a cuddly fabric doll that sings four charming folk songs in Spanish with a squeeze of his hand. He is more photogenic, than the matching Abuelita doll, so don't be put off.  He's adorable in person, has a great singing voice, and his huggability factor is a 10! 2 & up.

 

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

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2013 Award
Baby Abuelita Rosa
(Kids Preferred $21.99 Score:)

First let us say, this looks like no Grandma of the past fifty years that we have known. Even Great Grandmas of today do not look like this steroptyical granny. That said, this is a cuddly fabric doll that sings six charming folk songs in Spanish, with a squeeze of her hand. She is not too photogenic, so don't be put off. She is much sweeter in person and her huggability factor is a 10! Her singing is perfect!

 

 

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

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2013 Awards
Tegu Hatch Magnetic Wooden Car
(Tegu $38 Score:)

A fifteen-piece set of magnetic wooden blocks that includes four working wheels. Although there are pictures on the box, with the sleek look of a classic Lincoln Continental, this is a pretty open-ended construction toy that give kids hands-on experience with the opposite poles on magnets and allow kids to make unique vehicles that they can play with. There is another 15-piece vehicle, a red racing car, called the Dart. Marked 3 and up, we think this will be a better choice for slightly older builders. Beginners will have more success with the company's five-piece Riley Roadster or Maddy Micro.

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

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2013 Awards
Tegu Riley Roadster
(Tegu $22 Score:)

A low slung wooden race car body has magnets inside and four magnetic wheels to attach with ease. This five-piece set is easy enough for threes to put together and take apart with a sense of building their own working vehicle. There is another five-piece car in the line, the Maddy Micro with a taller body. Either of these is less challenging than the 15-piece Dart or Hatch that are a lot trickier to put together.

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

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2013 Awards
LeapFrog Leap Pad Ultra
(LeapFrog $149.99 Score:)

How do you make a good thing better? We loved the original Leap Pad and now the Ultra takes it to a new level. It has a Hi-Res 7-inch light-touch screen, a built in 9- hour rechargeable battery, and is loaded with 11 Apps. It has a front and back camera and has 8 GB of Memory that can hold 40,000 photos or more than 100 Game apps. The Leap Pad Ultra has kid-safe Wi-Fi that will not take kids to the web locations they should not reach, but it gives them access to the Leap Frog library of more than 800 games, ebooks, videos and music that is child friendly and age appropriate. You can download learning games that are suited to you child's skill level. You'll find games to reinforce math, reading, art, science and social studies. This Leap Pad Ultra does it all and should it be accidentally dropped - not to worry. It can do that too and keep on playing. 4-9

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

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2013 Awards
Leap Frog LeapReader
(Leapfrog $49.99 Score:)

This updated product makes new uses of the earlier Tag technology to support kids' reading, but goes a step further with real writing, and listening skills. Like the original Tag reader, it can help them sound out letters, words, or read sentences. But now it can also be used like a pencil for learning to shape letters and numbers on special paper. The basic LeapReader comes with a Read, Write, and Listen Activity book and also comes with three apps and a USB rechargeable battery and holds audio for up to 40 books or 175 songs. There are more than 150 books, workbooks and special paper available separately. 4-8

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

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2013 Award
Quadrilla Music Motion
(Hape $89.99 Score:)

This new twist of a marble run adds a new sound dimension to the fun. Among the 99 wooden pieces are ramps, blocks and six sweet sounding chimes that builders can place to ring as the glass marbles roll along and strike. There is no right or wrong way to build the runs; this is an open-ended toy that can be built and rebuilt in many ways. It is marked 4 and up, but although they will like playing with it, most preschoolers will not really be able to do this without a great deal of adult help. We think this makes a better choice for slightly older kids who have the dexterity and patience to build more complicated structures. If you have very young children in the family the marbles need to be kept out of reach. That said, this is a keeper that will be enjoyed by family members of all ages.

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

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