LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book

(LeapFrog $17.99) This interactive talking book is a responsive toy that will say the name of each image as it is touched. Put the setting on English or Spanish—this is a bilingual toy. Push the setting to the search mode and they get more than the simple name of the image—they get “fun facts.” Push the setting to the musical notes and they get the sounds that the animal or object typically makes. There are pages of animals, foods, clothes, colors, body parts, and more. Modeled after knowing and naming books that are usually shared with toddlers, the pages of this electronic book are sturdy but much busier than a typical toddler book with a single image on each page. There are multiple image

LittleBits Avengers Hero Inventor Kit

(littleBits $149.95) Like all the LittleBits Kits, this one is designed to get kids interested in electronics with practical, safe construction materials and excellent on-line animated instructions. Here, kids create toy versions of Iron Man's arm-mounted devices, it even comes with a replica-stand that looks likes his arm, but can also be worn using Velcro straps. The play-value goes beyond STEM, as many kids will use the toy they build for imaginative (if often combat-oriented play). One tester voiced concern that the price ($149.95) was high for a kit with so few parts, but that could be said about many Little Bits projects; no one else is making kits of this quality (both in parts and in

Smart Sketcher Projector

(smArt Sketcher $74.99) Upload the app for the Smart Sketcher and they are ready to learn how to sketch pictures and photos to make them their own. The instruction manual takes them step by step through the process as they download photos from a device or use pictures from a book or magazine to trace images for projects that they can color and embellish in their own unique way. We don't usually suggest tracing toys, but there comes a time when kids get self conscious of their drawings and want to make pictures that may be beyond their artistic skills, especially when drawing images for school projects. This is an alternative that will give some comfort, but should by no means replace their o

Snap Circuits BRIC: Structures

(Elenco $34.99) Our tester used the idea book to get started with these snap circuits and was excited with the constructions she was able to make. She quickly learned how to use the bricks to make structures with lights, sounds, and moving parts. She could light up a tower and make a working drawbridge! Following directions called for reading comprehension as well as dexterity and problem solving—important skills that are reinforced through construction sets like this. This set comes with 75 Bric-2-Snap adapters, 20 Snap Circuits, and over 140 bricks. The color coded idea book has 20 STEM projects and kids will soon be able to invent their own. Three AA batteries are required but not provide

Playmobil Country Barn and Silo

(Playmobil $69.99) Love the country? Dream of owning a farm with a horse, cow, chickens? Here you go, all under one roof with no shoveling required. A miniature setting for pretend play. You may want to hold back some of the props and add them gradually, since this set-up comes with 215 pieces! That’s a lot of little pieces. But along with the animals, two figures, plus hay, fencing, ladder, pitchfork and other tiny parts, there’s a working silo—probably the best part of the set-up. Marked 4 and up. Ages: Older Preschoolers, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Playmobil Dreamworks Lucky's Happy Home

(Playmobil $99) Lucky has moved to the country with her Dad, Aunt Cora, and her horse, Spirit. For fans of the Dreamwork storyline, this elaborate play set with 137 pieces is a setting for replaying and creating new stories for Lucky and Spirit. It’s a doll house with a pre-made cast of characters and comes with lots of detailed props for pretend play. It’s marked 4 and up, but we think this is more like a toy for early school years and children with the dexterity to handle all the tiny props that you can see in the image below. Ages: Early School Years Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Playmobil Take Along Haunted House

(Playmobil $39.99) Just in time for Halloween, a Haunted House Play Set with a vampire waking up in his coffin, a mad scientist making magical potions in his lab with bubbling test tubes, a green headed monster in chains, and a huge spider dangling down. There are skulls, mice, bottles of poisonous potions, a lantern and other accessories that all store away in the house that closes up tight. This would make a fun centerpiece for a Halloween party, that will have a play life after the last of the tricks and treats are gone. Marked for 4 and up, but this is a better choice for school aged kids. Ages: Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product

Hape Jungle Adventure Railway Table

(Hape $99) Designed for standing up toddlers, this clever table has beads on wires for toddlers to move around and about. An interesting way for toddlers to develop fine motor skills and visual tracking. Those little beads would be a chocking hazard if they were not tethered on the wires, so, your tot can't take them off. An ideal way for baby to get to play with otherwise forbidden fruit. In addition to the beads on wire, there's a figure eight roadway for the little wooden train cars to move along and a wooden archway to move under. marked 18 months and up. Ages: Toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Fat Brain Toys Sensory Rollers

(Fat Brain $16.99) Three silicone balls that have six different and interesting textures plus chimes inside that make a quiet sound as they are rolled back and forth. The balls are quite heavy and not intended for throwing. Being heavy, they won't roll far, so for crawling babies, these will be easy to catch up with. Keep them out of the hands of preschoolers who might throw them...they are designed strictly for rolling. Ages: Infants Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase this product on Amazon.com

Fat Brain Dimpl

(Fat Brain $12.99) Push and pop the five silicone bubbles that are built into the plastic frame. Their bright colors will attract baby’s attention. Interesting way to explore cause and effect, as they push the bubbles and change position. This is a simple looking toy that encourages baby to use fine motor skills and get a sense of mastery as they change the bubbles from up to down, turn it over and do it all over again. Marked 10 months but tots need serious finger power to make this happen, so we think this makes more sense for 12 months and up. Ages: Toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Hape Grand City Station

