Platinum Toys for Tweens & Teens

October 27, 2016

 

 

Construction

 

Goldie Blox Invention Mansion

 

(Goldie Blox $59.99)

Goldie’s back and this season she’s fashioned an amazing Invention Mansion that is what her creator, Debbie Sterling calls the “anti-dollhouse” that looks like no other mansion around. In fact, since there is no right or wrong way to build it horizontally or vertically, each young builder will likely be creating a unique mansion. It has 350+ pieces that kids can assemble in endless ways. Like any mansion it can include a secret trapdoor, a zipline, levers, axles, and building boards. Step-by-step directions show builders how to make the bones of the building and then more instruction pages in the manual illustrate how to make a wackie stove that flips and rotates, a catwalk, awnings, and a drawbridge, among other engineering creations. Play figures, Goldie, and her pal Ruby are packed with all these sturdy components that combine problem solving, science and creativity with dramatic play. An exciting new build marked for 6 and up. Although the directions have a lot of pictorial support, we suspect younger kids will need adult help to get this going. We think the sweet spot will be more like 9-12.

 

Ages: Early School, Tweens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

LEGO Friends Amusement Park Roller Coaster

 


(LEGO $99) For Lego Friends who like to have fun, here’s the really big build with a 1,124-piece Amusement Roller Coaster construction set, that's due to arrive the 1st of August, just in time for county and state fairs everywhere. When complete, it’s a fairly tame looking roller coaster with blue tracks and limited elevations that are fun to use for dramatic play. But that’s not all, the amusement park set includes a spin drop platform as well as a motor driven Ferris wheel that will not take hours of intricate building to figure out. But wait, one more detail— you couldn’t have an Amusement park without a turnstile entry, a hotdog stand and a cotton candy stand. Lego left nothing out. Best of all there’s plenty of action once it’s all together. A fun filled miniature setting for the four Friends figures to enjoy once it’s all put together. Our 11-year old tester loved making this mini setting that she and her brother used for dramatic play. 8-12

 

Ages: Tweens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

LEGO STAR WARS Rebel U-Wing Fighter

 

(LEGO $79.99) If you're looking to make a huge hit with a LEGO STAR WARS fan, this rebel space ship will likely due to the trick. The cockpit opens as do the side of the craft so that figures can emerge. Also pleasing to fans, it comes with five minifigs: Bistan, Rebel Tropper, U-Wing Pilot, Cassian Andor and Jyn Erso. Comes with 659 pieces so this is not for a beginner builder. Be forewarned, there are small projectiles - so be careful with younger siblings. 8 & up.

 

Age: Early School Years, Tweens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

Crafts

 

Creativity for Kids Tassel Bracelets 

 

(Creativity for Kids $16.99)Our tester loved, loved, loved this craft kit that made not one or two but seven must-have-totally-in-style tassel bracelets—a different color bracelet for every day of the week. It comes with over 200 beads, seven charms, and seven stylish tassels. Kids will probably need help tying off the stretchy thread, which is rather fine. That said, the finished products are nice enough to wear with pride or to make-and-give as gifts to friends. This would also make a nice kit for a play date or party. You might want to have a drawing as to the color each girl will get‑putting the color into chance instead of free choice. Marked 7 & up. We think 8 & up will love it, too

 

Ages: Early School, Tweens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

 

Horizon Just My Style Emoticon Message Beads

 

(Horizon Group $9.97) An amazing assortment of beads: some with words, letters, numbers, hearts, hashtags, and best of all—emoticon faces. Some are tiny, some are round, rectangular, square or heart shaped. The kit includes neon stars and hearts as well as elastic cord, Chinese knotting cord, satin skeins and transfer sheets with faces and other images; all this at a remarkable price. If you need birthday gifts for lots of parties, this is a go-to choice. There are enough beads and cords to make more than 20 pieces of jewelry. This is a wonderful choice for play dates, great birthday gift, or keep busy art project with wearable finished products. Marked for 6 -9, we do think slightly older girls will enjoy this, especially the small beads that will be challenging to 6 and 7’s.

 

Ages: Early School, Tweens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

 

 

 

Ann Williams Pom Purse Kit

 

(Ann Williams $16.99) Anything but instantaneous, the Pom Purse kit is an unusual craft kit that comes with a pre-made canvas clutch. You can draw a pattern on it and then (with adult assist) put an adhesive coat on one side of the purse. Now you’re ready to place the dozens of tiny pom-poms on the surface of the bag. Once the deed is done (an adult assist again) the adhesive is activated by ironing the inside of the bag. Ooops! Almost forgot, braid the yarn that comes with the kit to make a shoulder strap and attach it the loops on the bag. This is a kit that calls for fine motor skills, patience as the pom-poms are placed, and adult help. It’s marked 6 and up but even with help with the ironing, we think the fine work needed for this make this more suitable for 8’s and up.

