Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Categories: Construction Toys

 


2013 Award
Lego City Cargo Heliplane
(Lego Systems, Inc. $50 Score:)

This 393-piece set is loaded with wonderful working parts: it has a working cargo lift for moving logs, a cargo bay door at the back that opens for loading and the wheels that turn for easy ground navigation. Best of all, the way the adjustable propellers turn is awesome! Kit includes three mini-figures, a pilot and two lumberjacks, a quad bike and other accessories. Our tester also found the building directions clear and appreciated the way the packages of parts helped to keep him organized. Building this kind of model helps develop a sense working in an orderly step-by-step way, following directions, using fine motor skills, as well as patience for projects that are not instantaneous. Though some models are strictly for display, this is one that lends itself to imaginative dramatic play. 5-12

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Magformers Inspire Sets
(Magformers $24.99-49.99 Score:)

Getting some girls into construction play seems to work by coloring the building materials to their taste. Although we prefer gender free materials, we still think it more important for girls to be building, since this is one of the ways that kids develop their understanding of spatial relationships and basic math concepts. For generations, boys excelled in these areas, in part, because of the experience they had from building models and construction sets. Giving girls construction sets is one way to give girls the mindset and can-do math skills needed for wider career choices. New from Magformers, two gender specific sets of magnetic shapes colored in shades of pink, purple, aqua and blue. Choose a 14 or 30 piece set. Each comes with triangles and squares that can be used to copy models or for open-ended creations and discoveries. All magnets are safely inside the plastic forms. Hands-on experiments help kids discover not only some math concepts, they have to deal directly with the magnetic poles inside the plastic forms, turning them so that they attract. Also see: Magformers Light Show. This combines stealth learning: math, science, visual and manual dexterity, creative problem solving, construction play, imagination, and good fun.  Marked for 3 & up, we think these make more sense for slightly older players.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Magformers Wow Set
(Magformers $49.99 Score:)

Clever set of 16 magnetic shapes in colorful squares and triangles plus wheels, and a driver square, that can be used in open-ended construction or by following the patterns for creating 20 kinds of working vehicles. The set also includes pattern cards that are like tangrams and challenge players to discover how to make a variety of larger geometric shapes from the squares and triangles. Hands-on experiments help kids discover not only some math concepts, they have to deal directly with the magnetic poles inside the plastic forms, turning them so that they attract. All magnets are safely inside the plastic forms. This combines stealth learning: math, science, visual and manual dexterity, creative problem solving, construction play, imagination, and good fun. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
Magformers Light Show
(Magformers $119.99 Score:)

Light up power adds a new dimension to this 55-piece set of magnetic shapes. With large and small triangles, squares, clear pyramids, and a chargeable light, kids can turn their constructions into showy towers that change colors. All magnets are safely inside the plastic forms. This kit comes with an idea booklet for building models and all sorts of light shows. Like all Magformers, it can be used in open-ended construction, as well. Hands-on experiments help kids discover not only some math concepts, they have to deal directly with the magnetic poles inside the plastic forms, turning them so that they attract. This combines stealth learning: math, science, visual and manual dexterity, creative problem solving, construction play, imagination, and good fun. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
MindWare Q-BA-MAZE 2.0
(MindWare $39.99 & up Score:)

We hade some totally amazing marble maze toys this season. This one made a huge hit with older builders. The plastic translucent pieces can be connected both vertically and horizontally and joined with bendable tubes to create complex pathways for the steel marbles to run through. The rushing marbles make a nice sound as they move through the maze. These are not magnetic marbles, but you will need to keep them out of the reach of kids who are still mouthing their toys. Start with the big box set ($39.99) or you can go straight to the Mega Stunt set ($79.99)  that includes along with a good supply of colorful cubes, a pivot trampoline, marble vortex, coaster tubes, stilts and 30 marbles. This is the kind of toy that builds dexterity, patience, and problem solving. It's a playful introduction to physics as well as pushing those creative buttons. They say 6 & up. We think most 6 year olds will need help. This is probably a better bet for mixed ages, parent and child or for older kids who will enjoy it independently. New for 2014, is a Starter Stunt Set ($49.95).

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
LEGO Galaxy Squad Warp Stinger
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

We thought this was one of the most unusual LEGO builds we've ever seen. Comes with 310 pieces, including three minifigures. When built it's over 8" high and 10" wide. It was less flexible than we imagined (we thought a wasp would have a flying position.) Our testers agreed that the colors were pretty amazing. It comes with one ball that shoots out of the bottom of the tail (they thought it should come with more).  The set includes many really small pieces that require greater fine motor skills as well as strength to make happen.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Lego Friends Rehearsal Stage
(Lego Systems $19.99 Score:)

Stephanie wants to be a superstar. She works out in her rehearsal studio with a revolving platform. She has a guitar, keyboard, and microphone. For dancing she has a ballet bar and mirror and before she goes on stage she puts on her make-up at a dressing table. A 198-piece set with one mini-figure. 5-12

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Lego Creator Power Mech
(Lego $19.99 Score:)

One of the clever 3-in-1 building sets. Our tester liked making the action figure, a robot and then converted it to a helicopter and then to a pick-up truck. Makes a good birthday party gift for school age kids. A versatile construction set with 223-pieces and clear directions for 7-12.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Lego Creator Power Mech
(Lego $19.99 Score:)

One of the clever 3-in-1 building sets. Our tester liked making the action figure, a robot and then converted it to a helicopter and then to a pick-up truck. A versatile construction set with 223-pieces and clear directions for 7-12.


Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Lego Friends Stephanie's Soccer Practice
(Lego Systems, Inc. $9.99 Score:)

A small 80-piece kit with props and Stephanie mini-figure and her pup with props for soccer and snacks. Packed full of items such as a goal, ball, soccer ball launcher, obstacle course and more.   Also new and top-rated in the Friends line, Emma's Karate Class, a 93-piece set. 5-12

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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