Creativity for Kids Cuddly Kitten

(Faber-Castell $19.99) A craft kit for younger designers with an end-product for pretend play and to wear. The small pink kitten fits in a little velour bag with soft golden handles. Children must peel the backing on the golden stickers to decorate the bag and add wings, a golden hat, and jingle bell collar to the kitten. Can they do this all alone? No way. This is a fun and pretty quick adult and child project that involves some fine motor skills and choices. Once complete, the little bag and kitten will have a life in any number of pretend play scenarios. 4 and up. Ages: Older Preschoolers, Young Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product f

Mattel Barbie’s Ken with Laundry

(Mattel $19.99) Yes, he can! Ken can wash his own clothes and maybe Barbie’s, too. That washing machine has a spin action and even a switch to set the wash cycle. Ken is wearing a fashion forward tye-dye shirt, denim-type shorts and flip flops, of course. His laundromat is a turquoise side loader designed with shelves for soaps, laundry basket, and folded towels. Ages: Older Preschoolers, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Mattel Barbie Travel Nikki Doll

(Mattel $14.99) Featured on Netflix, Nikki is just one of a collection of Barbies that includes many characters from the Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures show. Of all them, this African American beauty stands out. She’s wearing a bright green sheath with flowers on the hem line and bright orange sneakers. Her hair is worn in two bunches, natural style. An all-around artistic type, she comes with a camera, paint box, paint brush, sippy cup and bag to carry everything. Also special, for girls who are about to travel, this doll from the same collection will be a hit. Barbie comes with a suitcase, stickers and all kinds of travel gear—earphones, neck pillow, toothbrush and paste, water bottle, came

Mattel Harry Potter Dolls

(Mattel $19.99 each) Choose Harry in his Hogwarts uniform and a Gryffindor robe plus a personalized wand for casting spells and charms. Or, choose Harry in his very special Quidditch outfit, complete with red robe, striped sweater, Nimbus broomstick and Golden Snitch! These are Barbie size dolls and collectibles. Ages: Older Early School, Tweens Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2019 Click here to purchase the Harry Potter Quidditch doll from Amazon.com Click here to purchase the Harry Potter doll from Amazon.com

Mattel Harry Potter & Ginny Weasley Dolls

(Mattel $15 and up) Collectibles for readers and fans of the Harry Potter books. Ginny Weasley and Hermoine Granger are barbie size dolls dressed in their black pleated skirts with grey sweaters. They’ve got their magic wands and black wizard’s robes. Ages: Early School and Tweens Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2019 Click here to purchase the Ginny Weasley doll from Amazon.com Click here to purchase Hermoine Granger doll from Amazon.com

Barbie 60th Anniversary Doll

(Mattel $60.00) Imagine…she’s 60 and not a wrinkle! Maybe she’s doing Botox and not telling. In her strapless white ball gown that twinkles with silver glitter, she’s a collectible beauty that might be more for adult collectors than girls who want to have fun putting Barbie through her paces. We thought you’d like to know about her! She's available in both African American version and the original blonde Barbie, which she wouldn't have been 60 years ago. Ages: All Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2019 Click here to purchase the Blonde version from Amazon.com Click here to purchase the African American version from Amazon.com

Edushape Tub Sub

(Edushape $9.99) Sink or float? This little tub toy can do both. Push the top of the rubbery blue sub down into the orange boat and it floats like a boat should. Pull the blue sub up and abra-ca-da-bra the sub takes on water and sinks down, down, down. It’s a cause and effect toy with early STEM learning, that’s way beyond the age group that will play with this, but it’s a place to start. Hands-on experiences like this are the underpinnings for such learning. Bring it home for the fun…let the lessons in water displacement come later. 12 months and up. Ages: Toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Ditty Bird Nursery Learning Songs

(MeMa $16.99) One of a collection of board books. These have the added interest of having sounds on each page that can be activated with a little finger. The illustrations are bright and bold…not especially beautiful, but clear enough for knowing and naming or talking about. Ditty Bird Learning Songs features a number of familiar songs for young children. We think you and your child will like singing along as you turn the pages. The book includes: This Old Man; The Ants Go Marching; The Alphabet Song; One, Two, Buckle My Shoe; Ten in a Bed; and This is the Way. Also, another sing-a-long book, Ditty Bird Children's Songs, with very short versions of ever popular songs like Wheels on the Bus.

