Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Games

 


2009 Award
Kinder-Ready Sizes & Shapes
(Elmer's $10 Score:)

Two piece puzzles with parent and child pairs to match as well as set of objects to match to geometric shapes. Unless they are in training for Jeopardy there’s no need to make a fuss over learning the proper names for animal young such as the cat fish type fish with its “fingerlings” or the Swan with its “cygnets”, or the seahorse with its “fry.” The art by illustrator Eric Carle is charming and the concept of big and small as well as shapes are key here. Some of the vocabulary feels like SAT’s for tots…way over the top. That said, this is a nice set of puzzles for telling stories, matching and even color and counting concepts. 3 & up.

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

This toy is only available at Barnes & Noble until 2010

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
Kinder-Ready Colors & Numbers Clue Cards
(Elmer's $10 Score:)

Two piece puzzles fit together when kids match the color of an animal with the color card or the numeral shown with the same number of objects. We suggest you separate the two sets of cards for beginners. Just matching the color set or number set will be challenge enough at first. These are handsome cards done with the illustrator, Eric Carle’s playful art work. These are sound concepts to work on with preschoolers. Unfortunately, their String Along Skill Building Kit(3.5) has a string without a hard end, so it is going to be hard for little hands to string the plastic shaped beads. The best parts of the kit were the playing cards with ideas for sorting, patterns and matching games. These cards and the playing pieces work. It’s just the string that does not. You could bring it home and substitute a lacing string from another toy. We just cannot give it an award because of the lace that comes with the kit. 3 & up.

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

This toy is only available at Barnes & Noble until 2010.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
Kinder-Ready Go Wild! Game
(Elmer's $19.99 Score:)

Eric Carle’s wonderful animal art is used for the 16 large circular playing disks of these active games that can be played by one, two or more players. Adult help will be needed to get these games going. First, you’ll need to inflate the playing dice with action words on one and dots for counting on the other. After that the variations of the game will need some explaining. Most of the games involve the action die that says “Dance, Crawl, Walk, Jump, Run or Sing like…” Player turns over a picture disk and must move like the animal pictured. There’s a ‘duck, duck, goose’ kind of variation only this one is called ‘hop, hop, holler!” when a child in the circle is told to holler he gets up and turns over a picture card and hollers like the animal he found. Now it’s that child’s turn to go round the circle and pick the next person who will be “it” and holler. These simple games are on the mark for 3’s and up.

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

This game is only available at Barnes & Noble until 2010.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
Too Many Monkeys
(Gamewright $11 Score:)

Our testers loved that they were playing this game within minutes of reading the directions! Primo the Monkey would like to sleep but there are other monkeys, elephants and giraffes that are keeping him awake. The winner is the one that gets Primo sleeping all by himself. That's the storyline...the game play is a series of fast-paced rounds where you are trying to get your monkey cards in order (from one to six)...if you win the round, you get to have fewer cards...until you have only one monkey. But if you get a giraffe or elephant--you skip your turn--there are also wild cards that our players loved getting! You can play this game with 2-6 players--more fun with at least three players. 6 & up.

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: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Chickyboom
(Blue Orange Games $22 Score:)

You start with a bunch of wooden hens (enjoyably purple), bales of hay and wagon wheels - all sitting on a perch. The object is to remove pieces without making everything fall over. The hens, hay and wheels all have different values. The player with the highest number value at the end of the round (when things fall off) wins. Fast paced, easy to learn...a hit with our testers. Requires, dexterity, adding skills, and a sense of humor!  They say 4 and up, we'd say even more fun for the 6 year old crowd.

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

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

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2009 Awards
LeapFrog Scribble & Write
(LeapFrog $22 Score:)

There is a screen on this little letter toy that asks you to trace the shapes shown. Like your old magic slate, you can “erase” the shapes you trace. Here’s the problem…it will tell you good job even when you do not trace what is there! We like electronic toys to be kind, but giving false praise can be confusing. The letter games are simple tracing. You push a letter on the keyboard and it says the name of the letter and then lights up a template on the screen to trace. Unlike so many toys, this one does have both upper and lower case letters---that is a good thing. The curves on the screen are not exactly round, but they are not bad. After the letter has been traced the child is also told what sound the letter makes. The final game asks kids to watch the lines on the screen form a letter and when recognized push the right key on the keyboard. We’d say, skip the shape game with its misleading praise and go right to the letters. They say 3 & up, we’d say 4-5 is closer to the truth.

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

 

This is a straightforward toy for helping children who are learning to shape their letters. Keep in mind that following the lighted up letters is just one way to develop those skills. You can also give them a more direct experience by having them “write” with their fingers in wet sand or in a pan of flour…trace the first letter of your child’s name in the sand….have him trace it. Wipe it away and demo again how you do this and have him trace again. Eventually ask him to draw the letter so you can trace the letter he writes.
Avoid trying to do all the letters at one time. Pick two or three at most and keep the letters related in shape…i.e. do three stick shaped letters on the same day, such as L, T, and X. Or on another day work on C, O, and Q.

 

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

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2009 Award
Rainbow Race
(International Playthings $18 Score:)

Each player gets playing pieces that are the colors of the rainbow. A card is drawn that shows the colors in different order. Players race to stack their colors to match the rainbow card. This is a game that calls for visual memory, sequencing and speed, not to mention dexterity. They say 3 & up, we think this would be challenging but fun for older 4’s-7.
        The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.
 

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

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2003 Award
If You Dare!
(International Playthings $20 Score:) The directions are clear and straightforward for this action game that requires kids to follow the directions on the cards to do things such as, "pretend to make pancakes," "imitate an opera singer," or "try to make another player laugh." A good party game for 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
Lace-a-Saurus
(Lauri $11.99 Score:) These precut felt puppets with a dino theme are just right for your dinosaur fan with six pre-cut dinosaur hand puppets and one finger puppet. Kids lace them up and use them for storytelling. Kits come with yarn and big plastic needle for sewing (which develops fine-motor skills kids need for writing). 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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Leap Pad
(LeapFrog $34.99 Score:) We really wanted to love this electronic reading aid, but found the content disappointing and beyond the targeted 4-7 crowd. Labeled 4 & up, it introduces skills way beyond preschoolers' ability. Leap Pad Pro, aimed at second-fifth graders, has so much text on a page, it's frustrating to young readers and limits older ones. The company should hook up with a solid beginning-readers series to match their innovative technology.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: .

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