(Hape $130.00) Wow! This is really an amazing combination train set with a two-level station that has all the excitement of arriving and departing from a big city terminal. It looks a lot like major new European Airports, like Frankfort. Passengers can buy a ticket, ride the lift, and rush to catch the fast train. There's even a recorder for station announcements, destination projector and light, perhaps somewhat beyond the younger preschooler, but fun for parent and older child. Built of wood, plastic and metal, this elaborate set will be the central hub for train play. Marked for 3 and up. Ages: Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product fro

Fat Brain Toys RollAgain Tower

(Fat Brain $49.99) A ball run with all the fun of a classic PLUS an extra step. When you pick up a ball after it lands at the bottom, that triggers the action of the other balls. It’s a new kind of lesson in cause and effect and involves more than dropping the balls into the top of the tower. The six brightly colored balls cascade down the multicolored ramps that you will have to put together. It has the kind of repetition that toddles love to do again and again. This makes a wonderful first birthday gift. 12 months and up. Ages: Toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Calico Critters Grand Department Store

(Calico Critters $129.88) Calico Critters continues to produce mini pretend settings with attention to details that make them special. This year's charming department store looks like something from a Victorian Department store from Ladies Row with a hand operated elevator and a gilded revolving door at the entrance. The setting comes with furnishings that would please the most discriminating shopper. It comes with elaborate accessories: Boutique Fashion Set with with a gorgeous golden dressing unit, hangers, mannequin, full-length mirror, and two beautiful satin dresses; Cosmetic Beauty Set with a cosmetic counter, stool, and cosmetics; Fashion Showcase Set with jewelry and hair accessories

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Learning Home

(Fisher-Price $149.99) Our testers loved this newest update of a classic toddler playhouse. It's a toddler-size setting with tons of activities to explore: a crawl-through door (always a favorite!), porch light to turn on and off, a mailbox to open and close, light-up house numbers, a drop-through rain gutter & balls, and a shape-sorter recycling bin. That's just the front side. Crawl through or walk around and the "inside" has a home office with light-up thermostat, office light, and clicker-clock. Hungry? There's a kitchen area with shape-sorter fridge. Choose for interactions in English, Spanish, Mandarin or French! It has 200+ songs, sounds & phrases and introduces words for color conce

My First Thomas and Friends Railway Pals Rescue Pack

(Fisher-Price $20.99) Percy teaches the color green and Harold Helicopter teaches the color white, and there's a cargo car, too. All three have light-up bumpers that make sounds when activated. These three Railway Pals sing and make 40 sounds, 20 songs, and lots of phrases. They come without track but will run on the floor. They hook together with ease and when added to the interactive Thomas and Friends set they make even more sounds when they roll over the activation points. These make good stocking stuffers or incidental gifts that can be given one at a time or as a set. Ages: Older Toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

eeBoo Picture and Word Bingo English, French or Spanish

(eeBoo $16.99) Instead of numbers, these Bingo games are played with picture cards that are labeled with the word and must match the playing boards. You don’t need to be a reader to play this, but it reinforces sight words with the labels. The game comes with a red draw bag for the picture cards to be stored in and drawn from during play. For children learning a second language, eeBoo has done this game in English, French, or Spanish (available on their website). Colorful illustrations are by illustrator, Monika Forsberg. 5 & up. Ages: Early School Years Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2018 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Hasbro Fur Real Chewbacca

(Hasbro/Disney $129.99) Talk to Han Solo’s loyal friend and co-pilot and he answers in Wookiee language. Scratch his head and he’ll thank-you in his own Chewie way. Lift his arms and he’ll roar some. He laughs, snores, grunts and roars. Like all the Fur Real dolls, 16" Chewie is loaded with 100 + sounds, actions and surprises, including facial expressions that make him a fun novelty item for Star Wars fans. This is a big ticket novelty item, one that may not hold interest long term, but sure to be a wow-ee pleaser for a while. Marked 4 and up. We think this is a better choice for early school years. Ages: Early School, Tweens Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2018 Click here to purchase

eeBoo Lion in My Way Game

(eeBoo $17.99) We love this game that calls for making it up as you go along. Players get picture cards with familiar items on each card. At the start of play they turn up a large scene card with imagined obstacle pictured. Players take turns putting down a playing card and telling how the item pictured will help solve the problem at hand. The game comes with 25 obstacle cards and the 100 tool cards or “solutions” that are as endless as the players’ imaginations. It’s a game that allows for tall stories, silliness and creative thinking. Good fun for family play. 5 and up. Ages: Early School Years Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2018

Fat Brain Klickity

(Fat Brain 29.99) An interesting toy for young toddlers to explore for early lessons in cause and effect. Push on one of the colorful textured balls and a another ball on the opposite side pops up; push again and it pops up. Push down on another ball and it makes a Klickity sound as it slips into the dome. Push on the opposite ball and it pups up with a Klickity sound. Push it again and it fits back into the dome. Swipe the ball in the middle and it rattles as it rolls. None of the balls come free from the dome, which is solid enough to sit still. Just right for little hands and sensory learning and early motor skills. A fine choice for a first birthday. Marked for 12 months and up. Ages: To

eeBoo Hummingbirds 500-Piece Round Puzzle

(eeBoo $19.99) Bird lovers will like putting this colorful picture of hummingbirds together during any season of the year. This is a challenging 500-piece puzzle that will take time and patience to do. Set it up on a table for the family to work on cooperatively over time. Ages: Tweens, Teens 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.