November 25, 2002 at 3:00 PM CST - Updated June 18 at 8:35 AM
"Ever heard of this?" Amy Jacquin asked a class of fourth graders at Scott City Elementary School. "It's the Star Wars Duels board game."
She continued to pull a Star Wars Lego set of C3PO, Fib Finder, and the Hog remote-controlled plane out of bags. The class quickly chose which game to try first, as Amy and the teacher put together the plane -- which really wasn't too hard.
"Hold on, we need directions," says one boy, as they gathered around the Lego set. Smart kid! The $40 Lego set seems incredibly difficult. But this group of Scott City fourth graders gives it their best shot.
Toys R Us generously donated all the toys we tested this week, and they're all going to charity when we're finished... But not until these 9 year olds get to check them out.
"Let's take all these out and put them on the right cards," says another student. The $20 Star Wars Duels game interests a small group of boys only. The directions are easy to follow, and it doesn't take long before they're rolling right along.
Suddenly, a big burst of laughter echoes through the room, and students should "Pick me, pick me, pick me!" The biggest, most boisterous group is gathered around the $20 Fib Finder game. But it takes them a few minutes to figure out the "fib detector machine."
"Are you keeping secrets from anyone in this room?" asks one girl. "No," says the boy. But the machine sat silent. "Did you press the button? You got to press the button when you say it!" He tries again, and the machine makes a bunch of noises, as lights race back and forth, and finally the verdict is in... he's telling the truth! The group of kids absolutely crack up!
Fib Finder entertains boys AND girls. Many of the Scott City kids never ventured to another table to try the other games.
But the radio-controlled "Hog" airplane got the biggest response when Amy introduced the toys. Keep in mind this Nerf-like plane is only $30... when many of the remote controlled toy planes push $100.
"Hold on, it just stopped again," says the group trying to figure out the plane. They have trouble getting the propellers running. The engine starts, then stops again.
"After you get it going, let's let go of the button to see if the propellers stay running." They do -- sporadically! So these fourth graders just keep launching the plane as frequently as possible... with disappointing results! We're surprised it stayed together... though directions say to use clear tape to "patch" the body if it cracks.
"Oh! It flies!" the group of kids scream and jump and clap. Our best effort yielded a 10 second flight! But you'd think these kids sent it to the moon and back! Despite a fully charged battery, it died in less than 25 minutes. And despite their fun, these kids told me Amy should flunk the Hog airplane.
She doesn't go that far, but she does give it a 'D.' Even at $30, kids will tire of this launch and crash toy quickly. Fib Finder on the other hand earns a solid 'A.' This $20 game is good for lots of laughs. And the $20 Star Wars Duels also passes with a 'B.' Same grade for the $40 C3PO Lego set. And remember, Toys R Us is stocked with the toys we tested, and thousands more we couldn't get to!