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March 2004 | Vol. III - No. 3
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Puzzling Fun In Store For 2004


Hot toys come and go, but puzzles never go out of style. It’s easy to see why: They´re fun, educational, challenging and appeal to both children and adults.

Smarts Puzzles from Use Your Head Unlimited, Inc. (ToyDirectory)

The colorful, 3D Smarts Pyramids puzzles ($14.99; ages 8 and up), designed to resemble soccer balls, golf balls, tennis balls, basketballs, footballs and baseballs, will exercise the mind. Stack the balls without letting like colors touch and you have a winner. It´s not as easy as it sounds!

New Scramble Squares

Based on an ancient Egyptian game called “Heads and Tails,” Scramble Squares ($7.95; ages 4 to 104) from b. dazzle (ToyDirectory,ToyShow) are both unique and familiar. An artful design is divided into nine squares; arrange them so that the design continues all the way around. Only those with persistence will conquer this puzzle. New designs include: American Native Flowers; Boating; Boston; Bunnies; Chili Today, Hot Tamale; Classic Cars; Covered Bridges; Fly Fishing; Hot Air Balloons; I Scream, You Scream; Red Hats and Retrievers.

Masterpieces Puzzles: In the Mood For a Jig

From 36 pieces up to 1,000, Masterpieces Puzzles (ToyDirectory) has a puzzle and design for everyone. Among the new designs is Marvel Comic´s Spiderman ($8.99; ages 5-10), with wise words about character responsibility. Artist Steven Michael Gardner´s love of animals inspired his stallion design called, Thunder, a puzzle which glows in the dark and has 14 hidden images ($14.99; ages 10 and up). Sweet Serenity ($14.99; ages 10 and up) features one of Kim Norlien´s best-selling lake cabin paintings.

UFO Toy Packs a Twist

Follow the instructions: color it, fold it, and add a dab of glue. What you have is a tight, triangular-shaped, paper donut that you can continue to twist and rotate, but the paper will not tear. The UFO Toy ($5/package of two; ages 4 and up) from Victoria Toy Co. (ToyDirectory) is based on a sophisticated mathematical formula that is guaranteed to keep puzzlers guessing. New designs for 2004 include Stars and Stripes, Rainbows, Rays of Sun and Starbursts.

Solve the Mystery of Kaleidoscopes

There´s something soothing about gazing into a kaleidoscope and allowing your imagination to run free. Kids can create their own images with the 3D Interactive Kaleidoscope ($12; ages 5 and up) from Lightrix (ToyDirectory). The company also features a creative line of 3D travel games, including Stick & Ball, Star and Molecule ($4 ea.; ages 5 and up).




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Sheryl ScarboroughWriter's Bio: Sheryl is a freelance writer of children and family TV, childrenīs books, comic books and now articles about toys. She lives in Northridge, CA with her husband, son and neurotic pets. Read more articles by this author

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