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

 


2014 Award
LEGO Friends Stephanie's Beach House
(Lego Systems, Inc. $39.99 Score:)

Stephanie and her friend Kate are enjoying the summer at the modern yellow two-story beach house with pink, white and lavender trim. The house has big open windows to catch the breeze and all sorts of furniture and accessories for enjoying life at the beach. This is a perfect miniature setting for dramatic play, but first kids need to use their fine motor skills, problem solving, and stick-to-it power to build it.
A 369-piece set that will take time to build and then provide hours of play. We know there are some who feel the Friends are 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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2014 Award
LEGO Friends Heartlake News Van
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24.99 Score:)


Emma has a job at the Heartlake TV station and a big story just broke in the village. She and Andrew, who acts as camera person are out in the News Van getting the story. Builders can decide what the story is and play that out, but first, they have to build the van and the anchors' desk, as well. A 278-piece set comes with all the big and little pieces needed to get the scoop on the latest events in Heartlake. We know there are some who feel the Friends are too gender specific, but in fact, we like the active role the Friends play with their jobs. 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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2014 Award
LEGO Mia’s Lemonade Stand
(Lego Systems, Inc. $9.99 Score:)

Who wouldn't love a glass of lemonade on these hot days of summer? Mia's stand has all kinds of accessories to squeeze the lemons, pour cool drinks and she even has cookies to sell. She also has a motor scooter that can carry some of her supplies and a safety helmet to wear on her way to work. A 112-piece set that will keep hands busy to build and enjoying as a mini- setting for pretend play. A good choice for developing dexterity, patience, and imagination. Makes a nice birthday party gift--without breaking the bank. 5-12

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
LEGO Friends Emma's Lifeguard Post
(LEGO $9.99 Score:)

Just in time to keep the Lego Friends safe at the beach! Emma has her binoculars, whistle, swim fins and flags on her Lifeguard Post so she can tell swimmers if it is safe or not to go into the water. A good choice for developing dexterity, patience, and imagination. A 72-piece build, with Emma and her accessories, that makes a nice birthday party gift--without breaking the bank. 5-12

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

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2013 Award
Deluxe Roominate
(Roominate $49.99 Score:)

Welcome to a new world of doll houses! It's a doll house for kids to design, build and electrify. This one is less about interior decoration and more about engineering. A terrific concept for getting girls involved with problem solving and spatial skills, and building circuits. The deluxe kit comes with a light and motor and tons of building pieces and craft materials. Elizabeth, our 8-year old tester, LOVES Roominate. Her mom reports, "She has created some really cool rooms--and I love that it's so open-ended. She loved hooking up the battery, doing the wiring - and using the paper to design the wallpapers. It's a great toy for girls because it encourages building, electrical and engineering skills and isn't too "girly." I would say that I think age 6 is probably too young for independent play with Roominate. At age 8,  Elizabeth read and followed the directions and had lots of ideas about what she wanted to build and how to do it. "

The company says 6, we agree with Elizabeth's mom and suggest you save this for 8's and 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
LEGO Galaxy Squad Hive Crawler
(Lego Systems, Inc. $69.99 Score:)

"One of the most unusual LEGO builds, ever." "Awesome."  We agree that the Galaxy Squad line has some of the most creative builds this year.  The Hive Crawler, in particular, has interesting moving legs that make a great sound as it moves. The minifig in the front opening cockpit reminds us of the bad guys from Independence Day. The Crawler has an egg launcher and two hatching eggs.  The build also comes with a smaller speedster and hero.

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

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2013 Award
LEGO STAR WARS Headhunter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)

One of the intermediate builds from the new Star Wars collection for 2013, the Headhunter got high marks from our testers even though it's not from a major scene or have a famous minifig. Our tester reported: "We've built a number of the starships and most of them are not sturdy and the wings fall off and need rebuilding when you play with them. This one is impressive and sturdy." The build comes in four bags. Our tester loved that three of the bags included a minifig - keeping the interest going as the build progressed. Comes with a Jedi who has 4 arms and 2 double lightsabers. This is not your father's Star Wars!

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. 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
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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