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Holiday hints: Super toys for the school-age set

In part three of the “Today Toy Test 2005” series, Herb Weisbaum previews top toys for kids 6 and up. Check out the winners.
/ Source: TODAY

The holidays are just around the corner, but before you hit the stores or do any online shopping, you’ll want to read this. “Today” contributor and consumer specialist Herb Weisbaum had thousands of children across the country test hundreds of toys, and for part three of his special series, “Toy Test 2005,” he shares a look at the toys that ranked the highest among those choosy school-age kids. Check out the winners here:

We tested 207 toys in the school-age category this year. The kids who tested these toys were aged 6 and up. For more top-rated school-age toys, plus a complete list of all the winners in every age group, check out the “Toy Test 2005” guide.

Hasbro Games
Hasbro
Lego Systems

Hide & Seek Safari (R&R Games, $35)

R&r Games

Toymakers are finally figuring out ways to use technology to make toys that are actually fun. Hide & Seek Safari is a perfect example of that. R&R games took the classic game of hide ’n’ seek and gave it a hi-tech twist. Here’s how you play. Switch on the battery-powered tiger and hide it. Then turn on the “seeker” wand (which looks like a tree branch with vines growing on it) and go looking for him. The wand has a series of lights that will help guide you. When the first red light comes on you’re within 20 to 30 feet of the tiger — more lights will light as you get closer. You know he's really near when all the lights are on and the wand starts beeping. “The wand makes it easy to locate the tiger,” one teacher told me, “even when he’s hiding in hard-to-find places.” Hide & Seek Safari can be played with multiple tigers and seekers. Of course, each set is sold separately. (Requires 2 AA and 1 9V batteries; manufacturer’s age: 7 and up)

Mattel
Progressive Trading

Consumer expert and “Today” contributor Herb Weisbaum has been helping people across the country for more than 25 years. His award-winning reports have exposed everything from quack medications to bogus investments. Since 1990, his Toy Test has helped millions of parents and grandparents select the best toys for their kids. To learn more about Herb Weisbaum and his latest consumer reports, you can visit his Web site,