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

 


2005 Award
IZ
(Zizzle $39.99 Score:) IZ looks like a playful alien. Twist his ears,nose and eyes and you will activiate a random collection of sound effects and music. Plug IZ into your MP3 player and he now becomes a speaker. We put IZ to the test against I-DOG, the ipod inspired pup from Hasbro. IZ appealed much more to boys (young and old). Our girl testers felt that IZ was cute but "younger looking" than I-DOG. Our 11 year old boy tester wrote: "It was still appealing after the newness wore off. It would be a cool desk toy to fool around with in the duller hours of the day." Boys generally liked the robotic, alien design of IZ. This same tester hit the toy on the head: "I found IZ, besides being entertaining, a bit pointless. But, then again, fun can sometimes be pointless, right?" We agree.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2006 Award
Pixel Chix
(Mattel $29.95 Score:) Watch a 2-D image of a girl move about in her house. Help her pick what's she going to do (rollerblade vs. watch TV), what she's going to eat or wear. There are five different levels of play and, like a virtual pet, she'll let you know if she's happy or sad. The coolest feature: you can connect two houses together and the chix will visit each other. A little noisy at times but will fit in a backpack for on the go fun.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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Furby
(Hasbro $ Score:) Furby is back this year with what the company calls "Emotio-tronics". This larger furry creature now promises to display happiness,sadness, surprise, fear and of course, sleepiness (what's an electronic creature without the sleep mode?) Sometimes Furby sounds a bit like Yoda as he speaks his Furbish. A pure novelty that will likely end up sitting on the shelf after the initial furbishness wears off.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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VCamNow
(Hasbro $74.99 Score:) Our testers were looking forward to putting the VCamNow and Mattel's Vidster to the test. The idea of a video camera for kids under $100 is very appealing. Rather than hand off your own expensive video camera and hoping for the best, these small kid friendly options seemed like a great breakthrough. Both cameras got initial high marks for design. "Kids this age want gadgets that look like the real thing" noted one parent. However, both products did not test well with our tech savvy kids and their parents. The Vidster view finder was blurry and the output was too dark even when the testers added lots of light. The VCamNow had a clear view finder image, but the output was very blurry. "I would have taken both products back" noted one parent.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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Ribbon and Felt Tote
(Creativity for Kids $15.99 Score:) This wonderful hassle-free, no-mess craft kit features a pink cotton tote bag that is decorated with stick-on cutout shapes and a striped ribbon that trims the top by simply threading it through like a belt. This would have been a Platinum winner had it arrived earlier. Big enough to hold a small book and other treasures, this is an art project that will be worn with pride. No sewing or glue required. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Robosapien V2
(WowWee $250 Score:) Last year's Robosapien was a hit with our testers...but now he is an even bigger hit, literally! The V2 stands almost a head taller and able to do more stunts than his earlier self. He's a more powerful robot that kids can program with even more motions. While you can make something happen by just pushing a button, we liked the fact that kids really have to work to get the Robosapien V2 to do all of his tricks–--requires kids to stay with it!

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2007 Award
American Girl Emily
(American Girl $87 Score:) In the American Girl collection of dolls, each comes with a book that introduces girls to a bit of history through stories. Emily is in fact not an American girl, but an English girl, an auburn-haired beauty evacuated during WWII from London, to live with Molly and her family. Still top rated, any number of historic dolls from various times in our history. Last year’s winner was also an English girl, Elizabeth, from a prominent Loyalist family (and best friend of well-known Felicity). She’s 18" tall with long blond hair and blue eyes. PLATINUM AWARD 06. Still top rated, Nellie O’Malley (Samantha’s best friend). PLATINUM AWARD ’05. 7 & up. (800) 845-0005.

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

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Air Hogs Hydro Launcher
(Spinmaster $99.99 Score:) Promises to take flight from the water! Marked appropriately 14 & up (the propellers have a potential to really hurt). Equally neat looking, Air Hogs Helix Helicopter ($69.99)—a small-scale copter designed for indoor use. If this works, it will be great. No assembly required. 8 & up. Neither ready for testing. (800) 622-8339.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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Roboreptile and RS Media
(WowWee $350 Score:) RS promises to provide all of your media needs in the package of an interactive robot. Comes with a small color LCD screen on his chest, tweeters and woofer, a USB connector, and music playback; you can input data from your PC. Comes loaded with four personalities (each with its own distinct animations and expressions). Comes with 50 MB of internal memory or you can use an external memory card (additional purchase required). Also new, Roboreptile ($120 4), the latest in the robo “creature” line, 21⁄4' long, is truly creepy in that Jurassic Park/Terminator kind of way, with 28 remote functions. We found him less responsive to commands than his predecessors. 8 & up. Still top rated, the less expensive earlier versions: Robosapien ($99) and Robosapien V2 ($250); and Roboraptor ($100 ), a scary 32"-long white robotic dino that thinks he’s in a scene from “Jurassic Park.” He hisses and snaps. For our older toy testers this was cool. (Some little siblings may truly be freaked out by his aggressive nature). 10 & up. (800) 310-3033.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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K'nex Vertical Vengeance Coaster
(KNEX $59.99 Score:) Here is the latest twist on a K’nex roller coaster. This one is over 5 feet high, with a motorized chain lift that takes two cars to the top—where they zoom down the loops and spiral turns of 33 feet of track. Our crack K’nex testers gave the directions very poor ratings. Ages 10 & up. For younger K’nex builders, Light ups! 30 Models Kit ($29.99) looks challenging with rods that light, but not available for testing; also Gear Action Building Sets ($29.99 3) that have gear-driven motion; these work, but directions are not clear. 7 & up. (800) 543-5639.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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