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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Games

 


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
Fresh Artists Memory Games
(Fresh Artists $24 Score:)

We have reviewed lots of memory or concentration games over the years, but here is a notable new direction that will challenge players while supporting children's art education in underfunded public schools. Created by a not- for-profit-organization, the art on the handsome cards has been donated by young artists grades K-12 from New York City, Philadelphia, and Norristown, PA. Choose from several sets, each with a different theme: Fresh Faces, Mini-Masters-Barnes Edition, Fresh Food Edition, Fresh Art, and Fresh Architecture. There are 27 pairs in each set and though they are marked 3-103, we'd say these are a lot more challenging than most; a better choice for 6 and up. www.freshartists.org .

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

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2013 Award
Disney Eye Found It!
(Wonder Forge $19.99 Score:)

Visit 12 Disney Realms on the giant playing board. The object is to beat the clock and arrive at Cinderella's castle before the clock gets to midnight. Designed for four players or four teams, this is a cooperative game, making it ideal for mixed ages or family fun. There is counting, looking for objects to match playing cards, and taking turns. The game board itself comes in four big sections that have to be put together like puzzle. They say 4 & up, we'd say 4's will need support. A good game for developing language, turn taking and cooperative play.

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

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2013 Award
iTrax
(Learning Resources $19.99 Score:)

A visually challenging game with 25 double-sided cards and 36 multi-colored rods, and 8 cubes. Choose a colorful card and then players must discover the path that connects two cubes. Once the path is spotted, players race to be the first to build the pattern they see. It's tricky, since the rods are not all the same size and you have to reproduce the path to the side of the card, not on it. So this calls for visual discrimination and speed. Our multi-generational testers had fun with this game and the younger kids were often better at seeing the pathways and reproducing them. There are three levels of play for 2-4 players. 6-adult.

 

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

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2013 Award
Gamewright Chef Pop de Pop
(Gamewright $16.99 Score:)

A fun way to reinforce counting and early math skills. Players shake the pop-corn cubes and get to keep the cards that match the ones in the popper. If you have a card with three yellow pieces of pop corn and there are only two yellow showing in the popper, you cannot put your card in your collection. If there are 4 orange corns showing in the popper and you have two cards with two orange corns, you can put both cards in you winning pile. So players are adding and considering if they have more or less than the number shown. For young players this calls for flexible thinking and visual discrimination. But watch out! If you get a piece of burned corn on your turn, you must take and keep a burned corn card. The game ends when all the regular cards are used up or the burned corn cards are gone. Winner is the one with the most unburned popcorn cards. 6 & 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
Gamewright Skunk Bingo
(Gamewright $15.99 Score:)

A matching game with a twist, or should we say with a log where skunks may hide! Players try to be the first to fill a bingo card. On your turn you spin and take as many playing cards as the spinner says. You put each card into the plastic log, through a narrow slot. As cards are added, cards come out the other end of the log. Player can place the expelled cards on their playing board. If the space with the matching animal is filled, the card can be taken by another player. But watch out! If a skunk card  is pushed out of the log all the other cards go back into the playing pile. This is a matching game for preschoolers although playing each round can take quite a long time. 3 & up.

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

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2013 Award
Scavenger Hunt For Kids Board Game
(University Games $10.99-19.99 Score:)

There are two versions of this game. The more elaborate board game version comes with a two-minute timer, a playing board, pawns, and 100 cards. Turn over two cards and race to be the first to find the objects pictured. Players get to move their pawns on the game board for each object found and extra moves are awarded for returning the object to where it belongs. (Say yea, for neatness!) First player to move across finishing line wins. This is a good game for indoor fun for the family or play date. A simpler version of the game, with more than 100 cards, comes without the timer and playing board. Use your own timer and keep score as the game progresses. First person with X number of cards wins the round. 2-4 players.

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

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2013 Award
Janod Bingo Tourismo
(Janod $19 Score:)

Just in time for the travel season, this 14 piece bingo set has four sturdy playing boards with eight double sided playing cards that slide in and out of the frames and wipe off markers for keeping track of items that players must spot as you travel along. Check off the bridge, train, gas pump, bus, etc. Play a quick game to find four items in a row or play to find everything on your board. There are two levels of play; one side has 16 smaller images the reverse has 12.  All the pieces are stored in a sturdy box with magnetic closure and fabric handle. A good time chaser for the back seat and the eternal question--are we there yet.4-8

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

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2013 Award
Hasbro Bejeweled
(Hasbro $19.99 Score:)

Originally an online game, Bejeweled has now been adapted for real time play, complete with playing board and shimmering playing pieces. Basically this is the same game as the digital form, the object is to collect three of a kind in a row. But the big glitzy playing pieces are good looking and pleasing to slide across the playing board. Game play requires some strategy and logic.  We loved this game--but we do think the packaging needs some work. Once you create the board (and the pop up box fo the pieces) it does not go back into the original box easily. Our suggestion is to get a bigger box to store it in. 8 & up.

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

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2012 Award
Don't Rock the Boat
(Patch Products $16.99 Score:)

Deal out the penguins and take turns putting one on deck at a time. But watch out! Going through the Drake Passage can be rough and one too many penguins will send the all the others overboard! The tippy boat sits on a post that makes for a tricky balancing act. Takes some logical thinking, simple strategy, dexterity and good luck to avoid knocking them all off the boat. A quick to learn, fun game with lots of opportunities to win and lose. A word of caution, if you have small children who still mouth their toys, keep the penguins out of reach. 5 & up.

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

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