Mattel Barbie Care Clinic Vehicle

(Mattel $54.99) It’s an ambulance with siren (a loud one) and lights to get Barbie to medical emergencies fast. But this is no ordinary ambulance. Push the lever and the vehicle opens and converts into a big clinic that is two feet wide with a waiting room, gift shop, and most important of all...a treatment center with exam bed and diagnostic equipment plus medical supplies. A miniature play setting for role playing doctor and nurse. It's big enough for Barbie to drive, but remember, neither Barbie doll or batteries for the siren and lights come with the vehicle. Marked 36 months to 7 years. We'd say the sweet spot for this and all the little accessories would be more like 5-7. SNAP: A small

Mattel Barbie Supermarket Set

(Mattel $30.99) The package we received with this Barbie is called Barbie Shop for a Dinner Party. But online it's called a supermarket, even though it is more like a mini-market, right? So, here’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Barbie's at her beach house; you can tell since she’s wearing her floral sundress and sneakers. The weekend is coming and Barbie will be having dinner parties for her guests, you can be sure. Naturally, she has no time to lose. She’s at the shopping mini mall (the big food store is too busy!) In the mini-mall, she fills her shopping cart with fruits, veggies, and all the other must haves, including Barbie Magazines at the check-out counter. A 25-piece set with l

Mattel Farmer and Tractor Barbie

(Mattel $30.99) Summertime on the farm and this Barbie is no slouch. She’s right there riding a red tractor, feeding the animals and ready to fill the pink crate on the cart that connects to the tractor. There is something a little cynical about plastic toy in a box with a message promoting the idea of sustainable methods of farming to keep the environment clean. Just saying. At least the tractor is kid activated—no batteries needed. Ages: Preschoolers, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Mindware SuperKid In Training Set

(Mindware $24.99) Although it’s anything but open-ended, we think boys and girls will like the interaction of this active pretend superhero “game” that is designed to be a parent/child activity. Use it with one child on a rainy day or outdoors with as many as five kids ( who will have to wait their turn). There's only one cape and one set of wrist bands, a target, a lightning bolt, and a super mask. Not all the accessories are worn at once. The double-sided action cards tell what accessories are needed and what the challenge is for your little hero. Have the player choose a card of each color and set them up in their stands. Now, read the cards to the player and let the fun begin. The action

Mudpuppy Jumbo Puzzle The Very Hungry Caterpillar

(Mudpuppy $14.99 each) Bring home a storybook favorite, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, that preschoolers will like taking apart and putting together, again and again. Or for kids who are fascinated with Safari Animals, choose a colorful jumbo puzzle. These two 25-piece puzzles assemble into huge 22” big square images. The big sturdy pieces are challenging for beginners, who will need some strategies for following the image on the box the first few times. Both of these are somewhat harder since there is no decorative frame, so kids may need help the first or second time through. One good thing about children’s puzzles is that kids enjoy doing them more than once and their interest is held by th

Mattel Barbie Baseball Player Made-to- Move

(Mattel $15.99 ) Dressed for action, Baseball Barbie is a Made to Move edition with a wide range of action poses built-into her joints. She's a lot skinnier than the team players of A League of Their Own, but this Barbie looks ready for pretend play of an active kind...quite different from her old party girl image. Wearing her pink baseball cap, striped uniform, catcher’s glove, ball and cleated shoes, she’s ready to get out there and pitch! Ages: Older Preschoolers, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase product on

Mattel Barbie Beekeeper

With her netted helmet, gloves, and totally covered beekeeper outfit, this is the newest Working Barbie. She keeps her bees and hive under control with a turn of a dial. No worry about bee stings here. Drop the little plastic bees into the hive, turn the magic dial and watch them produce honey! Players can even collect the honey and put it on Barbie’s pancakes or sell it at the produce stand. Not exactly a STEM toy, but Barbie flirts with the idea of how bees make honey. Available in diverse skin tones. Ages: Preschoolers, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the Blonde Beekeeper from Click here to purchase the Beekeeper of Color from Am

