Early School Years

New Reviews and Articles

Our prediction- the HOT toy for 2010
Tags: Fisher-Price, Sing-a-ma-jigs, Hot Toys, Dolls, High Tech Dolls
Posted: 2010-10-01 11:33:40 By: by Stephanie Oppenheim

Now we're usually not too involved with what will be the HOT toys--we pick our list with the aid of our great network of family testers and sometimes that means there's something in the news but our focus is more on toys that are fun, engaging and have lasting play value.  We always have some novelty on the list as well--but it's not the mainstay of our list.  The truth is most hot toys are usually toys that play well on television and have received a lot of hype. With Furby, the whole craze started with a feature in WIRED magazine about the technology--before a single child in this country had one!  Hot toys often become more about adult collectors and running up the prices on eBAY.  So it's usually not our thing. In fact, when Joanne introduced Bryant Gumbel to Tickle Me Elmo on the TODAY Show-- she then spent most of that holiday season talking about what to do if you couldn't find Elmo.  With all of that said, we do have to say we are enamored with the Sing-a-ma-jigs from Fisher-Price.  When we first saw them at Toy Fair in February, I noted that if the actual product was as good as the prototypes--this was going to be a must have kind of toy for the holidays that would appeal to both kids and adults.  The good news...the first batch of these harmonizing dolls with claymation-inspired mouths has just arrived...and they are as terrific as we hoped! 

Posted: 2011-03-30 13:26:43

If you want to encourage your kids to write their own stories, take a look at this new kit from Creativity for Kids.

Hopping Good Treats!
Tags: toys, books, Easter baskets, holiday treats
Posted: 2010-04-05 15:56:43 By: Joanne Oppenheim

Along with the jelly beans, marshmallow chicks, and chocolate Easter bunnies, pack in a few items that will still be enjoyed when the sweet treats are just a memory.

Posted: 2011-02-10 17:04:37 By:

Of the dozens of books that recently arrived at our office, here are some gems that are truly memorable. Books that you won' t mind reading and re-reading again and again!  Click here to read our reviews.

A conversation with LEGO Master Builder Erik Varszegi
Tags: Meet the Toy Makers, LEGO Master Builder
Posted: 2010-10-01 08:55:56 By: by Stephanie Oppenheim

I'm often asked about my own journey into toyland.  After all, reviewing toys is quite different than practicing law.  So I started to wonder how other people ended up here too.  What inspired them to design and create the toys we review all year long?  If you've ever seen some of the amazingly large LEGO builds, chances are you already have seen the work of  LEGO Master Builder Erik Varszegi.  Read our interview.

Stephanie on NBC's TODAY SHOW
Tags: Today Show, Hot Toys, Toy Fair
Posted: 2010-04-16 14:52:43

Stephanie shared some of the early front runners for top toys of 2010 on NBC's TODAY Show on Friday, March 5th.  Click here to watch the segment. After attending the American International Toy Fair in New York last month, the toyportfolio.com kicks into gear for a new season of toy testing with their testers throughout the country. As the toys start rolling in, we'll be posting reviews as we go- rather than making consumers wait until the end of the year.  Toys that receive an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award during the Spring and Summer, will be nominated for the year-end Platinum AwardsRead Stephanie's blog for a preview of some promising toys.

Tags: Toy Fair, New Hot Toys, Mattel
Posted: 2010-05-06 19:51:31

Following the success of Rocky the Talking Truck, Mattel is rolling out Stinky the Garbage Truck. He sings, dances, eats garbarge and yes, he farts.  Take a look at his video.

Firestations, Handcuffs, Bubbles, Glow-in-the Dark and Things that go Splat!
Tags: Toy Fair, Hot Toys, Early Favorites, Playmobil
Posted: 2010-04-20 13:57:02

We had a busy day today!  In our travels we saw an amazing Fire Fighters Set from Playmobil (see the video below), Handcuffs and other Spy Wear from Wild Planet, adorable Huggables from Steiff,  a Cow  that blows bubbles from Little Kids, an assortment of glow-in-the dark toys from Crayola and just as I was leaving a toy that goes splat and then regains its shape, no joke.  Read Stephanie's blog for more details.

Dr. Carter G Woodson, Wouldn't He Be Pleased!
Tags: Black History, Books, videos, audio books, Carter G. Woodson,
Posted: 2010-02-22 16:13:59 By: Joanne Oppenheim

February is Black History Month, a tradition that began in the early part of the 20th Century. Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the son of former slaves, became a scholar and was disturbed that black Americans and their contributions were ignored in history books.  Dr. Woodson, earned his Ph.D. from Harvard, and later became known as the Father of Black Month.

Hail to the Chief!
Tags: Presidents, White House,
Posted: 2010-02-18 19:29:28 By: Joane Oppenheim

Celebrate President's Day with a few good books and a great new video. Here are some good choices you will find in the bookstore or the local library.

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