Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Award: Platinum
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Review Year: 2013

 


2013 Award
Hot Wheels Carcade
(Mattel $99 Score:)

Hands down one of the most fun toys we tested this year. If you like Hot Wheels cars and pinball - it doesn't get much better than this new arcade game that loads your Hot Wheels cars (it only comes with one) into the launcher that moves from side to side so that you can shoot the car into the slots above.  If you get the car into the slot when the light above it is on, you score points. It has an electronic scoreboard that keeps track of your score. It has a neat lockdown dome (think Mad Max thunderdome) that captures a car and provides added drama of doubling your points while that one car is trapped inside. This feature, while fun, did not always work well but no one seemed to mind. In order to get into the dome you have to get the car up a special ramp - our testers found this hard to do - but willing to keep on trying. Requires 3AA and 4 D batteries. Will not work with all Hot Wheels vehicles but it worked with the ones we had on hand.  This is what we call a big memorable novelty toy. The kind that gets played with a lot when friends come over! 5 & up.

 

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

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2013 Award
Corolle Les Cheries Camille Ballerina Doll
(Corolle $44.99 Score:)

If you have an aspiring ballerina in your midst, this is a very special 13" doll to bring home. Camille's all vinyl body is dressed in a beautiful tutu, tights and ballet slippers.   Her long hair is drawn back with a head band.  She has posable arms and legs -- and has the signature Corolle vanilla scent.   For 2013, she also comes in a super cute outfit for going to university, Camille a l'Universite.

 

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

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2013 Award
Corolle Les Cheries Chloe Au Palais Royal
(Corolle $51 Score:)

Chloe is totally on trend with faux fur wrap (on top of her pink party dress) and leopard print ballet flats and purse! What we love about this collection of 13" fashion dolls is that they celebrate girls. The clothes give a nod to trends but in completely age appropriate styles. Girls will also love her long hair, sweet (vinyl) face and vanilla scent. Chloe is also available in a ballerina outfit. 

 

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

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2013 Award
LEGO City Grand Prix Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

While Star Wars often gets the lionshare of requests from our LEGO builders, some of their more traditional trucks got rave reviews from our testers. This Grand Prix Truck received high marks because it was an interesting build. The truck opens in different ways to make room for the Gran Prix car (which "you also get!!").  With 315 pieces this is a satisfying challenge for a beginning builder. The box says 5 & up -- most fives will need assistance, which is fine.  In addition to the truck and the racing car, the set comes with three minifigures so there's lots of room here for pretend play after the building is complete.

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
Corolle Les Cheries Cecile A La Tour Eiffel
(Corolle $51.99 Score:)

We want to be Cecile when we grow up - down to her two-toned Chanel-inspired ballet slippers. Ready to tour all the sights in Paris, Cecile is the latest addition to this Platinum Award winning line of 13" dolls that celebrate girls (not girls dressed up as women). There are additional dolls and clothes in this collection (happily, they can all share the same wardrobe).  Each comes with an all vinyl body and the signature scent of vanilla. Tre joile!

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
Tinkertoy Super Building Set
(KNEX $44.99 Score:)

We love this new, satisfying set of Tinkertoys with 150 pieces.  These plastic Tinkertoys are better than the old school versions because the set includes bendable pieces in addition to the more traditional spools and straight rods that allow for more interesting builds. There are suggested 15 builds, but the big appeal of Tinkertoys from our point of view is that they can be used as an open-ended building set. Our testing parents loved the sturdy box with lid that can be used for storage. The set also includes panels and faces for added fun. Tinkertoys are also available in pink - which we recommend if it's the only way the girls in your life will build.

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

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2013 Award
LEGO Kings Castle
(Lego Systems, Inc. $99.99 Score:)

We love that in the land of licensed lines, LEGO still makes an old-fashion Castle complete with draw bridge, towers, king's throne, collapsing wall, and most appealing to our testers a hidden escape door. Comes with seven mini figures including the King and the White Knight. The game play focuses on keeping the castle safe from the evil Dragon warriors. The build is done in sections -making the castle more manageable for younger builders. The castle is a great parent-child opportunity.

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
LEGO Creator Thunder Wings
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

Our LEGO testers consistently love builds from the Creator series since they include three builds from the same set. With this set you can make a jet, a robot, or a futuristic car. With only 235 pieces this is a very good place to start with beginner builders.  

 

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
Swish Junior
(ThinkFun $12.99 Score:)

One of the most elegant card games we tested this year. Swish Junior comes with 45 transulcent cards that have shapes (a diamond, star, circle) placed on different locations on the cards. A "swish" is made when you can stack up two cards so that the images line up.  Sometimes this requires that you turn the card and to line up a solid circle with an open-circle- calling for great visual discrimination skills.  They say 5 & up, we'd say this a great parent-child game at the younger range. Players can then graduate to the more advanced original game of Swish.

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

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2013 Award
Cirplexed
(MindWare $29.99 Score:)

Our game day testers loved this game that requires a careful eye for detail. Each player starts with a certain number of tiles that each have a different color on each corner. As players pull more tiles from the bag the goal is to make circles where all four quarters are of the same color. The player with the most matches at the end of the round is the winner. You can play individually or if you have younger kids we'd recommend playing in teams.  The pace of this game is lovely since you're working on your own board (or team's board) rather than competiting on one board against other players.

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

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