Gamewright Long Cow Udderly Ridiculous Card Game

(Gamewright $14.99) It’s totally true—this is an “udderly ridiculous card game” that will keep you laughing as you make your m-o-o-o-o-o-ves. Players compete to build the largest herd and longest cow by collecting heads, middles and tail cards. But watch out! Opponents can capture parts of your herd with special cards that allow them to take a calf or a whole cow. The cards are amusing and the moves call for limited strategy. A fun family game for mixed ages. Gameplay is about 20 minutes and can be played by 2-5 players. There appears to be a lot of rules, but the cards are almost all self-explanatory as you play. Just start playing and check the rules as you go along the first few times. M

VTech Go!Go! Smart Wheels Little Vehicles

(VTech $7.99 each or $21.99 set of three) Push the window on these little vehicles and they light up and activate music and sounds and scoot across the floor. Scaled for little hands they provide the kind of powerful “make- something-happen-action” that toddlers delight in. Also fit their active style of repetitive play, as they chase after their little vehicles. Bring home one of a fleet or more. These were originally designed for big playsets with ramps and tracks, but toddlers will enjoy these off the tracks, as well. Tuck one or two into Christmas stockings or use them for a party with vehicle theme. Only drawback —there’s no way to turn the sound off without removing the 2 AAA batteries

American Girl 2018, Luciana Vega, doll and book

(American Girl Doll and book $115) Luciana Vega, an Hispanic girl doll, aspires to be the first to land on Mars. In short, she’s a STEM-inspired doll with accessories to match. Her flight suit ($28) is more affordable than her Space suit $75). Like all American Girl dolls, she’s 18 inches tall with a soft body and vinyl arms, legs and head. She has dark brown eyes and long dark brown hair. With her interest in space she’s lucky enough to win a prize and gets to go to space camp. Ages: Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Mudpuppy Robotics Lab Mix and Match

(Mudpuppy $12.99) There is no right or wrong way to put these robots together. There are heads, bodies and legs and with the 24 double-sided piece set, kids can make hundreds of zany creations. They come in a drawstring bag for safe keeping and easy travel. Take them along to the beach or into a restaurant while you’re waiting for the food to come. Marked 2 and up, but we think only older twos will sit for this and it will be a better choice for 3s and 4s. Ages: Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Thames & Kosmos Dig It! Dinos Kits

(Thames and Kosmos $12.99 and up) Paleontologist-style dig sets have long been popular for kids of a certain age. Maybe it’s the mystery-of-history that excites kids as they discover how scientists have dug up the past in ancient sites. For years, these kinds of dig kits were made with plaster that presented a dust hazard for children’s eyes. We only reviewed kits that came with protective glasses BUT the Thames and Kosmos kits provide a new and clever way around that old danger. This Dig It kit uses a dust free composition. Diggers wet the plaster block with the sponge and then dig with the tools provided. The plaster in this set is brownish-tan like the earth and pieces of it can be chippe

Mudpuppy Woodland Forest Search and Find Puzzle

(Mudpuppy $16.99) One of a challenging series of 64-piece search and find puzzles. First, players put the big puzzle together and then the trick is to find each of the animals on the frame of the puzzle in the bigger picture. We like this woodland one a lot and we think many kids would love the bright colors of the dinosaur version. Marked 4-7, we think a lot of fours will have trouble with so many pieces. This may be a better choice for 5-8s. Ages: Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the Woodland Forest Search and Find Puzzle from Click here to purchase the Dinosaur Search and Find Puzzle from

