Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Games

 


2014 Award
Zingo! Word Builder
(Thinkfun $19.99 Score:)

Our testers loved the fast-paced action of sliding the zinger machine to reveal two letters. Players take letter that they can use to complete a word on their playing boards. Possible words do vary so this game is rarely ever the same. In fact, it helps beginners see all the variations they can make as well as demonstrating the need to look at all the letters to see the difference between words that look almost alike. First player to fill his board is the winner. A fun way to reinforce reading skills for beginners who are learning to build phonetically regular three letter words. 5 & up

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 Planes Matching Game
(Wonder Forge $10..99 Score:)

For kids who are fans of Planes will like playing the classic matching game of concentration. Put the cards face down and take turns turning over two to find a pair of matching planes. True, it may be an old game, but an important one for building memory skills. These cards with distinctive bright backgrounds make the task somewhat easier. 3 & up

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

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2014 Award
Vtech Lil' Speller Phonics Station
(Vtech $25 Score:)

Learning letter names and the sounds they say is an interactive game with the letters in the carry case that fit into the board and speak. That is just one level of play. Kids can spell hundreds of three letter words and hear them said or they can hear a word and find the letters to spell that word. This is a game for the beginning reader. We like that they have used lower case letters since that is what beginning readers need to learn to recognize and read. Often kids only know upper case letters and have to relearn the names of letters in the lower case form. The toy is marked for 3-6 and we would say that most 3s are not ready for most of the skills on this toy. That said, it can be a fun toy for preschoolers who are getting interested in letters and words—not being pushed into reading. This is very much like the first Leap Frog toy introduced several decades ago. It was a good idea then and still a good idea for a new crop of pre-literate children who are ready and eager to become literate.

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

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2014 Award
Marco's Polos
(Educational Insights $9 Score:)

A fun color matching card game in the shape of polo shirts with stripes. There are three base cards on the table and players vie to get rid of the divided stack of cards by putting down shirt cards with at least one matching color to the previous card on the stack. Instead of wild cards, there are "lock" cards that a player can put on any of the three stacks to limit their opponents play. These locks can be reversed if you have an unlock card. Since there are six base card colors and you only use three at a time, it is best to use three that are distinctively different, not the purple and blue or red and orange; these pairs are somewhat close in hue and may be confusing for young players.  The winner is the one who puts down all their cards first. 2-4 players. 5 & up

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

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2014 Award
Stacking Veggie Game
(Hape $30 Score:)


Talk about healthy living. Here's a Janga-style stacking game played with colorfully painted wooden veggies. Once they are stacked the object is to pull the greatest number of veggies without making all the others tumble. A 55-piece set. The playing pieces can also be used for sorting, counting and other original games. Marked for 3 & up, but we think you need more dexterity and predicting skills than most 3's have. We think old fours and fives would find it fun, if tricky.

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

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2014 Award
Wonder Forge Dr. Seuss Charades
(Wonder Forge $10 Score:)

Charades for the preschool set. Players select the Dr. Seuss Character they want to be. One player draws a card and picks one of three actions to act out. Other players guess what the action is. The player who guesses first and the actor-outer both get to move on the playing board. First to cross the finish line wins. There is no reading in this game so it is designed for preschoolers. However the playing board has some twists along the way that can send players backwards (like Candlyland) and may be upsetting to younger players. They say 3 and up, we think doing charades may be tough for most threes and some fours. You may want to save this for older 4-5 year olds.

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

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2014 Awards
Number Pops
(Learning Resources $19.99 Score:)

For the youngest players, this is a color matching game that also involves beginning counting skills. Marked for two and up, we'd say this is probably a much better choice for threes and fours. That said, we can see how kids will be attracted to fitting the ice cream shaped pops into the colored pretend shells on top. These are color-coded with dots on the ice cream matching the colored shell that is marked with a numeral. Aside from pretend play these can be used for putting them in numerical order as well as matching dots and numerals. Or play, "I'm thinking of a pop that is one less than 6 or two more than five. For two's start with 1-3 and no more than five pops and gradually add more pops once they have a good grip on 1-5.

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

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2014 Award
Magic School Bus Math Explosion
(The Young Scientists Club $29.99 Score:)

Math Explosion makes math a blast! Basically, this is a flashcard game, except it does not come with premade cards. You get to select the ones that match your child's individual needs. You go on line to print out the right ones to reinforce the child's skills level. Scholastic has provided your choice of addition, subtraction, multiplication tables and division problems that you print out on colorful paper they provide. The game board comes with a small mountain and container where the vinegar cup goes (be forewarned the mountain is a bit out of shape since it comes smushed with rubber bands to fit it into the box...and they do not provide vinegar or the baking soda needed for play, but it, that said, you probably won't mind. Here's how it works. Players take turns answering math facts and if they get the right answer they advance on the board... with a chance to add a spoonful of baking soda to the playing piece cup. The first to reach the volcano gets to pour the baking soda into the volcano. You could say this game is a blast, with kids racing to be the one to set off the explosion, which, by the way collects neatly in a tray provided. Science and math, a fun combo for kids at various grade levels. We generally do not encourage games that are designed around flashcards. They are not for everyone. Keep in mind, flashcards do not teach math, they reinforce it. For developing speed and memory they can be useful.  But for kids still struggling with basics you might want to find another way to build confidence instead of speed. 6-10

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

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2014 Awards
Crazy Pants
(Chatterbox Toys $20 Score:)

You'll like the quality of the art and feel of this sturdy board game that can be played in multiple ways—all of which challenge kids to use their listening and looking skills while also learning the rules of turn taking and the ups and downs gamesmanship. There are enough rounds so that kids can experience the fun of winning and inevitable alternative. There's no reading required but the games do play on matching, memory, color concepts, and listening. Cards can be used for Bingo style game, concentration, and sequencing. Develops a child's ability to see and hear differences as she finds not just a green dress, but a green dress with the purple bow. That kind of detail calls for more than chance, but is an important skill needed before reading. A good choice for 3-5.

Use this for language development as well as matching skills. A rich variety of games that can be adapted to your child.

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

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2014 Award
Diggity Dogs Game
(Educational Insights $14.95 Score:)

For five-year old dog lovers, Diggity Dogs is an ideal way to sharpen visual and social skills. Players each get a dog card at the start of the game that indicates three things this dog needs. Each player then takes two "go fish" style cards that show objects the various dogs need, such as a bone, ball, bed, a dish, etc. Players take turns collecting cards from the slush pile or barking and asking one of the other players if he has a needed card. When a player get all three objects pictured on her dog card she gets to adopt the dog and collect another dog. The player with the most dogs at the end of the game is the winner. A fun matching game for 2-4 players. For cat lovers, take a look at Kitten Caboodle, same idea but with kittens.

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

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