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

 


2013 Award
Calico Critters Lakeside Lodge
(International Playthings $60 Score:)

A small summer house of logs with an orange roof; perfect for vacation living. Instead of beds there are two hammocks and a loft with ladder. It has a raised entry and a terrace with a hot tub, plus a clever little upstairs balcony--just right for critters to use for viewing the great outdoors. In fact, this small house might be just the right scale as a dollhouse to keep at a summer cottage. Although it is shown with furniture and critters on the box, they are not included, but sold separately. The Lodge can also be combined with the new Treehouse, making a miniature setting of grand proportions.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Calico Critters Ice Cream Truck
(International Playthings $35 Score:)

Get ready for soft ice cream and scoops of the regular kind, too. We don't see any good humor pops or fudgicals, but maybe they don't know about them at Cloverleaf Corners. Our brother/sister testers loved the working soft ice cream machine. They spent many happy hours puttiing the stickers on and playing to sell yummy treats once they got the shop all set up. Like other settings in this line the critters are not included, although they are shown on the packaging. 3 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Calico Critters Adventure Tree House
(International Playthings $70 Score:)

Get your critters ready for real adventure in this three level tree house with a two-story slide, a cabin on top, and ladders for getting up and down. There is a swing big enough for two to share as well as a bucket on a pulley for getting supplies up and down with ease. There is plenty of room inside for cozy living. You can combine this setting with the Lakeside Lodge vacation house. Like all settings in this line, the animals and furniture pictured on the packaging are not included in the set, but sold separately.

Our tester loved the little log cabin playhouse that is on the top of the tree house and the slide. She also likes the pulley for transporting small treasures to the different levels of the tree house.  The only negative comment was that the swing comes off the branch easily. This experienced 6 year old Calico Critters fan, incorporated her Tree House into her other settings to create a village.  Her mom noted that she would recommend Calico Critters to other parents because the line has lasting play appeal. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Awards
Calico Critters Border Collie Family
(International Playthings $22.99 Score:)

Mama, Papa, brother and sister Border Coolies are done up with faces in crisp black and white markings. Also new this season, an Outback Koala Family. Mama is carrying the newest little one in a soft fabric backpack while their toddler size child is able to walk along with Papa. These are charming posable figures to use as props for the Calico Critter settings or for pretend play with blocks and other mini-settings.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Playmobil Sports Action Take along Soccer Set
(Playmobil $59.99 Score:)

There's no real building or assembling of this soccer field. The case opens to a big self-contained playing area with four players and two goalies. You will want to add more players. The goalies cannot kick but can block with a left to right motion. Pull back a leg and load the ball and the players kick the ball down the field. There are a lot of add-ons for this theme. Young soccer players will like the dramatic play of controlling a field of players. This is a play setting that is a lot younger than a foosball table that has a lot more action. The box shows boys, but there is a girls soccer team set as an add-on....of course.  5-8

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

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2010 Award
Natural History Museum RC Tarantula
(Wild Creations $28.99 Score:)

This sure looks like the real thing! A life size tarantula with velvety flocking and creepy legs that is sure to scare the family kitten, puppy or little sister. It's easy to operate with a two button RC control that moves the bug with high-speed precision. It can move in every direction and even spin on its eight furry, independently moving legs! It's a model of a large Goliath Bird Eating Tarantula that measures at its widest span an amazing 6 inches! 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010.

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2010 Award
I'm a Little Tea Pot Musical Tea Set
(Schylling $22.99 Score:)

Pure novelty!  A 15 piece tin tea set that comes with a wind-up tea pot.  Wind it up and then pour--it plays "I'm a Little Tea Pot".  The set comes with the tea pot, four plates, four cups and saucers and a tray--just right for pretend tea parties.  No batteries are required to get the tea pot to play-it just winds up like a music box.  Very sweet.  Warning: this set does have small parts and should not be given to smaller children. 8 & up. If Olivia is a favorite, the company makes a pink and red set with a tea pot that plays the theme song from Olivia's TV show and features her face on the cups and pot.

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: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Star Wars Imperial AT-AT
(Hasbro $119.99 Score:)

The ultimate Star Wars play setting.  Our testers were all clamoring to get this one out of the box.  It's over two feet tall, comes with electronic sounds, phrases and lights. The backend opens to make space for the Speeder Bike (included). Comes with one storm trooper that can repel off the top of the AT-AT to the bottom.  The sides also open as does the front end - so there are plenty of play opportunities for making things happen. It does have projectiles (against our policy) but they do aim downward so we are making an exception here.  Let's face it the whole All Terrain Armored Transport theme doesn't exactly fit in our "no aggressive or violent" toys-- but it's fantasy and hey, its Star Wars. While some of us thought it would be better if it actually walked like it does in the movie, others quickly (and quite loudly) expressed their view that this toy was "awesome" just as it is!  If you are looking for a big ticket present for the Star Wars fan in your life, look no further.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Hexbug Nano Battle Bridge
(Innovation First $39.99 Score:)

These little NANO bugs that come in test tube inspired containers are either a HUGE hit with kids, tweens, teens and even adults that need a little bug to pull out of their office desk every now and then. At $7.99 each--they're affordable, come in lots of different colors.  New this season is the Hexbug Nano Battle Bridge ($39.99). When our testers built it, they commented that it looked more like a "parking garage for bugs that they could never really exit!"  Pure novelty--and a whole lot easier to tend to than hamsters.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2004 Award
Let's Pretend Careers
(Small Miracles $29.99 Score:) Handsome enough to wear as real clothes, the newest items in the career line are an Astronaut (4 1⁄2), and an ER Worker (4 1⁄2) with green scrubs, stethoscope, and other tools. Forget the stereotypical Teacher (2) costume with black glasses and old-fashioned red smock with white lace. Still top rated, Chef (with coat, hat, and tools); in the fantasy line, a Pirate (outfit comes with a felt hat). Past winners include: Doctor, Pilot, Equestrian, Firefighter, Construction Worker, and Police. PLATINUM AWARDS 02 & 04. 38. (888) 281-1798.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.

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