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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 

Action Figures
(Various $ Score:) Because most action figures involve violent play themes, we generally do not write about them.

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

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Children's Furniture
(Various $ Score:) Table and chairs are basic pieces of gear that will be used for years of snacks, art projects, and tea parties. Best bets are going to have steady legs and a washable table surface. After that, it's a matter of budget and style to fit your tast. Check the undersides of tables and chairs for smooth finishes that won't snag little fingers. Twos and threes also enjoy rocking or arm chairs scaled to their size. Some basic safety and design questions you may want to ask: Can your child get on and off chairs/bench easily? Is this a set that will work when your child gets a little bigger? If you're looking at a wooden set, are there exposed screws or nuts (check the underside) that can cut your child? Is the table surface washable and ready for abuse? (A beautiful painted piece will be destroyed by paint, play dough, crayons, etc.)

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

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2002 Award
Pretty Dresser
(Balitono $16 Score:) Once it's painted, this small wooden mirror with three drawers will hold jewelry and other small treasures. For the cat lover we recommend the cat-shaped My Purrfect box ($16) or make your own wooden Nature Tic Tac Toe game ($16) with a wooden butterfly board and four flower and bugs playing pieces. Testers absolutely recommended this kit. 6 and up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Paint Your Own Ceramic Tea Set
(Creativity for Kids $15 Score:) Make a unique and charming 17-piece ceramic tea set. Kids paint the teapot, sugar, creamer, and cups and saucers. You can wash the paint off if you aren't happy with the design, or bake the set in your oven for half an hour and it's permanent!

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Chomp!
(Gamewright $9.99 Score:)

A fun variation of War with a little science built in. Cards feature the food chain of the sea where the big fish eat the little fish.  Throw in a Ziploc bag-great for quick games in the airport or before the food arrives. 6 and 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: 2002. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2002 Award
Dino Dodg'em
(Binary Arts $9.99 Score:) Two teams of dinos are racing to get off the playing board first, but watch out for blocking dino moves. The firs team to get all dinos off the board wins. A relatively easy brainteaser game that comes in a compact carrying case. 8 and up. Much more challenging for 10s and up, Elephant Spin Out ($8.99) where the object is to line up elephant pieces and move them off the board.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
American Girl Lindsey
(American Girl $84 Score:) Lindsey is first in a line of annual featured dolls that will only be available for the year. Lindsey has curly auburn hair and sporty clothes. Her interests are in finding her lost dog. Her book (which was not available at press time) and accessories are extra. Pleasant Company continues to make exquisite multiethnic dolls from different periods in American history with books and period clothes and furnishings for each doll. A wonderful way to introduce history to kids. If you are looking for a patriotic theme this year, consider Molly a girl of the 40's and WWII. 7 and up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
K'nex Screamin'Serpent Roller Coaster
(KNEX $89.99 Score:) Our test family raved about the 1280 piece set that stands 6 feet by 3 feet when built! They said their child was so "thrilled with the results that it was a bigger hit than Disney World!" That said, they reported that it took over 36 hours to build and is truly for dedicated K'nex builders. The Trampoline (scored a four) was also a multiday project that our 10 year old builder thought was "neat" but only for those with lots of patience. The set also required some "jerryrigging" to get all the parts working smoothly.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Knex Missions in Space Sets
(KNEX $29.99 Score:) Builders continue to report that they need more finger strength for K'nex than for Legos. Fans of K'nex gave high scores to the new Apollo 15 Lunar Lander($2999/501 pieces) that comes with an astronaut and neat sound effects. The Jack Knife Big Rig Race Transport($16.99/296 pieces) Also scored a solid four.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Awards
Countdown
(Cadaco $15.99 Score:) Hands down, one of the best math games ever! A quick two player game that can be played by kids of mixed ages and math ability. It's played with dice on an uncomplicated wooden board. Each player has 10 wooden pegs that flip. The object is to be the first player to turn over all your pegs by rolling dice. Players may add, subtract, multiply or divide the numbers they roll in order to get the number the combination that makes the number they need. 6 and up. (800) 621-5426. SNAP INFO: No special adaptation is needed for this excellent math game that can be used for beginners and beyond.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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