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Product Type: Toys

 

 
2014 Awards
Felt Crown Set, Ballet
(Mudpuppy Press $19.99 Score:)

Cleverly designed for versatility, this premade felt crown with a Velcro closing to adjust head sizes, comes with an assortment of stick on badges that can be added to the frame of the crown. Done in pink, lavender, purple, gold and white, this is a nice accessory for a ballet themed birthday or other special occasions. It will be enjoyed for other games of pretend by dancing princesses. The company makes several other crowns including a less gender specific birthday crown for boys and girls and a wonderful Pirate crown for dramatic play...yo ho ho!

SNAP:  More than a prop for pretend, this is also a toy that can be useful for refining fine motor skills and giving children with physical challenges a sense of empowerment...they can design something to wear thanks to the velcro pieces that can be lifted and rearranged.

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

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2014 Awards
Build a Bug Sorter
(Hape $19.99 Score:)


There are four bugs on this wooden board and eight puzzle pieces. The trick here is for tots to begin to see fine differences. Here the playing pieces fit over pegs only each bug has a different number of pegs. So this is a puzzle that calls for looking at finer details and seeing the difference between one, two, three and four pegs. 2 & up

SNAP: matching up the puzzle pieces to the on, two, three and four pegs calls for looking at details. Before you play, put some of the puzzle pieces away. Start with just one set and talk about where the pieces will fit. Add another set and put them on the post. Next mix up the pieces for two posts and work on sorting them. By going slowly, you are giving strategies for how to proceed with still more pieces.

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

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2014 Award
Baby Animals Block Puzzle
(Mudpuppy Press $14.99 Score:)

Using Clare Beaton's illustrations from Who Are You, Baby Kangaroo? Each of the six illustrations features an adult animal with babies. Turning the faces of the nine blocks, players must find the right side of each block to assemble the six separate images. A classic puzzle form with new images that challenge visual perception and patience.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO THE LEGO MOVIE Benny's Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP
(Lego Systems, Inc. $99.99 Score:)

Benny has been begging to build a spaceship throughout the movie--and finally he's given permission. This is that super spaceship with lots of moving parts including the cockpit cover and some missiles to launch. It also comes with three other smaller space vehicles for the other characters to fly. This is a big build with 940 pieces that also includes Astro Kitty, Benny, Space Wyldstyle, Robo Emmet, and Robo Pilot. Younger builders can enjoy playing with it, but adults will have to do a good part of the building. Somehow a 7-year old tester received this (in error) and his dad reports that he loved it so much he slept with the box the first night it arrived. His dad plans to have his son help with a rebuild so that he can have a sense of accomplishment in the construction as well as in having a toy for dramatic play. Marked 9-12

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

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2014 Award
LEGO THE LEGO MOVIE Emmet's Construct-o-Mech
(Lego Systems, Inc. $59.99 Score:)

A super fun build of the main character, Emmet. What our builders loved about this set is that there are so many moving pieces including his legs, his cranes, his excavator like arm. And fans will be delighted that they also get the angry UniKitty.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO THE LEGO MOVIE MetalBeard's Duel
(Lego Systems, Inc. $34.99 Score:)

Straight from the hit movie, MetalBeard's Duel set allows kids to build a key character. In addition there is a Micro Manager (hence the duel aspect of the set). There are also three mini-figs. With 412 pieces this is a beginning build. Unlike a lot of "movie merchandise" there is some constructive building going on. Sorry we couldn't resist.

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

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2014 Award
LEGO CITY Arctic Outpost
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)


Build the Arctic Outpost that is part truck/part lab on skis that can drive into rugged conditions. It comes with plenty of tools that cut through ice and investigate findings in the mobile lab. It comes with three mini-figures, and all the accessories needed for outdoors and inside the lab. This is one of the LEGO modular sets that breaks the big sections into sub-sections for easier building. It is also smaller than the giant Arctic Base, but a satisfying add-on or place to start in this Arctic series.

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 Arctic Helicrane
(Lego Systems, Inc. $39.99 Score:)

Smaller than the Arctic Base Camp, this 262-piece build has many of the fun pieces in the bigger set. The helicopter is equipped with a mighty crane for heavy lifting ans a husky sled with four dogs, a camera, radar screen, and ice block with crystal element. Comes with minifigures and assorted accessories for Arctic exploration. This is one of the modular builds that divides the models into sub-models for easy starts. A good choice for 6-12.

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 Arctic Base
(Lego Systems, Inc. $89.99 Score:)

Arctic exploration has taken on a hi-tech turn with a team of scientists who have set out to explore the secrets of the ice. Sure, they have a dog sled, but they also have a helicopter, a winch, and net to bring ice back to the base. They have a snow-scooter and a secure base camp with a lab that has walls that open and a roof that holds radar devices and solar panels. There is a massive tractor-exploration vehicle with serious drill and lights. Hi-tech or not...the seven explorers had better be on the look-out for a polar bear that is curious about this Arctic Base camp. Plenty of building in the 735-piece set that is likely to become a great setting for pretend play. 6-12

 

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 Awards
Little People City Skyway
(Fisher-Price $39.99 Score:)

It is a race to the surprise finish to discover where the winner is going to exit from this mighty three-foot skyway. Will it come out of the side exits or jump off a ramp. It is different every time. Besides, kids can flip the switches and to change the cars path. No batteries are needed to make the two little vehicles zip and zoom down the ramps. The set up also includes a working crane, gas pump, traffic signals, parking meter, and a gate that opens and closes. All great ingredients for early dramatic play. This is a really big piece of plastic that will be a wow-eee gift for toddlers who love playing the same game again and again. It may be a stretch for small toddlers to reach the top, but most twos will enjoy taking charge of the action. It is definitely big enough for two kids to enjoy together...think twins. Marked 18 months to 5 years. We think twos and threes are the right age for this.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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