Blue Orange Happy Bunny Game

(Blue Orange $19.99) It takes a little time to set up the carrot patch, but once all the carrots are planted in the playing board, this is a pretty easy-to-earn cooperative game for beginning game players. Some of the carrots in the patch have been "nibbled on" by Bunny and the others are still whole with no teeth marks. Players take turns throwing the color die and lead the wooden bunny playing piece to a matching color space on the board. The numeral on the space allows the player to pick that number of carrots. Players must sort the carrots, giving the nibbled ones to bunny and the whole ones to the farmer. At the end of the game players line up the carrots. Who has more—the farmer or the

Playmonster Automoblox Minis

(Playmonster $11.99 each) Choose single Automoblox vehicles that are fun to take apart and rebuild like a puzzle and then use for dramatic play. Newest in the collection are three different 12-piece vehicles. There is a pickup truck, the T15L Grizzly with wood chassis and black translucent roof and red rimmed tires. Or look for the C11 Nebulous, a sportscar with turquoise roof and tires. Or look for the C12 Ciper ($13.99) that looks something like a Porche when assembled with natural wood body and orange wheels and roof. These make great stocking stuffers as well as excellent birthday gifts for party goers. Marked 4 +, but a god choice for 5-7s. Ages: Older Preschoolers, Early School Oppenhe

PlayMonster Automoblox Minis Sets

(PlayMonster $23.99) Two new sets with two vehicles in each set will give players multiple ways to assemble cars that look like the ones pictured, as well as their own creations with the interchangeable parts. We have written about Automoblox vehicles for years; they are like elegant puzzles to assemble in multiple ways and then use for dramatic play. These 2-packs include the HR5 Scorch, a wooden toned chassis with red roof and matching tires. It looks something like a classic Lincoln Continental. The other vehicle is a sports car with natural wood body and purple tires and top. The set has 24 pieces. The X10 Timber Pack set ($23.99) has 18 pieces and features a rugged four-wheel drive veh

VTech Bright Lights Soccer Ball

(VTech $24.99) Take the batteries out if you just want a fabric ball to roll around with baby. This soft ball is printed with numerals and graphics and has two fabric hands with crinkle sounds. Turn on the batteries and the ball will make random sounds and music and lights up on the big yellow button with a face. Older babies will like the power of making something happen by pushing the button for lights ad sounds. However, some babies may find the sounds startling. For them remove the batteries and let them just enjoy the fun of rolling the ball back and forth or chasing after it! There is no toy more desirable for young toddlers than a ball…just be sure it is soft so it won’t hurt. SNAP: M

Steiff Sissie Schwein

(Steiff $17.99) This little piglet, sitting on my desktop, is adorable! Done in pink plush with tan hooves and snout, it’s body is floppy and under-stuffed. Sissie will be enjoyed by young preschoolers as a fistful to carry along from home. Since it’s filled with pellets, it will also make a wonderful beanbag for games or just throwing up in the air and catching. A cute little doll that will bring on smiles. SNAP: Soft and light enough for children to grasp easily. Good for tossing games that will not bend back fingers or hurt if the toy hits. Ages: all ages Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018

Playmonster Moluk oogi

(Playmonster $9.99 & $14.99) Bring home an oogi ( or maybe two). Oogie is the centerpiece of a group of stretchable toys with suction cups that can be positioned in endless ways. An Oogi alone would make a good desk toy for adults in need of a few moments of relaxation in the office. But kids will use them to spin their own stories and actions with the whimsical, faceless, long armed figures. They'll use them like action figures in little dramas of the child's own imaginings. Also fun, for nighttime entertainment, add the Glow-in-the-Dark Oogies. Marked 3 & up, but probably more fun for older preschoolers and early school age kids and their grownups. Ages: Preschoolers, Early School Oppenhe

