Peaceable Kingdom Crazy 8's

(Peaceable Kingdom $6.99) A colorful new version of a classic card game. The object, as always, is to get rid of all your cards, but it’s not that simple. Players need to match the number or the suite (in this case the animals) to throw away a card. If they cannot make a match they must take more cards until they do. Draw an 8 and you're in luck—you can match anything! Take this along in the beach bag or flight bag. A quick, fun easy game. 5 & up. Ages: Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar

(Fisher-Price $50) We’ve seen a number of toys designed to introduce young children to coding and this one is designed for the youngest kids. Each segment of the Code-a-pillar has a directional or sound or light symbol on top. Kids snap the segments in the order of their choice and watch their code in action. It’s an open-ended toy that invites kids to experiment and discover if their predictions and actions bring the desired effect. It’s also an empowering toy since kids are in charge of what happens in planning sequences and figuring out how to make the code a pillar to do as they wish. There are add-on segments with different sounds and tricks (three to a pack, $15) that can be purchased

DC Super Hero Girls Power Action Wonder Woman Doll

(Mattel $34.99) Fans of the Super Hero Girls will no doubt like having one or more of the dolls in this collection. You can find Bat girl, Poison Ivy, Bumblebee or the always popular Wonder Woman, who has been saving the world from super villains for generations. This pricey Wonder Woman is a power action doll who has light up bracelets, lifts her arms and speaks with a flick of the lever on her back. Thanks to the popularity of their TV show, there are also action figure mini settings this season featuring the Super Hero girls, something of a novelty in the girl's aisle. Ages: Early School, Tweens Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2016 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.co

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

Mattel Barbie First All Female Ticket

(Mattel $24.99) Yes! Barbie is ahead of the curve in this election season. Newest addition to the long line of “You Can Be Anything” dolls, for 2016. Could it be she’s pointing the way to an all female ticket with Barbie running for President and (fill in the name) running for Vice President. And why not? In this historic election year with a woman running for President on a major party ticket for the first time, this duo is ready for dramatic play on every level. We think this is a toy that says something really important to girls. Girls will love getting two dolls instead of just one; and please note, this duo pack includes a woman of color and the packaging does not indicate which of them

Mattel Barbie Flippin’ Fun Gymnast

(Mattel $29.99) Just in time for the Olympics here is Barbie the Gymnast Coach teaching a small gymnast how to flip off the balance beam and land on the mat. This is something of a one trick pony, but with a magnet built into her feet, this little gymnast is sure to be a winner. Part of the Barbie “You Can Be Anything” collection. 4-7. Ages: Preschool, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2016 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Playskool Mrs. Potato Head Beach Spudette

(Hasbro $14.99) Closest thing to the Mr. Potato Head you probably had when you were a kid. Beach Spudette comes with 17 pieces of beach appropriate props such as sunglasses, straw hat, lobster claws, flip flops, extra eyes, lips and hands. Also a fun way to develop fine motor skills and language of knowing and naming body parts and clothing. Marked for 2 & up, but we think this is more appropriate for true preschoolers and early school age players of 3 to 7, who have the dexterity to put and pull the pieces. SNAP GAME: Play a riddle game of saying: "I Spy with My Little Eye something Mrs. Spudette uses to smell flowers." Or, "I Spy with My Little Eye something Mrs. Spudette uses to hear mus

Barbie Spy Squad Barbie Secret Agent

(Mattel $ 19.99) Choose one or all three of the new multi-cultural Barbie Spy Squad, Secret Agent dolls. Forget about 007, Secret Agent Barbie, a world class gymnast can do cartwheels and flips (thanks to an attachable tool that spins her into action-no batteries needed.) She has two fashion looks; a permanently attached molded armor-like suit is worn under her glamorous long pink coat. Her friends Teresa and Renee have their own secret agent tricks. Renee has a non-removable rappelling gadget that looks like a backpack, so she can drop and then climb 12 inches in a hurry. She transforms from spy to ball gown instantly. Renee Secret Agent doll Barbie Squad secret Agent Teresa transforms form

eeBoo Pretend Play School

(eeBoo $12.00) Here’s a classic pretend scenario with props for playing that old favorite, School. It comes with a Teacher’s Workbook, Handwriting notebook, 4 Mini Classroom posters, 5 Student IDs and Library cards, plus a ruler (we hope just for measuring) a hall pass, merit stickers, and report card. You can enlarge the play by helping them find a chalkboard, pencils and crayons and other school room supplies. BY giving kids props you encourage rich imaginative play. Of course, everyone will want to be the teacher, but maybe a favorite teddy bear or little brother won’t mind taking directions from the teacher. Giving kids the props for pretend encourages them to try on powerful grown-up ro

eeBoo Before & After, A Visual Deduction Activity

(eeBoo $16) It’s said, a picture is worth a thousand words, so how many thousands of words can blossom from the 48 lively action tiles in this storytelling game. There are twenty- four sets of two cardboard tiles, each set has a before and after image; for example, pig has a bright red balloon in a before picture and a string with a remnant of a balloon in the after picture. Matching color backgrounds on each set give an added cue, which is helpful given the number of tiles. Kids can play this solo or cooperatively with adults or older children by mixing up all the cards and putting pairs together in before and after arrangements like a puzzle. Or use them to tell silly stories as the pairs

eeBoo Best Pals’ Diner Pretend Play

(eeBoo $12.99) Kids love pretending to run a restaurant, playing waiter, chef, customer and this little set of props will come in handy for playing diner. The set include 2 menus, a guest check pad, 2 cardboard plates, 17 pieces of cardboard play food and play money. This kind of pretend play develops language and social skills and opportunities for role-playing. These are all-important learning skills that have no right and wrong answers but encourage children to spin their own stories along with communication skills. Marked 3 & up, we think slightly older early school age kids will enjoy this even more and like writing down orders and even do a little math as they add up the checks. Ages:

