BigJigs Inset 123 Puzzle

(Big Jigs $13) A wooden puzzle board with the numerals from zero to nine. The numerals are slightly thicker than the puzzle board, so they are easy for small hands to lift out. They are brightly colored and have lively patterns on them as well. Under each numeral is a set of objects that matches the numeral. We wish the 9 had a straight side instead of using the printed form that is so similar to the numeral 6 and may be confusing. That said, it's a fun counting toy for beginners. 3 & up Ages: Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Manhattan Toy Thing 1 and Thing 2 Hand Puppet

(Manhattan Toy $22) Straight out of Dr. Suess’ Cat in the Hat come the mischief makers, Thing 1 and Thing 2, only in this case they are both in a single puppet. Turn it one way and you see Thing 1 turn it around there’s Thing 2. We like this plump puppet with red body, white face with stitched features and flowing aqua bright hair. Puppeteers can fit their hands into the mouths and make them move. Thing one has wide open eyes, while Thing 2 has his closed, with an angelic look. Also available, a Thing1 and Thing 2 Plush Play Set ($30) with the two individual dolls ready to reenact the story book actions or make up new tricks. Their red plush bodies can be joined at the hands and or feet with

BigJigs Lowercase Alphabet Puzzle

(BigJigs $26) A classic looking wooden puzzle board with the alphabet letters in lower case format. The colorful letters are slightly taller than the board so they are easier for small hands to lift out. Underneath the lower case letter is printed along with a small image of something that starts with the letter's sound and the matching word is there as well. 3 & up. Ages:Prechoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Manhattan Toy Wee Baby Fella 12” Boy Doll

(Manhattan Toy $22) Here he is, the newest version of Wee Baby Stella, a “fella” and a soft doll that is safe enough for one year olds. He’s done up this season in a bright plaid romper with a purple and aqua pacifier stuck on his face. It has a magnet buried safely inside. As always, the Stella and Fella dolls have a tuft of hair on top and a belly button that tots are amused to discover. His onesy romper comes off and there are a number of other clothing choices that can be bought separately. Also see: Manhattan Toy Wee Baby Stella & Seeds For Stella fans: There is the Snuggle Bunny outfit, a plush pink bunting ($14) with Velcro-style closing and big bunny ears. Her Weekender Wear is a thr

Creativity for Kids Tropical Spa

(Creativity for Kids $25) Having a sleepover? This spa kit will make for a lot of giggles and fun. The Tropical Spa includes three water-based nail polishes in turquoise, pink and melon. It also has an inflatable Flamingo pedicure pool for foot soaks, 136 Nail art stickers, a spa mask, two flower toe separators, a pineapple shaped nail file, and a tropical flower hair tie. 7 & up Ages: Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Creativity for Kids Fun Furry Masks

(Creativity for Kids $13) This is essentially a decorating kit. The five pre-made animal masks come with holders and a supply of stickers made of paper and fabric, fur shapes, felt stickers, printed stickers, no mess adhesive dots, mini markers, and instructions. These are not just fun to decorate, they are sure to be even more fun for kids to use in dramatic play as they use their whole bodies in pretend. We think the 5-year old age on the package is somewhat unrealistic for some. Treat these are props for pretend and give them a hand as they manipulate some of the stickers. 5 & up. Ages: Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from Amazo

Creativity for Kids My Story Dolls

(Creativity for Kids $15) We wonder how many children today have ever seen a clothes pin or a drying line? Back in the day, before the advent of clothes dryers ( and even afterwards ) wooden clothes pins were a basic household item. Even then, crafty folks used them for making little dolls. This throwback craft is now packaged in My Story Book Dolls kit. It comes with six wooden clothes pins PLUS dozens of doo-dads for creating a cast of one-of-a-kind dolls. The kit includes stick-on faces with a range of skin tones and mood expressions. It comes with precut clothing and yarn for making hair, stands to hold the dolls upright, a glue stick, self adhesive rhinestones, chenille stems, fabric ta

