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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


2015 Award
STAR WARS BB-8 Droid
(Sphero $149.99 Score:)

Move over R2-D2, there's a new droid in the galaxy. Our Star Wars loving testers couldn't wait to tester this new App-enabled droid from Sphero. You can guide BB-8 with your smartphone or tablet. It responds and will react to your voice. They also loved how his head would pop off if they directed him into a wall. (We are talking 9 year olds after all!)  Parents liked that it came with a well designed charging base to sit in - charging is via USB cable (included). On the flipside:  The holographic messaging was disappointing to our reviewers - it's not like the movie where we see Princess Leia. They also wished that the actual BB-8 made sound (the sound effects come from your phone or tablet). Our testers did love how BB-8 could move around more freely (not just back and forth like most remote-controlled vehicles). Even with the noted drawbacks, the kids loved this novelty toy from the big movie of the year!

 

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Kosmos Ubongo
(Thames & Kosmos $39.99 Score:)

oRace against the timer and your competition to be the first to cover your puzzle board with the interlocking geometric forms. Each player gets a set of 12 polyominos that they must fill in the empty spaces. With each round players get a new board to fill and a roll of the die to determine which polyominos they must use. A fast-paced game for solo or up to four players. Players win gems for the rounds they win- blue for the fastest and amber for second. Colors have different point values and at the end of nine rounds the score is tallied to see who has the highest number of points.

8 & up

 

 

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Girl Scouts Cookie Oven
(Wicked Cool Toys $59.99 Score:)

Is there any substitute for Girl Scouts Cookies? Yes, most of our testers say, this is it! The Girl Scouts Cookie Oven is similar to your old easy bake oven, only some say the end product here is a lot better. Imagine, now you can have Girl Scout cookies any time of year.  [To be clear, the cookies are soft and inspired by Girl Scout Cookies - not exact in either category.] This dandy little oven comes with all the required baking equipment as well as a box of Thin Mints cookie mix. Prefer their PB sandwiches? Not to worry. Individual refill packs come in flavors of Thin Mints, PB Sandwich, Trefoils, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coconut Caramel, Chocolate Chip, Sugar and Oatmeal($6.99 per mix) 8 & up. 

 

 

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Sam, Your 1960s Girl
(A Girl for All Time $109.99 Score:)

Sam, a fashion plate of the 1960s is the newest of the historic dolls in the A Girl for All Time Collection. A 16-inch beauty, Sam wears a stylish denim mini dress with a bold yellow vinyl flower and cuffs with matching yellow shoes that stand out against her orange tights. Her dark hair and eyes are a perfect foil for her bright orange mod hair band. Like others in the collection she comes with her own book that captures the decade and gives young readers a bit of the colorful madness of the 1960s. Sam's story is rather elaborate; she is Parisian with an obsession with fashion who is about to visit London's famous Carnaby Street where the Beatles shopped and then she's off to visit her uncle in Greenwich Village.  

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2015.

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2015 Award
Creativity for Kids Twine Design
(Creativity for Kids $14.99 Score:)

These are like Mexican folk art we used to make with wool and twigs tied together. Instead of twigs, this kit comes with cardboard bases, 32 yards of brightly colored embroidery floss, feathers, adhesive rhinestones, velvet stickers, glue, necklace cords, earring findings, and jump rings on which to put your unique weavings. This will keep hands busy and challenged as kids learn the multiple ways to weave from the instructions. A fun way into an old craft with wearable end products. 8 & up

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Crayola Star Wars Light-Up Tracing Pad
(Crayola $29.99 Score:)

For kids of a certain age, when drawing skills are not as perfect as they would wish and they prize realistic images, this kind of drawing pad can be a satisfying, if not very creative way to get results. Though we generally do not recommend tracing kits, this one is going to give them the pay offs they are looking for. The light-up LED pad comes with three Star Wars Transparency sheets, 10 sheets of images to trace with favorite Star Wars characters, ships, shields, plus 10 blank sheets, six colored pencils, six gel fx markers and a graphite pencil. You can get more images online at crayola.com/tracing. Though it is a tracing kit it does involve staying with a task, working with pencil and paper, fine motor skills and bringing their own imagination to retelling or extending a well loved story. 3 AA batteries are needed and not included in the package. Marked for 6 & up, we think kids of 8 and 9 will like this even more.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Crayola Star Wars Storm Trooper Collectible Tin
(Crayola $12.99 Score:)

A long lasting collector's tin with a Star Wars Stormtrooper graphic with a box of crayons with a sharpener inside. Save this for a prize winning gift to your Star Wars fan; they'll love the collectible tin and the set of 64 crayons in 48 classic colors wrapped in black and grey labels.There are eight Star-Wars-themed colors and each includes metallic and glitter hues. Choose this or the Darth Vader tin.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Anki Overdrive Starter
(Anki Drive $149.99 Score:)

This is the 21st century answer to slot cars without needing a dedicated room. Set it up quick and easy with the Starter Kit that allows you to build one of eight unique battlefields. Download the Anki Overdrive app on a iOS or android device and you're ready for action! Players can compete with each other or with the virtual Commanders. Like last year’s Anki, you can customize each robotic Supercar and add expansion tracks and supercars. You do need the latest iOS device as this will not run on old technology. Your starter kit comes with: 2 Robotic Supercars,6 curved track pieces, 4 straight track pieces, 2 riser pieces,1 four-car charging system, and 1 tire cleaner.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Crayola Star Wars Limited Edition Crayons
(Crayola $7 Score:)

A collector's item for under ten dollars. Save these for prize stocking stuffers; a set of 64 crayons in a special black and white cardboard box with built-in crayon sharpener and 48 classic colors all wrapped in black and grey labels. There are 16 Star-Wars-themed colors and each includes metallic and glitter hues. Choose from two themes. Darth Vader or Storm Trooper.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2015 Award
Mudpuppy Keith Haring New York 100 Piece Puzzle
(Mudpuppy Press $14.95 Score:)

Keith Haring's Green Statue of Liberty is set off against a red background with three of his iconic people at the base. A beauty of a puzzle for kids experienced enough to handle 100-pieces and the idea of working at a task over time instead of doing it all in one gulp. This comes in a handsome keepsake tin. Marked for 6 & up, we think it may be a better bet for slightly older kids. 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2015. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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