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Category: Construction


Name: LaQ Hobby Kit Flower
Company: LaQ USA, Inc.
Age: 5 and up
Price: $20
Category: Construction

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Special Cross 40 Building Blocks
Company: BIM BOM TRADING INC.
Age: 3-12
Price: $15.99
Category: Construction

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Qubits® the Construction Toy of the Future
Company: QUBITS TOY COMPANY
Age: 7 and up
Price: $29.99
Category: Construction

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: PlayMais Fun Farm Dice Game
Company: PLAYMAIS CANADA INC.
Age: 3 and up
Price: Not Specified
Category: Construction

What It Is
PlayMais is a colorful, corn-based, biodegradable construction product. Kids can cut, twist and shape the pieces, which are colored with natural food dyes. Simply wet one end of a piece by dabbing it on a damp cloth to make it stick to another PlayMais. In this set, kids can also sculpt their own playing pieces for a fun-farm dice board game.

What We Thought
My 11-year-old stepdaughter and I played with this set for hours. She created everything from family portraits to rain clouds with the sun peeking through. We had so much fun recreating creatures and nature that we never even got around to playing the dice game. One potential problem with the set is that it smells so much like cereal that it attracted the attention of our popcorn-loving dog and cat. Finished pieces were therefore put up on a shelf and will soon go behind a shadowbox to protect them!

Why They’ll Want It
This eco-friendly, biodegradable kit will appeal to parents who are looking for safe and natural toys for their kids. Children will love the unique play pattern, which allows them to create free-standing pieces with a minimum of manual dexterity. The creative possibilities are virtually endless, as the PlayMais pieces can be cut, twisted and reshaped and do not require armatures. – Alison Marek 6/30/08

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Name: I-Gami Starter Kit
Company: PLASMART INC.
Age: 8 and up
Price: $19.99
Category: Construction

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Clics 175-Piece Bucket
Company: TOYLINKS INC.
Age: 4 and up
Price: $24.95
Category: Construction

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: i-gami – Color Harmonies
Company: PLASTIC PLAY INC.
Age: 10 and up
Price: $29.99
Category: Construction

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Harry Potter Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry Building Cards
Company: KLUTZ
Age: 8 and up
Price: $19.95
Category: Construction

What Is It?
This kit includes a Harry Potter figurine and 275 cards and instructions for building the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry.

What We Thought
I asked a Harry Potter fanatic what he thought about the set. It’s fun, he said, to be able to design your own castle. The booklet includes instructions on how to build different the structures — spires, walls, steeples, turrets — and shows pictures of various castle options. There are no step-by-step instructions for each, however, so it was difficult to build things exactly as they are shown, since Hogwarts is not displayed from every angle.

Why They’ll Want It
The package itself is attractive, and the pieces are sturdy and well-designed, with detailed parts for windows, doors, floors and roofs. There are even pieces with grass on the bottom and ivy growing up the side for the bottom level. The set invites creativity, and the result is an impressive Hogwarts School, with Harry included! As my friend pointed out, this toy is ideal for kids who aspire to be wizard architects. — Julie L. Jones, 7/31/07  



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Name: Giant Interlocking Edublocks
Company: EDUSHAPE LTD.
Age: 3-5
Price: $69.95
Category: Construction

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Zoomorphs Deluxe/Tub Set
Company: RIVER DOLPHIN TOYS
Age: 5 and up
Price: $50
Category: Construction

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Anatomics
Company: POOF-SLINKY INC.
Age: 6 and up
Price: Not Specified
Category: Construction

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Aerobloks Starter Kit
Company: TINKER MINDS INC.
Age: 3 and up
Price: $52.99
Category: Construction

Please click here to read this special TDmonthly´s Expert Mom review.

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Name: Safari Express Motorized Train Building Set
Company: LEARNING RESOURCES INC.
Age: 4 and up
Price: $39.95
Category: Construction

What is it?
The Safari Express Motorized Train Building Set is a construction toy that moves under its own power (AA batteries not included), featuring a working head light on the locomotive and “Chugga, Chugga” sound effects. The set comprises 127 pieces, including interlocking gears, four jungle animal figures, two kid figures, stickers and four flags for customizing your own Safari train.

What we thought
This set fills a niche not usually served by construction toys—the kindergarten through first-grade crowd. Its rounded gears and bright colors will make it irresistible to kids reaching the age of fantasy play, while the color-coded instructions won’t interfere with kids’ natural inclination to go hands-on right out of the box.

