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


2009 Award
Lego City Crawler Crane
(Lego Systems, Inc. $59.99 Score:)

A working crane that fits into the Lego City scene. This is not an easy build. It has working treads, a massive rotating boom, and stands 17.7 inches tall. The crane rotates 360 degrees and comes with a stout lifting mechanism along with 2 mini-figures, a house section, and safety barrier. They say 5-12. Inexperienced builders will need adult help. This is not an instant out of the box build. It takes time and attention to details.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on

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2001 Awards
(Lego Systems, Inc. $89.99 Score:) Lego's latest King Leo's Castle with 524 pieces ($89.99) is geared to dramas of good vs. evil with trap doors, catapults, and secret hiding places. They've added a warrior princess but this, like Playmobil's King Large Castle, will likely appeal to boys, while Playmobil's Fairy Tale Castle is gender-specific lavender. 7 & up. Lego (800) 453-4652.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2002 Award
Knex Missions in Space Sets
(KNEX $29.99 Score:) Builders continue to report that they need more finger strength for K'nex than for Legos. Fans of K'nex gave high scores to the new Apollo 15 Lunar Lander($2999/501 pieces) that comes with an astronaut and neat sound effects. The Jack Knife Big Rig Race Transport($16.99/296 pieces) Also scored a solid four.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2003 Award
Lego Bionicle
(Lego Systems, Inc. $7.99 Score:) Our testers enjoyed these futuristic robots that have become a hot collectible. Not the Lego toys you remember, but not too dark or menacing-and they're easy to put together.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2003 Award
K'nex Downhill Thrill
(KNEX $19.99 Score:) Our extreme sports fans at first gave a mediocre rating to this new 3'-tall ramp that you build for a street luge racer because they could not make him go through the finish line properly. But once they adjusted the position of the finish line, the rating shot up way up! A good playdate toy. 8 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2003.

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2005 Award
Prehistoric Creatures
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:) The large red T-Rex that you can build with this set is "amazing looking" according to our 11 year old testers. But our experienced builders warn: "it's very delicate and could break easily--keep your younger brothers away!" Set comes with instructions for 10 creatures. Marked 7 & up, but we'd say more like 9 & up. Also Titan XP from the same series, our testers wrote "wow, there are a lot of pieces!" (782 to be exact) Builds a 14" tall creatures that swivels at the waist--but he too is very fragile.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Nano Case Vehicles
(Mega Bloks $5.99 Score:) You need dexterity, patience and good visual skills to assemble these small vehicles with working parts. Some come with sound chips and all come in sleek cases that convert into play platforms. Collect them and link their roadways together. If you need a lot of not too pricey gifts for birthdays and holidays these sets are a classy choice-but only if the child at the other end loves the challenge of building and the staying power to get the job done. They say 7 and up- we ‘d say that only some 7’s will be able to do this without help. (800) 465-6342.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2006 Award
Magbots Scorpion
(Mindscope $19.95 Score:) A magnetically assembled robotic scorpion, was “awesome.” “This is totally different from anything else,” noted our tester. The embedded magnets make putting together this 96-piece futuristic scorpion a unique building experience. (800) 903-6249.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Star Wars ARC-170 Starfighter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $39.99 Score:) Some of the best Lego sets this year came from the Star Wars line. Top marks went to this new fighter featured in the last film. Our testers also enjoyed the Wookiee Catamaran ($49.99 /376 pieces) which comes with Jedi lightsabers that really light up (very cool). 8 & up. Editors’ note: Also noteworthy—Lego Factory, where you build your own creations online at and then they ship you the parts. (800) 223-8756.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2007 Award
Playmobil's Soccer Match
(Playmobil $39.99 Score:) Both Playmobil and Lego introduced new soccer sets for 2007 that scored high with our testers. Playmobil’s Soccer Match ($39.99 ) comes with six players with kicking action and an oversized 38" x 26" soccer mat that you build the frame around. Comes with a suggested scoring game, which our testers tried; then they made up their own games. The Lego Grand Soccer Stadium (Lego Systems $49.99/386 pieces) is an updated version that is much improved, with greater stability in the core playing field. The goalies have the greatest mobility and two players are also on slides to cover more of the field. Other players can kick (our testers thought two of them should also be on slides for great coverage). Much smaller and different in feel from Playmobil’s—our testers thought both were fun. Younger builders will need help putting both together. 7 & up. Lego (800) 233-8756/Playmobil (800) 752-9662.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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