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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


2004 Award
Musical Ferris Wheel
(KNEX $49.99 Score:)

This product has been DISCONTINUED. Our 11-year old female tester raved about this ferris wheel that plays music as it spins. It took her a good part of a Saturday morning to finish. She found the directions to be clear and was even thinking about taking it apart to try the other two models you can build with the same pieces. The ferris wheel is a satisfying 3 feet tall when fully built. As with all building kits, if you have a beginner, this is not the place to start! However, this would be a fun parent child project for a cold winter's day.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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2004 Award
Bucket Blast
(LoLo $34.99 Score:) This arrived too late for our 2004 book, but it's a winner! Our mixed-aged testors(5-9) had fun not only playing inside and outside but also making up their own games. About thte only thing they didn't like was misplacing a few beanbags! The product not only held interest after the newness wore off...our testors friends asked if they could play Bucket Blast at a sleep over party this weekend. These are 9 year old girls- but the 5 year old brother in the group loved it,too. The buckets that strap onto the and belts are sturdy, and easily assembled. The kids were able to assemble them. This is a fun active game with 15 suggested games and room for kids to make up their own. It's a fun game set for indoors, outdoors. Our parent tester wrote, "Easy to take to the beach or even just fun day trips where there is a block of time whether a picnic or something, great time could be had by all." Kids learn a lot about turn taking, color recognition, counting and team playing. According to our parent tester ...."There was very little bickering going on with this. The kids all seemed to find their own place and were able to play at whatever level they could. They all enjoyed it." (800)760-9930.

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

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2004 Awards
Insect Lore Butterfly Pavilion
(Insect Lore $29.99 Score:)

A large 2-foot tall updated version of a habitat for hatching painted ladies butterflies. The pop-up mesh tent can be hung or put on a tabletop. This is a three-week long project with all the magic of watching caterpillars transform themselves into chrysalis and then into beautiful butterflies that can be released into your garden. When you bring home the Pavilion you send your certificate for the caterpillars. A good project to capture with camera as it moves along and keep a log of the dates and changes. This size comes with 10 caterpillars; a smaller Live Butterfly Garden($19.99) one foot comes with certificate for five caterpillars. 4 & up.

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, Later School Years. Award Year: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2005 Award
Discovery Awesome Avalanche Kit
(Discovery Kids $19.95 Score:) At first glance this avalanche kit seems a lot like most of the volcano kits you may have seen - a five-minute wonder. But our 11-year old tester liked painting the model of Mt. Everest. While it was drying he and his mom read through the excellent booklet that explains how real avalanches happen, as well as the nature of the "insta-snow" - grains of white polymer that come with the kit. Add water to a measure of "insta-snow" and "Watch out below!" It cascades from the mountaintop! This kind of polymer is used in indoor snow-boarding parks and is related to the super absorbent polymer in disposable diapers. There are a number of other hands-on experiments and the good news is that if you store the saturated fluffy "insta-snow" in an open container, they shrink and dry and are ready to do their magic again. Our tester now insists on showing all visitors a demonstration. Adult supervision suggested.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
My Birdhouse
(Balitono $19 Score:) One of the best outdoor crafts is to prepare a birdhouse for backyard visitors. Balitono's new kit is already constructed; it's made of solid wood (7 1/2" x 5 1/2" x 6 1/2") and has drainage holes, a removable roof, and a ventilation slot for added comfort! Kids can enjoy painting the house with the included paints and varnish. We'd recommend pairing this kit with a bird guide book, a pair of binoculars and a log (for keeping track of the birds that come to visit).

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Wooden Shoe Wanna Paint These?
(Fashion Angels Enterprises $24 Score:) Hands down one of the favorite kits of the year for our testers. Kids paint their own designs on the wooden base of these Dr. Scholl’s like slides. Comes with paint, brush and design ideas. Our testers liked the "cherry" motif best! Come in five sizes: from a kids 12 1/2 to a ladies 8 1/2.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Paint Ceramic Beads
(Alex $16.95 Score:) Here’s a really juicy bead kit that our testers wanted to start on right away. Comes with two large heart ceramic pendants, 16 square ceramic beads, 10 other shaped ceramic beads, seed beads, paints, brushes and cord. Because there are two heart pendants, this would make a good project for two friends to work on together. You can choose to paint and bake them –in which case adult supervision is a must. Our 9 and 11 year old testers thought they were grown up enough for kids their age, but though younger kids would enjoy them as well.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Tutti Frutti Safety Pin Bracelet
(Fashion Angels Enterprises $5.4 Score:) Our eleven, ten, and nine year old testers were thrilled with the results of this small kit that includes colored safety pins, beads, elastic and clear directions for making a very pleasing bracelet. Given the price, this kit would make a great activity for a craft/slumber party. Younger girls will need adult help.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2004 Award
Moose in the House
(Gamewright $9.99 Score:)

There's a Moose in the House remains one of our all time favorite card games.  It's unlike most other games you'll play with your kids nad has a sense of humor and great artwork. Calls for visual discrimination skills!  So we have elevated this unique game to BLUE CHIP status!

Here's our original review:

One of the most innovative card games we have played in years. The cards have pictures of empty rooms, doors, and moose in the same rooms. The object is to place as many moose in your opponents’ house of cards as possible. The player with the fewest moose at the end of the game, wins. Easy to learn and a lot of fun to play! 2-5 players.

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: 2004. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2005 Award
Wig Out!
(Gamewright $9.99 Score:)

The object is to match all of your wig cards to those on the table. Be fast…there are no turns here. Everyone is trying to do the same thing whether it’s matching pony tails, beehives, or Mohawks!   First player to get rid of all his cards wins. 6 & 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: 2005. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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