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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


2008 Award
Bump n Chuck R/C Bumper Cars
(Kid Galaxy $35 Score:) Despite the dubious name, we all stopped and played with these fun vehicles. Your set comes with two radio controllers and two bumper cars with figures. Drive your vehicle defensively or go for it. If you bump your opponent his play figure pops out! The vehicles are easy to manipulate and drive forward, reverse, left and right. 5 & up. Also good fun, Scoop 'n' Shoot R/C Basketball ($40), two basketball shoe vehicles that scoop up small basketballs in the front end of the shoes and shoot a ball into the two backboards with nets. A bit harder to manipulate successfully than the Bumper cars. 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
KNEX Serpents Spiral Coaster
(KNEX $59.99 Score:) The latest in the big builds from the K'nex roller coaster line, it has a five-foot-tall tower with a motorized chain lift that takes two cars to the top—where they zoom down and around the loops and spiral turns. Comes with instructions for 3 different models. Our expert teen builders laughed at the 8 & up age label, "Your parent will be doing most of this," but they were quick to admit that it was cool. "Some of the smaller rods hurt your fingers when you work with them," but the directions “were much better this year." Another tester wrote: "You will need to fix" the chain position from time to time since it does jam. 8 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
KNEX Double Ferris Wheel
(KNEX $29.99 Score:) We have to own up to our own love of ferris wheels. So we were delighted when both Lego and KNEX released new versions this year. While we are giving PLATINUM AWARDS to both the Lego Creator Ferris Wheel ($69.99/1063 pieces) and KNEX Double Ferris Wheel ($29.99/977 pieces), please note that the age label of 8 & up on both toys is ridiculous if you’re talking about independent building. On the other hand, these are both great parent-child projects that will be memorable. The Lego Ferris Wheel will sit nicely on a desk after it’s built. The motor will make the wheel turn in either direction. There are some steps where two sets of hands are a must. The KNEX Double Ferris wheel is huge (three feet tall) and you can have the wheels turning in different directions, very neat. Our testers thought that the initial directions for building the tower were the toughest in terms of spatial relations, but once you "got past that, it was a lot of repetitive building and not that complicated." Both the Lego and KNEX come with two other models to build with the same pieces.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
Digital Arts and Crafts Studio
(Fisher-Price $50 Score:) This tablet allows kids to do lots of different arts and crafts projects. The layout of the board eliminates the complicated menus that past craft software had. The stylus makes it easy to draw and color. Kids can make arts and crafts projects like paper flowers, jumping frogs, and greeting cards. Kids can also color in pictures and fill in dot to dots. As with other computer plug-ins by Fisher-Price, kids cannot exit the software without a password, which the parent sets, so the kids can’t access any part of the computer that they shouldn't.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
Restoration Hardware Badminton Set
(Restoration Hardware $69 Score:) Badminton is always a crowd pleaser for backyard summer fun- especially if you have a multi-generational crowd. This set includes the net (poles), 4 racquets, 6 feather birdies, rules (always good!) and it all zips up into a canvas bag.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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Restoration Hardware Roll Up Chess and Checkers
(Restoration Hardware $39 Score:) We really love this new take along chess and checker set from Restoration Hardware. It has a full sized board (approximately 15" x 11") with pleasing wooden pieces (that are magnetic) - making this a great choice for playing on the go or at the beach. Easy to throw into a suitcase or into the car.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
Pottery Barn Kids Water Balloon Toss
(Pottery Barn Kids $29 Score:) You're either a water balloon family or you're not. If water balloons are your thing, check out this new Water Balloon Toss game from Pottery Barn Kids. The banner comes with four different holes (of varying sizes) for kids (and adults) to try their hand at. The concept here is to throw the water balloons at the canvas, not at each other-- no guarantees! The banner comes with some rope for hanging purposes.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
Alex Sack Racing
(Alex $19.99 Score:) Maybe it's all our years going to camp, but nothing screams summer to us as much as sack racing. Can you say color war? Of course we were so excited when these new versions came into the office. Each pack comes with two (there are four different animal motifs to select from). The first question was to see if a grown up can use them -- unless you are really really tall--they'll work just fine which makes this a great family party activity for the whole family.

Age: Preschool,Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
HearthSong Great Big Outdoor Playball
(HearthSong $59.98 Score:) When they say BIG, they really mean it. This ball is 52" in diameter! We highly recommend that you buy the electric pump they sell ($29.98) if you don't already have a pump. Each chamber of the blue and green ball must be inflated separately. The ball will be enjoyed by early school aged kids. EDITORS NOTE: Because the ball has two openings that a child can climb into (it was the first thing everyone wanted to do)--this toy requires complete supervision. The company has submitted our safety verification form. Note, we did not test this independently in a lab.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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Dont Tip the Waiter
(Fundex $14.99 Score:) We wanted to love this new balancing game that has a wobbly waiter with a tray--where you're supposed to keep adding dishes until he tips over. Our testers found that he wasn't tippy enough--"it took way to long for him to go over". We hope they tweak the tip factor to make it just right! The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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