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Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Review Year: 2012

 


2012 Award
Argh! Pirates Game!
(Fat Brain Toys $8.99 Score:)

Spread the treasure cards on the table to create a Plunder Island. On your turn draw any card from the pile. You keep drawing as long as you like--but watch out! Don't be too greedy or you may run into a pirate, yo ho ho! If you draw a pirate card before you stop drawing, you get no treasures to score! You have to get three of a kind to make a score of three points. Winner is the first to get to 10 points. There are a number of other rules that make for a fun game for 2-6 players ages 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
I Spy Sticker Book and Picture Riddles
(Jean Mazollo/ Walter Wick, Scholastic $10.99 Score:)

Technically this is a paper-covered book, but inside you will find a totally playful way to sharpen listening and vocabulary skills. Based on the well known books, this activity book comes with more than 500 reusable stickers. Kids use them to answer the riddles and match the images shown. Or they use the pages to create their own collections of animals or sports and games or foods. These pages have at least one riddle to read, but kids can make up their own as well. There are stickers with words as well as tons with pictures, colorful photos just like the ones in the I Spy books. Take this along on your next long trip or pull it out on a rainy day.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Bill & Betty Bricks
(Smart Games $24.99 Score:)

Using the wooden blocks shown on each puzzle, players progress from sort-of-easy to really challenging tasks of building the image shown with just the blocks shown. There are 9 blocks all together of varying fixed shapes. But fitting them together to replicate the image takes logic and spatial/visual perception...not to mention patience and stick-ability. This is a game that can be played solo or take turns if you like. There are 60 challenges at 5 different levels. They say 5-99. We think 5 year olds are going to need help.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
American Girl McKenna, 2012 Girl of the Year Doll & Book
(American Girl $105 Score:)

Dressed for gymnastics practice, 18-inch McKenna is determined to master the challenges of the balance beam and more. She arrives with her long caramel-colored hair is tied up for her active life style. In this Summer Olympic season, you can be sure, the young athletes, in London, will inspire girls all over the world, as they go through their routines. McKenna is not an Olympian; though one day she may be one! American Girl has created a whole line of accessories for McKenna. There is an accessory bag ($26) with mini water bottle, trail mix, school papers, exercise booklet and more. We love her team gear with jacket, trousers, medal, and slippers($28.)  There is also a beam and bar set ($85) for McKenna to practice on, two outfits in a practice wardrobe ($35) and just in case, a cast and crutches ($30) should she stumble when she does a daring double backflip!

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Rapid Reflex Game
(Fat Brain Toys $8.99 Score:)

Learning right from left is not an automatic. It is one of those concepts mastered over time. Should you want to speed up the process, this is an entertaining game that just might help. There are 32 reflex cards in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, brown, pink, and white with a bolt of lightening on each and 80 action cards-10 of each color with an object and hand direction–left or right. Listen up! How quickly can you slap the right color card with the correct hand? Players try to collect one of each color of the reflex cards. Players race to be the first to slap the one of the reflex cards using the proper hand-left or right. This all sounds more complicated than it is in reality. It's a fun game for kids who are close in age. Very young sibs will have trouble keeping up. It is properly marked for 3-4 players ages 6 and up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Seedling Color the Earth Ball
(Kid O $30 Score:)

A globe/ball for all ages. How kids use it will depend on their age. Some will like boucing it and simply playing with it. Others will love the fun of labeling the countires or color coding them. Inflate this jumbo 16-inch ball that comes with a set of permanent fabric markers. A word of warning, this has a strong odor when it comes out of the box that disappears in time. It's the size of a big beachball, though not intended for the water. It does bounce well. This ball is marked 3 & up, but will be of more interest to school aged kids.

 

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
eeBoo 18 Crayons
(eeBoo $5.99 Score:)

These are bigger than the usual crayons and better suited for small hands. The plaid box has 18 colors inside and some have a neon look as well as pastels and your basic primary colors. A good choice for 5 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Hape Super Moose
(Hape $44 Score:)

It's pretty tricky making all the add-on antlers to Super Moose! A balancing game that calls for dexterity and some strategy. Players take turns adding on wooden form after another without making them go kaboom! Chances of getting all the antlers on as they appear here are remote. In fact, although this is marked for 3 and up, we think kids under six or seven are going to find this tough going! That said, we do think older kids will like it a lot.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Eternas
(Maranda Enterprises $$27.95 Score:)

Think Connect Four, but now imagine a beautifully crafted wooden board and you have Eternas. The game is designed for two-players. The dark wooden circular board allows you to place either your white or green wooden play pieces on one of the spokes.  You win if you get four of your pieces in a row--either vertically, horizontially or on the diagonal.  Learning how to play will be quick--but don't be fooled, this is a challenging game.  We love that it forces players to look at things differently in terms of strategy, offensive and defensive blocking moves.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Tooth Treasure Super Hero
(North American Bear Co. $25 Score:)

Oh, what a night-when the tooth fairy comes on its magic mission! This 9-inch square pillow has a pocket for leaving a note for the tooth fairy and a felt pocket to tuck the lost tooth into. The little super hero is detachable from its yellow cape and used as a finger puppet. There is a girl version of this with Princess finger puppet and pastel look. Usually tooth treasures will not be needed before 5-6.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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