KidsPost went straight to the target audience for a holiday toy test. Kids from 10 Washington-area schools took more than 75 toys, games and crafts out of their boxes to see if they were as much fun as they looked.
Tested by: second-graders, Lego. $50. Ages 6 to 12
This year Lego introduced its Friends line, its first building sets specifically for girls. And the sets have been popular. Our testers gave a thumbs-up to the new Heartlake Stables set.Second-graders reported that it was a little hard to build, but putting it together is half the fun.
Lego The Lord of the Rings
Uruk-hai Army. Tested by: third-graders. Lego. $30. Age 8 and older
This set includes a fortress wall, a catapult, weapons and six figures, including Eomer, who is sold only with this set. The testers said they had fun building it and would play with it months from now. "You can take it apart and it's like a new toy," one student said.
DJ Rock Dock
Tested by: fifth-graders. SmartLab Toys. $20. Age 8 and older
Build a dock for your iPod or MP3 player with this kit. Boys and girls said that learning about circuits was challenging but worth the effort. They all agreed that they would use the dock long after they had put it together.
Tested by: sixth-graders. AppFinity. $20. Age 8 and older
An iPhone, Android or iPod Touch snaps into a fishing rod and reel and -- once the free app (search for Fish It) is downloaded -- you seem to be casting for real fish. The testers said the instructions were simple and the game was entertaining. "Even though fishing is boring, this game is fun," one tester said.
Silverlit Interactive Bluetooth Porsche 911
Tested by: sixth-graders
SilverLit. $80. Age 8 and older. Available at Amazon.com, the Apple Store and Silverlit.com
With the download of a free app, an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad becomes the remote control for this Porsche 911 Carrera. You control the car's movements either by tilting the device or moving a virtual joystick. Kids found it hard to control but fun to drive. One said it was "so cool to see this car powered by an app!"
Tested by: fifth-graders Winning Moves. $20. Age 12 and older
Move the disks of this puzzle from one peg to another. Sound easy? Not when you can move only one disk and move only smaller pieces on top of larger ones. Players can challenge one another to solve the puzzle in the fewest moves. Once you've mastered the basic level, two more-difficult challenges await. "It takes a lot of strategy," one student said.
Micro race cars
Tested by: second-graders Age 6 and older
Several toy companies have small spaces in mind with the new miniature cars and tracks. Two of our testers' favorites were Nano Speed Super Vert Crash Set (Spin Master. $35.) and Micro Chargers Jump Track (Moose Toys. $30.).Crashing the cars was the favorite part of playing with both sets, the kids said.
Air Storm Z-Curve Bow and Z-Tek Cross Bow
Tested by: fourth-graders
Zing Toys. $20 to $25. Age 8 and older
If you picture yourself as Katniss from "The Hunger Games," you need a bow. The Z-Curve can launch foam arrows up to 125 feet, and the Z-Tek features firing modes for close range and distance. The Z-Tek also includes a target. The fourth-grade testers called the bows "fun ... fast ... challenging and entertaining." And to reassure Mom and Dad, one student noted, "It didn't hurt anyone."
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