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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


2014 Award
Creativity for Kids Rhinestone Wrap Bracelets
(Creativity for Kids $ 19.99 Score:)

You may buy this set for your tween, but any teens in the house will soon want in on this fun activity jewelry set. Comes with faux suede jewelry cord (in LOTS of colors) that you can decorate with self-adhesive rhinestone strips. (They had us at self-adhesive!) Our testers also liked the color and metal button closures that give this a more upscale finish. The kit also includes sparkle thread (because let's face it, you always could use a little more sparkle), craft glue, rhinestone accents and instructions. Younger kids will need some adult assistance getting started--but in the end the bracelets will be greatly enjoyed by the crafter or as a gift. Enough here to make this a good choice for a playdate or small craft party.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Paint Your Own Porcelain Party Kit
(MindWare $39.95 Score:)

An engaging kit with a porcelain bowl for six party goers to decorate. We love that each guest will have their own "party set up"  including a paint brush and a customized gift box. We would have thrown in more than the 12 paint colors to cut down on any possible friction for any particular color.  For the price this is less expensive than going to a make-your-own store and will make a memorable party gift. Parental supervision will be required for the baking aspect of the kit.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Paint Your Own Porcelain Tea Set
(MindWare $29.95 Score:)

Ohh la la! If you have a tea-party fan in your midst, this is great fun. The set comes with a small tea pot, four cups and saucers, a creamer and sugar bowl, 12 paint colors, a brush and tiny invitations.  We really loved the super clear instructions that take you through the process of washing the pieces, painting them, letting them dry for 24 hours, and then baking to set the paint. A charming activity kit that will likely become a treasured keepsake. 

Safety Note: Due to the baking aspect of this kit, adult supervision is a must. Also it's good to know that all  porcelain tea sets are properly  marked 8 & up - however we all know that  tea parties happen with dolls and bears long before this age. For younger kids we would recommend tin or plastic-both much safer. 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Gamewright Qwixx
(Gamewright $12 Score:)

Of the new games from Gamewright this season, Qwixx is the most challenging but ultimately our testers liked it  once they got the hang of the game play. The set comes with six dice, two white, one red, one, blue, one green and one yellow.  The color of dice is important to how the game works.  The set also comes with 100 score sheets that have numbers that are color-coded.

The "active" player first rolls the two white dice.  The player then takes that number and crosses it out on one of the color-coded lines.  Other players can follow suit but they are not required to do so. The active player combines one of the white die with one of the colored die. That number and color is then marked off on the corresponding line. Other players can again do the same, but are not required to do so. The dice then passes to the next player.

What complicates the game is that once you mark off a number on the color-coded grid you can not mark off any future number to the left of that number. Trust me, this makes sense and adds to the challenge of the game.  There will be times when you can't mark any numbers off-- you then have to check off the penalty box. If you mark off all four penalty boxes, the round is over.

At the end of the game points are given for the number of marks on each line. The penalties are taken off your score. The player with the highest score wins.

While this is marked for 8 & up, we'd say more like 10 and up unless your child is very at ease with dice/math games.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Gamewright Dodge Dice
(Gamewright $12 Score:)

Unlike many dice games, the goal in Dodge Dice is to avoid points. The game comes with 10 dice. One is the "penalty" points die that tells you how many points you'll get if the round doesn't go your way. There is also an action die that makes things happen like all your points are doubled or tripled (not good!) or you can pass all the points to another player (mean but good!).  There are also skip chips that allow you to avoid the penalty points. Marked for 8 & up and designed for 2-6 players. Rounds will be fast. Our testers thought this was a fun twist on traditional dice games.

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Gamewright Sushi Go!
(Gamewright $12 Score:)

We're not going to lie. We got hungry for sushi while playing this fun card game. For a generation of kids that are familiar with sushi, this will be a hit. The goal is to get the highest scoring collection of sushi. For example if you add wasabi to your nigiri - you'll get triple points. Each player gets a certain number of cards to begin (depending on how many are playing). From that hand you keep one card, place it face down. Now here's the fun part-- you pass your hand to the next player.  This keeps going until all cards are played.

There is some strategy involved in what cards you collect. For example if you have the most number of dumplings, you get six points -- but if you don't the have most - you have to subtract six points from your total score.

The instructions take some time (and a grown up) to figure out but then it starts moving quickly. Marked for 8 & up and rounds take about 15 minutes to play for 2 to 5 players.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Seedling Design Your Own Birds House
(Seedlings $29.99 Score:)

A smooth pre-assembled birdhouse comes ready to paint and then put out for your feathered friends. The kit includes three tubes of acrylic paint, a stiff acrylic brush, and instructions.  There is no hanging devise so you may want to tie this in place in a nook of a low tree where kids can keep watch. A great way to introduce kids to birding. Help them start their life list of the birds they have sighted.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Tape-a-Doodle Arts and Crafts
(Creativity for Kids $19.99 Score:)

You get five different tape-a-doodle dispensers along with markers and a spiral bound journal to decorate. Using the tape is sheer magic. Each tape dispenser has a different color and pattern and there’s no problem with pulling the tape out or cutting it. All you do is roll it and it leaves a colorful trail. This set comes with 98 feet of tape and it will stick to surfaces other than the books provided. If you want to experiment with the tape alone you can bring home a three pack with 55 feet of tape. 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Creativity for Kids BFF Stamp Art Scarves
(Creativity for Kids $24.99 Score:)

Two silky-sheer white cotton scarves come in this craft kit along with permanent fabric paint, 2 sponge brushes, a peace sign, heart, flower, and cloud shaped foam stampers, a work tray, plastic sheet and very clear directions. Keep in mind that the fabric paint will stain clothes and counters, so the directions are very explicit with cautions. We also suggest wearing vinyl gloves, although they are not in the kit. Once the design is on the scarf it must dry for 24 hours and then rinsed to set the paint. In short, this is a kit that will need adult supervision and assistance. It's also the kind of kit that kids love since they make an end-product they can actually wear and share. Marked for 7 & up, we think it will be better for slightly older girls 9 & up, and even they will need supervision.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Creativity for Kids Rhinestone Headbands
(Creativity for Kids $20 Score:)

Ten flocked headbands come with stick-on strips of glittery rhinestones as well as sheer ribbons to tie on. A fun kit for solo use...make a wardrobe of headbands to go with all of her outfits or use this for a sleep over craft that the girls can share. To avoid bad feelings over color choices have them draw slips with color names. You may want to add ribbons or cut these in half since there are only five ribbons and ten headbands. This craft calls for some dexterity, but basically it is an easy to do and satisfying craft with wearable end products.  7 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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