The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Awards
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.
 
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Bring it On!
Tags:
Posted: 2012-09-27 14:54:34

We keep hearing how our kids are falling behind children of other countries in Science. Sparking their interest in science needs to begin early and it is best done with hands on exploration. Here are some wonderful new products that will need parental involvement, but are on the mark for the early years. Click here for several of our favorites.

Building Big Motor Skills
Tags: toddlers, active play, push toys, ride-ons
Posted: 2012-09-27 09:54:45

Toddlerhood is a sort of remarkable but often murkily defined time between babyhood and preschool. Toddlers are still closer to their inarticulate babyhood than the powerful preschoolers they will become when they can say what they want and don't want. Yet, they are increasingly able to get about and to take steps toward greater independence. Click here to find out what to choose.

Games that Subtract, Multiply,Divide and Add Up To Fun & Learning!
Tags: Math,
Posted: 2012-08-13 09:29:46

During these almost back-to-school weeks there are many ways to refresh math skills. When you play any game give the kids a turn at score keeping. If you keep a jar for coins, this is a good time to have them count it up and if they are able let them put it in coin wrappers from the bank. This may be the time for running a lemonade stand and learning how to make simple change for all takers. This season we received a number of terrific games that are geared to math and family fun. Click here for reviews of a few of the best.

Why It Matters
Tags:
Posted: 2012-04-19 12:27:54

Although small screen games are being played by ever younger kids, the benefits of playing board or card games together are huge. Often the pace is more appropriate for beginners and so are the basic skills built into many of the best games. Simple counting, turn taking, matching, and beginning reading are often part of the games for the early years. But those are only part of the learning. Click here to find out more and reviews of some of the new games.

Important Learning Tools
Tags: puppets, dollhouse, role-play
Posted: 2012-04-19 11:42:36

We are always looking for toys that extend or inspire children's dramatic play. These are props that expand language and communication skills as well as develop imagination. Dramatic play allows children to step outside themselves and try on new roles. Here are a few of the early arrivals that our testers have rated high. Click here for reviews.

Books With Playful Connections
Tags: award winners
Posted: 2012-02-04 13:03:19 By: Joanne Oppenheim

We're delighted to announce the Read It! Play It! Award Winners for 2012. Books are a perfect springboard for inspiring creative games and craft activities. These titles best lend themselves to word games, dramatic play, story telling and art. Congratulations to the award winners!  Click here to see the books and games to play with the first of our Read It! Play It! Winners for 2012.

A Dozen Open-ended Toys
Tags: open-ended toys, construction, art materials, pretend play
Posted: 2011-11-12 14:42:14 By: Joanne Oppenheim

In a year when budgets are tight, choosing toys with long term play value is more important than ever. Almost all new toys are exciting when they come out of the box. The true test comes weeks later. We ask our testers to write to us two or more weeks after they arrive. We want to know if the toy they are testing is still being used and enjoyed. Most of the playthings that measure up in this test are open-ended toys. The best of these are not toys for watching, but rather those that involve active doing. Construction toys, art supplies, puppets, dolls, housekeeping props, miniature settings, and athletic equipment are among the classics that allow kids to shape their own games. Click here for 12 good open-ended choices.

For Every Age
Tags: classics, blue chip
Posted: 2011-11-03 09:55:55 By: Joanne Oppenheim

Every year we see a lot of toys that are "refreshed" with just enough tweeking to make them feel almost new. We sometimes forget that to kids most things are new. It would be a shame if kids missed out on building blocks or crayons or trucks, just because they weren't invented yesterday.  Don't be afraid to bring home some of the favorites you played with not so-o-o-o long ago. Here is a short list of some of this year's Blue Chip list.

Tags: Toys Under $20
Posted: 2011-11-02 12:51:25

Our list is full of fun games, activities, dolls, and other fun props for play. Here are 20 of our favorites for this year. Click here to read the reviews

New Classics in the Making
Tags: wooden toys, classics
Posted: 2011-10-26 10:06:09 By: Joanne Oppenheim

If you prefer the classic look and feel of wooden toys, you are not alone. Most have a longer play life since they avoid the toy dejour stamp of licensed characters; they are not tied into the latest movie or TV hit. Classic toys can be passed from one child to another, even one generation to the next. Click here for some of the best wooden toys on this year's list.

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Products for Toddlers
Products for Preschoolers
Products for Early School Years
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