Ditty Bird Farm Animal Sound Book

(MeMa Enterprises $16.99) One of a collection of board books with sounds from Down Under. These have the added interest of having sounds on each page that can be activated with a little finger. The illustrations are bright and bold…not especially beautiful, but clear enough for knowing and naming or talking about. This features familiar farm animals and a few words about the one that moos, baas or quacks on each page. Also fun, Ditty Bird Nursery Rhymes with six familiar rhymes sung by children. The words to the rhymes are on each page and include, Itsy Bitsy Spider; Baa Baa Black Sheep; Hickory Dickory, Dock; Row, Row, Row Your Boat; Old MacDonald, and Twinkle, Twinkle. These will be fun to

Mattel Hot Wheels Mini Monster Trucks with Key

(Mattel $2.97) Testers had fun with the first of the Mini Monster Truck collectibles. These would make great party favors or stocking stuffers. Each comes with a key that you insert and then squeeze to launch. Without batteries or any other tricks, the little trucks scoot across the floor. The mini poster in the box shows ten variations for the well-known condition — the “buy me, buy me syndrome.” Unlike some of the mystery collectible, where you can’t be sure if you already bought the one in the box, these are marked with numbers. So far, we’ve only seen the one marked with a 1, but assume more will soon be on the way. They say 3 and up, we think most 3s will have trouble making the key squ

Creativity for Kids Sticker Suncatchers

(Creativity for Kids $13.99) Here’s a way to do window art without putting markers or glue on the window. Sticker Suncatchers come with five sturdy pre-made designs—a bear, owl, fox, bunny and maybe a chipmunk. Kids use the color stickers to decorate them and then hang them on the window with small suction cup with a hook, that really does stick and will move slightly as it catches the light and breeze. Kids can layer the sheer stickers, which means they’ll be creating new colors…so this gives them hands-on color mixing experiences without using paint. There are also stick-on rhinestones for extra sparkle. You should know that the sticker sheets need to be bent to get each sticker off…so for

Creativity for Kids Fashion Headbands

(Creativity for Kids $19.99) An update of one of our previous award winners, repackaged with some new goodies for a wardrobe of headbands. There are ten ribbon bright headbands in the kit along with ribbons, pom-poms, fabric flowers, rhinestones, metallic trim and a sparkling butterfly. To craft them the kit also has heavy duty craft glue, gel cord, and elastic fasteners. A wonderful birthday gift or a nice kit (to share) for a sleepover party or play date. Have a look with your crafter at the instructions and ideas and encourage them to use these as a jumping off point for their own clever creations. A good choice for fostering fine motor skills, creativity and staying power. Marked 5 and u

Hape Super Spiral Quadrilla

(Hape $172.99) New and top of the line, this Quadrilla set is pricey but amazing! With two double spiral twists that can be flipped, a musical sonic xylophone, see-thru drop, multiple control blocks to change directions, this 129 piece set is the newest in the amazing and challenging Quadrilla building sets. Happily, there’s also an app if you want help with initial assembly. It’s a memorable marble run that makes for great parent child cooperative project. In time, once they see how the parts work, they’ll want to try building their own creations. Marked four and up, we think the up side is where this fits best. Four can play with the finished build, but it apt to knock it over. 6-7-8s will

