Early School Years

New Reviews and Articles

A Few Choice Ways to Play the Numbers Game
Posted: 2013-10-04 08:36:51

Meaningless counting skills are often offered on crib toys that look more educational than they turn out to be. We're always on the look out for games and toys that build children's true understanding of number concepts with concrete experiences. Click here for a few new products that do just that for preschoolers, early school grades and beyond.

Active Play
Posted: 2013-10-03 12:39:51

Now that the cooler days of fall have come, outdoor play takes on a new vigor. It may be too cold for the beach, but not for the sandbox. This is the season for active games of hopscotch, learning to balance on ride-ons, for raking and jumping in the leaves. It's also a great time take photos of the changing season...go on a hunt for five signs of fall. Here are a few good choices for outdoor fun.

Featured on NBC's TODAY Show
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:39:53 By: by Stephanie and Joanne Oppenheim

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

  Ever wonder how to encourage your kids to explore concepts that may lead to fulfilling career opportunities? We realized that many of the most interesting toys we've reviewed this year may spark some ideas for that age-old question of what to do when you're all grown up. Click here to check out our suggestions.  Stephanie stopped in at the Today Show to discuss these top-rated toys.

These products are also a sneak peek of our Platinum Awards for 2013 - the entire list will be announced next month!

How to help your kids develop it
Posted: 2013-06-13 17:13:32 By: by Joanne Oppenheim

Stick-ability is a skill that does not come naturally or easily. Yet, developing the ability to wait for an event or to deal with the frustration of working at a difficult task and bring it to completion- these are important life and learning skills that children need. Whether they are learning to read, writing a term paper, or baking cookies, patience is often the key to success. Unfortunately you can't teach patience by talking about it. Lectures don't help. Click here for ideas that do help!

As Seen on NBC's TODAY Show
Posted: 2013-06-13 17:12:32 By: by Stephanie and Joanne Oppenheim

Planning a family reunion can be daunting. It sounds fun in theory - but making sure the day is a success requires some advanced planning. Knowing how your family plays well together is also key. Are you like the Kennedy family that enjoys a competitive game of football on the lawn or is a calmer game of bocce more your speed?  Here are some suggestions that will engage a multi-generational crowd with something for everyone. You can watch Stephanie's  segment  from NBC's TODAY SHOW below and Click here to read the complete article.

Watch our fun segment from TODAY!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Through Play
Posted: 2013-06-13 17:14:37

In a world where we expect instant results with the click of a mouse, learning patience is one of the hard to acquire lessons of life. Building tolerance for less than instant results may be one of the true learning skills children need. Some toys come with such skills built into the action. Here are a few good choices...

Young Science Books
Posted: 2013-06-13 17:14:20

Need a taste of spring? Cut a few bare branches from a dormant shrub and bring them inside. Plunk them into a vase and give them a day or two to work their magic! While you are waiting and watching, share a few books that may let you forget about winter. Here are a few new choices:

Fun for Spring Break Time
Posted: 2013-03-06 09:01:31

The first new kits have begun to arrive with fresh and inviting crafts. Many have enough art supplies to share for a play date. We look for kits with clear directions, ample supplies, and materials that introduce kids to skills they can carry forward when the kit is done. While kits are often prescriptive and less than open-ended; they do introduce children to materials and techniques that can be applied in more creative ways. Crafts are more than just entertaining, they develop children's dexterity, patience, decision making and problem solving abilities. Here are a few of the new ones that are noteworthy.

Tags: Meet the Toymaker, Debra Sterling, Construction Sets, Building Toys
Posted: 2013-08-20 11:01:29 By: by Stephanie Oppenheim

I'm often asked how I made the transition from practicing law to playing with toys.  So I decided to start asking other people how they found their way to toyland. I was particularly interested in Debra Sterling, the founder of the new construction toy company GoldieBlox. Debra,  already distinguished as a recent engineering graduate from Stanford, decided to focus on empowering and enticing girls to play at problem solving and building. Drawing on her own experiences, she hopes that such early play will lead more young women to careers in engineering. With her idea formulated, Debra then raised more than $250,000 on Kickstarter - indicating that other people shared her vision. While overseas supervising the production of her first line, we interviewed Debra about her journey.  Her line will be available later this year - we look forward to trying it with our testers! Click here to read our interview.

More than just Scrabble & Upwords
Tags: word play
Posted: 2012-12-18 15:53:16

Word games have always been a passion in our family. Spirited quick rounds of Boggle, a long slow game of Scrabble, and the stack and rack up points of Upwords. We still love these classics, but we are always on the lookout for new ways of playing around with words. These are family games that you can play one on one or as teams, so younger players are not at a disadvantage. Click here to discover some of the new choices.

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