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PHP Logo Sept 2011 

 

NAGC Recommended Toys for 2011

 

 

 

Each year, NAGC invites toy and game manufacturers to submit their newest products for review by students. One hundred and seven toys and games were received for the 2011 hands-on trials.

39 reviewers were enrolled in the “IncreTOYble!,” class offered through Cherry Creek (Colorado) School District’s INSIDE/OUT Program. Julie Gonzales, who was the first parent representative on NAGC’s board of directors, created the program five years ago. It was her vision to offer classes for gifted and advanced elementary school students during the fall, spring, and summer breaks that would allow them to explore new topics or to learn more about subjects in which they already had a strong interest.. The June session of this highly successful program had an enrollment of 540 students!

“IncreTOYble!” was taught by Valerie James, Cherry Creek’s District Coordinator for Differentiation and Instruction at the elementary level. Her first group of student reviewers spent one week evaluating the toys and games during INSIDE/OUT’s spring session, while the second group spent two weeks during the summer session. Students worked alone and in teams. They participated in peer conferences so they could provide one another with constructive feedback for their written product reviews. Class outcomes were tied to Colorado state standards.

Students analyzed the games or toys they selected to play and completed an extensive feedback packet that included questions about initial appeal, interest-level, attention holding, and desire to replay. The final question was, “Would you buy this toy/game with your own money?” 

They were also asked to write a review for one toy.  Not all the submitted games and toys recieved reviews because the students picked the toys to review early in the session.  Other games were not played with or did not become favorites until later in the week.

Student Reviews

The Winners with reviews:
Hex Bug Nano: Raceway Habitat Set
Manufacturer: Innovation First International
Website: www.hexbug.com/nano
MSRP: $49.99

Review by 10-year-old boy: Hex Bug Nano is a creative toy. It is certainly the best toy of the century. This toy is great for children who love to build. With the 2 robotic bugs, and buildable tracks, you can build anything. Build your own tracks for the bugs to crawl across. This set of Hex Bug Nano includes 2 nano bugs (robotic bus), lots of buildable tracks, and stabilizers to keep the track together. Anybody who plays with this toy will love it. Guaranteed!
Review by 9-year-old boy: Hex Bug Nano is a very fun toy. I rate it five out of five stars! There are 54 pieces that come with the set and you can build any kind of track you want using those pieces. There are so many great things about this toy set.
Review by 9-year-old girl: Hex Bug Nano is a great game if you love hysterical games. The object of the game is to beat the other Hex Bug when they race around a track that you get to construct. It’s fun to race because you never know which bug will win. You can play with it as long as you like. I recommend ages 5+ because you need to be able to build. You can rebuild the Hex Bug track and break it apart as many times as you like. It would be a great toy for family game night. I like it a lot.

Review by 9-year-old girl: A game that I enjoyed was Hex Bug Nano. The package really grabbed my attention because of the bright colors. The game was awesome like I expected. I want more of it! I don’t have suggestions for it at all because it was so cool! Even moms and dads will like it because of the educational value. The value was engineering. A fellow student said, “It’s the new big thing! I love it!” Tell everyone about Hex Bug Nano. It’s no myth. I loved it. I bet you will too!
Review by 9-year-old boy: Hex Bug Nano is good for people who like to build. I recommend it for kids ages four and up. I think this is a game for everybody. It comes with small, motorized bugs. The bugs are really fun to watch because they run around the track crazily. The purpose of the game is to have fun with it by building and racing the bugs. I think it is a very fun toy because you can build an awesome track and then you can put the bus on the track and watch them run around. I hope you like this toy too.

Palette How Colorful is Your Memory?Palatte
Manufacturer: Fat Brain Toys
Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 6+
Number of Players: 2-4
Website: www.fatbraintoys.com
MSRP: $24.95

Review by 8-year-old girl: My favorite game is Palette. Palette is a fun, colorful game that tricks the mind’s eye. The goal of this game is to be the first person to fill up their artist’s palette with color chips. This game includes fun ways to trick your brain with colors. This game is great for anyone with a good memory, or artistic abilities. People ages eight and up would be good candidates to play by themselves. Children under eight should be teamed with an adults or an older child. Anyone can have a great time with Palette!
Review by 10-year-old boy: Palette is a memory game. The object of the game is to use your memory to fill your palette with colors before your opponent. You should get this game if you like art or have a good memory It takes a little time to understand the game. When you finish the game you will want to play more. I rate this game excellent because it is a hard, but rewarding challenge.

