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Product Type: Toys
Award: Platinum
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Review Year: 2013

 


2013 Award
LEGO City Tanker Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:) A 191-piece tanker truck that is somewhat simpler than some of the others. Designed for less experienced builders, it is a modular build. The set includes a stand alone gas pump with retractable hose, valve and fire extinguisher. The green and white tanker comes with an action figure driver who fits in the cab, can climb on the truck ladder and work the gas pump. A good build with plenty of dramatic play once the pieces are fit together. Marked 5 -12, it took our seven year old tester just under 2 hours to build.  Feedback included: "He likes that the truck side pivots open so you can put the race car inside (it does make it less stable though). The back of the truck also flips open and you can insert the car that way as well. He also likes that the cab of the truck swivels left and right as you "drive" it around. He says he wishes the little cabinet was big enough to fit all of the tools. He also likes that the set comes with three guys!"

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 3-in-1 Super Racer
(Lego Systems, Inc. $16.99 Score:)

New to the clever Creator line of builds, this 121-piece set can be put together in three different versions: a quad bike, go-kart or racing car. These make terrific birthday gifts for all the parties your child attends. 6-12.

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 City Flatbed Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

Divided into sub-models for an easy start, this orange flatbed truck tips to allow the red convertible roll off. The set comes with two mini-figures and accessories. A 212-piece set for kids 5-12.

 

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

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2013 Award
Lego Monster Trucks
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

Designed for younger builders, this 197-piece set comes with cards with step by step bold plans. Kids make three rough and tumble vehicles, and a judges stand. Once they build the vehicles there's plenty of dramatic play action. We think many 4's will have dexterity challenges and may need some help in getting started. These are marked for 4-7.

Note our more experienced 6 year old builder felt this set "wasn't like LEGOs"...because the instructions are simplified.  "It actually seems like they just omitted instructions. All that is included are three laminated cards (pics below) with the vehicle featured and small sections magnified. To (our builder), the chronological step by step instructions are what he loves about the build and what 'makes them Legos'."

""""""In otherwords, this is a good place to start with building LEGO sets.

 

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

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2013 Award
Lego City Fire Station
(Lego Systems, Inc. $91.36 Score:)

Top of the LEGO City Fire line, this three-story fire station is a perfect setting for all the action and drama of a firehouse. There's a firetruck with reeling hose, extending ladder, and real rubber tires; a helicopter with spinning rotors; five minifigures, a fire van with emergency lights and fire extinguisher. The building itself has bay doors that open to let the truck drive in and out. It has a helipad on top and a 3-story fire pole that figures can go down. There are al sort of firefighting accessories such as walkie-talkies, phone, toolbox, computer, and furniture. The modular build means that related pieces are packaged together and can be assembled in sub-sections. No more dumping all the pieces and then trying to find little pieces in a sea of many. The process is partially sorted to make it less confusing. This elaborate set has 752 pieces in all and will provide a wonderful dramatic play setting after the challenge of building is completed.  6-12.

 

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 City Cement Mixer
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

Another in the modular builds, designed to simplify the process. This cement mixer has a rotating drum, a movable chute and the cab section actually tips fir access to the engine! It includes two construction workers, with wheelbarrow, bricks, and a cup for coffee breaks. The 221-piece set is a challenging, but satisfying construction set. 5-12

 

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 City Set Fire Boat
(Lego Systems, Inc. $48.90 Score:)

Once this 222-piece construction set is put together it really can be played with on water. It floats! Kids can build smaller sub-sets for quick builds. It includes a pontoon as well as a power-boat and action figures for dramatic play. According to his mom, our 5 year old tester "LOVED this build. He always likes the Lego City things and this was no exception." Though his mom usually does not allow Legos in the bath...since this is a boat, they gave it a test run in the tub. "It floats well (even the guys float when they fall in the water) and he is having a blast having play time with it and "fighting fires" in the bath."

A good build and good imaginary play once completed - a big winner.5-12

 

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
Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machines
(Goldie Blox $29.99 Score:)

Designed by a recent engineering graduate of Stanford, this young science kit is designed to entice girls to play around with easy to build machines with playful appeal. The kit comes with a book that guides the young builder, a pegboard base, 10 axles, blocks, ribbon, a crank, washers, five animal characters and 14 clever ideas for making constructions. It combines fantasy play with basic science all done up in colors girls seem to prefer. Given our need for future engineers and scientists, we think this is an entertaining and engaging toy that will hold their interest.  6 & up.

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

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2013 Award
Hasbro Bejeweled
(Hasbro $19.99 Score:)

Originally an online game, Bejeweled has now been adapted for real time play, complete with playing board and shimmering playing pieces. Basically this is the same game as the digital form, the object is to collect three of a kind in a row. But the big glitzy playing pieces are good looking and pleasing to slide across the playing board. Game play requires some strategy and logic.  We loved this game--but we do think the packaging needs some work. Once you create the board (and the pop up box fo the pieces) it does not go back into the original box easily. Our suggestion is to get a bigger box to store it in. 8 & 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
Creativity for Kids The Complete Paper Jewelry Set
(Creativity for Kids $22.95 Score:)

Enough supplies for making over 200 paper beads! A splendid kit for learning the technique for making big and little paper beads with colorful patterned, solid colored papers. The kit includes two tools for making the beads, gel cord, paper flowers, seed beads, sequins, varnish, paint brush and stencils for making more bead papers. 7 & up.

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

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