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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


2014 Award
American Girl Beforever Samantha & Book
(American Girl $115 Score:)

Samantha, an American girl at the dawn of the 20th Century, is being brought up by her grandparents to be a proper young lady of her day. But her privileged life does not prevent her from befriending a servant girl and understanding her very different circumstances. American Girl introduced Samantha in 1986 and she is reintroduced this season in a new line of historical dolls with a refreshed look. Samantha is the first, but not the last of the well-loved collection. There are new books and accessories, as well. Dressed in a charming pink dress with ruffled collar and velvet sash, she is a beauty. 6 & up.

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

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2014 Award
Krazy Kars Max Traxxx Tracer Racers Truck Set
(Skullduggery $29.99 Score:)

Awesome described last year's Max Traxxx Racing cars and the awesome-ness continues with the new Tracer Racer Truck set. With 16 feet of glow-in-the-dark track and two LED light-up trucks with lights on the bottom, kids can change the setting to adjust the type of pattern the trucks will leave on the track. Yes, like the cars the trucks leave a trace of LIGHT. Did we mention that the tracks will light up in the dark from the LED lights? Our testers loved both leaving LED on all the way--this lit up the entire inside of the track or putting the LED lights on pulse...which left a broken pattern on the track. Either way - this is another big hit. The tracks go together well and come with suction cups so that you can make two ramps and race the cars. Use this dual track set alone or combine it with last years car set and they are ready for amazing tract time. The company tells us that there is a patent pending, we just know this is sooo much fun. 6 & 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
Global Girl Doll Collection
(Global Girl Dolls $89.99 Score:)

Older girls may have put away their baby dolls, but they often still long for one last doll to treasure and this collection certainly fits the bill. These are 21" dolls each dressed and styled for a specific country. These are nothing like your mother’s or grandmother's foreign doll collection with traditional costumes. Tatiana from Russia, Vivienne from France, Mei Ling from China, Marcela from Argentina, Amahle from South Africa, and Tiffany from New York wear stylish and current sophisticated outfits. Each of the was made with a unique face mold and coloring that reflects the world of today’s girls. The soft-bodied dolls are pose able and can sit as well as stand. They come dressed with underwear, pierced earrings, coats and hats or lighter outer wear, and casual sports outfits. Each has shoes, handbags, and a beautiful head of hair to style and re-style. A book ($9.99) is sold separately for each doll and features both fiction and non-fiction to acquaint the reader with life styles for differing cultures. They are so new, they are only sold on line through globalgirl.com.

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

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2014 Award
Ideal Magic Magic Show
(Poof Slinky $55.55 Score:)

With 64 pieces and the promise of 220 tricks, this is a great place to start with a child interested in learning some magic tricks. The set inclues a top hat (no bunny), magic cards, cloth handkerchief, magic lunch box, a fake thumb, a magic wand, special tubes, bottles, cups, disappearing card box, etc.   There is also an instruction booklet that walks you through the tricks.

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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
Pyramix
(Gamewright $21.99 Score:)

Our testers loved the look of this strategy game that comes with 56 cubes on a base tray. The game play involves pulling cubes off the pyramid. As you do this of course other cubes will fall - this is important since the cubes left at the end will determine your score. The score is also determined by the points you received from the illustrations on the sides of the dice. An anka is one point, a crane is two points, an eye is three points and a cobra is worth zero points. Our older kid testers got the game play must faster than our grown-ups!  

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

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2014 Award
Gravity Maze
(ThinkFun $29.99 Score:)

A fun twist on Think Fun's usual brain teasers. The game board comes with spaces for placing plastic cubes that make up towers of different heights. The goal is create a maze (using the towers) that gets the marble from point A to point B on the board. The challenges (there are 60 in the set) becomes increasingly more difficult. A good choice for parent/child gaming. 

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

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2014 Award
Crayola Shadow FX Color Projector
(Crayola $24 Score:)

Kids can use this innovative color projector in a number of different ways. They can draw designs on a see-through panel and project their original images on the wall with the three colored lights that pivot and allow kids to change the colors and brightness. Kids can place objects or themselves between the light and the wall to make shadow puppet shows or use the shapes provided in the kit. The projector has telescope arms so you can widen the projections. This is one of those fun art kits with a scientific edge, inviting kids to discover in a hands-on way how shadows, lights, and colors can create all kinds of images, large and small. It is also fun for storytelling and artistic expression. Kit includes special FX Gel Markers that can be stored in the base.  Testers preferred this projector to Crayola's new ceiling model. Requires 3 AA batteries. 6 & 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
Crayola Virtual Design Pro-Fashion Set
(Crayola $38.99 Score:)

This is the deluxe version of the Crayola Virtual Pro-Fashion Design kit, one of the most innovative activity kits to come down the pike in a long time. Kids can create their own fabulous fashions in the 20 page Sketch Book by coloring the front and back of the images in the booklet. Next they take photos of their designs with their device, meaning smart phone or i-pad. Using the My Virtual app to customize the models looks and accessories, they create models ready for the runway. Once the designing is done, they can watch their original fashions come to life as 3-D models walk up and down the runway, showing front and back of their fashion. Their creations can be saved on the device to view again and again. Instead of giving over your device, most of the designing is done on paper and then viewed on the device. Now, this is technology they gotta love if they are into fashion! They say 6 & up. We’d say slightly older girls will put more into using this as more than a coloring book. The more design elements that older girls can add, the more impressive this will be. This deluxe kit comes with more tools than the Crayola My Virtual Fashion Show. It includes Design portfolio case, a 20-page design book, 36 colored pencils, pencil sharpener, 20 Super Tips markers, 4 stencils and My Virtual Fashion Show App.

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
Spin master Shark Mania
(Spin Master $19.99 Score:)

Our testers laughed as they raced to be the first to get to safety. It is a shark-infested gameboard with pop-up sharks ready to chomp and take you out of the race! The backstory is your pirate ship has run aground and you and your gold are overboard. Getting to the safe island you can collect some of your gold, but watch out! There are hungry sharks that mean to get you before you reach that island. The novel gameboard adds to the fun. 6-11

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
Krazy Kars Max Traxxx Tracer Racers Dual Loop Set
(Skullduggery $49.99 Score:)

Get ready for uber-awesome! Fans of Max Traxxx tracer racers are in for a big time glow when they set up the 24-foot light trace dual loop track and put their racers to the test! The set comes with two LED light-up cars with lights on the bottom, kids can change the setting to adjust the type of pattern the racing cars will leave on the track. Yes, the cars leave a trace of LIGHT. Did we mention that the tracks will light up in the dark from the LED lights? Our testers loved both leaving LED on all the way--this lit up the entire inside of the track or putting the LED lights on pulse,which left a broken pattern on the track. But that is not all. With this new set there is an electronic finish gate that adds a dramatic ending to each race. 6 & up.

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

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