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Product Type: Toys
Award: Platinum
Review Year: 2012

 


2012 Award
Creativity for Kids Fashion Bracelets
(Creativity for Kids $19.99 Score:) Enough bracelets for two arms full - or for sharing on a fun play date. Ideal for a small sleep-over activity. This new kit includes 5 chunky plastic bangles and 10 thin metal bangles along with a wonderful assortment of adhesive tape, ribbons, craft glue, bows, rainbow cord, embroidery floss, scissors, and ideas brochure. Testers especially like the sparkly rhinestone trim that come in ribbon-like strips for adding bling to the bangles. Marked for 7 & up, however, we think 7's may need help with the final touches to secure their decorations.

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

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2012 Awards
Creativity for Kids Princess Music Box
(Creativity for Kids $25 Score:)

A sturdy pink chipboard music box (with a little ballerina who pops up when you open it) is ready for decorating. The box is deep enough to hold plenty; it is 5.5 inches high and 4 inches wide. The kit includes paper flowers, a sticker sheet full of scroll-like leaves and flowers, self adhesive rhinestones, glitter glue, adhesive squares and an idea book for decorating. The wind-up key for the music is built into the box, so this is a kit that can be completed with a showy end product that kids of a certain age really want. It is not entirely open-ended, but there is room for doing it their own way! Marked 5 & up, but probably done more successfully by sevens and up.

SNAP: There is no right or wrong way of decorating this music box. Yet the finished product is going to look pretty good, so success is built into making something that the child can then use for keeping treasures.

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

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2012 Award
Chicco Aquarium Spinner
(Chicco $19.99 Score:)

A new version of a classic spinning toy that is easy for baby to activate. Press down on the big green knob to make the colorful fish spin in the see-through dome. The centerpost is silvery and reflects the moving fish. There's a musical feature that may be too intrusive, but the good news is, you can turn off the sound and still get the action. This is one of those toys that give sitting up babies a sense of power by being able to make things happen. 6 months and up.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Creativity for Kids Color Changing Light
(Creativity for Kids $23 Score:) For decorating her own room, this little lamp has to be assembled, after the shade is decorated. Our tester loved having a working lamp after she went though all the steps of making it. It comes with tracing paper and patterns that can be used for decorating the plastic lamp shade. After drawing the design, kids color the images in with translucent paints and glue on gemstones and hang sequins and rings that will dangle. Now they are ready to assemble the lamp. It comes with a string of color changing lights with its own battery pack. You do need to supply 2 AA batteries. Marked 7 and up, we suggest that most 7-9 will need help with the assembly and probably in the first steps of tracing and decorating.

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
Knex Ferris Wheel 2012
(KNEX $20.99 Score:)

Scaled down to 475 pieces, the new Ferris Wheel not only takes up less space, it takes less time to build, yet is a satisfying motorized project when it is complete. One of three new Amusement Park sets that are more realistic in size and scope for young builders. In previous years huge five-foot tall Knex models with 2,000+ pieces required a significant amount of time and space. For most builders the new and smaller Ferris Wheel that stands under two feet tall when complete will be more do-able. That said, this is still a parent-child project for the suggested age on the box. Takes 2 AA batteries that are not included. Labeled for 7+.

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

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2012 Award
Sumology: The Game of Equations
(SimplyFun $40 Score:)

An entertaining game played with wooden tiles that might be called, Scrabble meets Math. Begin by drawing 8 tiles. Instead of creating words with your tiles, the object is to build equations in a crossword style, horizontally or vertically. You need to connect your new equation to the other tiles on the table and then you can add up the digits in your equation to get your score. The game uses all four basic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. 8 & up.

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

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2012 Award
Sketch-Foam Print Making Kit
(Eye Can Art $28 Score:)

Everything needed for making real prints is packed into this canister that includes clear instructions, foam plates to sketch on, two tubes of printing ink, a brayer, printing paper and a pencil for drawing on the foam. This is an excellent way to learn a new art form that kids can continue to use. When the foam plates are used up, cut the sides away from foam packing trays that veggies come wrapped in and you are ready to print some more. This is an art form that students in my first and second grade classes enjoyed years ago. Now it is done up in a kit with all the materials gathered and ready for action. 5 & up.

 

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

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2012 Award
Willow Doll Peach
(North American Bear Co. $50 Score:)

An adorable 18-inch fabric doll with big yarn pigtails. Her body is done in a soft tan fabric. She has small stitched features. Her linen jumper has a pocket and two working buttons that require some dexterity. She has a removable striped shirt. Her shoes and underwear are sewn on. Due to the buttons, this is recommended for 3 & up.

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

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2012 Awards
Creeper Sleeper Cozy
(North American Bear Co. $10 Score:)

We love the many various forms of these cozy toys. Easy to grasp, soft and comforting. Look for the new Cozy sets that are coming soon with  two super soft cozy dolls in a pack($20). That way, if one goes missing you have a replacement. Choose from the Bunny, Cat, or Dog Cozy. These are the kind of unstuffed easy-to-clutch “lovies” that babies often find a great comfort to hold as they make the transition to sleep.

SNAP: Comfort toys need to be easy to wash and to hold. These soft bodies dolls are easier for children with physical challenges to grasp.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Penguin Panic
(International Playthings $22.99 Score:)

Here's a new twist on Jenga with a whole lot of shaking going on! Set up takes some dexterity, as the ice blocks have to be set up on the penguin's tray. Now players take turns removing an ice block from the tower and placing it on top of the ice tower. But your turn is not over yet. Now, the player presses the go- button that makes the penguin shiver. Keep your fingers crossed that the ice tower doesn't topple! Our test family said, "You can't help but laugh when everything falls down. It's one of those games that isn't very competitive because you are working together to keep the tower up." Their 9-year old son declared this "awesome for all ages." It is marked 5 & up. We think it will be more fun for slightly older kids who have greater dexterity.

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

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