Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Award: Platinum
Review Year: 2013

 

 
2013 Awards
Sparkup, The Magical Book Reader
(Sparkup $59.99 Score:)

Connect this new piece of technology that uses a tiny camera as its "eye", and a tiny computer chip as its "brain" to record the pages of any book you read into it. The little wonder of a machine can memorize lots of books or you can store your recordings on the computer. The magical part begins when your child turn the pages of a real book, looks at the pictures, and listens to the story in any langugae, at her own pace. The electronic book reader knows what page to read. You can send the recording via computer to a grandchild who can download to her own Sparkup reader—of course, for long distance sharing you need two Spark-ups. There are a few books that are prerecorded and come on your reading machine. The company promises more books to come. But the magic of this is that you can record old favorites, even hardcover books that you grew up with or today's newest paperback picture books. You do not need to go buy an all new library. Nor are you stuck with typical non-books made to work only with a manufacturer's newest gismo. This is a clever device for beginning readers to use as they listen and follow along to the words on the page. You can also record your child reading and send it to Grandparents across the miles. Or personalize your reading and leave it for kids to listen to when you are out for the evening or out-of-town on business. A lot of Military families are going to like this as another way of connecting.


SNAP: A sure fire way to enhance the beginning reader experience. As listeners kids develop eye sweep as they follow along with the recording. They learn about the mechanics of a book from front to back, from left to right. THese are skills that all kids need to try on before independent reading develops.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

Comments: Be the first to post _______________________________________________________________________

 

 


2013 Award
Thames & Kosmos Gyrobot
(Thames & Kosmos $50.49 Score:)

Did you know that there is a gyroscope in your smart phoe, your tablet, the video controllers, airplanes, space telescopes...you name it. But how about building one? Does that sound like a challenge? In fact, following the directions in this amazing new set, kids can explore the world of physics as they build 7-motorized models that give them hands-on playful experiences as they learn about the jobs gyroscopes do in our world. In an age when science and math are so vital, this is one of those smart toys that is not instantly consumed, but rather invites repeated exploration. The well-written 24-pg manual gives them 7 experiments: the gyroscope goes into a robot, gyrocompass, flight simulator, balance game, gyro horizon, personal transporter, and a tightrope walker.  A good choice for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning.

 

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

Comments: Be the first to post _______________________________________________________________________

 

 


2013 Award
K'nex Education - Exploring Wind & Water Energy
(K'nex $69.99 Score:)

Designed originally for the classroom, this is one of a new series of construction toys with a scientific edge that will entertain as well as enhance their understanding of renewable energy. In an age when science and math are so vital, this is one of those smart toys that is not instantly consumed, but rather invites repeated exploration. There are six projects in the 288-piece kit that comes in a storage tub. Our tester started with a windmill that connects and powers a shuttle ride. They can also build a Water Lift and a Hydroelectric Generator, among other projects. A great way to get kids engaged with science, math, and technology. Once they have some of the basics, they may want to invent some energy inventions of their own. Also see, K'nex Investigating Solar Energy. Ages 9 & up. Both good choices for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

Comments: Be the first to post _______________________________________________________________________

 

 


2013 Award
K'nex Education - Investigating Solar Energy
(K'nex $69.99 Score:)

Talk about going green, this is a construction set that runs of solar energy. Kids can make six different models with the 128 piece Knex set comes in a good size tub for easy storage. It is designed to give them a hands-on experience of building a working machine from scratch. In an age when science and math are so vital, this is one of those smart toys that will both entertains and educate without turning kids off. It's challenging but rewarding. Our tester was especially taken with the "crank man" that she built and put on a sunny windowsill. Designed originally for the classroom, this is one of a new series of construction toys with a scientific edge that will entertain as well as enhance their understanding of renewable energy. This amazing animated construction set comes with detailed instructions and is sure to be a hit for kids. 9 & up. Also see, K'nex Exploring Wind & Water Energy. Both good choices for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

Comments: Be the first to post _______________________________________________________________________

 

 


2013 Award
Sassy Tumbling Tubes
(Sassy $12.95 Score:)

Roll out some good fun with this clever fabric rattle. Easy to grasp and explore, your sitting-up and ready-to-crawl baby will like seeing his face in the mirror at one end and watching the beads clatter in the see-through tube. There are rings on one of the fabric tubes that make good sounds as they slide from side to side. For little social games, you can roll this back and forth between you and your sitting-up baby. They marked this for 6 months and up, but we think the high contrast target at one end and the mirror on the other end will be interesting for horizontal babies, as well. A terrific toy that will be used in new ways as they grow.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2013.