The Magic Labyrinth
Manufacturer: Play Room Entertainment
Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 6+
Number of Players: 2-4
Website: www.PlayroomEnt.com
MSRP: $30

Magic LabyrinthReview by 8-year-old girl: The purpose of The Magic Labyrinth is getting through the labyrinth without running into “invisible” walls. The Magic Labyrinth is a memory game involving perfect motor skills. When you first see the package it definitely grabs your eyes! The directions are confusing, but once you start playing the game it is easy to understand how to play the game. Though the recommended age for playing this game is seven and up, I would have bumped it up to eight and up. “We are older than eight and it was a little difficult because of the directions,” says one of the kids testing the toy. Though there wasn’t that much of a problem solving a lot of the memory problems, creativity was found throughout the game. Overall, I rate this game four out of five stars. This is a great game for families.
Review by 9-year-old boy: The Magic Labyrinth is a good game for competitive people who are [at least] six years old. The way to win is by moving the people (magnets) around to get little chips without loosing the marble. It is hard if you don’t have a good memory because you have to move the pieces around the walls without loosing the marble. I really like this game because every time you turned the corner I usually let the marble fall. That was fun and exciting.
Review by 9-year-old boy: The Magic Labyrinth is a cool game for people about 8 – 15 years of age because of the challenge – it’s very hard.  To win you have to get the most symbols by the end of the game, but if you don’t use your memory this game is very hard. It is especially for people with good memory. It’s full of twists and turns.

Star Ball
Manufacturer: Creative Whack Company
Number of Players: 1 or more
Website: www.creativewhack.com 
MSRP: $29.95
 
Review by 8-year-old girl: Star Ball is a game with magnetic pieces you put together to try to make the shape of a ball. There are also other pieces you can use to make different designs. This is a fun one-player game. This game offers exciting challenges. It’s good for people who like to use magnets and like to put 3-D puzzles together. Understand how magnets attract or repel to create your Star Ball. You can even try and get different fun designs out of Star Ball.

Pirate Versus Pirate Pirate vs Pirate
Manufacturer: Out of the Box
Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 8+
Number of Players: 2-3
Website: www.otb-games.com
MSRP: $27.99

Review by 11-year-old boy: Pirate Versus Pirate is a fun game with all the characteristics of a pirate cartoon. It has treasure, imagination and travel. (Of course, none of this is real!) Three players can play and the winner either eliminates all of the enemy pirates, takes two of the three silver coins, or grabs the only gold coin in the game and takes it back to it’s row boat. Everyone knows that pirates love treasure and victory and these red, blue, and green pirates are all about the treasure and victory. Pirate versus Pirate is also a game of strategy. If you were carrying a silver coin and there was a good chance of grabbing the gold coin, you’re allowed to abandon the silver coin at the beginning of the turn and switch to the other. You’re not allowed to attack any pirate while carrying a coin. When moving, you have to think hard before moving a piece because you might eliminate someone, steal their coin and move it back to your row boat. Pirate versus Pirate is an exciting game that a whole family can enjoy!
Review by 9-year-old boy: Pirate Versus Pirate is a really cool game. Kids who are good with strategies will like this game. There are three colors of pirates, red, blue and green. There are four coins, 1 gold coin and three silver coins. You have to step on the coins to get them. Use your logic to clear the way [and] to get the coins on the boat. Now go get me some treasure mateys!
Review by 9-year-old boy: I really enjoyed playing Pirate Versus Pirate. The purpose of the game is to get either 2 silver coins or 1 gold coin. One way to win is to knock out all of the pirates on the other team by moving your player into their space. If you know someone who is creative and can strategize they will love Pirate versus Pirate. Those are a couple reasons why I think you should get this game immediately for you, your friends, or your kids.

Tilt
Manufacturer: Think Fun
Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 8+
Number of Players: 1
Website: www.thinkfun.com
MSRP: $19.99

Review by 9-year-old boy: TILT is an exciting puzzle game where you tilt a board to win. The object of the game is to get a green slider into a hole while trying not to get blue sliders to fall into the hole. But the challenge doesn’t end there because there are grey stoppers that stop anything from moving. This may be good or bad!  I recommend this for kids ages 4 and up. I love this game and so will you!

Pirate Plank
Manufacturer: LEGO
Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 7-12
Website: www.LEGOclub.com
MSRP: $14.99

Review by 8-year-old boy: I loved this game so much. I liked it because you could pretend to be pirates on a ship’s plank. The objective was to not fall off the plank and get eaten by sharks. You can move your pirate side-to-side and forward, but be careful that you don’t fall into the shark infested water! Splash! Splash! Splash! To win you have to be the last person off the plank. That’s why I like Pirate Plank. You will like it too, if you like Legos and games.
Review by 9-year-old boy: The purpose of Pirate Plank is to be the last pirate standing. The way to get the other three players off depends on how you build the game and the roll of the dice. You can also change the game rules by firing the cannon, changing the plans and more. An interesting thing is you build the game differently every time you play it. This should hold your attention for a while. People who will like this game are people who like to build. Overall it is a good game to play.
Review by 9-year-old boy: Pirate Plank is a Lego product that is very fun and a product that doesn’t take long to make before you can play. This game is competitive and not cooperative. The object of the game is to be the last pirate to jump off the plank. You can push the Lego pirate with your pirate forward. If you fall off the plank, you will be eaten by the sharks. The funny thing is that you can replace the pirate with yourself if you’re about to fall off. The game can be played with 2 -4 people and is for ages seven and up. I agree with the age rule because younger kids could swallow the small pieces. This game is very funny and incredible especially when one of the pirates falls off the plank. The product also had good background such as the ship. The Lego product was creative because it included the fins of the sharks sticking out. It was very easy and fun to build the product. This game is both fun and fantastic with very awesome and funny rules.

