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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Categories: Construction Toys

 


2014 Award
Magformers Magnets in Motion 22 piece Power Set
(Magformers $69.99 Score:)

This is more like an add-on for those who already own a set of Magformer gears. Plug the generator into your computer with the USB cord to charge it up or into an USB adapter. Once you have it charged, your Magformers gears are ready to spin into action. This little set comes with some magformer squares and rectangles to build a platform, two lights, two gears and the big blue spinner that will activate other gears from this and other sets. Basically, it is pretty limited as a stand alone, but a fun accessory that will add to the action of gear sets in the magformer collection.  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
Knex Typhoon Frenzy Roller Coaster
(Knex $49.99 Score:)

Our twelve-year old tester took four days to complete, working approximately two hours a day. He considers this particular set very difficult and in his words, "Kids with short attention spans will take a lot longer to do this because each of the steps takes at least 10-15 minutes, and I believe there were 53 steps in this set." When asked about the age label on the box When I asked him if the 9 & up age range on the box he said, "There is no way that a 9-year-old could put this together.” He thinks that a more realistic age bracket would be ages 11+ but it would have to be a pretty disciplined eleven year old because with the rail, for example, one false move and you'd end up having to reassemble a huge portion of this." Unlike other builds, our tester felt there as not a lot he could do with it after it was built. He played with it for a few days and then it has been untouched. His mom, a teacher of gifted kids, thinks it will appeal to engineer-type kids for whom the assembly is the thrill. On the positive side, our tester reported, "One good thing about playing with this is that the little car keeps its momentum all the way down, which you wouldn’t expect since it goes upside down."

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

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2014 Award
Magformers 83 Piece Magnets in Motion Power Set
(Magformers $179.99 Score:)

Here is the super duper uber size Magformer set that includes gears, a generator, and all the shapes needed for building exciting constructions that move. A pricey set that will challenge and large enough for several kids to share. Like all Magformer sets, this involves science, problem solving, fine motor skills, patience and imagination. Kids are going to have good fun building machines that they can activate with the colorful gears and crank for getting all those parts moving or use the generator to get things going. There are big and little gears, colorful image plates that swirl when they turn, creating optical illusions. This primary colored set is gender neutral and comes with step by step instructions for making their models, though the pieces can be used in an open ended way for making their own creations.

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

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2014 Awards
Magformers 62 piece Classic Set
(Magformers $99 Score:)

This is where we started when Magformers were first introduced. It has all the basic pieces for making a dome, a square, a star and so many other geometric forms. We have to confess, we loved the dome that goes together like magic and remains a favorite at the toyportfolio. Like all of the Magformer sets, this involves, problem solving, fine motor skills, patience, science, and imagination. 6 & up.

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

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2014 Award
Magformers 62 piece Inspire Design
(Magformers $99 Score:)

Designed to appeal to girls with hot pink, lavender, powder blue, pink and magenta pieces, this construction set had magnets embedded in plastic shapes, so it is safe, yet challenging, inviting kids to investigate in a hands on way how magnets attract and repel, how they can put the pieces together to make three dimensional designs. This big set comes with a step-by-step instruction booklet for creating all sorts of geometric constructions. Like so many of the Magformer sets, this involves, problem solving, fine motor skills, patience, science, and imagination. Do we think girls need special colors to entice them? No, but apparently it does appeal to some who might otherwise not do any construction play. That would be a greater loss, since developing spatial skills and this kind of thinking should not be reserved for boys only. It this is the ticket--we say go for it.  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
Magformers Magnets in Motion 37 Piece Set
(Magformers $59.99 Score:)

This is a mid size variation of the big Magnets in Motion set that combines gears and magformers to build some amazing machines. It has a snap on crank handle and plenty of big and small gears with colorful discs that create optical illusions in motion. Like so many of the Magformer sets, this involves, problem solving, fine motor skills, patience, science, and imagination. This interesting set comes with a step-by-step instruction booklet for creating all sorts of constructions with gears. 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
Magformers 61 piece Magnets in Motion
(Magformers $99 Score:)

What could be more fun than combining gears and magformers? Kids are going to have good fun building machines that they can activate with the colorful gears and crank for getting all those parts moving. There are big and little gears, colorful image plates that swirl when they turn, creating optical illusions. This primary colored set is gender neutral sets it comes with step by step instructions for making their models, though the pieces can be used in an open ended way for making their own creations. Like so many of the Magformer sets, this involves, science, problem solving, fine motor skills, patience and imagination. A smaller 32-piece set is $39.99. Or, you can add a 20 piece Magnets in Motion Accessory Set (19.99) with large and small gears and crank to enlarge the possibilities of your basic Magnets in Motion set. 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
LEGO Creator 3-in-1 Roaring Power
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

Newest in the clever 3-in-1 builds the 374-piece set gives kids instructions for a roaring race-car, a T-Rex, and a sea plane. A mid-size kit that shows kids they can use the same pieces for new constructions.

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
LEGO STAR WARS Droid Gunship
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)

The grey and blue Droid Gunship is an intermediate build with 439 pieces. If your Star Wars fan is building his fleet from the cartoon show (as opposed to the movies), this is a fine addition. Comes with a spring-loaded shooter, Chewbacca, Super Battle Droid, Battle Droid and 41st Elite Corps Trooper. We find that the included minifigs are a big part of the collectability appeal of the line for fans of the line. 8-14.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO STAR WARS V-Wing Starfighter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24.99 Score:)

STAR WARS fans will love building this small red and grey spaceship. With 201 pieces this is a good place to start if you have a beginning LEGO/STAR WARS fan. Set comes with a V-Wing Pilot and an Astromech Droid. Also new this year and in the same level of building experiences: the yellow and grey Jedi Interceptor ($24.99 with 223 pieces and comes with Anakin Skywalker and R2-D2) and the blue/grey Vulture Droid ($24.99 with 205 pieces and comes with Buzz Droid, Pilot Battle Droid and Neimoidian Warrior). All marked 7-12. All come with new spring-loaded shooters which need some supervision.

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

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