Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Construction Toys
Subcategories: Themed: Plastic

 


2012 Award
LEGO Fun with Vehicles
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

Kids love to build toys that work and this 525 piece set comes with mechanics and all the parts needed to build five vehicles. These are building plans for building and assortment of racing cars, tow truck, flatbed, jeep and convertible. The set includes 2 male mini-figures, wheels, tools and color-coded basic elements
This set is marked for 4+, but for those with limited dexterity, this may be a better choice for 5's and 6's. The step-by-step plans are clear, but younger kids will need help in learning how to "read" the drawings.

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

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2012 Award
Lego City 4X4 Fire Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

There's a tree on fire in Lego City! Quick! Go to the rescue with this 243-piece set that includes the makings for a 5" long firetruck with a rotating water cannon and big storage compartments. There's a firefighter with an axe and of course, a tree. Marked as an easy start modular build for 5-12. Others in the collection this season include a garbage truck and ambulance. We think kids on the younger end will still need help with following the plans.

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

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2011 Award
LEGO CITY Marina
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)

A fun beginning build with a lot of pretend play possibilities on the other side. We recommend that if your child is new to LEGO--this will make a great parent/child build. While there are lots of pieces- there are really several smaller builds here- making it a little less overwhelming.  And if you haven't played with LEGO in a while--you'll find that the builds are put in separate clear plastic bags...so there isn't that same frustrating "I can't find it" feeling. 

Our testers liked that there was a two part structure that connects with a walk way. There is also a boat (that floats) and a little yellow dune buggy type vehicle. We love the little details on this set. The surf board, the windsailer, the lifeguard, the binoculars, the buoy..you get the idea.  There's even a harpoon in case you want to fish for your dinner.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Playmobil Giant Dragon with LED-Fire
(Playmobil $35 Score:)

The "giant" red and black Giant Red Dragon with a giant 16" wing span has an integrated LED-Fire (sort of) coming out of its nostrils. In fact the nostrils light up in red, but nothing comes out, except in the imagination. The dragonís jaw moves and its wings pivot. This fantasy action figure is a big but quick build. It has 23 pieces and comes with a knight in black and red that carries a battle ax and long silverfish lance. They say 4-9, we'd say more like 5-6's will need help and this looks like a toy for school aged kids, not preschoolers. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
LEGO CITY Fire Station
(Lego Systems, Inc. $79.99 Score:)

A multi-level fire station that also includes a ladder truck and a smaller vehicle. We love that the truck ladder extends and turns 180 degrees. The Fire Station is part of the LEGO CITY theme - a fun collection of rescue vehicles and figures. We also like the new Fire Boat. Our only complaint about this set is the scale- as with many of the new LEGO structures, they have gotten smaller over recent years.  Our testers, unaware of the skrinkage issue, have no complaints. In fact, he really loved working on this set.  His review was so detailed that we need to share the mini-interview he had with his mom in regard to this product:

1. The set is very easy to build.  (He is an 8 year old experienced LEGO builder--and felt this set was particularly easy. He had to be dragged away to go to a ballgame!

2. The "storage" spaces on the building where the accessories go click  in". He mentioned fire hoses, axes, fire hydrants. "It makes it less confusing because every little piece has a place where it goes."

3. "I never thought the Lego City stuff was cool,  but it actually is really AWESOME." (This from a die-hard Lego "action" afficionado. )

4. He likes the moving parts -- sliding garage doors, swinging doors, removeable "hatches," etc.

5. He  also really likes that the bunk beds and all of the spaces for the mini-figures.

What I really love about his review is that the Fire Station has now become a "base" for all of his action figures--including his Star Wars characters--they all think the base is a pretty cool place to hang out!

The Fire Station comes with lots of props for pretend play after the building is done (there's even a cat  and tree). Five year olds will enjoy playing with this set, but they will not be able to build it independently-there are 662 pieces! We recommend making this a parent/child project for less experienced LEGO builders. 

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Lego City Crawler Crane
(Lego Systems, Inc. $59.99 Score:)

A working crane that fits into the Lego City scene. This is not an easy build. It has working treads, a massive rotating boom, and stands 17.7 inches tall. The crane rotates 360 degrees and comes with a stout lifting mechanism along with 2 mini-figures, a house section, and safety barrier. They say 5-12. Inexperienced builders will need adult help. This is not an instant out of the box build. It takes time and attention to details.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2001 Awards
Castles
(Lego Systems, Inc. $89.99 Score:) Lego's latest King Leo's Castle with 524 pieces ($89.99) is geared to dramas of good vs. evil with trap doors, catapults, and secret hiding places. They've added a warrior princess but this, like Playmobil's King Large Castle, will likely appeal to boys, while Playmobil's Fairy Tale Castle is gender-specific lavender. 7 & up. Lego (800) 453-4652.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2002 Award
Knex Missions in Space Sets
(KNEX $29.99 Score:) Builders continue to report that they need more finger strength for K'nex than for Legos. Fans of K'nex gave high scores to the new Apollo 15 Lunar Lander($2999/501 pieces) that comes with an astronaut and neat sound effects. The Jack Knife Big Rig Race Transport($16.99/296 pieces) Also scored a solid four.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2003 Award
Lego Bionicle
(Lego Systems, Inc. $7.99 Score:) Our testers enjoyed these futuristic robots that have become a hot collectible. Not the Lego toys you remember, but not too dark or menacing-and they're easy to put together.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2005 Award
Nano Case Vehicles
(Mega Bloks $5.99 Score:) You need dexterity, patience and good visual skills to assemble these small vehicles with working parts. Some come with sound chips and all come in sleek cases that convert into play platforms. Collect them and link their roadways together. If you need a lot of not too pricey gifts for birthdays and holidays these sets are a classy choice-but only if the child at the other end loves the challenge of building and the staying power to get the job done. They say 7 and up- we Ďd say that only some 7ís will be able to do this without help. (800) 465-6342.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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