Automoblox BR 100 Hercules

(Play Monster $42.19) A sleek ultra modern car carrier in wood and royal blue wheels and domed shaped cab. The Hercules comes with two Automoblox vehicles that can be taken apart and rebuilt and combined in multiple creative ways. Kids may need some help learning how to get the vehicles apart. The carrier can also be re-imagined from the carrier with a multi-level ramp that can hold five vehicles to a working dump truck! There’s a lot of pretend play as well as construction play built into this handsome set. 4 and up. Ages: Older preschoolers, Young Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Insect Lore Butterfly Farm

(Insect Lore $39.99) Butterfly Farm ($39.99) We've told you about this wonderful Science kit for watching the metamorphosis of a butterfly up close! Use the enclosed voucher to send for five baby caterpillars and the food they need. There’s no fee for shipping, but be on the lookout for them. Don’t let them sit in the package when they arrive. They grow an amazing ten times their size before they form chrysalides! Inside the habitat. Watch for a few days and then please release them in the garden or park. 4-6 . Also special, see our review for their Ladybug Kit ($24.99) Activity Idea: Keep a simple log with the date to record the changes. Use your phone camera to record the progress and have

Insect Lore Ladybug Land Kit

(Insect Lore $24.99) Kids will love watching the Ladybug Larvae hatch inside the small domed habitat. You get a voucher that you use (+ $7.95 shipping fee) to receive 10-13 ladybug larvae in the mail. Put them into the habitat, use the dropper to wet the sponge in the “volcano” and in a few days, the little red and black ladybugs will be on the move. In fact, after your child has enjoyed them for a few days, transfer them to the garden, where they will do their work, eating aphids, and other insects like mites and scale insects, garden pests. Farmers and serious gardeners welcome these hungry little ladybugs! Or, if you prefer, Insect Lore makes a Butterfly Farm ($39.99), works the same way.

ThinkFun Heads Talk Tails Walk

(Thinkfun $14.99) An active game that will keep kids thinking, talking and walking. A stack of large cards with images of animal bodies is placed face up. A smaller stack of cards with animal heads is placed in a circle. Players take turns flipping a head card. It it matches the body card they take the apir. If not, everyone stands and walks around the playing cards…they have to walk like the body shown and talk, squawk, or make the sound of the head shown. Everyone returns to their original place and the next player tries to find a match. The game ends when all the heads and bodies have been matched and the winner is the one with the most sets of matching heads and bodies. This can be a goo

Creativity for Kids Sticker Rainbow Sandland

(Creativity for Kids $18) Fill the clear container with layers of colored sand, seal it with a foam top and then decorate with the colorful stickers and mini Unicorn figure. The kit comes with a curved see through container that is 7x5, five packets of colored sand, a packet of silver glitter, plus a layering funnel, stickers, a wooden tool for making designs, craft glue to paste down the foam top and the unicorn. Kids will need to follow directions as they learn how to layer the sand. It’s a kit that calls for dexterity, fine motor skills and creativity. Marked for 6 and up, but 6s and 7s and even older kids are going to need adult help in handling the sand packets, especially. Ages: Early

Creativity for Kids Fun Felt Shapes

(Creativity for Kids $14.99) A classic travel and or quiet time activity for preschoolers with over 100 pre-cut felt shapes in many colors and patterns. Shapes include some people shapes as well as geometrics and wiggly eyes and pom-poms. Kids arrange the pieces on a portable felt board. An open-ended play set that can be used solo or together. Use this to tell stories or to encourage kids to tell stories of their own. A housekeeping tip: put the pieces in the see-through storage bag they can reach into as they design. At the very least, use it for storage that will keep the pieces from going lost. The felt board, which folds, is 20” x 11” when opened and can fold to hold a work in progress

Corolle Mini Bath Blue

(Corolle $18) This charming handful of a doll is waterproof and ready for the bath or pool in his whale of an aqua blue onesie. He’s also wearing dark blue fins, that do not come off. With vinyl legs, arms, and head, this soft-bodied 8” doll is designed to dry quickly after tub time. So, he’ll be ready to dive in again tomorrow, same time, same place. 2 and up. Ages: Toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

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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.