Though they look similar, this is nothing like the LeapFrog LeapBand. It is not an activity tracker, but more like a camera and recording machine. Kids can take photos and videos with fun effects. It also has a voice recorder with voice-changing effects as well as games and a touch screen. Finally, it is also a watch with analog and digital displays. Although parents liked the learning games they could down load, kids and parents found it annoyingly huge and bulky for kid-sized wrists. Testers seemed to like the voice changer recorder the best. Available in pink, blue and gender-free green. Marked 3-9, testers felt it too complex for very young and too babyish for the upper range listed. We think the sweet spot for novelty this is more like 6-7.
Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
With over 100 sound effects and phrases this Batbot is part robot/ part tank that operates with a full function remote control. Little brothers and sisters will be impressed (and maybe a little scared) when the Bat Bot's eyes light up. It has a disk launcher, a batman figure, and both arms rotate 90 degrees. Our seven year old tester's eyes lit up when he saw this toy in the box and his delight only grew as he played with it, transforming it from bot to tank and back again and activating the many phrases and motions. 5 & up.
Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.
For noisy toy fans, this will do it, big time. The F-150 SVT Raptor has lights and lots of roaring beeping and thumping sounds that will delight kids until someone yells--turn that #*@#& off! That said, it's a showy gift for the price and you can always let the batteries go dead and still have a powerful looking SVT for dramatic play. Takes 3 AA batteries.
Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
Remember slot cars? Now imagine "slotless" slot car races in your living room that run on a 3.5' x 8.5' racetrack mat that rolls up and stores when the fun is done. Each player needs an iOS or Android compatible device (they cannot be mixed). The base set includes two cars, chargers that are like little garages, and a track mat. It takes just 10 minutes to charge a car that will run for 20 minutes. Additional cars are $49. You'll want to use the tutorial so that you know how to control the speed of your car and how to change lanes. You don't steer so much as zig zag the track to beat other racers by disabling them with virtual force field and weapons. You can play solo or with up to four racers. A big ticket item for family fun. This image doesn’t do the product justice. Look at the maker's site to see the game in action. They say 8 & up, but we think older kids and parents will like this best.
Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
Maybe this should come with a warning to all house cats--they'd better not tangle with this 9-pound racer with a new twist; as the name on the box says--it is a high jumper and it can flip while doing so. It can do 360-degree spins, as well. Move those china cups before the fun begins! It takes two hours to charge and adapter must be plugged into the wall outlet. A novelty toy designed for 8 & up.
Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2014.
A play wall intended for the vertical baby and young toddler crowd. The two-sided plastic wall comes with four blocks to use on either side of the toy. One side has three ramps and the other side has knobs-- each offers a different experience for dropping the blocks. Normally this type of toy would come with balls rather than squares and probably would have worked better. Of added interest, each of the cubes come with balls encased that will spin. Marked 6 month-3 years. More realistic sweet spot is 6-12 months.
Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
This soft sheep projects a starry night sky of soft lights on the ceiling of the nursery for little ones to gaze at as they go to sleep. A built-in timer turns the light show off after 45 minutes. This projects three-color options: green, blue, and amber. Just as you would not put a pillow in a crib, this is not meant to be in a crib, but rather in the room. Soft to the touch, this is also a cuddly but quiet good choice for toddlers and preschoolers who find comfort in having a nightlight rather than a totally darkened bedroom.
Age: Infants, Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
Designed for small hands these oversized colored pencils come in sets of 12 or 24 along with a special sized sharpener. The delicious colors will make paper and pencil tasks more fun and may be just the right inducement for kids who are just starting to write words and letters in school. As the box says, they are shorter than most pencil sets, but jumbo in thickness, giving beginners a broader line and more control. Drawing, coloring or writing, these are terrific tools for developing eye hand and for refining those small muscles in the fingers and hand that are needed for the task. Bring home a Sketchbook with elves carrying Striped Biggies. 5 & up.
SNAP For all the reasons stated above, these are a good choice that will make pencil tasks more pleasing.
Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
Travel with Lydia, a stunning 18th Century girl who leaves England in 1760 with her family to settle in Colonial Boston. She wears a charming buttery yellow gown trimmed with rosettes and lace. Her long dark brunette locks are waiting to be brushed and admired as her fortunate owner enjoys reading Lydia's story in the book, Lydia in the New World (book available in 2015). Also available for Lydia a lovely teal blue party dress trimmed with Chinese braid and cream colored underskirt. Or she also might like a totally perfect riding outfit with a skirt of blue linen, a white shirt with cravat and a double breasted brass buttoned blue jacket. This is a doll for older girls with a beginning sense of world history and perhaps an interest in fashion in history. She is meant to be played with, though collectors will certainly like her, as well. Visit a girlforalltime.com site for recipes, history and other information about Lydia.
Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014.
A versatile toy that can be used as a seat for bouncing on, as a ride on with foot to the floor action, or they can stand behind it and push. It has music and lights and happily, it has a button to turn the sound off. Some assembly is needed but it is not difficult. A word of warning, your baby will need to have long enough legs to straddle it. Marked 9 months to 3 years, but the sweet spot for this is more like 12-18 months.
Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
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