Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Categories: Construction Toys

 


2014 Award
LEGO CITY Auto Transporter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

While we never like driving next to one of these big trucks on the highway, this is a fun build! The 350-piece set includes making the transporter truck itself, two vehicles and two mini-figures. And as with the real deal, you can off load the cars by lowering the ramps on the transporter. So, this is a great project that ends up being fun for dramatic play. 5-12.  

 

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

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2014 Award
LEGO City Airport Fire Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

Call the fire truck to the rescue! A nice 326-piece build for beginner builders, this jaunty red fire truck comes with two firefighters, a retractable hose and fake water for putting out the pretend "engine fire." 5-12 years.

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
LEGO CITY High-speed Passenger Train
(Lego Systems, Inc. $149.99 Score:)

Our tester was very excited to see the reintroduction of a train set to LEGO. Modeled on a European high-speed train with three train cars, track and a remote control device that has 7 speeds. The set includes a IR-Receiver, a Motor and a Battery Box. The high speed train has side doors that open as well as the front for loading engineer and passengers. This was not a Platinum winner because at high speeds the train does not stay on the track. This was disappointing. Perhaps with a larger track and less tight turns, the train can be run faster. It simply does not work as easily as we hoped it would and needs a lot of tweeking to keep it going. That said, our tester still felt challenged with the build and liked running the train at less than full speed. Compatible with the new Train Station set. 6-12 years.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY Police Station
(Lego Systems, Inc. $99.99 Score:)

An update on the 2009 Police Station Headquarters. The 854-piece build is multi-level with both a police station and jailing area. Comes with an assortment of vehicles to build (a car, a police car, a police motorcycle and a police helicopter). A big gift and great parent child project to enjoy together. 6-12. Can be used with the LEGO CITY Helicopter Transporter (382 pieces) that comes with a flatbed truck, a racing car, a race car, a helicopter and a motorcycle and an assortment of good and bad guys (with stolen loot!). Our 7-year old tester and his almost 6-year old brother are "having a blast making stories up" with the figures that came with the set. "The toilet/trap door was a big hit…they have really enjoyed all the detailed pieces…such as handcuffs, computers, cups…yes! There are lots of details so there are many ways to play with it…so they never get bored." Since the boys are on the younger side of the suggested age, building the large structure was a little frustrating and they needed help. "They worked on it for an hour, then leave it…do something else and then come back to it." That is fine. Big projects are not instantaneous—staying with a task over time is an important life lesson. Parents can help but try not to take over.

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 Princess LEGO Cinderella's Romantic Castle
(Lego Systems, Inc. $69.99 Score:)

Cinderella has arrived in LEGO land. This multi-layered white castle has accents of blue, lavender and pink (of course). We love the detail (down to the glass slipper) so that once you're done building, you have a pretend setting to retell the story. With 646 pieces, this is a sizeable set to work on together with a new builder or for a more experienced intermediate LEGO builder alone. Set includes the unforgettable, Prince Charming--  and a place for him to dance with Cinderella. [Editors' note: with so many plastic castles that just scream pink and princess - this one refreshingly calls for some thought and building. After all, we want smart princesses.]

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
Airhogs HyperActives5
(SpinMaster $45 Score:)

A 5-wheeled RC stunt vehicle that is zippy thanks to the fifth wheel that helps deliver high speed. Kids can jump it, roll it, flip it and even drive it upside down. It has shock compression tires that can run on any kind of surface. You'll need 6 AAA and one 1.5V. 8-13

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
LEGO Creator Yellow Racers
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

A versatile 3-in-1 set with 328-pieces for building a helicopter with chunky main rotor, sleek cockpit, retractable front landing gear, and multi-directional rear wheel. Had enough of the helicopter? Turn the same parts into a speedboat or a high-speed racing car. This is a fairly complex set meant for experienced builders 7-12.

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
Playmobil Summer Fun Camping Site
(Playmobil $69.99 Score:)

Kids can replay or pre-play the excitement of camping with this elaborate group of settings that reflect the real experience. There is a camp store with lots of small accessories for sale; a sanitary station with toilet, shower, sinks, washer and swinging doors; an orange pop-up tent, trees and flagpole; and several Playmobil figures. A 262-piece set with plenty of pretend play power once the toy assembled. 4-10

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

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2014 Award
LEGO City Camper Van
(LEGO Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

It's time to go camping! Why not with this big white camper van.. This is another of Lego's clever modular builds that is divided into sub-models to give builders an easier start. This 195-piece set is loaded with fine details that add to the builder’s delighted and plans that guide each step in the process. Kids will love the red canoe and two play figures, as well as the van with all of its accessories and working door. A relatively small set that helps develop fine motor and spatial skills along with their ability to stay with a task and deal with some problem solving--all important kinds of learning. Marked for 5-12, we think many 5-7's will need help getting started. Doing this gives them a roadmap for how to approach complex tasks.

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
LEGO Friends Sunshine Ranch
(Lego Systems, Inc. $69.99 Score:)

For kids who love riding and horses or dream of both, this Sunshine Ranch is a great pretend setting. A two story ranchhouse with stables for the three horses that Mia and Liza enjoy grooming and riding. They also like to do a fair amount of gardening at the ranch. This is an elaborate 721-piece building set with tons of small details and accessories to keep players busy pretending. But first they need to assemble the ranch and corral and even the hen house. Our 7-year old tester's mom wrote that the instructions were extremely easy and her daughter was ecstatic that it came with more than one doll. She did wish that the box was sturdier so the pieces could be put back in the box and then rebuilt. We know there are some who find the Friends sets as too gender specific, but in fact, we like the active roles the Friends play with their jobs and entertainment. If it brings girls to the construction toy aisle we say go for it! That's the way to help them develop dexterity, patience, spatial skills and imagination. 6-12

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

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