Mudpuppy Outer Space Magnetic Puzzle

(Mudpuppy $12.99) Two 20-piece magnetic puzzles in one package are well designed for travel. They come in a book-like holder and players can match the pieces to a magnetized duplicate image or put them together "free-standing" on a table. Obviously, putting them on a matching image is easier and a good way for beginners to deal with jigsaws. A good take-along on a long plane or auto ride. There are other sets of these magnetic puzzles in the line featuring images such as dinosaurs, unicorns, or land and sea animals. Find the images that will interest your child best. Marked for 4 and up, we think they may be even better for 5-7s. Ages: Older Preschoolers, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio

Mudpuppy Baby’s First Words

(Mudpuppy $12.99) This is like a knowing-and-naming book on a ring. Instead of binding the single images into a board book, these two-sided cards have easy to identify, familiar objects to talk about. The images are done in bright colors and you can make up stories about each, one at a time; or turn the cards and tell a story as you go. Mudpuppy makes several variations of these First Word Cards. The original set does not have the anthropomorphic faces on the toast, banana, or other images. Take your choice. They call them flash cards, but they're not for drilling or reading or formal teaching...they're a good prop for talking and building language even before baby can talk and as language d

Mindware Q-Ba Maze 2.0 Rails Extreme Set

(Mindware $99.99) Our testers have given earlier versions of this complex marble run high scores in previous incarnations and now it’s even better with a new exit cube and 18 rails, and tubes that add excitement to the build. Testers loved the tubes to create a twisting roller coaster ride that propels the marbles into to the colorful transparent rails. All the new add-ons lend new dimension to the already fanciful construction set. It truly is the next generation of marble mazes. Early school year kids will need assistance building, but will love playing with it. Tweens will enjoy building on their own. A great family set to explore together. Ages:Early School, Tweens Oppenheim Toy Portfoli

Hape Kids Wooden Railway Propeller Steam Engine

(Hape $24.99) Although we like wooden train that run on kid power sans batteries, we know that some prefer the option. This season Hape has added two new battery operated engines to the line. Our 3-year old tester was totally taken with the Whimsical Propeller Engine( $ 24.99 ) in bright red with silver propeller and trim. A train with a propeller? Why not. You can push a switch on the bottom and use this one for free wheeling without batteries. The propeller does not turn when it run on kid power. However, loaded with 2 AAA batteries it not only spins the propeller it has train sounds that are activated with the buttons on top of the engine. This became a wonderful pretend toy that was flow

Hape Quadrilla Sonic Playground and Skatepark

(Hape $16.99 each set) For Quadrilla builders there are some new add-ons that will add new dimension (and maybe re-ignite interest) to the original set. The Sonic Playground ($16.99) is a five-piece set with 8 marbles to that run over the Xylophone that can turn the Quadrilla set in to a music making toy. OR consider the 9-piece Skatepark ($16.99) set with eight marbles, with a bright orange slide and cup. Ages: Older Preschoolers, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the Sonic Playground product from Click Here to purchase Skatepark product from

Hape Quadrilla Marble Run Construction Sets

(Hape $29.99 & up) We’ve written about other handsome wooden Quadrilla sets in the past. This season they have created a smaller set with wonderful wooden spillways, block tunnels, ramps and coiled roadway for the marbles to run around, down and blocks with cut out tunnels that go in several directions. For starters, consider the Race to the Finish ($29.99) a 28-piece set with 30 marbles and a stout storage bag (shown above). For a more elaborate set and somewhat more complex building possibilities, consider the ClIffhanger ($69.99) has 44 pieces including seven different color blocks each with a different function and many ramps. Or, for the top of the line, consider the Castle Escape ($99.

MaxFlex RC 250 Blaze Edition

(Skilduggery $59.99) Last year’s Platinum winner just got to be even better. There’s more track PLUS ramps to build two bridges that will add to the flexible orange and blue Glow in the Dark track. You get over ten feet of track with this set (250 pieces) and one RC Tracer Racer that leave a light trail of purple light rays as it zooms along. Can be enjoyed by preschoolers as young as 3 but will be most enjoyed by 4s-6s. Ages: Preschool, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase product on

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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.