By Ellen Metrick
Gold Award Winners
Professor Noggin's Card Game Series, Outset Media, $9.99 each; www.professornoggin.com, 877-592-7374; ages 7 and up. Each of the 12 games in this series (sold separately) features trivia cards covering a specific topic. For example, the Famous Inventions Card Game includes topics such as Automobiles, The Light Bulb and Photography. There are six questions on each card - three "easy" questions and three "hard" ones - that make multiple-level play possible. The questions are well thought out and well written to provide a play experience that is both educational and fun.
Reading Rods Phonics Activity Set - Word Building and Reading Rods Phonics Activity Set - Sentence Building, Learning Resources, $29.95 each; www.learningresources.com, 888-800-7893; ages 6 and up. The word-building activity set uses interlocking blocks with word parts printed on them to teach phonics and beginning reading skills. Activity cards give children a step-by-step guide to help them develop a solid foundation for reading while keeping them engaged in the game itself.
The sentence-building set uses interlocking blocks with different words printed on them to teach parts of speech. The activity cards and guides promote reading in a positive, entertaining way. Each set is beautifully packed in a durable carry-along pack.
Bucket Blast, Lolo Co., $34.95; www.lolofun.com, 800-760-9930; ages 6 and up. This is a combination set with many game ideas using buckets, beanbags and water. The 15 indoor and outdoor game ideas keep kids busy while they learn colors, counting and appropriate team play. Clear instructions and variations for each game are included. A fun set for children of varying ages and abilities - and a lot of game for your money!
Gobblet Junior, Blue Orange Games, $19.95; www.gobblet.com, 415-468-2640; ages 5 and up. This is an advanced tic-tac-toe game with a twist - the wooden pieces can be placed over your opponent's pieces (gobbled up) and moved around the board until there are three in a row. It is a wonderful way for children to learn strategic thinking.
Honors Award Winners
Blokus, Educational Insights, $29.95; www.educationalinsights.com, 800-995-4436; for ages 5 and up. Fit as many of your pieces as possible on the game board touching only the corners of each piece. Fit the most and win the game!
Great Horned Owl Puppet, Folkmanis, $50; www.folkmanis.com, 800-654-8922; for ages 5 and up. This captivatingly realistic owl puppet has a handle inside to turn the head and blink the eyes.
Itty Bitty Puppet Show, Patch Products, $11.99; www.patchproducts.com, 800-524-4263; for ages 6 and up. Kids can decorate felt finger puppets and, using the cardboard theater, put on a show.
Measuring Monkeys, Learning Resources, $16.95; www.learningresources.com, 888-800-7893; for ages 5 and up. Children can learn to read a ruler and gain an understanding of standard measurements as their monkeys climb the upright tree using measurement marks.
Moo Magnet, The Magnet Source, $7.95; www.magnetsource.com, 888-293-9190; for ages 6 and up. Explore the power of magnets and learn through many exercises found in the included activity book.
Pizza Fraction Fun, Learning Resources, $17.95; www.learningresources.com, 888-800-7893; for ages 6 and up. Beautifully realistic cardboard pizzas are divided and marked to help teach fractions using a number of game variations.
Reading Rods Word for Word Phonics Word Building Game, Learning Resources, $29.95; www.learningresources.com, 888-800-7893; for ages 7 and up. This fast-paced word-building game uses interlocking blocks with word parts printed on them. Features multiple levels of play.
Scooby-Doo Group Photo, USAopoly, $14.95; www.USAopoly.com, 760-634-5910; for ages 6 and up. Pick a group-photo card and be the first to match all character cards in your hand to the characters in your group photo.
Sculpey Amazing Eraser Clay, Polyform Products Inc., $7.99; www.sculpey.com, 847-427-0020; for ages 6 and up. Soft and malleable clay: roll it, squish it, mold it, cut it, then bake it and erase with it!
Stampede, Gamewright, $5.99; www.gamewright.com, 617-924-6006; for ages 6 and up. This quick-reflex card game is played simultaneously with all players. Collect animal parts to make the most complete animal sets.
Tic Tac Chec, Dream Green, $16.95; www.123oy.com, 888-GET-GAME; for ages 5 and up. This uniquely simple wooden game teaches the moves of various Chess pieces and allows children and adults alike to learn the thought process and strategy of chess through successful, elementary play.
To see winning toys for other age groups, return to NAPPA 2003 Award Winners: Toys.
See also: NAPPA 2002 Award Winners: Toys
Ellen Metrick is a toy specialist with the National Lekotek Center.