Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Active Physical Play

 


2006 Award
Back Yard Flyer
(Kid Galaxy $15 Score:) "One of the best toys of the year" was the consensus among our tween testers. They were thrilled with this small blue and yellow plane that is launched by using the battery powered hand-held launcher. Everyone found the launcher easy to use and had a great time running after the plane that really took off! The company says that when the trigger is pulled the plane will fly for 30 seconds or more. It kept our testers (parents included) well occupied for part of an afternoon--even when it went flying into the neighbor's backyard! A great toy for the price. (While our testers gave rave reviews to this product, they found the company's remote control plane very difficult to make work.)

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Awards
PlasmaCar
(PlaSmart $69.95 Score:) Our testers from ages 4 to 12 could not get enough of this new ride-on that according to the manufacturer runs on “inertia, centrifugal force, and friction.” Sounds like a lot of serious scientific principles - but this is sheer fun rolled up in one zippy vehicle! There are no pedals, or batteries needed. Rotate the steering wheel and you’re off on any smooth surface. This was tested indoors in a room with the furniture moved out of the way for clear sailing. Your feet are your brakes and this will support riders up to 220 pounds on a smooth, even surface and 120 pounds on an uneven, rough surface. One mom suggested the manufacturer should add bumpers to the front and back to protect the walls. That said- it’s the new favorite toy in their neighborhood. 4 & up. (877) 289-0730.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2007 Award
Wet Head
(Imagination Entertainment $19.99 Score:) On a hot day, this water roulette toy is the perfect outdoor game. After you fill the hat's reservoir with water, each player takes a turn wearing the hat and having the other players pull one of the water plugs on the hat. Watch out, one of them will release all the water! Best played in bathing suits!

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Cranium Hullabaloo DVD Game
(Cranium $24.95 Score:) Plug this DVD in, put the playing mats on the floor, and let the fun begin! Fun for a party or play date, this is an active game that involves kids in wiggling like an octopus, crawling like a lizard, hopping like a kangaroo. As they move to different colored and shaped playmates, kids may find themselves on the same square as a friend. No problem. It’s not a competitive game. Winning is completely by chance as the caller announces the “Lucky Pad” that three kids may be standing on. With live action video of animals and how they move, this game offers lots of opportunities for active play as well as quick rounds for multiple winners. A delightful adaptation of the original Hullabaloo game.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Sand and Sea Play Table
(Little Tikes $79.99 Score:) Cleverly designed for separate sand and water play, this is nevertheless, likely to lead to some muddy exploration. These two tables are side by side and ideal for digging, spilling and messing around. This comes equipped with an umbrella, sand and water wheels, tools, boats and bridge. It comes with lids to protect the sand (which is not included) from the elements. 2-6 The company has signed a verification form that this product contains no lead or phthalates.

Age: Toddlers,Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2009 Award
BeeBoo Big Bubble Mix Kit and Dip Stix
(Extreme Bubbles, Inc. $10 & up Score:)

Hands down one of our new favorite products of the year! The unique bubble wand consists of two long wooden handles connected by soft rope. Dip the wand into the bucket with the handles closed. Take the wand out of the solution and open the handles slowly and amazingly, extremely large bubbles that will impress even the most "I'm so over bubbles"  teenager. Great fun for the backyard with mixed ages.  New for 2010, Dip Stix.  The big handles on the wands are now painted (they look less homemade)--and you can mix your own bubble solution in the built in container.  For the Tang generation, the mix your own mixture will seem like fun. Some of our parents (with younger kids) prefer the "it's good to go from the start" approach.  You can still buy the original bubble mixture.  While we found that younger children were delighted with running after these super big bubbles (and their parents had fun making them), this is truly one of the few outdoor toys that will capture the attention of teens and adults.   If you're having a family reunion--this is fun to have around!

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

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2007 Award
Par 3 Mini Golf Set
(Step 2 $39.99 Score:) Arrange the 21 piece set into a custom made 3 hole course. Pieces snap together easily and each “green” has a hole in one. Can be used indoors and out. Comes with two putter, two balls, three flags, a clown's mouth, windmill, and spinner. They say 2 & up, we'd say more like 3 & up. Our testers found that the first hole was very easy to do (and satisfying). The next two holes take more practice (and more shots)...which is fine with most kids and frustrating to those who feel that they should golf like Tiger already!

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2008 Award
Pottery Barn Kids Jumbo Inflatable Bowling Ball and Pins
(Pottery Barn Kids $89 Score:) When we first heard about these super-sized bowling pins we wondered if they would really go over when hit with the really large bowling ball - oddly enough a common problem with toy bowling sets. You probably don't worry about that as an issue--but it is one of our pet peeves--along with boats that don't float. The good news here is that they do go over when hit. The pins are 42" high and the ball is 25" in diameter. Note: each set comes only with three pins. The "big" size is really fun for preschoolers who will enjoy moving them about!

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Awards
Little Tikes 6 in 1 Town Center Playhouse
(Little Tikes $399.99 Score:)

One of our preschool testers thought this was absolutely perfect-- they had thought of everything but a porta potty! (His dad's an architect). What's really innovative about this playcenter is that it literally opens all the way up to reveal many different pretend settings. There is a cafe (with a chalkboard for specials, a bistro table, two chairs, and a sink), a gas station (here you can make the price as low as you want!), a town center with a retail store, and a sports center (complete with a basketball hoop, soccer net, and a place for toss games. Center is wheelchair accessible. Note: The only negative we heard back on this product is that it took over two hours to put together. If you're not particularly handy- this may be a problem. As with all of these plastic playsets, we pass on the recommendation we received years ago from Little Tikes to use liquid soap. It sometimes makes the pieces go together faster!

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

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Playhut Build a Dino Honeycomb Hut
(Playhut $49.99 Score:) You need plenty of room for this playful dino play setting (164"L x 51" H x 82"D). Comes with individual panels that you connect in order to make your own giantic green dino that has lots of different crawl spaces. Great for play dates, rainy days and countless dramatic play scenarios. 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.

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