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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


2015 Award
Zoomer Jester Dino
(zoomer $99 Score:)

This fierce looking dino moves fast on two wheels that scoot around and forward and back. All the while Jester makes scary motions and sounds with his head and tail. Its not that easy to control this fierce looking creature, but our tester thought it was fun trying. For a less pricy dino, check out the Chomplingz Tiger Tail Interactive (39.99) 5-10

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

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Minecraft Stop-Motion Movie Creator
(Mattel $32.99 Score:)

If you have a Minecraft fan in your house, you'll want to check out this new stop-motion movie creator. You'll need a smartphone to take the pictures with (it fits on the provided stand) and then your child's imagination takes over. Choose one of the six backgrounds and then yell "action" as you move the three Minecraft figures around your set. The APP then lets you create your own movie and share it with other people. Our testers had a new appreciation for what goes into animated movies. Marked 6 & up, but much older kids will enjoy this a lot more and be able to do it more independently. Award pending further review.

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

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Crayola Crayon Carver
(Crayola $29.99 Score:)

Crayola has designed a motorized machine that allows you to personalize your crayons with your name, words, symbols. To design, you first pick your letter and symbol tiles, load them up into the front yellow positions. Once you're happy with your wording, place your crayon into the well and then you trace over the "letters and symbols" with a moving arm. While you're tracing the other end of the arm is carving into the crayon. There is a number expansion pack sold separately. For safety purposes the carving end is enclosed in plastic. Pending further testing. 6 & up.

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
LeapFrog LeapPad Platinum
(LeapFrog $129.99 Score:)

The new LeapPad Platinum by LeapFrog is almost identical to their earlier LeapPad XDI Ultra model except for an arguably sleeker design and new packaging including Imagicard samples. Imagicard Digital game and Interactive cards are an exciting new feature that can be purchased separately and used with other LeapPad tablets. The cards include access to photo-fun activities and learning games that stimulate activity both in and outside of the digital platform. Like previous LeapPads, the LeapPad Platinum maintains Wi-Fi protected content that keeps kid safe, while giving them access to more downloadable apps and content that are 100% pre-screened and approved by learning experts. The 7-inch tablet is designed to withstand heavy usage with a shatter-proof screen and has 8GB of memory. Color options include green and purple.

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
Gamewright Flashlights & Fireflies
(Gamewright $15.99 Score:)

Imagine playing around with fireflies in the middle of winter or a sunny afternoon. True it will call for some imagination, as does this game in which players catch fireflies to power their flashlights. But watch out! There are bats, raccoons and other creatures of the night that might get in your way. It's of game of visual discrimination, deduction and pretend. First one to reach home wins. Our test family gave this high grades. Maybe no substitute for catching the real thing--but fun, nevertheless. Playtime is 20 minutes for 2-5 players. 6 & up.

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
Hasbro Twister Moves Hip Hop Spots Electronic Dance Game
(Hasbro $24.99 Score:)

You can play solo or with a friend and there are four levels of play; beginner, advanced, pro and freestyle. Follow the lights and hop on the spots as you dance to the beat and pace set by the electronic dance game. A good choice for winter days or rainy ones with hours of indoor 'what-can-we-do?' time or active play. This will get them up and moving. 

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

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2015 Award
Gamewright Dragonwood
(Gamewright $14.99 Score:)

Billed as a game of dice and daring, we have to say, enter the mythical forest at your own risk! Dragonwood is the frightful habitat of all manner of nasty ogres, goblins and firebreathing-you-know-what. Our test family gave it high grades for entertaining kids and adults alike. When asked, 'What did you like about it?' they said, 'Everything!' What didn't they like? Their answer was 'Nothing!'

Youll need to collect adventurer cards to earn dice to out-toss your opponents. It takes strategy to make your way through and a good dose of courage will help, too. There are a lot of rules to master here, but this is the kind of game that goes on for at least 20 minutes and will capture the imagination of 8's and up.

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
Hasbro Scrabble Twist
(Hasbro $20 Score:)

How many words can you make with the same five letter choices that come up on the hand held game machine? Tap the letters and give it a twist and make as many words as possible before the timer runs out. You get 3 points for 3 letter words, 5 points for four letter words and 7 points for five letter words. You can play Solo, set it for two players on Turbo, or set it for Party for 2-8 players that gets passed around a circle. If the word is good the machine will play a you got it sound. If its not good you will see all Xs on the screen. Take this along for waiting games in the car or elsewhere. 8 & up.

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

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2015 Award
Smithsonian Museum Craft Kit Triceratops
(Skullduggery $24.99 Score:)

Our 7 and 10-year old testers really liked all the steps of this plaster mold kit. In three easy steps, it is designed so kids get to turn the powder into plaster that pours into the mold and dries in about 45 minutes. Although they were less than thrilled with coloring the poster setting, they liked painting the pieces and pasting them to the poster. There is also a set with horses, one with three space crafts, and a skeleton, a pre-med kit for learning the names of the bones for serious minded crafters. The finished pieces are not standing models. They can only be displayed lying on the poster. 8 & up

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

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2015 Award
K'nex Mighty Makers: Up, Up and Away Building Set
(K'nex $19.99 Score:)

Designed to appeal to girls, this is one of many models that K'nex has packaged with a female character and pastel building pieces. Though we think girls should not need gender specific building toys, we take seriously the fact that learning from building is a basic and too long overlooked. This up, up and away set comes with clear instructions for building a small but satisfying airplane. Build it four different ways with directions for optional vehicles. 7 & up.

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

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