Early School Years

New Reviews and Articles

 
Tags: Playmobil, pretend play, Construction toys, Castle, Dragon
Posted: 2010-10-01 11:15:54

Castles have made a come back this year in toyland. This set from Playmobil is one of our favorites. Take a look at our video and read our review of the Platinum Award winning set.

Constructive Learning Tools
Tags: preschool building toys, early years building toys, blocks
Posted: 2012-08-13 07:37:11

A recent article in the New York Times indicates a renewed interest in the learning value of block building. Parents and teachers attending block classes are discovering the connections between learning and play. What's the buzz about?  Read our take on this hot topic...

Without Making You or Your Child Cry
Tags: learning toys, spelling, math, map skills, puzzles, educational
Posted: 2010-12-14 20:28:17

When you hear the words "educational toys" chances are you think at once of drill and practice toys that are about as entertaining as chalk squeaking on a board. We know that play itself is one of the important paths to various kinds of learning. Read More...

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.

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