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The toy story for 2011

TRYING to find the perfect gift for the kids on your list? Each year Neighbourhood Toy Stores of Canada award "Gold Stars" to 10 toy products.

TRYING to find the perfect gift for the kids on your list?

Each year Neighbourhood Toy Stores of Canada award "Gold Stars" to 10 toy products. These are products which parents and NETS retailers have found to offer exceptional play value, continuing to repeatedly engage and fascinate children long after they have come out of the box.

The 2011 Gold Star Award winners are:

- Tomy Dino Constructables, 3+ years, $24.99

Dinosaur Constructables lets you build a T-Rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus and Mastadon, all with the ability to actually walk. Hook up several different parts to the power pack, then turn it on and watch your creation actually move. Build and rebuild for hours, creating lots of cool prehistoric designs. Includes 18 chunky pieces. Requires 1 "AA" battery (not included). Compatible with other Constructables Building Sets, not included.

- Khet Laser Game, 9+, $49.99

It's the game that combines lasers with classic strategy. Players alternate turns moving Egyptian-themed pieces having two, one or no mirrored surfaces. All four types of pieces (pharaoh, obelisk, pyramid and djed column) can either move one square forward, back, left, right, or diagonal, or can stay in the same square and rotate by a quarter twist. Each turn ends by firing one of the lasers built into the board. The laser beam bounces from mirror to mirror; if the beam strikes a non-mirrored surface on any piece, it is immediately removed from play. The ultimate goal is to illuminate your opponent's pharaoh, while shielding yours from harm!

- Calico Critter Caravan Family Camper, 3+, $69.99

Calico Critter families can spend happy vacations together travelling in their very own caravan camper. When they take off on the road, they'll take the comforts of home with them: A well stocked large kitchen, a spacious bathroom, plenty of storage and room for four to sleep. Over 35 accessories including round table, plates, cups, utensils, pots, pan, sleeping bags, maps, "board games," iron, soap, towel & much more.

- Mugz the Ice Cream Maker, 4+, $9.95.

Add chocolate milk, yogurt or juice to the top. Put in ice and salt in the bottom and shake. Enjoy personalized ice cream in just three minutes. Kids of all ages can enjoy a yummy ice cream or slushie and a science lesson too. Choose your ice cream mugz style from Penguin, Polar Bear, Seal or Dog.

- Perplexus Epic, 6-10 years, $29.99.

You've mastered the Original; can you beat the new Perplexus Epic? Navigate the steel ball along the tracks, through 125 barriers of varying difficulty as you try to defy gravity. With gnarly new twists, turns and barriers, Perplexus Epic provides hours of challenging, three dimensional fun.

- Sock Monkey, 2+, $19.99

Classic, retro and cool! Sock monkey is sure to become your child's best friend. Classic

brown color with red lips. Measures 20" tall. Fun for all ages!

Ages 2+

- Knot, Smile & Cuddle, 6+, $32.99.

Make a soft smiley blanket with sleeves! Just knot together and add fleece fringe! Includes pre-sewn cuddle quilt, 42 fleece strips and easy instructions. Measures 38" x 47" (96.5 cm x 119.3 cm).

- Intelliglobe, 5+, 149.99.

Intelliglobe is the educational and entertaining globe that contains geography and general information that is truly interesting, useful, and thought provoking. Touch the wireless IntellipenTM to the globe to play games and explore amazing facts about the world. The wireless IntellipenTM features 1GB of easily updatable memory and plays spoken audio in English, Spanish, French and German. The included 48-page World Discovery Book also works with the IntellipenTM and features maps, world flags, landmarks, animals, dinosaurs, foods, explorers, moon maps, sky maps, and more.

- Piggy Paint Barn Box Gift set, all ages, $19.99.

Piggy Paint is specially formulated from natural ingredients and dries to a hard, durable finish. There are no toxic chemicals; it's free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, Bisphenol A, ethyl acetate and acetone.

- K's Kids The Hungry Pelican, 0-36 months, $39.95.

Your child can feed the hungry pelican's wide mouth with four plush seafood toys: shrimp, crab, octopus, and fish. This toy provides repeated action for your child's learning. Can be used as a stand-alone plush toy, or attached to crib for in-crib play. The hungry pelican is soft and welcoming, with squeaky ears and crinkly wings too.