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Product Type: Toys

 


2014 Award
LEGO CITY Arctic Helicrane
(Lego Systems, Inc. $39.99 Score:)

Smaller than the Arctic Base Camp, this 262-piece build has many of the fun pieces in the bigger set. The helicopter is equipped with a mighty crane for heavy lifting ans a husky sled with four dogs, a camera, radar screen, and ice block with crystal element. Comes with minifigures and assorted accessories for Arctic exploration. This is one of the modular builds that divides the models into sub-models for easy starts. A good choice for 6-12.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY Arctic Base
(Lego Systems, Inc. $89.99 Score:)

Arctic exploration has taken on a hi-tech turn with a team of scientists who have set out to explore the secrets of the ice. Sure, they have a dog sled, but they also have a helicopter, a winch, and net to bring ice back to the base. They have a snow-scooter and a secure base camp with a lab that has walls that open and a roof that holds radar devices and solar panels. There is a massive tractor-exploration vehicle with serious drill and lights. Hi-tech or not...the seven explorers had better be on the look-out for a polar bear that is curious about this Arctic Base camp. Plenty of building in the 735-piece set that is likely to become a great setting for pretend play. 6-12

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Little People City Skyway
(Fisher-Price $39.99 Score:)

It is a race to the surprise finish to discover where the winner is going to exit from this mighty three-foot skyway. Will it come out of the side exits or jump off a ramp. It is different every time. Besides, kids can flip the switches and to change the cars path. No batteries are needed to make the two little vehicles zip and zoom down the ramps. The set up also includes a working crane, gas pump, traffic signals, parking meter, and a gate that opens and closes. All great ingredients for early dramatic play. This is a really big piece of plastic that will be a wow-eee gift for toddlers who love playing the same game again and again. It may be a stretch for small toddlers to reach the top, but most twos will enjoy taking charge of the action. It is definitely big enough for two kids to enjoy together...think twins. Marked 18 months to 5 years. We think twos and threes are the right age for this.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Jumbo Forest Friends Puzzle
(Mudpuppy Press $14.95 Score:)

It's autumn in the forest and the animals are all out under the colorful trees. This jumbo floor puzzle has 25 big pieces that beginners can handle. When put together it is a big 22 by 22 inch square. Also fun, their Jumbo Pirate Puzzle, though this one is older in look and subject. They say 2 & up; we think twos are not ready for this many pieces. It will be enjoyed by  older 3-4's more.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Shake It Up Duo
(HaPe $12.99 Score:)

Two wooden shakers with a gentle quiet sound that are easy to live with for adults as well as kids. These unusual shapes for maracas are easier for young kids to grasp and hold onto while they keep the beat to music you put on for them to respond to.

SNAP: Unlike regular marachas which may be harder to grasp these wooden shakers have handles that may be easier to grasp. They also have a less strident sound. making them easier for sound sensitive kids to tolerate and even enjoy.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Best Bugs Magnetic Maze
(HaPe $24.99 Score:)

An old fashioned game for solo play. Older toddlers like being able to manipulate tiny beads that are safely under a see-through cover. There is no right or wrong way to play with this square board. Older players may like to try and get all the beads of the same color into the home of that matching bug's maze. Doing so will take patience and some skill. 2 & up.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Felt Crown Set, Pirate
(Mudpuppy Press $19.99 Score:)

 Yo, Ho! Ho! Get ready mates! Cleverly designed for versatility, this premade felt crown with a Velcro closing to adjust head sizes, comes with an assortment of stick-on badges that can be added to the frame of the crown. Done in black, red, teal, gold and white, this is a fun accessory for a pirate birthday or other special occasions. Great for games of pretend. The company makes several other crowns including a less gender specific birthday crown for boys and girls and a wonderful ballet crown for dramatic play.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY Auto Transporter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

While we never like driving next to one of these big trucks on the highway, this is a fun build! The 350-piece set includes making the transporter truck itself, two vehicles and two mini-figures. And as with the real deal, you can off load the cars by lowering the ramps on the transporter. So, this is a great project that ends up being fun for dramatic play. 5-12.  

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
LEGO City Airport Fire Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

Call the fire truck to the rescue! A nice 326-piece build for beginner builders, this jaunty red fire truck comes with two firefighters, a retractable hose and fake water for putting out the pretend "engine fire." 5-12 years.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY High-speed Passenger Train
(Lego Systems, Inc. $149.99 Score:)

Our tester was very excited to see the reintroduction of a train set to LEGO. Modeled on a European high-speed train with three train cars, track and a remote control device that has 7 speeds. The set includes a IR-Receiver, a Motor and a Battery Box. The high speed train has side doors that open as well as the front for loading engineer and passengers. Compatible with the new Train Station set.
6-12 years.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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