Watch our segment from the Today Show October 2nd
Posted: 2012-09-30 12:32:00
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.
We are always grateful to the families that make this process so much fun. This year more of our first group of toy testers headed off to college-- how is that possible! Our complete Platinum, Gold, Blue Chip and SNAP Award winners for 2012 can be viewed by clicking here. Congrats to all our award winners!
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.
Posted: 2012-10-08 08:25:12
By: Joanne Oppenheim
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....
Posted: 2012-10-11 09:25:42
As holidays and family get togethers approach, finfing ways to make the miles fly--from here to there--calls for special planning with kids. Getting there is rarely half the fun, but it can be a lot easier when you have some treats in your travel bag. Click here to find out what to pack....
Why It Matters
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
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
Posted: 2012-02-04 13:03:19
By: Joanne Oppenheim
For your very own prince (or princess) that has trouble going to sleep!
Posted: 2013-07-29 11:24:20
We couldn't let this week go by without reminding you of Joanne's The Prince's Bedtime (which is appropriately being sold at the Buckingham Palace Gift Store!) If you have or know a little one that has trouble getting to sleep, this is a must read! Even better, you can order your paperback copy now (it also comes with a audio CD narrated by Jim Boadbent) for only $9.99 by clicking here.
Non Fiction for Beginners
Posted: 2012-01-10 13:20:48
Some children enjoy non-fiction more than the once-upon a time kinds of storybooks. They are hungry for information about the real world. Here are a few good choices to buy or bring home from the library.
Science Learning Begins Early
Posted: 2012-08-13 09:30:57
When you think of science toys if the first thing that comes to mind is a chemistry set - think again! If your eyes glaze over at the thought of science kits as boring old learning toys, blame that on the past and take a fresh look! Children have a natural curiosity for toys, books, and films that involve science and discovery. Wake up your wonder and theirs with these science activities. This is the time of year to
1- Bring in some branches of forsythia and watch it bloom.
2- Plant some seeds or bulbs and watch them take off on the windowsill.
3- Do some cooking and talk about how substances change and what causes them to do so.
4- Inspect snowflakes with a magnifying glass.
5- Add some white paint to the easel and have kids mix up some pastels paints.
6- Click Here for some great new and classic choices to keep that enthusiasm alive and well.
A Dozen Open-ended Toys
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.