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Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Art Supplies

 

 
2008 Awards
Crayola Glow Station
(Crayola $29.99 Score:)

We do have to admit that we have a thing for glow in the dark toys. We pile into the small office bathroom and try things out. Most of them don't work so when we find one that does we do a little dance (we play with toys for a living after all). The new Glow Station from Crayola is really cool. The over-sized (25" x 15") canvas works with a special light wand (that comes with a crystal attachment for really neat effects!). The set comes with stencils that are fun to work with but we really enjoyed the open-endedness of just drawing on the canvas. A great toy for the car at night or right before bed. An entertaining way to encourage kids to use the small muscles needed for writing. Itís a lot like your old magic state with sizzle! The glow fades and you start again. Also has a dry erase marker for coloring and tracing on acetate transfer sheet that will put the images onto your glow pad. A novelty that is "light-years" away from your old Magna-doodle. Designed for older kids 6 & up. Smaller travel version is also available and fun for backseat fun.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP ACTIVITY/ADAPTATION:Getting kids to work on fine motor skill needed for writing is often a hard sell. Yet, this chunky drawing tool is an entertaining and playful way to get those little hand muscles tuned up. If you need to adapt the sensor, try a mitt lined with Velcro and Velcro on the pen itself. The stencils may give added encouragement and produce realistic images that kids cannot draw themselves. All of these extras make writing a fun thing to do.

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

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2009 Award
Eye Can Art: Sumi-e Painting Kit
(Eye Can Art $28 Score:)

Here's a kit that introduces kids to the quiet delights of Japanese Sumi-e art. It comes with a special Sumi-e brush, watercolor black ink, rd paint and a block and foam for making a "chop" to sign one's art with in traditional style. There is a small supply of paper and just a small sample of ways to paint. Of course, sum-e art is often about copying and you might want to go online to find more samples, so kids get the idea of what artists have done with just one color of ink and a variety of brush strokes. Too bad there are not more examples in the idea brochure. But that said this is a good way for kids and adults to try an ancient art form. 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.

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2009 Award
Creativity for Kids Butterfly Paper Mobile
(Creativity for Kids $18 Score:)

This is a challenging kit that will take patience and fine motor skills. The pre-cut butterflies need to be assembled after they are colored and then hung so that they balance and move on the metal mobile frame. This is no simple task from assembly to completion. That said, it does end up as an attractive decoration for kids to hang in their rooms with a sense of pride and accomplishment. We usually steer away from coloring projects, but this is a lot more. In fact the coloring part is the smallest part of this activity that may require some adult assistance. 7 & 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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2010 Award
Bendaroos 3D Activity Pack
(All Star Products $20 Score:)

Kids can bend, draw and create all sorts of shapes and letters with these colorful waxed strings. The kit includes 500 building sticks in rainbow and neon colors. It comes with 16  templates they can trace that tell them how many of each color is needed to make the pictured objects.  It also comes with 3 Bendamodels- little plastic forms that kids can add their bendaroos to in order to make their own unique designs. Our testers also liked the crimper cutter for when they wanted to move on to another color. While the step by step process encourages kids to match and work in a step by step sequence, these waxed strings can also be used in an open-ended way to make whatever the imagination desires. This art material can help develop fine motor skills of little fingers as well as eye/hand coordination kids need for writing, in a more entertaining way than repetitive pencil and paper tasks. Bendaroos hold their shape better than pipe cleaners and will actually stick to walls or windows.  Marked for 3 & up, this is a toy that will be used in far more complex and interesting  ways by early school aged kids of 5-7.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2003 Award
Crayola Window FX
(Crayola $3.99 Score:) Remember using glass wax with stencils for holiday decorations? Here's a much more colorful and easy-to-use update! These window paint markers allow kids to draw directly on windows and glass doors, AND it comes right off with water. An open-ended product for all seasons. 4 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
Alex's Markers to Go
(Alex $14 Score:) Fifty assorted markers now come in a new see-through fold-up case-a doodler's delight! Great for posters, school projects or other artful moments. (800) 666-2539.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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Awards
Alex Chubby Colored Pencils
(Alex $10 Score:) These pencils have thicker "lead" and an easier-to-grasp hexagonal shape, and are especially wonderful for beginners. SNAP These fat colored pencils are ideal for kids who cannot grasp traditional pencils. ACTIVITY: Rainbow Writing: write a letter in one color, have child trace with another color.Now add a third color and have your child trace in a fourth color. A playful way to give your child a feel for letters.

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

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Awards
Jumbo GRIP Colour Pencils
(Creativity for Kids $10 Score:) 12 color pencils have built-in finger grips. Color and then apply water with brush for watercolor effects. Comes with its own sharpener. (800) 311-8684. SNAP: These are thinner than the Alex colored pencils and lend themselves to older kids who would still benefit from finger grips built-in to the pencils. These are very special since after they draw they can turn lines into paint with a bit of water on a brush.

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

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2004 Awards
Crayon Sticks
(Elmer's $2.99 Score:) These oversized crayons are softer than most and will be easier to grasp. These are fine for encouraging big sweeping arm motion and tracing or free-form drawing. (888) 435-6377. SNAP AWARD: ACTIVITY: Use these on big shhets of paper on the floor, a table or easel. For developing eye hand these give juicy results- something like thick colored markers, but greasy. They may smudge some so, a shirt to cover up clothes may save some trouble.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2005 Award
Make a Story Writng JOurnals
(Learning Resources $14.95 Score:) Designed for the classroom, in sets of ten, this is a resource package of blank booklets that kids who like to write and draw would enjoy at home,too. Sturdy paper covers hold the 32 page booklet together with three lines of text space and blank space for illustrations on every page. At the back end there are pages for notes about the author and story. Yes, kids can make their own books with any paper, but this is one way to get them started and the finished product is going to be a family heirloom. 6 & up. (800) 800-7893.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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