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Product Type: Toys

 


2014 Awards
Lexigo RUSH
(Wiggles 3D Inc. $16.99 Score:)

Our testers found playing against the timer a challenge. Word games are played by laying out a grid of 13 letter tiles, turn the 60 second timer and each player makes a list of as many words as they can see by using letters that connect in any direction. You can ever repeat the same letters, just as long as they continue to connect. When time is up players read their word lists and cross out words that others also found. You get points for any words that you alone were able to find. It's a bit like Boggle without the frame and box and with bonus rings for bonus points. 10 & up.

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

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2014 Award
eeBoo 9 Piece Puzzles, A Nice Snowy Day
(eeBoo $8 Score:)

One of four nine-piece puzzles with delightful illustrations by Kevin Hawkes. Good sized cardboard pieces fit into the sturdy frames and each piece of the frame has a connecting clue that will help kids get it together. We love the dapper fox ice skating in this winter scene with his forest friends skiing and skating along the edges. Also special in the series, A Great Hot Day with a dog splashing in the water; a springtime Planting Time scene with Bear, Pig, Rabbit and Goose gardening; and a fall scene called First Day of School.  Choose any of the above or all four for 3's and up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Awards
eeBoo Lacing Cards Friendly Animals
(eeBoo $14.99 Score:)

With adorable illustrations by Melissa Sweet, these five sturdy lacing cards are a classic for early school age kids. Holding the slender lace and putting it through the holes punched in the cards may seem a simple task, but for young children it is an excellent way to develop sequencing skills and the fine motor dexterity in small fingers and hand. A playful way to build the small muscles of fingers and hands--the same ones needed for pencil and paper tasks. 5 & up.

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

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2014 Award
Kids Preferred Eric Carle Push and Spin Popper Toy
(Kids Preferred $29.99 Score:)

A classic push and spin toy for sitting up babies. Truly easy-to-activate, baby simply pushes on the big red knob to make the colorful balls inside the dome spin and rattle. The colorful dots on the center-post, borrowed from the end pages of an Eric Carle book, also blur into bands of color. Babies are empowered with a sense of being able to make things happen. A hands-on way to learn about cause and effect.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Go! Go! Sports Girls Read & Play Doll & Book
(Dream Big Toy Co. $19 Score:)

We've told you about Go! Go! Sports Girls dolls before, soft fabric dolls that promote a positive image of girls as active players. Now, the sporty dolls are each being sold with a book that adds another dimension to their learning value along with information about their sport. Each doll and book set also comes with sporting equipment, a backpack and towel. Choose the one (or ones) that mirror your child’s sport interests. Consider Cassie and her Soccer Story, Maya, a gymnast, M.C. a dancer, Suzi, a swimmer, Ella, a runner, and Roxy, a cheerleader. 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
Klutz String Art
(Klutz $19.99 Score:)

A book with a batch of art supplies that will keep hands busy for hours. The book includes clear directions, pins, threads, templates, foam boards and tracing paper to create some tricky looking string art. Kids can hang it up in their rooms or give it as gifts. Ideal for 10's and up who frequently get self conscious about their drawings not being as perfect as their expectations. This kind of art material gives them alternative ways to create and express themselves. It also challenges dexterity and stick-to-it-ness for projects tht are not instantly complete. These take patience. 10 & up

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

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2014 Award
Blue Orange Doodle Quest
(Blue Orange Games $24 Score:)

Most testers really had fun with this visual perception game that involves spatial relationships and the ability to look at a scene and then draw lines around or under images on a transparent sheet that is not on the picture, but near it. When you have finished you place your transparency on the image and see if you have accomplished the task. There are two sided cards, so younger kids and older ones (and parents) can play the same game. It comes with four dry erase pens, erasers, drawing boards and transparent doodle sheets. 6 and up, up, 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
Diggin Circus Balancing Shapes
(Diggin $20.99 Score:)

Players will need a sense of humor as thy try to balance the playing pieces on the blue elephant. Take turns tossing the die to determine what shape stalk you are to put on the elephant. The wooden stalks are cut in square, semi-circle, triangular, and circles. But the pieces are long, so they give a new twist to the concepts of shape. There will be lots of rounds and plenty of laughter, we hope as everyone learns to stack their playing pieces with great care. It is a little trickier to balance these slender pieces than the classic pieces of Mr. Blockhead. They say 3 & up, but we think this is going to call for more dexterity. A better choice for older 4's and 5's.

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

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2014 Award
Blue Orange Battle Sheep Game
(Blue Orange Games $24.99 Score:)

We had mixed responses to this game...very strong on both sides. The object of the game is to occupy the most number of pastures with your sheep. You do this by blocking off spaces or "pastures" with your sheep. A fun strategy game but it does take a certain amount of time to learn how to block and acquire depending on how you move your herd. Comes with 16 pasture tiles, 64 sheep chips (16 of each color). Designed for 2-4 players 7 & 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
Hot Wheels Wall Tracks Super Loop Chase
(Mattel $44.99 Score:)

Our tester's mom wrote "They love it. No big surprise there. The cars go upside down." Unlike earlier wall tracks it sits on the ground and is powered by a unit with batteries, so it is not going to damage wall surfaces or possibly fall on your kids. "It's straightforward to assemble as these usually are. Not fast to build but great directions." This tester had an earlier wall track version that was, as she put it... "amazing and a bit more interesting...better for more than one kid to play, but when a large ball bonked it, the large heavy part fell off the wall and removed some wall surface (in my mom's house). This one is durable, simpler & safer." The 3-foot loop comes with only one car and takes 4 D batteries. Kids can connect this to other Hot Wheels sets. Unlike the wall track sets that take no batteries and run on gravity and momentum, this is pretty much a high speed "load and watch" toy. 5 & up.

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

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