Preschool:

Build-a-RobotBuild a Robot
Manufacturer: Plan Toys
Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 4+
Number of Players: 1 and more
Website: www.plantoysusa.com
MSRP: $35

Review by 9-year-old boy: I am reviewing a toy called Build-A-Robot. It’s purpose is to entertain little kids with a buildable toy robot. It is a great toy for little kids around the age of 3. It’s arms move and the head can be swapped for different heads. It has a few pointed gears and a heart on it’s chest. My recommended age group is 2 – five years old. All in all it’s a great toy for little kids who like to build.

My First Zoo
Manufacturer: LEGO/DUPLO
Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 2-5
Website: www.LEGOclub.com
MSRP: $24.99My first zoo 

Review by 9-year-old boy: I was very impressed with the Duplo set, My First Zoo. It was really fun. It kept me busy. The object was to have fun. You have fun by using your imagination. You can play with up to five other people, or you can play by yourself! You can make the zoo all by yourself if you don’t have anyone to play with. I recommend this to kids five and up. I would recommend this to adults for their kids, but not to younger kids because they could choke on small parts. Young kids will have to be supervised. Creative people will enjoy this game set.

Honorable Mentions with reviews:
The Dog’s Meow
Manufacturer: Play Room Entertainment
Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 6+
Number of Players: 2-6
Website: www.PlayroomEnt.com
MSRP: $10.00

Review by 9-year-old girl: The game, The Dog’s Meow, is a challenging but fun game that requires two or more players. In this game you must choose a card with directions that say above, left, or right on it. There are certain sounds you have to say to match what’s on the card, but beware because you must practice the opposite sounds and names on the cards!  Once players pick a card they have to answer with an opposite challenge. This game is challenging and fun because you have to use your memory and answer using opposites. The purpose of this game is to answer as fast as you can. This game will be fun and exiting for good- minded children 5 and up. Your family will enjoy this game all the time. This game was exciting for me and hopefully for you too!
Review by 9-year-old girl: The game, The Dog’s Meow, would appeal to someone with great memory! This game is great for family game night! The educational value helps increase memory. It really helped my memory! To play this game you must read the instructions. They hold a lot of information. The instructions were a little confusing to me but that’s my opinion. This game’s base probably came from opposite day! You must remember objects and remember their opposites! The object of the game is to win the most task cards by calling out their right answer. I recommend that children 7+ would enjoy this game. It would take about 20 minutes to finish a game. I loved this game and I bet you will too!

Dado Planks
Manufacturer: Fat Brain Toys
Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 3+
Number of Players: 1 and more
Website: www.fatbraintoys.com
MSRP: $44.99

Review by 9-year-old girl: At first I thought Dado Planks would be a rip-off but it ended up as the best toy ever! With just two sets, I built a structure 5 feet! The only problem was that pieces sometimes pinch so the age range needs to be 7+. It took me an hour of play to finally finish playing, but I wanted more time! Enjoy!

Pathwords
Manufacturer: Think Fun
Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 12+
Number of Players: 1
Website: www.thinkfun.com
MSRP: $19.99

Review by 10-year-old boy: Ever like word searches? Then here’s a one- player puzzle that can blow your mind! PathWords is a game where pentominoes come in handy. This game comes with a notebook with 40 word searches. On each page, a number-by-number grid is in the middle. With appropriate pentominoes, make words that keep the pieces in the grid to win! Think you can take the challenge? Good luck to you, then!

Double Duel
Manufacturer: Learning Resources
Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 7+
Number of Players: 2-4
Website: www.LearningResources.com
MSRP: $27.99

Review by 10-year-old girl: The main purpose of the game Double Duel is to test your vocabulary. The object of this game is to get more cards than the other players. Each player gets a beeper. There is a box of cards in the middle of the table. Someone chooses a card. There are two clues or meanings, on each card. From the clues, you try to guess the word the other players are describing. Before you guess the word, you have to press the beeper. If you get it right, you win the card. The person with the most cards wins. The recommended age group for this game is 7 and up. I disagree. It should be 9 and up because the words are challenging. If you are good with words, this is the game for you!  I would totally buy this game with my own money!