Crayola Palm-Grasp Crayons

Crayola $15 A set of egg-shaped crayons designed for the youngest scribbler. The easy fit in the palm of the toddler’s hand allow for beginning exploration of color and lines. We found the color to be strong and pleasing. These are washable from skin and clothing. These will also be useful for children with fine motor disabilities. Ages: Toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Crayola Washable Tripod Grip Markers

(Crayola $15) A set of 8 triangular shaped washable markers with intense colors. Designed to help kids learn proper writing grip, these fit into a toddlers hand with ease and have the added asset of not rolling off of table tops, the way round markers do. Perhaps on purpose, the caps are very hard to get off, so these will require adult help for opening and closing. We would point out that caps on any markers are likely to fit in a choke tube and are a choking hazard for children who still mouth their toys. We suggest toddlers would be safer with chunky crayons, but if you are using markers, put the caps out of reach. Marked 24 months & up, we’d say these are a better choice for preschoolers

Creativity for Kids Sequin Pets, Happy the Hedgehog

(Creativity for Kids $25) Happy the Hedgehog is a heavy huggable armful, designed to decorate, hold, and pet ( without the need to go to the veterinarian.) Run your hand over Hedgie’s sequin back and the sequins change directions and their look! Hedgie comes with reusable felt stickers that can be used and reused. Designed in a brown velour like body, Hedgie is seriously weighted to give it heft. 5 & up. SNAP: A comfort toy that responds with a touch of the hand. Given its weight, Hedgie also seems to offer a greater sense of "being there" when needed. Ages: Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Faber-Castell Coloring with Clay

(Faber-Castell $15.00) An interesting way to introduce children to “drawing” and coloring with clay. In this case, the set comes with 12 vivid non-drying clay colors along with clay tools, four printed design boards, plus several blank boards. We like that kids can discover how to add three-dimensional textures and color to an image and also gives them a chance to try the blank page and create their own images. The clay sticks to the boards without glue. It's a kit that introduces kids to another art form. If you want to see perfection in coloring with clay, check out Joanne's award winning book, Have You Seen Birds? (Scholastic) with beautiful illustrations done in clay by Barbara Reid. 6

Creativity for Kids Create with Clay Dinosaurs Kit

(Creativity for Kids $15.00) A little bit a science, art and pretend come together in this colorful kit. It comes loaded with three dinosaur fossils, a triceratops, T-Rex and Stegosaurus. The artful part begins as kids use the non-drying colored clay to cover the bony fossils and add wiggly eyes. There is no right or wrong way to design these and no two will be alike. There are also two tools that can be used to smooth on the clay or create patterns. Once done, these can be displayed or used for dramatic play. 5 & up. Ages: Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Manhattan Toy Groovy Girls 2018

(Manhattan Toy $16 & up) We’ve always been Groovy Girl fans and this year is no exception. With their soft bodies, yarn hair and stitched features, these are classics, ready for pretend play, comfort, and uncomplicated playmates that allow kids to use their imagination. This season’s new dolls are all refreshingly special. Consider Sunshine ($16) with her yellow zig-zaggy hair, red and white bathing suit, and flower trimmed beach sandals. Like all Groovy Girl doll shoes, they are sewn on so they won’t go lost. But her sunsuit can be removed and will reveal the standard Groovy Girl belly button. A nice birthday gift for summer. Kat ($16)comes with black string hair, sparkly pink slippers, den

Manhattan Toy Twiggies Billy 16”

(Manhattan Toy $13.00) Now here’s a bunny that should be able to leap...not just hop. Twiggies BIlly has long, long skinny legs covered in knit fabric halfway up and then changing to furry white silky plush to the waist. From there on Billy’s chest is blue and white knit and his head is white plush with extra-long silky white ears. With stitched features, this clutch-able huggable bunny is part of a new collection of other long-limbed critters. Our other fav in this new line is Twiggy Sammy, a greyish/tan deer with a Rudolph red nose and soft antlers. Ages: 12 months & up Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

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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.