Comments: Be the first to post _______________________________________________________________________

 

 


2013 Award
Deluxe Roominate
(Roominate $49.99 Score:)

Welcome to a new world of doll houses! It's a doll house for kids to design, build and electrify. This one is less about interior decoration and more about engineering. A terrific concept for getting girls involved with problem solving and spatial skills, and building circuits. The deluxe kit comes with a light and motor and tons of building pieces and craft materials. Elizabeth, our 8-year old tester, LOVES Roominate. Her mom reports, "She has created some really cool rooms--and I love that it's so open-ended. She loved hooking up the battery, doing the wiring - and using the paper to design the wallpapers. It's a great toy for girls because it encourages building, electrical and engineering skills and isn't too "girly." I would say that I think age 6 is probably too young for independent play with Roominate. At age 8,  Elizabeth read and followed the directions and had lots of ideas about what she wanted to build and how to do it. "

The company says 6, we agree with Elizabeth's mom and suggest you save this for 8's and up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

Comments: Be the first to post _______________________________________________________________________

 

 


2013 Award
Hot Wheels Wall Tracks Power Tower Trackset
(Mattel $44.99 Score:)

If you're a fan of Hot Wheels Wall Tracks, you'll want to know about this latest addition to the line. The Power Tower features a central corkscrew track that brings the cars up to the top of the structure. Comes with one Hot Wheels car (we always think these sets should come with at least two!) and the magical 3M Command Strips that make it possible to temporarily place the structure on the wall. (We'd recommend not placing on wallpaper. During one of our first trials we did not pull the strip down sufficiently and as a result removed some paint from the wall. This was on us. If you follow the instructions, the Command Strips work well.)

This set kept three of our toy testers well entertained. What's nice about these sets is that they can be combined with others to create a truly amazing wall of tracks. Something some of us only dreamed about as kids!

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

Comments: Be the first to post _______________________________________________________________________

 

 


2013 Award
LeapFrog Learn to Write with Mr. Pencil Stylus and Writing App
(LeapFrog $14.99 Score:)

Our testers practiced their upper and lower case letters with the big easy-to-grasp stylus, Mr. Pencil, that works on an iPad (once you've downloaded the APP).   While we're not big on most APP-gear, this one makes sense. We also liked that the instruction for making letters was correct (and included both upper and lower case letters). (Remember Joanne taught over 300 children how to write!) The APP also includes instruction for numbers 1-20. While the toy is marked for kids 3 & up, we'd say a better choice for the older preschoolers and early school years.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

Comments: Be the first to post _______________________________________________________________________

 

 


2013 Award
LEGO Galaxy Squad Hive Crawler
(Lego Systems, Inc. $69.99 Score:)

"One of the most unusual LEGO builds, ever." "Awesome."  We agree that the Galaxy Squad line has some of the most creative builds this year.  The Hive Crawler, in particular, has interesting moving legs that make a great sound as it moves. The minifig in the front opening cockpit reminds us of the bad guys from Independence Day. The Crawler has an egg launcher and two hatching eggs.  The build also comes with a smaller speedster and hero.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

Comments: Be the first to post _______________________________________________________________________

 

 


2013 Award
Rainbow Loom
(Rainbow Loom $34.99 Score:)

The Rainbow Loom is clearly the run away toy of the year! We started getting emails from our toy testers about the must have loom that has generated so much interest (and youtube how to videos). We love a toy story that involves a small company that just hits it  HUGE.  Our parent testers told us that they helped their kids get the hang of it, but once kids learn how to use the loom they're off and running. A great craft that allows kids to make bracelets for themselves, their friends and family members.  The set comes with a loom, hook, instructions and more than 600 latex free rubber bands - will make 24 bracelets. Move over Elmo, the Rainbow Loom is the hot toy of 2013.

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

Comments: Be the first to post _______________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

Products for Infants
Products for Toddlers
Products for Preschoolers
Products for Early School Years
Products for Later School Years
Twitter   Facebook     YouTube 

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio - All Rights Reserved. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Blue Chip Award are Registered Trademarks of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio.


Instructions for submitting product to the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio for review.

 

 

Contact the Toyportfolio by phone at (212) 598-0502 or by email at Webmaster@Toyportfolio.com.

Copyright 1995-2014

 

Products reviewed by the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio are provided by the manufacturer at their cost. The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio does not require or accept fees for reviewing products.