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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 

Eye Can Art: Wax Drawing Kit
(Eye Can Art $28 Score:)

This is strictly a kit for parent and child together! There is wax that needs to be melted in the oven and this step must be done entirely by adults. The box says adult supervision in small print. We are telling you this in LARGE PRINT—ADULT SUPERVISION IS A MUST! That said, this is an interesting ancient art form. It comes with two wooden frames that you draw on with oil pastels supplies in the kit. Then you press a sheet of beeswax over the art and you bake it in the oven for 15 minutes. When it comes out it needs to cool before anyone touches it. An interesting kit but not for young kids or impatient adults, for that matter! The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .

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2009 Award
Eye Can Art: Printmaking Kit
(Eye Can Art $28 Score:)

An interesting introduction to printmaking that comes complete with brayer, printing ink, tagboard, glue, papers and instructions. This is a kit for parent child projects. The supplies are fine and the directions are clear. A good choice for outdoors where the newspapers under the art work can be tossed. 8 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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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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2003 Awards
Monopoly: The American Edition
(Parker Brothers $29.99 Score:) Our Monopoly fans were delighted with additions to the traditional game, which include trivia questions in order to get out of jail! Play pieces include slices of Americana, including apple pie and the Liberty Bell. You're playing for the Grand Canyon, the Declaration of Independence, and the Phonograph.

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

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2003 Award
Le Most Cute Objects & Hand Painted Shakers
(Creativity for Kids $14 Score:) Three charming ceramic boxes, shaped like an over-stuffed chair, a tiny birdhouse, and a stack of luggage. These come glazed in white with metal rims, hinges and clasps. Kids can paint and either bake them or simply leave them for a week to lock the colors. Since these have more details to paint than most, they are a better choice for older painters with the dexterity for fine details. Also new for 2003, Hand Painted Shakers ($12 1Ú2) Two hefty white ceramic shakers for salt or pepper. Still top rated, Paint Your Own Ceramic Tea Set ($15 ) or a Dog Dish ($18 ). Adult supervision required for baking. 7 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Awards
Paint-Your-Own Chair
(Action Products $34.99 Score:) A '50s-styled 36" folding canvas sling chair that kids paint with their own design. However, the company's Bubble Chair ($16 ) received poor marks from our testers for being too small and hard to paint.

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

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Super Gymnast Barbie
(Mattel $19.99 Score:) No great unusual Barbies this year. Our top pick: Super Gymnast or, of the straight "pink" variety, the Ballet Star Barbie-comes complete with long and short tutus and two crowns. At least they're all active! Also Barbie Rapunzel with hair that grows (with extensions).

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

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2003 Award
Kart Maniax Stunt Pit
(Mattel $19.99 Score:) Of all the new track sets from Hot Wheels our testers gave the highest marks to the Kart Maniax Stunt Pit. However, they all thought the set should come with two karts ($9.99 for each additional kart). We agree! Our testers also liked the Octoblast ($39.99 ) - the marquee racing set of the year. The cars travel quickly and it is more stable than most of its predecessors. Like most of these closed sets it will likely have short-term appeal.

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

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2003 Award
K'NEX Electronic Arcade
(KNEX $89.99 Score:) You can build this as either a one-person pinball or a two-person speedball machine. Very challenging to build but satisfying to our advanced K'nex testers. Even our teen testers needed adult assistance. 10 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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GeoSafari Challenge Globe
(Educational Insights $59 Score:) We had trouble knowing how to "buzz in" on the quiz-styled globe with 7,500 questions for up to four players. Like all the new talking globes, you can't answer many of the questions by simply using the globe-better have an atlas! 8 & up. The GeoSafari World ($59) has 5,000 questions, but again you'd need an atlas, since many questions cannot be answered by looking at the globe.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .

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