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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


2007 Award
Doodle Tales
(Cranium $16.95 Score:) Players are shown a picture with a missing image and asked to draw what they think fits best on their secret doodle pad. The judge then redistributes everyone’s drawings and spins the “caption wheel.” All players have to finish captions such as: “While we were on vacation” or “late last night . . .” The judge chooses her favorite creation (very subjective but everyone gets to be the judge!). 8 & up. (877) 272-6486.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Luck of the Draw
(3M $19.99 Score:) Our testers enjoyed playing Luck of the Draw, the newest “drawing” game on the market. As with most of the games in this genre, you have to draw an image as dictated by the cards, but here in a fun twist everyone votes on the different categories when judging all the drawings: “neatest,” “strangest,” “most detailed.” 10 & up. Younger players will prefer Who? What? Where? Jr. (see separate review). (800) 638-7568.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Ringgz
(Blue Orange Games $19.95 Score:) A strategy game that becomes more interesting the more you play it. The idea is to capture as many territories on the board as possible by having the “majority of color” on any given territory. You place your colors down by placing either a colored disc (which captures the entire space) or rings of color. The added difficulty: you can only add your color to an adjacent space that already has your color, which means you can quickly be blocked off from adding any pieces. All wood. 8 & up. (415) 252-6372.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Wallamoppi
(Out of the Box Publishing $21 Score:) Here’s a clever variation on the classic game of Jenga. Players must remove their dark or light wooden playing pieces from a pyramid and add them to a tower on top of the pyramid. Wait, there’s one more thing! Do all of this before a marble races down a runway into the wooden storage box. Not easy! A quick two-player game that builds dexterity and strategy skills. 8 & up. (616) 844-5263.

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

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2007 Award
Pick Two Deluxe
(Outset Media $19.99 Score:) THere are two new games that are really very similar- both are versions 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. www.outsetmedia.com or www.bananagrams-int.com.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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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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