 

Ages: Early School, Tweens, Teens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

CRAFTIVITY - Lovely Lights

 

(Faber-Castell $19.99) Our tester loved this set of plastic tea light globes. It comes with everything you need to decoupage the bowls with circles of tissue paper that are translucent. Add paint to the rim and decorate the decoupage with some of the goodies added to the kit. Once the decorating is done add the battery operated tea lights and turn down the room lights. This takes a short learning curve to spread the paint in a small area and then pick up one tiny tissue at a tine with a wet paintbrush. It’s a quick and easy way to learn about doing decoupage. Best of all when they are all done, they’ll have two lovely lights for their room.12 & up.

 

Ages: Tweens & Teens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 


 

 

 

WobbleWorks 3Doodler Start

 

(WobbleWorks $49 and up)

As our tester put it, this is like a glue gun only it’s loaded with plastic rods that you use with stencils AND there are no hot parts to worry over. The plastic comes out like soft string and hardens quickly. The Super Mega Pen set ($99) we tested kit comes with the pen, eight different color packs of plastic, and a project book for making figures, charms, and other decorative items. The doodler needs to be charged and then it can be used without being plugged in. Our eleven-year old tester thought this was the best toy ever! The Essential Pen set ($49) has only two packs of plastic and USB, pen, and instruction book.

 

Ages: Tweens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

Games

 

Gamewright Sushi Go Party

 

(Gamewright $21.99)

We’ve told you about Sushi Go and now Sushi Go Party is the deluxe expanded version set—something like ordering one of those boat size extravaganzas. This updated game has a lot more sushi choices on the menu! You earn your points the same way, by picking winning combinations. The good thing is, you can make your own customized game with a la carte choices. This set is good for up to 8 players. Comes in a tin storage box with 181 cards, 22 menu tiles, 8 wooden pawns, a game board and rule booklet. Calls for looking at details (visual discrimination) and strategy.8 & up.

 

Ages: Tweens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Blue Orange Dr. Eureka

 

(Blue Orange $18.99)

An unusual “scientific” looking game that comes with test tubes and colorful marbles (symbolic molecules) that players must rearrange to match the formula card for the round. You do this by being the first player to move the colorful marbles in your three test tubes without touching them with your bare hands -- before the other players. It’s a real brainteaser of a game and can be played solo or competitively. It comes with 12 plastic test tubes, 24 colorful marbles, and 54 Challenge Cards. Requires logical thinking, problem solving, and eye hand skills. Good family game night fun. Best for kids 8 & up, up, up.

 

Ages: Tweens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

 

Gamewright Cardventures Stowaway 52

 

(Gamewright $11.99) Play this solo or with a friend, it’s a cardventure with choices that make it different each time you play. Stowaway is a space adventure. You are aboard an alien ship that is going to attack earth and it’s your mission to stop it from happening! Each time you draw a card you must make a new decision. Will you destroy the engine room? Reprogram the computer? It’s up to you. This is a lot like choose-you-own-adventure books with multiple choice adventures, depending on the pages you choose to read? Each card involves some reading and then making a choice between two options. Our testers liked the fun of switching gears constantly after reading the next path to adventure. Also good fun, Jump Ship, a pirate adventure. Marked 8 & up, but we think slightly older kids will like this more. 

 

Ages: Tweens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Gamewright Skiwampus - The Full-Tilt Brain Game

 

(Gamewright $17.99) Deal out twelve diamond shaped cards to each player and put three challenge chips in the middle of the table. Chips have challenges such as even numbers, sum of 21, all colors. At the start of the round players choose a task on one of the challenge chips and quickly as possible try to complete the task by arranging the tips of the diamond cards that match the challenge. As soon as the cards are arranged, the player puts his challenge chip on his cards and it cannot be disturbed. But watch out! Another player can be working on the same challenge and if she’s faster, she may get to keep that arrangement. Winner needs to out-maneuver other players by being quick to spot the colors, numbers or patterns, since everyone plays at once. At the end of three rounds, players count the pips on the rim of the chips they have claimed. Whoever has the highest score wins. A fast-paced math game to sharpen visual perception and math skills. For 2-6 players, Approx 15 minutes. 10 & up.

 

Ages: Tweens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

 

High Tech Toys

 

 

Anki Cozmo

 

(Anki $179.99) Truly a 21st century toy. We fell in love with the charming robot Cozmo from the start. He's super small and cute as he moves on  and reminds of Wall-e. He has an appealing personality when he talks and plays games. He's not always a good sport. Cozmo comes with play cubes that form the foundation for games he wants to play with you. The APP is updated with new games to play with Cozmo. You need either an iOS or Antroid device to run the APP on. All of our testers thought Cozmo was innovative and fun -- but did feel he was a novelty. He does require some training and getting-to-know -you time to fully appreciate his moods. That said - he's not your father's remote control robot.