Blue Orange Cubeez, The Silly Face Race

(Blue Orange $14.99) Players choose the color they want from four sets of cubes, each with facial features on them. To play a face card is turned up and players race to match their rectangle and two cubes to the image on the card. First player to do so gets to keep that card. Winner is the first to collect 10 cards. It’s a quick playing game with many rounds so you win some and lose some—an important lesson in gamesmanship. It’s also a matching game that calls for looking at details instead of quick guessing. 6 & up. Ages: Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Blue Orange Where’s Mr. Wolf Cooperative Game

(Blue Orange $19.99) Once the game is set up, players work together to get the animals rounded up and put into the barns before Mr. Wolf catches them. The animal disks playing pieces are turned and placed in one of four barns with matching images on the roof. There are wolf disks among the animals, so beware! If Mr. Wolf gets to move up the stone path before the animals are safe in their barns, the wolf wins the game! It’s a clever way to support cooperative play where winning or losing is against the wolf rather than another player. A game for 1-4 players. Age 4 & up. Ages: Preschool, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Crayola Neon Sidewalk Paint Markers

(Crayola $19.99 set of four/$4.99 for singles) Our testers couldn’t wait to get outside and try these sidewalk markers and they were not disappointed. They come in many neon colors and leave bold colors on the sidewalk. Use for a sidewalk art show, hopscotch, mega tic tac toe board or whatever creative ideas appeal. Note: Directions indicate that you may need pressure hose to remove the paint from concrete or asphalt sidewalks/drives. They suggest testing before you use it. Our tester had no problem with regular hose. These markers are reloadable with Crayola Sidewalk paint. Marked not for children under 3, but we think these make more sense for school aged kids and suggest sidewalk chalk fo

Leap Frog Tad’s Fridge Phonics

(Leap Frog $35) Magnetic letters will get a lot of play on the refrigerator door. A classic game for preschoolers. This set of letters come with a big red apple that names the letters and the sounds they say and also sings songs to reinforce the letter names and sounds. There are three levels of play here, some more appropriate for older preschoolers and young early grade students. Playing around with the letters and learning their names is a good place to start. This set also includes magnet holders for photos of family members. Marked 2 & up, but we suggest twos don’t ned to learn letter name—they are still learning to talk and that’s a big enough challenge. Hold the letters and phonics fo

Blue Orange MindoO Robot, My First Logic Game

(Blue Orange $10.99) There are several different themed sets of Mindo, challenging logic card games. We tested the Robot Edition, a brainteaser with colorful images of robots on the playing cards. The game comes with 60 challenge cards that show a color pattern that the player must assemble with the double-sided playing tiles. The robots need not be standing on their feet, but the tiles are tricky to arrange and just when you think you have solved the puzzle you do not have the one piece you need and have to rearrange the tiles all over again. It takes patience and some trial and error (perhaps more than logic) to make the match. Happily, the solution is printed on the back of every challeng

Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Paintbrush Pens

(Crayola $17.99) It’s magic! Crayola's no-drip Color Wonder paintbrushes show up only on the special Color Wonder Paper included in the package. The paint will not color skin, furniture, walls or any other places your preschooler decides to draw. This set comes with five markers in red, orange, green, yellow and blue. There’s a 24-sheet page drawing pad that works its magic only on one side. Note, one of our testers complained that the pens didn’t work—he was drawing on the wrong side. It’s an open-ended way for preschoolers to explore making lines, squiggles and scribbles. This is for 3s and up since the tops of the paintbrushes could be a choking hazard. These do not replace regular paints

Steiff Belly Rabbit Rattle

(Steiff $15.99) Just under 6” this grab-able fabric rattle is perfect for playing lap games with infants. Use this quiet rattle to attract baby’s attention for tracking games. As baby can reach out and hold onto objects, this is soft and friendly. Also special, an easy to grasp, under-stuffed piggie, incredibly soft and silky Little Floppy Sissi Piglet ($17.95) Sisssi makes no noise, but is sure to cause happy squeals from baby. Use it for tracking with baby. It’s just the right size to fit in a little hand later as a comfort toy. Ages: Infants Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Steiff Honey Teddy 16”

