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Product Type: Toys
Award: Blue Chip

 

 
2011 Awards
Big Boggle
(Hasbro $19.99 Score:)

For Boggle aficionados this is the ultimate Boggle game with a bigger grid and nine more letters than the standard game. With this new edition you can make longer words or just more words than the original game. Shake the cubes, turn the 3 minute sand timer and start writing! When time is up players read their list and cross out any words the other player also saw. Your score is then based on the words left on your list. They have added a double letter cube that adds Qu, An, He, Er, Th, and In to your word building choices. We have to admit to being addicted to the Boggle App on the iPad, but this one allows more people to play at one time--a great family game. 8 & up.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Awards
Lucky Ducks Sesame Street Edition
(Hasbro $29.99 Score:)

We gave the original Lucky Ducks game an award years ago when it first arrived on the scene. In this new edition, the game play has not changed but Ernie has been added to the motorized game board. Players stand in front of one of four color symbols- their home base. When the game begins players take turns picking up a duckie hoping to be the first to collect three ducks with their home symbol on the bottom. It's a fun matching game that reinforces color and shape concepts as well as turn taking and learning about the gamesmanship reality--you win some and lose some. There is no reading involved in this preschool matching game. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Awards
Labyrinth, A Race for Treasures in a Moving Maze
(Ravensburger $28 Score:)

You may have played this game as a kid. This is the 25th Anniversary Edition of a challenging game that is never the same twice. The playing board keeps changing so there are always new mazes to travel. This anniversary edition is packaged in a tin box for safe-keeping and includes 12 extra maze cards with encrypted messages. You move your character through the maze seeking treasures hidden in the sliding tiles of the labyrinth. After 25 years and millions of players, this qualifies as a classic for 10's & up.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Awards
North American Bear Flatopig
(North American Bear Co. $36 Score:)

Welcome back Flatopig! A few years ago we gave the original version of Flatopig a Platinum Award. That one was retired for a while but the review vanished from our site. Like the original Flatopig this big 25" huggable is understuffed and like all the other Flatso farm critters, it is totally pleasing for toddlers who like big dolls to lug about, but cannot handle anything too heavy. The company tells us the new version is softer and has denser plush, and black stitched eyes instead of blue. In the new line there is also a much smaller 15" version ($17); a much smaller $10 rattle or an all new Flatopig cozie($10) But, keep in mind, the giant 25" version is the 'Wo-wee!' choice.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Awards
Colorama
(Ravensburger $20 Score:)

If you're looking for a game to reinforce color and shape concepts, Colorama is a strong choice.  Roll the dice. If you get a circle and red--you need to place one of the red circles on the board. The game is over once the board is completed filled in.  A good parent/child game or a game to be played cooperatively by a group of kids working on the same skills.  Colorama will have a short term appeal - but when you're in that knowing and naming zone for colors and shapes, it provides a fun way to build your child's competence and confidence.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Monopoly
(Hasbro $$12.99 Score:)

With all of the new versions of Monopoly that come and go, we felt it was important to honor the original. In our opinion, most of the electronic versions take away the fun of monopoly. Where's the fun if you're not the banker and responsible for giving the right amount of money back on a  purchase?  The "electronic banker" removes all of those great math skills from the game play.  While it may take a bit longer to play, have your child be the banker.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2007 Awards
Manhattan Toy Infant Stim-Mobile
(Manhattan Toy $24.99 Score:)

High contrast black and white graphics are now combined with bold colors so the mobile can be changed as baby grows. Designed with out music or motor, this versatile mobile is nevertheless more visually stimulating than most. The images are displayed so that the newborn looking up sees the whole graphic rather than just a sideways glance. It's design is based on research that indicates that newborns see black and white high contrast most easily during the first weeks of life. Babies are also visually attracted to images of a face, simple bulls-eye graphics and other bold patterns.
       Another plus is the ability to change the view. Like all of us, infants stop noticing things that are constantly in sight. Since you can change the position of the graphics, this is a more interesting mobile. Without a motor to make it turn, this is activated by baby's own motions as she moves her arms and legs. This mobile has no music, but you can add that with a stand alone musical toy.
      Based on the original all black and white Stimobile by Wimmer Ferguson, this is a classic.

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

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2007. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Awards
Ambi Ted & Tess Carousel
(Schylling $19.99 Score:)

Welcome back, Ted and Tess! A classic toy that has been missing in action for a few seasons. These spinning bears go round and round when baby pushes the knob on top. The brightly colored spinning top is made of sturdy plastic and has a flat bottom that sits flat on the floor. A fun toy for learning about cause and effect and for making things happen. Babaies will need adults to sctivate the bears, but in time they will be able to make it happen. Such a feeling of power! 6 months & up.

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

SNAP: It's not always easy finding toys that respond to a swipe of the whole hand. This classic spinning toy is sturdy and easy to activate.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Awards
Shark Attack
(Patch Products $19.99 Score:)

First introduced to a generation of kids in 1988, Shark Attack is back!  Our testers loved that the motorized shark moved around the board with the possibility of eating the fish (each player has a fish on the board).  You need to roll the die to keep ahead of the shark. The last fish on the board wins!  Rounds go pretty quickly.  A fun game for kids 5 and up.

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

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2010 Awards
Calico Critters 2010
(International Playthings $19.99 Score:)

A wonderful collection of animal families are ready for pretend play in the Calico Critter Treehouse or with use them with blocks or other miniature settings. Among our favorites this year are the Pickleweed Hedgehogs, Ellwood Elephants, Sugar Bears, and Milky Mouse families.

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

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