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

 


2012 Award
Lego City Garbage Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24 Score:)

Part of the easy start modular build kits, this new garbage truck is bright green and white and assembles with 208 pieces. It includes two play figures, a lifting rear loader, two trash bins, shovel, brush and some plastic garbage, i.e. a fish and banana. The truck measures over 8" and will add to the city scene.  Others in the collection this season include an ambulance and firetruck. We know kids at the younger end of this will need help with the plans and small pieces. 5-12

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 City Town Ambulance
(Lego Systems, Inc. $23 Score:)

Call 911! There's an emergency. We need an ambulance! This set includes the makings for a 6" long ambulance with opening rear door, a removable stretcher, movable roof, and three minifigures--2 doctors and a patient. There is also a bicycle, helmet, trash bin and doctor's equipment. Like the City Fire Truck and Garbage Truck, this is marked and easy start modular build for 5-12. We know kids at the younger end of this will need help with the plans and small pieces.

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 City 4X4 Fire Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

There's a tree on fire in Lego City! Quick! Go to the rescue with this 243-piece set that includes the makings for a 5" long firetruck with a rotating water cannon and big storage compartments. There's a firefighter with an axe and of course, a tree. Marked as an easy start modular build for 5-12. Others in the collection this season include a garbage truck and ambulance. We think kids on the younger end will still need help with following the plans.

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

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2011 Award
Playmobil Falcon Knights Castle
(Playmobil $104.95 Score:)

Our testers loved this large scaled castle from Playmobil. We're always clear to say the following about Playmobil builds: the directions could be clearer; the construction of Playmobil structures requires an adult; there are LOTS of pieces.  With all of those disclaimers, our testers consistently enjoy the product and the level of detail once it's put together.  Specifically, our experienced builders did have more difficulty this year putting the smaller castle in this line together. We recommend having two adults for some aspects of the build--to hold the pieces as the connections are being made.  We also suggest that large structures be built and possibley glued down on a board or table top where they will not be moved or knocked around. True, this means it is less open-ended than a set of block, that will also falls over with active play, but these large structures do become pretend settings that are fun to use, although they will surely require some rebuilding and fine tuning from time to time. Once this castle is put together, it is great fun. It has a main gate that you can crank close (and there is an "iron" gate to put down when you really mean to keep the bad guys out).  There are trap doors, walk ways and one really big tower.  Our testers also gave high marks the play figures (complete with period appropriate clothing) and spectacular horses as well. This is not a toy for preschoolers or even young early school kids.  The level of detail requires more dexterity than most kids under 8 bring to their play.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
LEGO STAR WARS Jedi T-6 Shuttle
(Lego Systems, Inc. $62.99 Score:)

What's super neat about this build, is how the wings turn from being horizontal to vertical. This kind of moment is exciting when you get it to work (as a builder) and even more fun to play with when you're using the Shuttle as part of your pretend play.  LEGO has a new circular piece this year that allows for this type of rotation. The shuttle comes with play figAnakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Saesee Tin, and Shaak Ti.  The set has 389 pieces so really designed for intermediate builders.  Also a favorite with our testers, Anakin's & Sebulba's Podracers (810 pieces)  - straight from the movie. The set comes with Watto, Sebulba, Anakin Skywalker, Wald, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
LEGO STAR WARS Millennium Falcon
(Lego Systems, Inc. $139.99 Score:)

This is the BIG wow-wee kit (with 1254 pieces) of the season for Star Wars fans. What is truly amazing about the design is that the top opens up so that you can access the inside of the ship where so many of the key moments of the original movies take place. True to the movie, there are secret cargo holds where they hid themselves from the Darth Vader. A fun build for advanced builders. Comes with six miniature action figures: Darth Vader, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Princess Leia. Once built, this is really a pretend play setting.  If you also need the Empire represented in your building, consider the equally impressive Republic Frigate ($119) with 1022 pieces, this is also designed for intermediate and advanced builders. Comes with Clone Commander Woffe, Wolfpack Clone Trooper, Eeth Koth, Quinlan Vos and Yoda.  Many portions of the ship do open up so that you can act out story lines. There are small projectiles that you can send off but they do not go far or pack much of a punch.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
LEGO Space Alien Mothership
(Lego Systems, Inc. $59.99 Score:)

One of the most interesting builds we've tested from LEGO. The set includes a new circular piece (that is being used in several new sets this year)...it allows the center part of the  space ship to rotate around completely.  Very cool!  This large mothership has a alien that pilots his ship from a center cockpit.  There is also the added fun of an alien sound effect button when you turn the center piece. All in all - a satisfying build that produces a sizable spaceship.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
LEGO Creator Lighthouse Island
(Lego Systems, Inc. $39.99 Score:)

Talk about innovative, this 518 piece lighthouse has a working light that cranks and turns a rotating mirror that glows as it reflects the light. Want to get inside the lighthouse? No problem. It has a back door that swings open so that the lighthouse keeper can climb the ladder inside. It has a light brick and directions for rebuilding the same pieces into a boathouse or seafood restaurant. 


Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Laser Pegs 3D Lite Board
(Laser Pegs $99.95 Score:)

Our testers enjoyed playing with this construction toy both in an open-ended manner and by following the instructions for building the 21 suggested models.  The set comes with a light board and 115 laser pegs (a satisifying amount).  The board comes with a AC adapter but can also be run on 3 AA batteries. To make the laser pegs light up, you need to make complete the electrical circuit by making the proper connection (the pieces have male/female receptors)-- so there's some science involved here.  The real fun comes when you turn off the lights and see your build aglow!  Our eight and ten year old testers found the instructions easy to follow.  Pricey--but well worth it!  We also recommend the company's new Bug kits. 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: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Lego Star Wars Storage Toy Box
(Neat-Oh $19.99 Score:)

We loved last year's storage toy case with a battle bridge motif. That held 500 Legos. Now, a larger container is available that can hold 1,000 Legos. The sides of the unit zip open to a 29" X 26" play mat with graphics of the inside of the Empire Ship. This makes for a self contained play surface for building and dramatic play. When cleanup time comes all the big and little pieces can be easily put away with a zip at each corner and a lid on top. Still useful for smaller collections, the Lego Star Wars Storage Toy Case Battle Bridge. These cases are marked for 3 & up, but keep in mind that small Legos and especcially Star Wars themes are are a better choice for school aged kids.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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