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Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Review Year: 2013

 


2013 Award
University Games World of Eric Carle Alphabet Floor Puzzle
(University Games $13 Score:)

Our testers loved this new oversized puzzle featuring the wonderful art of Eric Carle. Although some of the animals may be less than familiar - for example a narwhale for N, a xolol for X, and a quetzal for Q, they will stretch kids' language of knowing and naming. Done with 26 sturdy giant pieces in the painterly style of Eric Carle, this produces a floor puzzle that is ten feet long and fun to do more than once.  They say 3 & up. We think slightly older kids will like this even more.

A note from our test family said..."My boys (ages 6, 5 and 2 ) love puzzles, so they were very
excited to do this. It made for good teamwork for the older two. One would call out the next letter and the other would find it and then they would put it together. The littlest would just come behind and steal a piece occasionally. (It is definitely a 3+ toy) They loved how long it was and were very proud of their work when they finished. They both like to do puzzles over and over and especially floor puzzles. I think with this being an alphabet puzzle and their ages, they need the practice. This puzzle will help inintroducing alphabetizing for sure!"

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
Mattel Barbie Fashion Vending Machine
(Mattel $23.99 Score:)

We are not huge Barbie furnishing fans, but this clever contraption could be fun for pretend play as well as a good storage device for all those little shoes, handbags, and necklaces Barbie dolls tend to generate. The working vending machine can hold all these items on the shelves that turn or put them on the right side, turn the crank and make the toys pop out.  Comes with some accessories with room for others. They say 3 & up. We say more like 5 & up.

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

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2013 Award
Creativity for Kids Creepy Bugs Window Art
(Creativity for Kids $16.99 Score:)

Use the colorful glue and patterns to make ten creepy bugs that will stick to the window after they dry and are peeled off the patterns. Kids can follow the patterns or do their own buggy drawings. These will be fun to make for Halloween decorations. Making the stickers involves following a pattern and eye-hand control that kids also need for writing. Easy to peel off the window when the buggy things lose their charm. Check other Window Art sets from this company for other seasons. 6 & up

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
Playmobil PopStars Stage
(Playmobil $40 Score:)

Hook up an MP3-compatable player with the cable that comes with the setting and kids can play their favorite music through this mini setting. The set includes four figures, a stage with flashing lights, drums, guitars, microphones, built-in speakers and other goodies.

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

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2013 Award
Educational Insights Raccoon Rumpus
(Educational Insights $14.99 Score:)

A card game with a clever new look. Each player has a raccoon card with a raised raccoon head and costume cards that fit over the head. Players take turns rolling the jumbo color die and costume die and then search for costume cards to match, i.e. a shirt of blue or pants in red. If you can find it, place the matching card on your raccoon card. First player to collect five costume cards wins. But watch out! If you roll an underwear image--oh, oh! You have to put all your cards back on the table. Marked for 3 and up, but most 3-year olds will need an older player and some learning time to master this. A clever game that develops an eye for spotting attributes and matching skills. 3 & up

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

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2013 Award
Neat-Oh Hot Wheels Crash Racer Backpack
(Neat-Oh $20 Score:)

A small backpack that is shaped like a racing car and unzips to become a race track. This is not a backpack for carrying lots of school books and such. It is more like a fun carry along to a play date. It comes in several color choices and with one hot wheels racing car to use on the small ramp. 3 & up

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

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2013 Award
eeBoo Swirly Rainbow Glitter Glue
(eeBoo $14.95 Score:)

Perfect for making cards, posters, or any art project that needs multicolored glitter glue. This comes with 12 colors. Be sure to keep this out of the reach of kids under three since the caps are a small parts hazard and cover the work surface before you get too much of a good thing on the floor or tabletop.  5 & up.

 

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

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2013 Award
eeBoo Old Maid
(eeBoo $9.00 Score:)

) Illustrator Stephanie Graegin has give these Old Maid cards a new look with a cast of characters with interesting occupations, such as a bear named, Murray Baker, Astronaut Adela, Fireman Tom, Artist Alice, to name but a few. As in the classic game, you score by making matches. A good way to develop pre-reading skills as well as turn taking. The handsome cards are stored in a sliding case that travels with ease. 5 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
eeBoo Volcano Island Tell Me a Story
(eeBoo $9.99 Score:)

Take turns drawing a card and telling a new part of the story. These tropical creatures and their setting are an open invitation to flex your storytelling muscles. This is the kind of game that has no right or wrong answers and best of all it allows kids and their grownups to think on their feet. The stories our testers told about an alligator who climbed a tree and went missing were pretty funny. It's different than a blank piece of paper that may inhibit young storytellers. This sort of game provides the action needed to make a story that can be funny or sad, long or short, silly of scary, etc.   They say 3 & up, we'd say older preschool and primary grades are better.

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

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2013 Award
eeBoo Animal Faces Matching Game, Travel Size
(eeBoo $9.99 Score:)

24 matching pairs of animal face cards are fun to take along in their neat little box with a sliding tray. Unlike their wildlife cards, these dressed-up critters look like they stepped out of a storybook. Play this as a concentration game with 2 or more players or it can be played solo. 5 & up.

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

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