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

 


2012 Award
LEGO Star Wars TIE Fighter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $54.99 Score:)

If you're shopping for a LEGO Star Wars fan, to us this is basic gear.  (The bad guy needs to have a way to get around.) Our testers found this intermediate set was sturdy once built (and you know this one will be swished around the room). Comes with 413 pieces and comes with mini figures: Death Star Trooper, TIE Fighter Pilot, IMperial Officer and R5-J2.  "The canopy that goes over the pilot is a good feature." 

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

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2012 Award
LEGO Star Wars Jabba's Palace
(Lego Systems, Inc. $119.99 Score:)

The big STAR WARS set of 2012 that will make any fan very happy. Something about having a LEGO version of Jabba is super cool. The palace comes with both the main building that was featured in the movie as well as a tower.  The set comes with 717 pieces and features Han Solo, Gamorrean Guard, Dola, Bib Fortuna, Han in Carbonite (how neat is that!), Chewbacca, Boushh, B'omarr Monk, Salacious B. Crumb and Jabba the Hutt. There's a trap door in the floor just like the movie, but no Princess Leah in a bikini.  What we really love about this set is that once it's built, there will likely be a lot of pretend play.

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

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2012 Award
LEGO Creator Highway Pickup
(Lego Systems, Inc. $79.99 Score:)

For more experienced builders this 3-in1 construction set can be used to make a Highway pick up, a sports car, and a crane truck. There are 805 pieces in this elaborate set and includes 2 light bricks for extra pa-zazzz. There is a working crane, and a truck bed that tilts, The sports car has steering that works and doors that open and close.   The Crane truck has push button headlights that work and a crane that rotates.  A good choice for 9 & up.

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

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2012 Award
LEGO Creator 3-in 1 Transport Chopper
(Lego Systems, Inc. $34.99 Score:)

Kids can build a helicopter, a pontoon seaplane, or a ferry. The set comes with 383 pieces that can be rebuilt again and again. Our tester liked the motion of the propellers and the ramps for uploading vehicles. These are relatively easy builds with plenty of pretend play potential after the construction puzzle part is complete. 8 & up.

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
LEGO Architecture, Empire State Building
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24.99 Score:)

Designed for older experienced builders, this model of the Empire State Building has very, very small pieces. It is one of a series of architectural landmarks that can be constructed in miniature.  Our tester also built a small but elegant model of the Big Ben. 12 & up.

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

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2012 Award
K'NEX Corkscrew Coaster
(KNEX $20 Score:)

This 337 piece set  makes a great parent-child build or an independent build for an advanced K'NEX builder with a satisfying end product. The motorized car travels the coaster with enough speed to make our testers happy.  "The instructions are clear" and it was "challenging and fun."  Unlike the super big K'NEX sets of the past, the Coaster is much more manageable for intermediate builders.  We also give high marks to the redesign of their classic Ferris Wheel that comes with 475 pieces. 

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

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2012 Award
LEGO Hulk Helicarrier Breakout
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)

The HULK action figure sold our testers on this Marvel Super Heroes Kit. With 389 pieces, it's a medium build with lots of pretend action when you're done. The set also includes Thor, Hawkeye and Loki.  The Helicarrier and jet fighter are also part of the build. If you have a child that's into LEGO and the HULK, this set will be a hit.  No one will be angry.

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
Playmobil Pirates' Ship 5135
(Playmobil $79.99 Score:)

Ahoy! Is that the infamous Captain Hook on deck shouting orders to the crew? They are sailing the blue sea in a two masted sailing vessel complete with crow's nest, flags, netting, a crane for uploading the treasure chest, parrot, and a good supply of weapons and stout red cannons. 176 pieces of fun to assemble and then use for pretend play or put on display. The ship is 26.8 inches from stem to stern and comes with four action figures and plenty of detailed accessories. There is also a magic coin that can be used on the Adventure Island kit. There are a lot of very small pieces on this that are a choking hazard for children who still mouth their toys. Set this up out of reach of younger sibs. The boat can float. They say 4-10, we'd say this is more like a 6 & up toy. Preschoolers who love pirates will enjoy this after it is built by an adult. They may enjoy handing you the pieces needed but this will be your build. Parental help will also be needed with early school aged kids. It should be part of the fun. Showing kids how to assemble a big model like this gives you a chance to model working from plans and doing the steps in a systematic way. It will not get completed in one sitting but that too is a learning experience. Be forewarned stringing the rigging on this ship was challenging to our adult tester.

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

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2012 Award
Playmobil Future Planet E-Rangers Headquarters
(Playmobil $129 Score:)

This large setting houses the E-Rangers who are trying to defend their energy source while their enemy, the power greedy Dark Rangers are trying to waste them. This futuristic eco-war story is played out in a variety of settings with this one being the flashiest and biggest. It has a working a solar-powered fan, and light up red crystals that connect to make a circuit to produce colorful lights inside the dome. There is also a light beam cannon for defending headquarters and five characters; one is a robot, of course. A convertible racer changes into a propeller or a jet-car and there are multiple accessories for playing out all sorts of imaginary adventures. For more elaborate play there is also a Dark Ranger Headquarters ($79.99) and several other theme related kits. Our tester liked many of the features but found that the building is not especially sturdy and is easily knocked apart. So our usual suggestion with Playmobil is to build on a tray or table where it is out of the line of traffic and younger siblings. Ages 7 and up.

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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