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Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Review Year: 2013

 


2013 Award
Lego Pink Suitcase
(Lego $24.9 Score:)

Cleverly designed, this compact set for young builders comes with storage places for bricks and a building platform for creating a yard and outdoor scene for dramatic play. It has 151 pieces with two play figures and lots of props for mini-pretend play. A good choice for travel fun that stores in carry-along case. 4-8.

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

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2013 Award
Lego City Fire Emergency
(Lego Systems, Inc. $39.99 Score:)

All the ingredients for exciting dramatic play are ready for build and play fun. The set comes with a house-on-fire and firefighters to put out the blaze! There is a fire truck with extendable rotating ladder with a retractable hose. The flames on the burning house are retractable, too. There are three action figures with axe, streetlight, saw, and other firefighting gear. This is a 300-piece modular set, which means the pieces are sorted and packaged in smaller bags for making sub-models and makes for a more organized and simpler build. 5 & up.

 

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

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2013 Award
Janod Bingo Tourismo
(Janod $19 Score:)

Just in time for the travel season, this 14 piece bingo set has four sturdy playing boards with eight double sided playing cards that slide in and out of the frames and wipe off markers for keeping track of items that players must spot as you travel along. Check off the bridge, train, gas pump, bus, etc. Play a quick game to find four items in a row or play to find everything on your board. There are two levels of play; one side has 16 smaller images the reverse has 12.  All the pieces are stored in a sturdy box with magnetic closure and fabric handle. A good time chaser for the back seat and the eternal question--are we there yet.4-8

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
Clifford the Big Red Dog Bubble Science Kit
(Scholastic $19.99 Score:)

One of a series of science kits for younger children. This explores making all sorts of bubbles by making wands and using them to make prints, sculptures, colored bubbles, gliding boats, jumping pepper and more. It comes with a supply of pipecleaners, wandsm bubble solution, funnel and best of all, an excellent step-by-step experiment book that will walk you through all these together activities. In the past, most of these experiments were more typically done with kindegarten,1st and 2nd graders. That said, there is nothing in this kit that preschoolers will not enjoy trying. Clearly, this is not a solo toy, but rather a chance to explore together. They have also done a Kitchen Science Kit and Rainbow Science. These are available at PBS Kids site and the Scholastic site. As of this writing they were not elsewhere. Marked for 3+, we think they make more sense with 5+.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
Creativity for Kids Paracord Wristbands
(Creativity for Kids $15.99 Score:)

Designed to appeal to boys, Paracord Wristbands involve macrame-type weaving with thick parachute cord. It comes with eight colors, buckles, stickers, scissors, glue, and clear instructions. There are enough supplies to make eight wristbands. Marked for 7 & up, but we think most boys of seven will not have the dexterity to do this. We'd say it's a better choice for 8-9's.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
Crayola Washable Sidewalk Chalk Bright Colors
(Crayola $1.99-8.99 Score:)

Just in time for outdoor fun, bright colors of sidewalk chalk for hopscotch games or sidewalk art shows. Colors include purple mountains majesty, granny smith apple green, orange, violet red, sepia, blue green and more. Really a new way to make their mark and it is labeled as washable. Comes in a big 48-piece pack or 24 or 12 pack.  4 & up.

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

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2013 Award
Clifford the Big Red Dog Kitchen Science
(Scholastic $19.99 Score:)

One of a series of science kits for preschoolers. This one uses things found in the kitchen to make a volcano explosion, slime, crystals, fungus and more. The items in the kit include plastic test tubes, mini-volcano form, a small tank for making slime and other props. Best of all there is a wonderful step-by-step experiment book that will walk you through all these together activities. In the past, most of these experiments were more typically done with kindegarten, 1st and 2nd graders. That said, there is nothing in this kit that preschoolers will not enjoy trying. Clearly, this is not a solo toy, but rather a chance to explore together. They have also done a Bubble Science Kit and Rainbow Science. These are available at PBS Kids site and the Scholastic site. As of this writing they were not elsewhere. Marked for 3+, we think they make more sense with 5+.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
Manhattan Toy Groovy Girls Paint-it-Cool Bag
(Manhattan Toy $12.99 Score:)

Decorate a small 8-inch square canvas bag with the six posh paint tubes loaded with puff paint to apply free hand or use with the stencils supplied. A satisfying craft kit that kids can use when they finish decorating the bag. There is no wrong or right way to do this open-ended craft kit. 4 & up.

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

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2013 Award
Manhattan Toy Groovy Girls Sparkletastic Jewelry
(Manhattan Toy $18 Score:)

All the makings for three bracelets, three pendants, gems, glitter, a work mat and cords come in this craft kit for true beginners. Aside from the glitter, which will need supervising, the gems shake out of a cleverly-designed container and stick to the pre-adhesived bracelets and necklaces. There is no glue or need for fine motor skills. This makes for nicely finished jewelry that girls will enjoy wearing. Marked for 3 and up. We think this will be a better choice for 4's and 5's, who will still need help with the necklace laces and keeping the glitter from spreading all over.  

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

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2013 Award
eeBoo Animal Village Play Masks
(eeBoo $14.95 Score:)

A set of seven cardboard play masks. These do not get worn on the face like your old Halloween mask. They are flat faces with cut out eyes and handles to hold onto. Fun for making up stories and playing them as you would with puppets, only here the players use their whole bodies if they like. Also available, Mystery in the Forest Set with three humanoid faces, with hat, crown or flowers in addition to four animals. Marked 3 and up. We think children who are slightly older and have more language will enjoy these even more.

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

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