Why they’ll want it
The Safari Express set is compatible with all of Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! sets, making it a value-added toy for both parents and kids. The bright colors and whimsical shapes will appeal to both boys and girls, and the carrying case means the set’s pieces are more likely to stay in the box and out of the vacuum cleaner.
-- TDmonthly Staff, 9/26/2005


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Name: Marble Mania Extreme
Company: THE LEARNING JOURNEY INTERNATIONAL
Age: 5 and up
Price: $49.95
Category: Construction

What Is It?
Marble Mania Extreme is a 325-piece marble run and gears construction set with a motorized gear that will mechanically return the marbles to the top of the run. It contains mills, various channels — such as pendulum, drop, release, funnel and straight — and all kinds of connectors, gears, and base pieces that allow numerous marble-run designs. The set’s instructions are in Spanish and English.

What We Thought
In addition to the educational benefits listed on the box such as “introduces concepts of basic mechanics,” “stimulates tactile skills,” and “develops problem solving skills,” one major benefit not listed is “builds patience and diligence.” The 30 different types of pieces require a lot of time to sort out. It also takes a lot of concentration to go through the manual to make sure the motor and gears fits and works correctly. A 5-year-old would definitely need adult supervision to build a working model.

Why They’ll Want It
The harder the effort, the sweeter the fruit of achievement. Once the child sees the magnificent gears churn and the marbles flying through the marble run that they helped mom or dad build, they won’t be able to take their eyes off it.

The Learning Journey´s ToyDirectory Listing
– TDmonthly Review Team, 7/29/05


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Name: Webz 54
Company: PROGRESSIVE TRADING
Age: All Ages
Price: $25
Category: Construction

What is it?
Webz consists of transparent colored stars, bars and square plates with magnetized ends that attach to silver-toned magnetic connecting balls. Builders can create spheres or towers. The pieces are small, ranging from approximately ˝ inch for the balls and 2 inches for the largest plate. Colors are candy bright and the textures of the pieces vary from smooth to brushed. The Webz sets are also compatible with Magz and Skrooz.

What We Thought
The finished constructions are really pretty. The difference in texture between the pieces makes it appealing. It would definitely take a little time to make some of the creations on the box. The pieces will easily get lost, and the balls will probably roll under the furniture or get stuck underneath the sofa cushions. But it’s easy to make even a simple construction. Even if the kid (or reviewer) has no particular shape in mind, the finished construction is pleasant to look at owing to the contrast in textures, shapes and colors.

Why They’ll Want It
Well, everyone else has it, so… Anyone who’s into construction toys will want this, especially if they already have Magz. Kids will enjoy the physical sensation of the magnets attracting and repelling each other, as they have for generations. But now they can build really colorful, cool-looking creations, too. They’ll probably leave them assembled when not playing with them, because the magnetic attraction is strong enough so that the pieces can be moved without the whole thing collapsing. Definitely more fun than blocks. Tiny kids might be intimated by all the various pieces and frustrated by not being able to make all the connections they might like to make, owing to magnetic repulsion, but bigger kids will have fun challenging their own building skills. Adults will probably grab these, too.

Progressive Trading´s ToyDirectory Listing

-- Alison Marek, 7/26/05


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Name: SuperStructs Starter Set
Company: WABA FUN LLC
Age: 3 and up
Price: $29.95
Category: Construction

What is it?
Superstructs is a building set comprising 96 brightly colored plastic rods and multi-perforated connector wheels, foam accent pieces, and the head of an unshaven construction worker. The worker has a choice of two hats to wear, depending on what kind of vehicle the child builds. The starter kit includes materials for building a dune buggy, dragster, monster truck and tractor. The instruction book shows kids how to put together the vehicles using simple step-by-step illustrations and arrows. Reading is not required. Young kids who might not be able to follow the instructions can improvise and create their own vehicles.

What We Thought
Little children might need some adult helping hands when assembling these toys. A 4 year old probably will get frustrated trying to follow the picture instructions – especially when a page turn is required. Our staff tester took 15 to 20 minutes to assemble the monster truck, so even older kids might need a little patience. The finished pieces are pretty irresistible: the bright array of colors catch the eye and the instant mobility conferred by the wheels means that the vehicles can join the child’s fleet of trucks or cars or dolls right away.

Why They’ll Want It
The vehicles are cool, the colors bright. Foam and smooth plastic materials make the pieces pleasant to handle. Kids will be inspired by the vehicles they’re supposed to construct, and will also be intrigued by the possibilities of designing their own cars and trucks. The construction worker personalizes the toy and will add to imaginative play. Once assembled, the vehicles are so bright and pretty that kids might not even want to disassemble them.

