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Product Type: Toys
Award: Gold
Review Year: 2013

 


2013 Award
Faber-Castell Collage Art
(Faber-Castell $14.99 Score:)

A colorful collection of printed papers, interesting images, colored paper, backing boards, fabrics, glues, scissors, frames and an idea book for creating original art. It is a treasure box full of goodies with an open-ended approach for learning about creative composition and design. A good choice for 7 year olds and up.

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

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2013 Award
Creativity for Kids Fashion Macrame
(Creativity for Kids $19.99 Score:)

Often the directions determine if a kit works well or not. In this case kids get clear step-by-step instructions for making colorful bracelets, necklaces, key chains, headband, and even a belt! The kit comes with a 200+ feet of cord, a generous supply, as well as colorful beads, hooks, key ring, plus glue and scissors. Great choice for play dates or solo craft time. This is one of those perennial crafts that develops fine motor skills and rewards patience with finished products that kids can use. Marked 7 & up, but we'd say it's a better bet for slightly older kids with more dexterity.

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

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2013 Award
Sassy La-lee Chime and Chew
(Sassy $5.99 Score:)

Attach this jolly yellow non-ster to infant carrier or stroller and it will make a quiet chiming sound as it moves. Little La-lee has patterned fabric arms that dangle and a tiny mirror on its belly. Older babies will eventually like chomping on the dotted teether that dangles from its legs.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
eeBoo 32 Oil Pastels
(eeBoo $10.95 Score:)

Rich colors to choose from this set of non-toxic oil pastels. They come in a slide out box with sturdy tray that will keep them well stored between uses. Although pastels can be blended, these come with a rich variety of hues making it possible to achieve even greater variety by switching from one pastel to another. There are six shades of green alone and a wonderful collection of reds, blues and more. The set ranges from pastels to jewel tones. Of course, pastels are messier than crayons, so protect the table surface they work on and their clothes. This set and several others with different graphics are available from eeBoo. 5 and up, up, 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 3 Juggling Balls
(eeBoo $18.95 Score:)

Three fabric covered balls to learn to juggle with. It comes with a poster that starts you out with juggling one ball, then two and finally, lot of luck-- try three! A fun choice for active play that challenges dexterity and eye hand in a BIG-G-G way!

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2013.

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2013 Award
X treme Sticker Maker Set
(Creativity for Kids $29.95 Score:)

The "X" design of this new sticker maker makes for a fun modern piece of room decor. And even better, it's very easy to use. The set comes with many sets of premade art for coloring in (including a page of velvet-shaped art), but from our point of view we loved that you can make your own stickers from photographs or things you find in magazines. Comes with markers, a sticker journal, pre-made shapes and one refill. Additional refills are available from the company for $7.95.

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
Sparkling 3D Wonder Paint Snowflakes
(Creativity for Kids $22 Score:)

We're big fans of 3D wonder paint. It's great fun to make the designs and then decorate your windows with them. Our biggest problem is that we never wait long enough to let it dry so we always have one that is smushed a bit. This kit comes with six glitter paints (some are intended as liners), suggested traceable patterns, 2 plastic project sheets (where you place the glitter paint), self-adhesive rhinestones and instructions. You can either attach your snowflakes to the window or make 3D ornaments that can be hung up with the included satin ribbon. We had less success with the new Activity Kit -- that is intended for making 3D flowers. Ours just didn't work out very well.

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
Pairs in Pears
(Bananagrams $17 Score:)

This letter game is designed to be played with kids from pre-readers and up. It comes with directions for simple letter matching games, spelling, and even rhyming word games.  The four sets of letters, each with a different pattern can be used with pre readers for matching or for older kids--winning more points if they can make pairs of words with the same pattern.  There are a number of excellent ideas for using the letters with beginners that have nothing to do with playing a game, ideas that will challenge beginning spellers and readers. Frankly these extra games and others that you can make up are worth the price of the game. For example, pre-readers can be encouraged to sort the letters by patterns, looking at close differences. How many rhyming pairs can they make? How many three or four letter words can they make? Can they change the words they make with just one letter? The playing pieces are larger and easier to handle. They all fit into an attractive green pear shaped zippered bag. 

 

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

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2013 Award
Appletters
(Bananagrams $16.95 Score:)

Packed in a red canvas zippered bag, shaped like an apple, this new game from the makers of Banangrams, is easy to throw into a travel bag for on-the-go fun. The objective here is to be the first to use up all your letters by attaching your new word to the first or last letter of the words on the table. It's different than Scrabble since you cannot add letters crossword style, only at the end of the long worm-like grid you are building. Using the same letter tiles, that fit small hands, you can play sevearal other variations. The letters have no number values written on them, but there are suggestions for scoring based on the length of the words or making palindromes (words that read the same way backwards and forward). Introduced several years ago, the instructions have been updated and simplified with suggestions for playing cooperative games. Designed to build spelling skills as well as gamesmanship in turn-taking, strategy, and playing cooperatively.

 

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

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2013 Awards
Bitty Baby Doll and book
(Pleasant Company $ 80 Score:)

15" soft-bodied Bitty Baby dolls with vinyl heads, arms and legs have been updated to allow for more options to customize. You have a choice of 11 dolls with differnt hair, skin and eye color combintions. Each doll arrives in a signature sleeper and a Bitty Baby & Me picture book. The updated doll now has a hairline brought forward and eyebrows for a more realistic look. The upper body was also redesigned with arms brought forward -- for better huggability. Beautiful clothes and furniture accessories available.  We also recommend the Bitty Baby Twins (boy and girl toddler dolls $115). As always there are extra outfits for the baby and matching clothes for the child. 

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

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