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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


2014 Award
LEGO CITY Arctic Helicrane
(Lego Systems, Inc. $39.99 Score:)

Smaller than the Arctic Base Camp, this 262-piece build has many of the fun pieces in the bigger set. The helicopter is equipped with a mighty crane for heavy lifting ans a husky sled with four dogs, a camera, radar screen, and ice block with crystal element. Comes with minifigures and assorted accessories for Arctic exploration. This is one of the modular builds that divides the models into sub-models for easy starts. A good choice for 6-12.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY Arctic Base
(Lego Systems, Inc. $89.99 Score:)

Arctic exploration has taken on a hi-tech turn with a team of scientists who have set out to explore the secrets of the ice. Sure, they have a dog sled, but they also have a helicopter, a winch, and net to bring ice back to the base. They have a snow-scooter and a secure base camp with a lab that has walls that open and a roof that holds radar devices and solar panels. There is a massive tractor-exploration vehicle with serious drill and lights. Hi-tech or not...the seven explorers had better be on the look-out for a polar bear that is curious about this Arctic Base camp. Plenty of building in the 735-piece set that is likely to become a great setting for pretend play. 6-12

 

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY Auto Transporter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

While we never like driving next to one of these big trucks on the highway, this is a fun build! The 350-piece set includes making the transporter truck itself, two vehicles and two mini-figures. And as with the real deal, you can off load the cars by lowering the ramps on the transporter. So, this is a great project that ends up being fun for dramatic play. 5-12.  

 

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

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2014 Award
LEGO City Airport Fire Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

Call the fire truck to the rescue! A nice 326-piece build for beginner builders, this jaunty red fire truck comes with two firefighters, a retractable hose and fake water for putting out the pretend "engine fire." 5-12 years.

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 CITY Train Station
(Lego Systems, Inc. $64.99 Score:)

For those who own the new Lego City High Speed Train, here's a related build. Extend the pretend setting by adding the Train Station that includes a snack bar (hot dogs!), a LEGO shop (so you can buy mini sets), a ticket machine, a map, a clock, signs, and an overhang for the train to pass under. Also comes with a Taxi and assorted figured including a conductor. There are 5 minifigures in all and the main entrance has stairs, see-thru door that open, and ATM and tons of other small accessories. 5-12 years.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY High-speed Passenger Train
(Lego Systems, Inc. $149.99 Score:)

Our tester was very excited to see the reintroduction of a train set to LEGO. Modeled on a European high-speed train with three train cars, track and a remote control device that has 7 speeds. The set includes a IR-Receiver, a Motor and a Battery Box. The high speed train has side doors that open as well as the front for loading engineer and passengers. Compatible with the new Train Station set.
6-12 years.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY Police Station
(Lego Systems, Inc. $99.99 Score:)

An update on the 2009 Police Station Headquarters. The 854-piece build is multi-level with both a police station and jailing area. Comes with an assortment of vehicles to build (a car, a police car, a police motorcycle and a police helicopter). A big gift and great parent child project to enjoy together. 6-12. Can be used with the LEGO CITY Helicopter Transporter (382 pieces) that comes with a flatbed truck, a racing car, a race car, a helicopter and a motorcycle and an assortment of good and bad guys (with stolen loot!). Our 7-year old tester and his almost 6-year old brother are "having a blast making stories up" with the figures that came with the set. "The toilet/trap door was a big hit…they have really enjoyed all the detailed pieces…such as handcuffs, computers, cups…yes! There are lots of details so there are many ways to play with it…so they never get bored." Since the boys are on the younger side of the suggested age, building the large structure was a little frustrating and they needed help. "They worked on it for an hour, then leave it…do something else and then come back to it." That is fine. Big projects are not instantaneous—staying with a task over time is an important life lesson. Parents can help but try not to take over.

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
Disney Princess LEGO Cinderella's Romantic Castle
(Lego Systems, Inc. $69.99 Score:)

Cinderella has arrived in LEGO land. This multi-layered white castle has accents of blue, lavender and pink (of course). We love the detail (down to the glass slipper) so that once you're done building, you have a pretend setting to retell the story. With 646 pieces, this is a sizeable set to work on together with a new builder or for a more experienced intermediate LEGO builder alone. Set includes the unforgettable, Prince Charming--  and a place for him to dance with Cinderella.

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
Airhogs HyperActives5
(SpinMaster $45 Score:)

A 5-wheeled RC stunt vehicle that is zippy thanks to the fifth wheel that helps deliver high speed. Kids can jump it, roll it, flip it and even drive it upside down. It has shock compression tires that can run on any kind of surface. You'll need 6 AAA and one 1.5V. 8-13

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Colossal Art Set
(Alex $47.95 Score:)

Talk about big presents--this takes the prize for the young artist in the family. Perhaps it is more like a gift for the whole family to share and enjoy for all kinds of creative projects. This gigantic 315-piece set includes 40 crayons, 20 pastels, 48 fine markers, 36 watercolor cakes, 36 jumbo markers, 24 colored pencils, 24 watercolor pencils, drawing pencils, erasers, 4 sharpeners, 18 paint brushes, stickers, paper, and pallets. All these tools for creativity are housed in a gigantic fitted box.

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

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