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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Categories: Construction Toys

 


2013 Award
LEGO Creator Thunder Wings
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

Our LEGO testers consistently love builds from the Creator series since they include three builds from the same set. With this set you can make a jet, a robot, or a futuristic car. With only 235 pieces this is a very good place to start with beginner builders.  

 

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
LEGO The Lord of the Rings Pirate Ship Ambush
(Lego Systems, Inc. $99.99 Score:)

"You're kidding!" was the response we got from our die-hard LORs fans when we told them that LEGO was now doing builds inspired from the trilogy. The Pirates Ambush gives fans the opportunity to build a LEGO version of Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas surprise the Orcs with the Army of the Dead. We have a feeling there will be many teens and adults eager to help with this set!  Comes with a satisfying 9 mini-figures. With 756 pieces, this is a good parent-child build or an independent build for more advanced builders.

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

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2013 Award
LEGO STAR WARS Jek 14 Stealth Starfighter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $69.99 Score:)

Our LEGO STAR WAR testers were very eager to build this Stealth Starfighter that belongs to rogue clone, Jek-14. If you're saying "who?"...you may not be watching the cartoon series that has captured the imaginations of a whole new generation of Star Wars fans. Once built, our testers used the starfigher for their own stories involving Jek-14. The build comes with 3 minifigures: Jek-14, Separatist Bounty Hunter and Special Forces Clone Trooper. 550 pieces.

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

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2013 Award
LEGO STAR WARS Mandalorian Speeder
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24.99 Score:)

With 211 pieces, this is a great place to start for fans of Star Wars and LEGO. The small blue and grey vehicle comes with Darth Maul and two Mandalorian Super Commandos. Be forewarned there are projectiles on this build. Also smaller, the Corporate Alliance Tank Droid comes with 271 pieces. The circular middle portion of this build is unusual in that it has a moving track like a tank. Comes with Jango
Fett, Clone Trooper, and Battle Droid. Also top-rated, the Homing Spider Droid (295 pieces):  this spider- inspired droid,  comeswith Stass Allie, Clone Trooper, and two Super Battle Droids. For beginning builders - these two sets are just right.  While the bigger kits look appealing, start small so that your child has a positive experience to "build" on.

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
LEGO STAR WARS AT-TE
(Lego Systems, Inc. $89.99 Score:)

One of the larger builds introduced this year, this classic Empire fighting machine is anadvanced set with 794 pieces. Comes with five figures: Battle Droid Commander, Battle Droid, Mace Windu, Coleman Trebor, Clone Trooper Commander. High marks for the moving pieces that lift panels of the AT-TE as well as the circular base feet. Be forewarned there are projectiles on this build.

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

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2013 Award
Playmobil City Action Cargo Boat with Loading Crane
(Playmobil $79 Score:)

An 80-piece cargo boat with working crane that pivots 360 degrees. Ideal for loading important products from the cargo boat to crane and onto the plane. This comes with a two containers, three action mini-figures, and a ship's galley complete with coffeemaker for the crew's long nights at sea.  4 & up.

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
LEGO Creator Family House
(Lego Systems, Inc. $74.99 Score:)

A gender free house that can be built as a modern Mediterranean villa, a classic family home, or turned into a factory. There are 756 pieces and clear instructions for building and rebuilding this versatile set. Testers loved the working light brick that illuminates the interior with a golden glow. Depending on the site, kids can choose to build a variety of accessories such as a pool, BBQ, or delivery van. 8-12.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. 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
LEGO STAR WARS Corporate Alliance Tank Droid
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24.00 Score:)

With only 271 pieces this is not a huge build but a very satisfying set because of the interesting and unusual treads that the droid tank moves on.  Our 6 year old tester really loved that aspect of this build.  The entire Star Wars series from LEGO has really challenged their designers to come up with new and what we find to be very exciting new builds.  Here's our builder's model:

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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
LEGO STAR WARS Battle of Hoth
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)

Our testers enjoyed this set a great deal.  The more detail in these sets the better the reviews they receive from our Star Wars fans.  According to our 9 year old tester: "The biggest and 'coolest' part of this Lego set was the snowspeeder (aircraft). He really liked that the hatch covers opened up to reveal detailed control panels underneath. Other 'cool' realistic details: the wings have articulated and poseable flaps; there is a working tow hook cable that can be let out or wound up; and the clear canopy opensup so that minifigure Luke can be placed inside the cockpit.

Our  six year old tester also enjoyed the build and loved that there was a Luke Skywalker minifigure. Both our six year old and 9 year old separately noted that Luke's outfit was more detailed with a snowspeeder suit and helmet.

We were delighted to hear that once the 9 year old finished building, the set became key to a reenactments of the Batttle of Hoth (with variations) for the next two weeks.

The set also got a thumbs up for the "new and improved brick separator (with axel-pusher)! Such an invaluable little tool greatly aids in the release of stuck Lego pieces."

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

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