Educator, parent & kid testing goes into each product considered for an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award. We don't accept ads or charge "review fees" from manufacturers or publishers, so you know you're always getting independent opinions. We have awards for the best toys, books, videos, and audio for kids.
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...
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:
Tags: crawling, making things happen, teething, cause and effect
Posted: 2013-04-23 10:09:42
By: Joanne Oppenheim
In a matter of months they learn to turn over, sit up, and before long work at crawling and pulling themselves upright. Now, instead of just watching and listening, the sitting up infant is ready to take hold of things and pass them from hand to hand. Toys are not just for gazing at any longer. They need to be tasted, tossed, banged, and examined from every angle. Babies continue to learn through all their senses. For your baby there is real excitement and a new-found sense of power in being able to make things happen. They are beginning to get a sense of cause and effect and thier own active part in that equation. Do they need all of these? No, but here are some good choices. Click here for several basic learning tools your vertical baby needs:
People often ask us just what kinds of toys new babies need. With so many choices it's hard for new parents and grandparents to know the basic gear from the glut of merchandise that only adds to the clutter in the nursery. To choose toys that really make a difference you need to think of a baby's developmental style of learning. It's through their eyes, ears, nose, mouths, fingers and toes that infants begin to explore and interact with people and things. For the early months, bring home a variety of playthings that stimulate their senses. Some of these are tried and true classics while others are new or updates of classics. Click here for basic gear your horizontal baby needs:
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.
Stephanie shared some of the hot new trends from the International Toy Fair with NBC's Willie Geist and guest host Steve Harvey on the TODAY Show. Check out what got their attention! For more details on the products discussed visit Stephanie's blog.
Tags: Meet the Toymaker, Debra Sterling, Construction Sets, Building Toys
Posted: 2013-02-09 11:55:23
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 onKickstarter - 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.
Posted: 2012-12-26 12:00:38
By: by Joanne Oppenheim
Craft kits and art supplies are perfect gifts that keep on giving. Unlike some toys that come out of the box ready made, these are gifts that involve kids in creative fun. They develop dexterity, patience, problem solving, creative choices and the pleasure of using one's imagination. These are just a handful of some of our favorite crafty choices. Check for other art materials and craft kits on our age appropriate lists to the left and for a short but nice list, Click here to see some winners.
We hope everyone had a happy holiday! Our award winners cover all age groups and every budget - and are good all year round! To see our complete list of award winners, click here. Stephanie shared some of the toyportfolio.com's Platinum Award winners with TODAY Show's Willie Geist.
If you feel like you need a few more small gifts, consider some of these less pricey, but entertaining choices. Check this and scroll down to look at other lists on our front page for small but winning gifts from $10-$20. Click here
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