Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Review Year: 2012

 


2012 Award
Alex Scanimagic
(Alex $23.99 Score:)

You may have seen the book called Gallop with its moving images. This wonderful toy allows children to create their own moving images. The case and markers come with premade art that young kids color. Then they close the case and turn the dials to see their colorful creation come to life. The kit comes loaded with a roller in place and a spare roller with more images that can replace the original. We usually steer clear of coloring toys that are not open-ended. But this goes beyond simple coloring. It's a little magic, science and illusion. Younger kids will need help with setting it up and adding the second roller. 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Bananagrams 2012 London Edition
(Bananagrams $14.95 Score:)

To celebrate the upcoming Summer Olympics this version of Banangrams has five extra colorful joker tiles with pictograms of various Olympic sports. It is otherwise the same game in a convenient banana shaped zip up pouch. Players divvy up the tiles and play side by side creating their own connected words. It's different from Scrabble since you do not take turns, although you must take extra tiles when your opponent uses up her tiles and is ready to take more. A great take along for vacation time. Quick and easy to learn. 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Barbie Dolls of the World, Australia
(Mattel $29.99 Score:)

Collecting dolls of other lands is a passion that frequently begins in the later school years. Girls may feel "too old" to play with dolls but still like having them in their rooms. The current Australian and Irish dolls are fairly reasonably priced for entry level collectors. For this age group they may also spark an interest in finding out more about their doll's country and customs. Mattel has a website with map and games and information dedicated to this collection. Each doll comes with a passport and display stand and is dressed in clothes or costumes that reflect the traditional or modern dress. Each doll also has a related animal. The Australian doll wears a safari outfit and has a koala bear.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Primary Science Mix and Measure Set
(Learning Resources $29.99 Score:)

Learning about measurement equivalencies comes built into this clever set of measuring tools. For starters you want to give kids a chance to explore how many cups it takes to fill the bigger containers and to discover that the tall and short two-cup containers are the same. The 12-piece set includes measuring spoons and 1/4, 1/2, and 1 cup measures, 2-cup and 4 cup beakers. A small scale is included along with some clever activity cards to use with your child. These science activities are recipes for creating bubble solution, puffy paint, clay, trail mix, slime stencils, mystery goo and other more basic measuring experiments. The well made materials and activity cards add up to a wealth of entertaining parent and child explorations that make early connections to science. 4 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Kiwi Crates-Color
(Kiwicrate $19.95 Score:)

A new on-line series of activity kits that are incredibly well conceived and designed.  We sampled a COLOR kit where the activities include making spinning tops and collages. We usually don't love most science kits - but these were just on target for early school aged kids (and we'd say older fours with adult assistance). The materials are lovely and the instructions are clear.  One of the downsides of most science kits, is that the instructions become too complicated for most kids and adults.  Here, the instructions are a playful blend of written and pictorial. The site also invites you to post your results.

These kits are really terrific parent/child or grandparent/child projects that can be completed in an afternoon. We also tried the company's WIND kit that was great fun (but is no longer available). 

NOTE: This is a subscription service so we have not been able to test all the kits going forward.  To order the COLOR kit shown on the Today Show, click here.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
Laser Peg Bot
(Laser Pegs $19.95 Score:)

Want a fun introduction to circuits?  This intro set from Laser Pegs comes with instructions for 6 different models, but our testers loved treating this as an open-ended set. Make the connection between the pieces and they light up.  The low watts come from the 3 AA batteries (not included).  The company makes more extensive (and expensive kits)-- one of our favorites was last year's award winning 3D Light board.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Ravensburger Race Through Space Game
(Ravensburger $20 Score:)

Players are on a mission to the moon, you will travel over ten galaxy cards landing on space stations. But watch out. The galaxy shifts as you move through space! If you land on a black hole you'll be rocketed backwards. Land on an Asteroid field and you will be stuck! This is a fun game with a few molecules of science thrown in. Game play is about 15 minutes. 2-4 players. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Talking Tubes
(Alex $27.99 Score:)

An update from the can and strings inventions you played with in school, this plastic set works really well to the delight of our testers young and old. It comes with 3.3 yards of yellow tubing with a red and blue telephone on either end. Go around a corner so that you can't see each other and whisper something. Your voice comes through loud and clear. An early science lesson about sound! 3 & up.

SNAP: For kids who are working on speech, this is a fun prop that will add playful fun to their efforts. Try a game of echo. Say what I say...start with one or two words and buld. Reverse roles and you say what your child says.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Folkmanis Nibbling Mouse Puppet
(Folkmanis $13.99 Score:)

Bigger than most finger puppets, this white mouse with a very long pink tail, has cheese in its paws and a rod that moves its head from side to side. There's room for two fingers to grasp the rod to active the mouse. A unusual little puppet for special effects in any drama...it could even be the narrator! This is about as loveable as a mouse can be.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Folkmanis Mini Lop Ear Rabbit Finger Puppets
(Folkmanis $7.50 Score:)

Tuck one or more of these adorable little finger puppets into the Easter basket or your travel bag!

Folkmanis also makes one with upright ears. This kind of small plaything will be enjoyed long after the candies are forgotten.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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