Waba Fun´s ToyDirectory Listing
-- Alison Marek, 6/15/05


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Name: Tricero Dino Glo Bonz
Company: CURIOUS TOYS
Age: 5 and up
Price: $10
Category: Construction

What Is It?

Tricero Dino Glo Bonz from Curious Toys is a 13-piece set of glow in the dark components that connect to create an imaginative prehistoric creature. The parts are made from well crafted, durable plastic.

What We Thought

What stood out the most about this toy was the quality of its components and its attractive glow in the dark quality. However, the way the toy is marketed on the container, it seems as though a five year old child can successfully design several creative prehistoric creatures. While this may be the case if one purchases additional sets, we were not convinced that, on its own, the Dino Glo Bonz offers many constructible options.

Why They’ll Want It

The Tricero Dino Glo Bonz is easy and fun to construct. Once assembled, the creature makes a terrifying yet cute addition to any child’s toy collection. It glows like a glaring chunk of kryptonite and is a great nighttime decorative for a child’s bedroom. The Tricero Dino Glo Bonz components can also be used interchangeably with other Bonz sets such as the T-Rex, Pterodac and Deluxe Dino sets which can amount to many creative and enjoyable building options.



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Name: ello Jungala
Company: MATTEL INC.
Age: 5 and up
Price: $34.99
Category: Construction

What Is It?
Ello Jungala is a construction set for girls comprising 306 pieces of different shapes and sizes. Also included are reusable vinyl stickers so girls can customize their creations. All pieces are contained in a neon-pink, zippered carrying case.

What We Thought
Mattel did its homework when creating ello. The organic shapes and bright colors have strong girl appeal, as ello’s brisk sales will attest. Knowing that instructions are the last thing a kid wants to deal with, Mattel wisely omitted them, instead providing a color fold-out showing some of the possibilities: jewelry, CD racks, animals, people, picture frames or whatever a girl’s imagination can conjure.

Why They’ll Want It
Many parents searching for an alternative to fashion dolls for their daughters will be attracted to ello’s ability to build self-confidence and imagination.

 

--Tim Connolly



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Name: Alien Agency
Company: MEGA BRANDS
Age: 6 and up
Price: $9.99
Category: Construction

What is It?
Young sci-fiers can catch their own extraterrestrials that are hiding out in an intergalactic Burger Barn by Mega Bloks (ToyDirectory, ToyShow). The 100-piece kit comes with a comic book, Agent Buzz, and bioplasm to mold and create slippery aliens.

What We Thought
This fun kit allows children to explore construction and move into an imaginary world filled with creatures from another planet. They can also experiment with different mediums in this creative process: bloks and bioplasm.

Why They´ll Want It
Alien Agency provides hours of fun by enabling children to pretend that they are Alien Agency Agents saving the Earth from space invaders.

--Nancy Tan



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Name: Block-N-Roll
Company: TAURUS TOY
Age: 6 and up
Price: $19.95
Category: Construction

What is It?
60 pieces of Block-N-Roll—part Lego by TAURUS TOY (ToyDirectory) (the pieces fit with Duplo brand blocks), all marble maze construction—are not enough. My colorful route, consisting of turns, ramps and crossovers, had hardly begun to take over my desk when I considered ordering add-on pieces. Sigh.


What We Thought
Already the winner of many awards—Family Fun Magazine´s “Toy of the Year” Finalist 2000, one of Dr. Toy´s best 100 for 2000 and voted the Best of Construction Blocks by Great American Toy Test—who could say no to Block-N-Roll?


Why They’ll Want It
Future architecture majors of America, or any kid from first grade and up, will enjoy sliding pieces together, building tunnels and ramps and drops for marbles to slide and smash into each other.


--Kris Dukes



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In the Mailbox...
Send us your toys! The Playzak Magazine editorial staff receives hundreds of toys to be considered for a free Review each year. After a careful evaluation process, a select few are chosen for Editorial Review or are scrutinized by Playzak Magazine's Expert reviewers. Please feel free to call us at 310-979-4330.

Manufacturers who wish to guarantee that their toys will be evaluated in the Review section should send a payment of $150.00 per toy along with the toy itself to:

Product Review Dept.
ToyDirectory.com, Inc.
12340 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 237
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Please make checks payable to ToyDirectory.com, Inc.

The majority of toys considered for review are donated to children's services organizations in the Los Angeles area such as Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

 


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