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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


2007 Award
Bananagrams
(Bananagrams $14.95 Score:)

There are two new word games, Bananagrams and Pick Two Deluxe that are very similar. Both of these games are a version of "speed scrabble,"  in which players build their own word grid and try to be the first to use up their letters. When a player uses all letters she shouts, "Pick Two!" or "Peel!" and others must take two or three letters. Either is a fun word game. Pick Two tiles have number values, so there's more math involved in scoring.  Otherwise they are pretty much the same. We do like the banana-shaped bag for take-along play. www.bananagrams-int.com.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Award
You've Been Sentenced
(McNeil Designs $24.95 Score:) ) Forget sentence diagrams. This is much more fun! Players take 10 cards and have to use as many as possible to make a sensible and grammatically correct sentence. Cards have famous names; places; and conjugations of words. Players read their sentences out loud and justify what they mean to the rest of the players who become the jury and vote on the acceptance of the sentence and justification. Good family fun for kids 8 & up. www.youvebeensentenced.com Age: Late School Years. 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: 2007.

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2007 Award
Uno Spin
(Mattel $15.99 Score:)

Right off the bat, we loved the sound of the click play board as it spins. The spinning board adds interesting twists to the game (as you play the regular game of trying to discard all of your cards), including trading your hand with another player, showing all your cards to your opponents, or a variation on war. 7 & up. (800) 524-8697.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Award
Cast and Paint: Krazy Kars
(Skullduggery $16 Score:)

“Let’s do another,” and “so neat”—our testers really liked these fun model kits that are easy to do and produce Hot Wheels/Matchbox-scaled cars. Sets come with enough modeling material for four cars (but enough decorations for two). The cars take 30 minutes to set. New kits feature NASCAR winners like Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Kits come with NASCAR decals, paint, and blo-pens (not our favorites), but our testers really were less concerned with the decorating and more intent on making a toy they could really use!

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: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Award
Monster Trucks Custom Shop
(Creativity for Kids $24.99 Score:)

Customize the four monster trucks with paint and stickers, then let ’em rip! With pull-back mechanisms, these are ready for racing. The stickers go on well. The paint isn’t great, but really is beside the point. These four monster trucks are just FUN! For smaller vehicles, check out Fast Car Race Cars ($14.99 4). Set of three wooden cars with pull-back mechanisms to paint (our kids used markers to play with the cars sooner). With either the trucks or the cars, set up a roadway with some empty small boxes for simulated crashes and road races. (800) 311-8684. Let’s go to the races! We often complain that there are not a lot of great craft kits for boys. Here are three sets that will be a hit.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
JellLoopdeLoops Sparkle Jelly Jewelry Kit
(Fashion Angels Enterprises $14.99 Score:) Our testers really enjoyed this kit with 48' of glitter tubing so that crafters can make 36 bracelets and 20 rings. One parent noted: “love the creativity factor and including the pliers was an excellent idea”, but thought the seed beads were too tiny to manage. 8 & up. (800) 492-3237.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2008 Award
Kid Tough Digital Camera
(Fisher-Price $69.95 Score:)

This was a Platinum winner in 2007. What has changed? It is now waterproof-not a bad idea when you think of how often cameras are taken along to the beach or pool. Technically, this is not a 2009 winner, but it is worth considering. Designed for beginners, this digital camera works surprisingly easily. There is a two-eye view finder as well as a small but adequate screen. It’s easy to use with chunky handgrips and big button. Comes with built-in flash, runs on four AA batteries, and you can add a card for extra memory. Compatible with Mac or PC. They say 3 & up, we’d say more like 6 & up. Available in pink or blue. (800) 432-5437.

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

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2007 Award
Combo King
(Gamewright $14.99 Score:)

Our testing family thought this was a kinder, friendlier form of Yahtzee. The cards you draw determine what kind of roll you need to get in order to win the round (e.g., three 5s, two 3s). Some dice challenges invite everyone to compete (e.g, first person to roll a four wins). Not difficult to learn and fun to play. You win chips for winning the rounds (so there is a poker-like element to the game as well); first player to make all their combos is the Combo King. 8 & up but you’ll need an adult.

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: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Award
Fuddy Duddy
(Let's Play Games $6.99 Score:) Quick and easy, players must collect a run of one color, 1 to 4, or a run of “duds” that have no color. 8 & up. (856) 988-1980.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Awards
Scratch Art Light Catcher Fun Kits
(Scratch-Art Co. $2.99 Score:)

Kids scratch away the black paint to give the open spaces a stained glass look when the finished product is hung on a window (themes include birds, flowers, and a sailboat). Quick, pleasing projects that are a good party favor/activity. Also new, Scratch Magic Stickers ($5.99 ) comes in 20 animal shapes. For a bigger kit, Draw & Learn Deluxe Kit ($16.99 ) has over 50 stencil shapes of dinosaurs, underwater, jungle, and outer space themes. This just might attract boys in particular who often need to develop the fine motor skills of holding a pencil—without the challenge of writing letters.


Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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