Few toys have more play value than blocks. Blocks are versatile. Unlike a toy garage or farm setting, a set of blocks can become whatever your child wishes them to be— a farm one day or a skyscraper the next. They can be enjoyed alone or with a friend. They're also raw material for many kind of hands-on learning that build language and math concepts. As they play with blocks they also play around with symbolic thinking, making one thing stand for something else. This kind of thinking is a giant intellectual step taking the child closer to using more abstract symbols like words and numbers. Instead of asking what can this toy do...block invite kids to ask themselves...what can they do with th

Hape Coffee Maker

(Hape $17.49) Our preschool tester loves brewing up cups of coffee when his mommy and daddy get home from work. His pretend play is a real picker upper after a long day at the office. The wooden drip style coffee maker is a lot like the one in the kitchen. It comes with a container of milk/cream, a coffee mug, and sugar bowl. Ages: Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

eeBoo Making Change Game

(eeBoo $19.99) Unlike a lot of making-change-money-games that deal only with coins, this game goes for dollars and cents and is a lot more challenging. Cards are drawn that tell what was purchased and the price and the amount of money paid. Players race to be the first to put up the change one would get with the toy money each player has for shopping. Be the first to get the amount right and you get the card. Winner is the one with most cards at the end of play. The subtitle of this game is rightfully called a game of speed and subtraction. A playful way to build math skills. Marked for 5 and up, we’d say it’s really more like a game for 2nd and third graders. Ages: Older early school years

Petit Collage Mini Library, Busy Builders

(Petit Collage $18.00) Four chunky little cardboard books featuring four different construction trucks, that are standard favorites of toddlers. Which one will be your child’s favorite? The Bulldozer, Mixer, Digger, or Dump Truck? These are nice to share and sturdy enough for toddlers to examine independently. Handsome images and appealing size for little hands. Ages: Toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Creativity for Kids Emoji Window Art

(Creativity for Kids $15.99) They're going to have great fun with the 6 sparkling paints, 1 outliner, and 40 plus designs for making window art. Kids paint, dry and then peel their emojis off the plastic pattern sheet before sticking them onto the windows. This kit is extra special since the six brightly colored paints have sparkle in them and the kit also has googlie eyes to add for extra dimension. We love window art designs to put up on holiday windows for Halloween and all the celebrations that follow. They are special when the winter sun shines through them…reminders of happy times even long after the holidays have passed. Although younger kids of 6 and 7 might enjoy them with adult hel

Petit Collage 2-In-1 Double-Sided Wooden Tray Puzzle, Day and Night

(Petit Collage $20.00) A clever two-sided puzzle board gives kids double the fun. One side features daytime; the other reverses to night. Flip the five chunky puzzle pieces and fit them into the colorful puzzle boards of day or night. Instead of abstract geometric shapes, these puzzle pieces introduce shape concepts with images to talk about. Ages: Older toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Petit Collage Safari Jumble Wooden Puzzle + Play

(Petit Collage $36.00) Nine jungle animals in natural beech wood come in a puzzle tray with images so pieces can be turned to match and fit into their space. That's just the puzzle part of this versatile toy. Preschoolers will use them with their blocks for pretend play or find ways to stack or line them up. A handsome set of props. Ages: Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Selma Dolls, Ameena

(Selma’s Dolls $39.99) We’ve had dolls from many cultures and ethnicities. Ameena, is a first! She is a fabric doll wearing a hijab, in the tradition of Muslim women. Like the other dolls in the collection she comes with a little book about differences and friendship. The book is a bit older in concept than the doll that looks like a doll for toddlers. We should note that the hijab, the traditional head covering is not generally worn by very young children. The age for wearing them varies in different Muslim communities. That said, we do think it's important for children to have dolls that reflect their own culture and Ameena is certainly that. Ages: Toddlers, Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Port

Green Toys Ambulance and Doctor’s Kit

(Green Toys $39.99) Ready for dramatic play, this white ambulance can rush to an ailing teddy bear. Instead of the traditional doctor’s bag, the ambulance also carries all the doctor’s tools for your pretend doctor to use. Also, included, a memo pad for patient info. and stickers to make patients feel “all better!” Having medical pretend toys available can be a comforting way to work through anxiety over a real doctor’s visit. Ages: Older Toddlers, Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from


(Michael Neugebauer $11.99) Who says woof woof? Who says Me-Ow? Each page of this cleverly designed cardboard book gives an animal sound. Lift the triangular flaps to reveal the full face or total animal that makes the sound. Ham up the sounds as you turn the the unusual triangular pages. Fun to share with a lap sitting baby and sturdy enough for toddlers to flip through on their own. A delightful novelty book by Elsa Mroziewicz. Ages: Infants, Toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase this product on Click here to purchase this product on

