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. We have awards for the best toys, books, videos, and audio for kids.
 
Latest Reviews
 
New Articles and Posts
Seven New Favorites
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Posted: 2011-09-22 12:48:06 By: Joanne Oppenheim

If you would like a change of pace from your tried and true (and still great) Monopoly, Candyland, and Scrabble, have we got good news for you! This was the year of innovative games. Try these for now and stay tuned, more games to come. Click here to find some of the top picks of the season.

That Build New Skills
Tags: building toys build skills, dexterity, math concepts, eye hand coordination, creativity, imagination, language
Posted: 2011-09-22 12:34:16 By: Joanne Oppenheim

Construction toys are more than fun. They are basic gear for many important kinds of learning. Age appropriate building toys change as children grow from toddlers to teens. Click here to see the review.

Science Books for Young Readers
Tags: bugs, dinosaurs, tadpoles, experiments, aquatic creatures
Posted: 2011-07-07 10:53:32 By: Joanne Oppenheim

For many of us, the thought of science books is a reminder of some old boring textbooks we "had" to read. Forget about that. Click here for some of the new choices books for young scientists in the making.

For Girls and Boys
Tags: gender free toys
Posted: 2010-10-20 13:44:54 By: Joanne Oppenheim

Finding toys that do not play on gender stereotypes is a lot easier these days than it used to be. Although there is still plenty of pink and lavender out there that screams--Girls Only and plenty of black with skulls and eyeballs shouting--Boys Only, there are less gender specific choices that will be enjoyed by children of either sex. Click here to read more.

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Posted: 2012-12-21 16:17:55

As promised, we are going to keep bringing you last minute suggestions that will not break the bank. Scroll down and check out earlier lists. Here are five winners that are sure to please.

Watch our segment from the TODAY SHOW
Tags: Today Show, Olympics, London Olympics 2012, toys, geography, APPS, Games
Posted: 2012-08-13 14:31:13 By: by Stephanie and Joanne Oppenheim

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

The Olympics are the perfect opportunity to make a connection for your kids that they are part of a global community.  Watch Stephanie from the TODAY SHOW on how to make the most of the Olympics with your kids.

Perchance to Dream...
Tags: open-ended. creative play, child-centered
Posted: 2010-03-29 07:51:12 By: Joanne Oppenheim

So many parts of the day do not allow for creativity. Our children's busy lives are often shaped by daily routines that leave little time for daydreaming. Click here for suggestions that will spark your child's imagination.

Forget the Flashcards!
Tags: Beginning readers, matching skills, word games, visual discrimination, storytelling
Posted: 2010-01-10 20:17:08 By: Joanne Oppenheim

In our eagerness to help beginning readers parents often think that books that are harder will give their kids an advantage. With the best intentions, beginners get bogged down with flashcards, workbooks and are urged to "sound-it-out!" Instead of books being a shared pleasure, too often they become a source of tension. If you want to build a love of reading begin with books that build your child's fluency and ease with reading. Children need a sense of success and can-do power that comes with feeling confident. This is more important than trying to rush them to the next level. Bring home easy to read books with few words, even books with no words that your child tells from the picture clues. 

Patience is More Than a Virtue...It's a Must!
Tags: patience, frustration, stick-ability
Posted: 2010-01-04 17:46:17 By: Joanne Oppenheim

Patience is one of those skills that does not always 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 skills 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!

...sort of
Tags: ABCs, Educational Games, ABC Books, Alphabet
Posted: 2009-09-14 08:01:10 By: Joanne Oppenheim
Comments: Post the first

Learning the alphabet is one of those basic skills that children often learn by rote as they sing the classic Alphabet Song that ends with "Now I know my ABC's."  But knowing how to sing the letters does not mean they really do know their ABC's.

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