Janod Tactile Peg Zoo Animal Puzzle

(Janod $17.99) A six-piece puzzle with surprise textures to touch and feel under the peg handled pieces. Though the images are more picture-bookish than realistic, the fun is in feeling the furry and bumpy textures and matching the pieces up. Ages: Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2016 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Janod Punchy Rocking Horse

(Janod $69.99) A charming little wooden painted rocking horse. It’s low to the ground for the steady on their feet toddler set. It does require assembling and it is not super easy to put together. Although it's marked 12-24 months, a beginning walker will need an adult to put him on the horse and stay right there for some gentle rocking. A classic toy for older toddlers. We’d say the sweet spot for this is for steady-on-their-feet toddlers, 18 months and up. Ages: Toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2016 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Janod Animal Musical Puzzle

(Janod $19.99) This is called a musical puzzle, but in fact it's more like a talking puzzle, with animal sounds. A solid five-piece puzzle frame of a house with a cat, bird, mouse, dog and horse. Though the images are more picture-bookish than realistic, the fun is in making the animals sound off. Pick the pieces up and put them in place and they meow, bark, tweet, squeak, and neigh. Each animal has an easy to grasp knob. Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2016 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Janod Giant Jungle Dominoes

(Janod $12.99) Match up part-to-whole images of jungle animals or classic counting dots on these sturdy cardboard dominoes. Play with twenty-eight double-sided dominoes with witty and stylized images of a flamingo, lion, elephant, panda, hippo and other creatures. Or flip them over and play a more traditional game of matching the dots. A solid game choice for building visual perception, memory, color and number concepts and connecting parts to create whole images. Can be played as a turn taking game or solo matching puzzle. 3-7 Ages: Preschoolers, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Janod Dance Academy Hatbox Puzzle

(Janod $19.99) A perfect gift for the young ballerina in your family. A 100-piece puzzle packed in a sturdy hatbox carrying case. The puzzle features a cast of multi cultural dancers. Instead of one big scene, it shows multiple scenes with ballet practice, costume design, dressing for the dance and the big recital on stage. When complete the puzzle is a bit more than 19” X 15” and sure to delight your ballerina. 5-8 Ages: Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2016 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

C.R. Gibson United States Map Floor Puzzle

(C.R. Gibson $16) A fun way to get kids involved with geography, learning the names of the fifty states and state capitals. The colorful pieces are framed with water (sorry Canada) but the states are cut out in their true shapes and decorated with well-known icons as in peaches in Georgia, cactus in Arizona, cows and cheese in Wisconsin. When it’s together this 74-piece puzzle will be 24” x 18”. The only fault we see is the 3+ age label. This is not a preschool puzzle. Preschoolers are not ready for 74-piece puzzles or for learning the names of the states. We suspect this is a label to indicate there are small pieces. Bring this home for early school age kids, who often have a keen interest

C.R. Gibson Set Sail Lacing Cards

(C.R. Gibson $12) Five sturdy cut-out lacing cards, a whale, fish, sailing ship, crab, and seahorse done up in colorful patterns are ready for lacing with five colorful laces. A playful way for children to develop fine motor skills as well as their eye/hand coordination. This is a classic toy done up in fresh and appealing style. The names of the creatures and ship are printed on the back in English, Spanish and French, a little extra for bilingual families. A solo toy that will appeal to both boys and girls. Marked for 3+, we think this will be of more interest to older 4’s, 5’s and even some 6’s Ages: Preschoolers, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2016 Click here to pur

C.R. Gibson Safari Animal Shaped Lacing Cards

(C.R. Gibson $12.00) Five sturdy cut-out animals, a lion, elephant, giraffe,hippo, and rhino in colorful patterns are ready for lacing with five colorful laces. A playful way for children to develop fine motor skills as well as their eye/hand coordination. This is a new version of a classic toy done up in fresh and appealing style. The names of the animals are printed on the back in English, Spanish and French, a little extra for bilingual families. A solo toy that will appeal to both boys and girls. Marked for 3+, we think this will be of more interest to older 4’s, 5’s and even some 6’s. Ages: Preschoolers, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2016 Click here to purchase th

C.R. Gibson Color Wheel Bingo

(C.R. Gibson $14.00) Players each have a playing board with punch out pieces that they take out at the start of the game. Players take turns spinning the color wheel and put back the matching color piece in their puzzle card when they spin the matching color. Unlike most lotto games that involve simple color matching, this game involves fitting the puzzle piece back into the board, requiring some eye/hand and fine motor skills. Knowing and naming the playing pieces can also stretch language skills and reinforce color concepts. The rules are easy to learn and the rounds are fast, so there a plenty of opportunities to learn about winning and losing some. Marked for 3+ this will probably be a b

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Products reviewed by the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio are provided by the manufacturer at their cost. The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio does not require or accept fees for reviewing products.