Fifteen Dollars & Under for Early School Age Kids
Wrap 'em Up!
Posted: 2012-11-27 14:20:19 By:




2012 Award
K'nex Maxi Building Set
(K'NEX $12 Score: )

This is one of three building sets designed for beginning builders in the Kid K'nex line. Maxi, a yellow racing car has just 18 pieces and assembles pretty easily - with a little adult help, of course. The directions are pretty clear. You could call this Model Building 101. Best of all when the pieces are put together there's a vehicle that can be played with. It even has an extra set of wheels to roll on toy railroad tracks, a probable option for preschoolers. These are not Disney characters from Cars, but will please kids who are seriously into racing car mania. There is also a Tin Top Building set, 16 pieces and blue or the Roary Building Set with a red racer. All three come in canisters with a model on top and the canister will be fun in the tub for sprinkling since it has holes in the bottom for safety. Though kids may like to build and rebuild, be forewarned, getting the pieces back into the cannister is not easy. It is marked 3 & up, though we think threes are going to need a lot of help with this. This will make a good birthday party gift for fours and fives, especially if you are doing a lot of party going and need multiple gifts.


Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2012.




2012 Award
DoArt Watercolor Pencil Art
(Faber Castell $14.99 Score: )

We love this series from Faber-Castell that allow kids to try their hand at different aspect of pencil and brush arts. This kit includes instruction for how to work with watercolor pencils.  Comes with ten colored pencils, sharpener, sketchbook, eraser, tracing paper and twenty page instruction book. A great choice for traveling during the holidays for older kids.

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




2012 Award
I Spy Sticker Book and Picture Riddles
(Jean Mazollo/ Walter Wick, Scholastic $10.99 Score: )

Technically this is a paper-covered book, but inside you will find a totally playful way to sharpen listening and vocabulary skills. Based on the well known books, this activity book comes with more than 500 reusable stickers. Kids use them to answer the riddles and match the images shown. Or they use the pages to create their own collections of animals or sports and games or foods. These pages have at least one riddle to read, but kids can make up their own as well. There are stickers with words as well as tons with pictures, colorful photos just like the ones in the I Spy books. Take this along on your next long trip or pull it out on a rainy day.

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




2012 Award
Ivy and Bean Paper Doll Play Set
(Chronicle $14.99 Score: )

What a playful paper doll set this is! Fans of the Ivy and Bean books are going to love the two stand up dolls that step right out of the pages of their books. They come with a reversible setting showing indoors and out and 100 vinyl stickers for dressing up. Best of all the stickers themselves are funny, with masks, funny glasses, zany clothing that will produce smiles. Enough here for play-date fun. While you are at it, bring home a new Ivy and Bean book. 5 & up.

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




2012 Awards
4M Bubble Science
(4M Kidzlabs $12.99 Score: )

A great way to explore the science of bubbles! Includes a tray, a pyramid framed wand, a cube frames wand, other shaped wands, yarn, straws, wand sticks, a mouthpiece to form a cone shaped blower, a small container of bubble solution and best of all an experiment booklet for making all sort of bubble magic happen. You will need to add more dish washing detergent. Younger kids will need your help with reading the directions and your participation in making some of the experiments work. That said, this is an interesting kit that our tester really loved. Making a bubble within a bubble took some try-try-again efforts, but in the end there was triumph! 5 & up with parent's help. 8 & up independently.

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


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