(Steiff $39.95) A tan honey bear with a honey-sweet smile to please any child. With bean bags at his rear, paws and soles, Honey can be firmly seated in a chair, on the floor, or wherever. The silky finish is textured in tufts that make Teddy different from most. He has a velvety nose and button eyes. A good choice for older toddlers and preschoolers. Also available in a smaller 7” version. Ages: Toddlers, Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase on

Steiff Lambs: Fuzzy and Sweet Dreams

(Steiff $27.99 & up) Bring home Fuzzy Lamb 11” ($27.99) or 15” ($39.95) a less gender specific lamb with cuddly curly coat and velvety sweet face with stitched features. Fuzzy is weighted so it can sit up. Or, choose an 11” darling little Sweet Dreams ($34.95) white lamb with stitched features, and ears lined in pink. She wears a pink polka-a-dotted dress with attached striped panties. Her fleecy body is slightly shaggy but her face is cut close with a velvety texture. This doll is not weighted and cannot sit. She’s more for holding and hugging. Ages: Toddlers Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the Fuzzy Lamb product from Click here t

Wild Republic Hammerhead Shark

(Wild Republic $14.99) Getting ready for Shark Week? It’s the 30th anniversary and Discovery Channel has announced the big day will kick off on Sunday July 22nd with eight days of special events. Check out the many videos and informative programming already on their site, as you hold onto the coziest 22” shark we’ve ever encountered. With a smiling mouth full of felt teeth and eyes on each side of the head. Done with grey and white plush, fun for pretend and decorative fun for budding ichthyologists. Ages: Early School Age Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Edushape Water Magic Cube

(Edushape $9.99) Water is one of the great playthings and this STEM toy for older babies and toddlers introduces them to the many wonderful ways they can pour and sprinkle it, by turning the chunky blue and yellow magic cube. They can fill it up, try to sink it, and see if it floats. Each corner of the cube has a different number of sprinkle holes, so the action changes, depending on how the cube is held. Unlike squeeze bath toys, you can clean inside of this one, in fact, you should be sure to use a brush inside from time to time to remove any scum from soap and old bath water that may produce dangerous bacteria. That said, this is a good choice that can make reluctant bathers eager for tub

SmartNoggin Peek and Seek Cognitive Rattle

(SmartNoggin $16.99) An uncomplicated peek and seek rattle with a dumbbell shape on one end and a teether ring on the other end. A red and white column and small beads that move between the two ends. It has a quiet sound but enough action to be visually interesting. 3 months and up. Ages: Infants Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Steiff Giselle Bell Giraffe

(Steiff $27.95) Shake the soft little gray and pink giraffe and the jingle bell inside will make a clear sweet sound. Giselle has safe stitched features, satin ribbon loops on her mane and at the end of her tail. She has easy to grab arms and legs with pellets inside that you can feel when you hold her limbs. We like that she also has a weighted bottom, so that she can sit up. A sweet toy for all the senses. Ages: Infants Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018

Edushape Textured Egg Shakers, Set of 5

(Edushape $15.99) Perfectly shaped for little hands to grab and shake, the Edushape Textured Egg Shakers appeal to all the senses. Toddlers will try to follow the rhythm and make their own music as they dance. Babies will enjoy following the quiet sounds if you use the shakers for auditory or visual tracking. They have colorful bumps that give sensory feedback to small hands, as well. Call them rattles, music makers, or just plain lovely objects to roll, hold, shake or whatever. SNAP: All of the above activities work for all children. You and can also play a color recognition game: make a color die with these five colors. Players take turns rolling the die and take the egg that matches the c

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© 2016 by Oppenheim Toy Portfolio | The Independent Guide to Children's Media


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.