Among the best gifts of the season are art materials that can be used for getting into the spirit of the holidays and those that will be used after the festivities are over. Among the craft kits we found this year are those for making gifts for others. We also found many outstanding open-ended art supplies for school projects or quiet afternoons--glitter glue, double sided colored pencils, fat crayons and more. Arts and crafts are not just fun. They invite kids to use their creativity while developing their fine motor skills and the important ability to follow step-by-step directions. You will find many more art materials in our age appropriate lists. Here are some of the top choices we found this season.
Posted: 2012-10-24 14:08:00
By: by Joanne Oppenheim
Dolls are classic gifts that fill a special place in the imaginary life of children. To toddlers and preschoolers, a doll or stuffed animal can be a comfort to hold onto in tight situations, or an imaginary playmate that will listen and take orders. For older children, a doll or action figure can be a far more elaborate character in their pretend play. Dolls from history, fashion figures or action heroes can be used for trying on grown up roles or making up imaginary adventures. Dolls are not one-size-fits all.
Shopping for kids with special needs can be challenging but not daunting. To simplify we look for ordinary toys that you can adapt to build skills while they are having fun. Keep in mind that kids want toys that are like their siblings and you want to bring home toys that play to their strengths. Check all of our lists. Go to Search at the top of the home page and check the SNAP box and enter the year. We have dozens of SNAP items for 2012, but check out 2011 as well. Many of our SNAP reviews have games and adaptation suggestions. Here are a handful of our favorites.
As a kick off to the 2012 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Awards, we were featured on the TODAY Show. The focus of the segment -- the best educational toys of the year. There are so many products that make this list in our book, but alas we can't show all of them in four minutes. Click here to read the complete reviews of the products featured. At the same time we encourage you to look through your child's age range to find so many other outstanding award winners. To watch Stephanie's segment with Al Roker, click here.
This year's Oppenheim Toy Portfolio 2012 Awards cap off another wonderful busy year of testing for the best. As always we looked at hundreds and hundreds of toys. We're looking for the most engaging, innovative, well-designed toys of the year. The best of the best go on to our network of toy testers all over the country to give us their feedback. For this season we had testers as far as Alaska, Hawaii and even London in the mix. In additional you'll find books, audios and DVDs to enjoy together.
Our mission remains the same: to take the guesswork out of finding wonderful products to share with your kids. We hope you'll find our list useful! Please join us on facebook, twitter, and pinterest as we update our coverage as toy season heats up!
All our best,
Joanne and Stephanie
You can watch Stephanie's segment on the Today Show here.
At dinner in an upscale restaurant the other night, we sat beside a family with two small boys. One was probably about half past two and the other four at most. One sat with Mommy the other sat opposite with Dad. The two boys never looked up nor did the family talk about anything. Mom was eating dessert and dad was drinking his coffee. The boys were completely engrossed with their parents' smart phones. The younger boy seemed to be doing nothing but moving his finger from right to left. After a time he lifted the phone to hand it to mom, who didn't seem to notice until the phone fell on the floor as mother and child gasped. The child put his hands over his face in horror and when he was scolded looked totally mournful. He slowly formed the words, sorry mommy...and looked away. Click here to find out what happened next....
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.
Games that Subtract, Multiply,Divide and Add Up To Fun & Learning!
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.
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.
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