Mega Bloks Shape Sorting Wagon

(Fisher-Price $29.99) Toddlers will enjoy this rolling toy and carrying the many pieces it can carry as they move from room to room. For the youngest toddlers the 20+ blocks it comes with will be fun for filling and dumping. Before long they will learn how to fasten the big pegs blocks together and can do so on the pegged handle or build towers on the floor. There have been other Mega Bloks wagons, but this one has a nice added feature—it's also a shape sorter. The six shape sorter board slips on or off the wagon and the specially shaped blocks are included with a good supply of standard Mega Bloks shapes. Marked for 1 and up, we think this will be a better choice for 18 months and twos. Age

GeoSafari Jr Talking Globe

(Educational Insights $129.99) An updated version of the award-winning GeoSafari Talking Globe. It’s smart pen is packed with audio and 1,000+ facts that encourages kids to explore. Early talking globes did little more than name countries and their capitals. Twenty-first century talking globes talk about animal habitats, climate, and geography. The Junior version is similar to the original GeoSafari Talking Globe but has a simpler, easier to read, 12" globe with color-coding; makes it easier for young children to read. UP to 3 players can play and answer multiple-choice geography questions that deal with factoids about continents, countries, U.S.A. states and oceans. This version also has a

Manhattan Toy Princess Jellybeans Gigi

(Manhattan Toy $17) Dressed in a satiny blue gown with polka-dotted sheer overskirt, 14" fabric doll, Gigi has lavender velour hair topped with an orange crown. She has stitched features and removable shoes. Soft with long striped legs to grab, she's a lovable huggable for beginners. Ages: Toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Manhattan Toy Safari Elephant or Lion Teether Lovie

(Manhattan Toy $9.99 each) Silky soft to the touch, with stitched features, an unstuffed easy to grasp body, and teethers for feet, this floppy little elephant is a lovie that is sure to get a lot of affection. Hang it for a gazing toy for newborns and then hand it off for baby to enjoy touching and chomping on as those little gums start to need comfort. Or if you prefer wild cats, consider this very cuddly cute lion. Ages: Infants Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the elephant product from Click here to purchase the lion product from

Manhattan Toy Lemon The Bear + Kitty & Fabric Books

(Manhattan Toy $24, books $13.99 each ) Ready for the great outdoors, Lemon the Bear is a stout 16" tall and wears rugged overalls and red and black checked hunter's style shirt. HIs clothes are not removable and his features are stitched, so he's a safe choice for toddlers who will like his hefty shape and easy to grab skinny legs and arms. The Lemon the Bear doll can be enjoyed alone as an unusual huggable. However, there are three fabric books featuring Lemon the Bear with separate touchy-feely pages that have interesting textures, sound and patterns to engage little hands. His adventures relate to nature and food: Lemon the Bear Plants a Garden, Lemon the Bear Goes Camping, and Lemon the

Manhattan Toy Groovy Boys Justin

(Manhattan Toy $15.75) Justin is 13" tall and has sandy-blonde yarn hair. He wears khaki drawstring shorts, and transportation style t-shirt with a jeep--a typical favorite of preschool boys. His clothes (except for his shoes) are removable and have Velcro-like closures. With soft body and stitched features, he's safe and huggable, too. Ages: Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Manhattan Toy Special Edition Groovy Girl Jessica

(Manhattan Toy $21.99) Ready for the slopes or sled, Jessica is a sporty fashion gal. She has a fleecy lined jacket, a hat with goggles, shirt, snow pants and boots. All of her groovy snow clothes are removable and and have Velcro-like closures. Kids will relate to her active winter sports look. Her yarn hair, stitched features, and soft body make her both huggable and safe enough for 3s and up. Ages: Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from

Hape Cargo Delivery Loop Train Set

(Hape $34.99) A beginner train set with a simple 10-piece oval track, an engine and two cargo trains that lift off their beds with the magnetic lift. The engine is special since it lights up with two AAA batteries. But the motion on this train is kid-powered. The set also includes two trees and a train crossing sign. 3 & up Ages: Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase product on

Hape Busy City Rail Set

(Hape $79.95) Here’s a big 51-piece train set with a sleek red passenger train plus a cargo train with magnetic lift off cargo containers. There’s a magnetic freight arm that does the heavy lifting. There’s a red roofed station for arrivals and departures and a tall red suspension bridge. A train crossing blocks the way for the cars on the highway and trucks making deliveries in the city. With 20 pieces of track in eight shapes plus trees, signs, underpass bridge, signs, clock, traffic light, and people, this is a set that will go the distance. A grand gift for years of pretend play that involves putting the track together in many different designs and creating stories with ever more complex


(Hape $49.99) One little squirrel races down the side of this tippy roadway that’s attached to a painted wooden tree. The little car leaps from one tippy chute to another and hits a bell as it races off the tree. There’s a lady bug up in the branches that little hands can move about and a bug on a ball that spins. Ages:Toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018

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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.