 

Age: Tweens, Teens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase on Amazon.com

 

 

Star Wars Smart App Enabled R2-D2 Remote Control Robot RC

 

(Hasbro  $137.99)

 

R2D2 had us at the first iconic beep. Our tween testers loved that they could program him to move in a certain way. R2D2's grey and blue top moves back and forth just as it does in the movies. He lights up and makes the entire range of sounds (we challenge you not to smile as he goes through his routine). As the title suggested, this beloved droid is controlled by an APP that our testers felt was easy to navigate.  This will be a big hit with tweens, teens and adults.

 

 

 

 

 

Ages: Tweens, Teens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sphero BB-8 & Forceband

 

(Sphero $80-200)

 

Last year’s must-have toy just took a spin for the better, really. Last year it was controlled by your smart phone. Forget that. Now with a matte finish and some battle scars, the new special edition BB-8 runs on hand signals. Of course, you’ll need the Force Band, a device you wear on your wrist. To drive the ball forward you push your hand forward, lift your hand it will go faster, lower your hand to make it go slower, and wave your hand toward you tell it to reverse. Want the bot to go left of right? Just point that way. Each and every motion is orchestrated with beeps and amusing sound effects. Purchase the Force Band ($80) separately or in a bundle with the special edition BB-8 ($200) The Force Band will work with a BB-8 if it has Bluetooth LE connectivity: The SPRK, the Ollie, and the classic BB-8 bot are all compatible. Your Force Band charge will last for about 60 to 90 minutes.

 

Ages: Tweens, Teens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

Edu-Science Interactive Globe

 

(Toys R Us $99) A globe is a useful resource for the whole family and this talking globe with a Reading Pen turns geography into a playful game. Our tester liked being able to touch the globe with the sensor pen to get the name of the country, a city, population, geographic characteristics, climate and more. There is also a quiz program, but unfortunately, if you get the wrong answer it doesn’t tell you the right answer. That said, this made a hit with our tester and confirmed that school aged kids generally have a fascination for maps and the symbols we use to picture our world. Keeping that interest alive is no small thing in a world where the news of sports and other events comes into our homes via the computer, TV, and newspapers 24/7. Being able to picture where these things are happening in relation to where kids are is a way to enlarge their understanding of that news and their place in the world.  Offered exclusively at Toys R Us. 8 & up.

 

Ages: Tweens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

 

Stikbot Studio Pro

 

(Zing $39.99) Last year’s Toy Portfolio Platinum Award winner has been updated this season. Basically, what’s new is the addition of what they call a magic changing 2-in1 Z reversible screen and extra figures all in one set. Now film makers can have a green or blue background. Otherwise our review of last year’s winner stands: For any fan of stop-motion movies, the Stikbot Studio set from Zing is one of the best toys around. With two Stikbots and one tripod to hold you phone, you can explore the art of making your own movie. What makes this set so great is the flexibility and stability of the Stikbots. The suction cups at the end of their arms and legs are strong enough to allow creativity when posing the models. The tripod is also well made, allowing users to change the height of the camera. And who doesn't want to make a stop motion video of Stikbots break-dancing their little hearts out? Includes a free app for i-phone and Android. The app really adds a lot to the versatility of this product, giving you background scenes to take your stikbots to the moon, the beach or into the blue skies. Or kids can use a photo of your own house or yard as background settings. Use the green screen and box (which disappear) to animate the stikbots as if they are floating on air. Extra stikbots are available for crowd scenes. Note: The box for less expensive Pro versions($25) shows three stikbots but only two come in those packages. We like the six pack in this set; if you buy extra figures a six pack cost ($21) so this combo set is a good buy. Our tester found the suction cups work better on a stone counter than on a wooden desktop. But in fact, they are designed to stick to the green or blue platform. It’s still ridiculously marked for 4 and up, but nothing here is for preschoolers or even most early school aged kids. That said, it’s a terrific way of exploring movie making and animation. 8 and up, up, up.

 

Ages: Tweens, Teens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

Draw Circuits

 

(CircuitScribe $59.99)

 

A wonderful introduction to circuits that really makes the concepts understandable in an engaging format with fun exercises. The set comes with a conductive ink pen and magnetic modules to create functional circuits. We love the easy to follow STEM workbook that takes you through the steps of closing circuits (some require both the pen and the placement of your finger!). There are bigger sets but we'd start with the basic set.

 

Ages: Tweens, Teens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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