Brio Pinball Game

(Brio $48.99) There are no lights or bells nor batteries for this quiet and handsome pinball game. We don’t want you to be disappointed...this is not your typical pinball. In fact you and your kids have to add up your score at the end of each player’s round by adding the number od balls in each of the slots below. So, there’s a bit of math needed as well as patience and a willingness to try, try again. Getting the balls to jump into the high scoring slots is not easy. The great thing is, you can keep playing for quite a long time. You may miss scoring high, but the balls often fall into try again slots, giving players a chance to succeed. It’s definitely not for serious arcade players. A pin

Manhattan Toy Musical Lili Llama

(Manhattan Toy $39.99) A perfect first birthday gift! It’s a musical llama, an activity center with a small but sweet sounding five bar xylophone on top, clappers that sound like castanets on either side, and spinners that twirl around on sides and front. There are two small mallets to play the xylophone and the ratchet sounding ridges on top. And that’s not all. It’s a gaily painted toy with a tail that lifts off and doubles as a maraca. 12 month and up Ages: Young Toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2019 Click here to purchase the Gravel Yard product from Amazon.com

Hape Dante Push and Go

(Hape $28.10) For a first birthday, here’s a rolling toy that on the go tots will love. Dante, the cat simply rolls OR push down lightly on his back and he scoots ahead, but not too fast or too far. This is just about right for kids who are still crawling or just beginning to walk. No strings to pull, kid powered fun that empowers the child. Dante has a jaunty look, a whimsical smile, a waggy tail, and some cause and effect learning. His rubber-rimmed wheels help make him easy to push around. 1 and up. Ages: Young Toddlers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Toy Story 4 Mr. Potato Heads

(Playskool/Hasbro $14.99 and up) If you love Mr. Potato Head and Toys Story 4, there are several ways to bring him home. There’s an individual, “Spud Lightyear”, ($17.99) a standard size Mr. Potato Head with10 pieces. Or you can buy the cast of the movie, Buzz, Woody, Ducky and Bunny in Mini-pack 4 size ($14.99). This set has fifteen pieces. These mini Potato heads have just three to four parts; their eyes, mouths, and noses are not removable since they would be too small for safe handling by young children. These are all marked 2 and up, but we think most 2s will only be able to take them apart, lacking the fine motor skills to fit them back together. Save these for preschoolers. Ages: Pres

Hasbro Yellies

(Hasbro $7.50) Take your pick of these funny looking little critters, hot pink Lizabelle, green Sal E. Mander, and Echo Grecko. This one is Toofy Spooder, one of many voice activated spiders. Speak softly and they do nothing…raise your voice and watch them jump into action. As the ad says, “The louder you yell, the faster they go.” We found they didn’t need much shouting to move. You never know if they will move forward, backwards, spin or jump. Yes, it’s a novelty toy for when a small surprise will brighten the day. SNAP: A toy that could be useful and entertaining for getting kids to use their full voices. Ages: Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award 2019 Click here to purchase th

Fisher-Price Clean-up and Dust Set

(Fisher Price $14.99) Cleaning up just got updated. Forget the old broom and mop. Now toddlers, who love sweeping up, have an imitation swifter-style mop and duster wand. The kit also includes a spider web and dust bunny that will stick to the cleaning tools. Pretend play often starts with realistic playthings for role playing. Don't count on the interest in sweeping and dusting lasting. It's a passing thing. Ages: Toddlers, Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Hasbro Tiny Pong

(Hasbro $19.99) Our testers couldn’t stop playing with this solo table tennis game. It’s like an electronic version of your old paddle ball on an elastic string—remember that? Here the ball is not attached, so it’s a little trickier, but once they get it going they will be working hard to beat their own score. In fact the board lights up has sound effects and counts their score as they play. It takes 3 AAA batteries and you need a screwdriver to open the handle and load it up. A fun way to get them moving with active fun. 8 and up. Ages: Tweens Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Hape Stay Put Rattle Set

(Hape $12.99) Three suction cup rattles that move with a slight swipe of a little hand and each produces a different but quiet and pleasing sound. There’s an octopus, whale and a smiley green turtle. For the sitting up baby this is a beginning toy for making something happen. Ages: Infants Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Creativity for Kids Beautiful Butterflies

(Faber Castell $18.00) Who doesn’t love butterflies? Here’s a kit with three sheer butterflies made of tulle. One is blue and 11” wide and the other two are pink and lavender and almost 7” wide. Since the basic butterflies are so nice, ids are likely to be pleased after they add the sparkle paint and glitter gel from the tubes and add the self-adhesive rhinestones. There are clear instructions and a paintbrush in addition to the paint tubes. Once they’re decorated, use the hanging strings to add a touch of beauty to the crafter’s room. A kit that allows kids to dream up their own creative designs and a finished product they can display with pride. 6 and up. Ages: Early School Oppenheim Toy P

Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson Crinkle Zebra Baby Sensory Toy

(Manhattan Toy $9.99) An interesting crinkle fabric toy in high contrast black and white for visual stimulation in the early weeks. It’s a flat unstuffed toy that’s light enough for baby to grasp and examine. The back is green with a pattern of tiny dots and the striped zebra also has three little ribbons for its mane. Designed to stimulate baby’s sensory learning with things to see, hear, and touch. A good lap toy for early interactions. Ages: Infants Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Bigjigs Toys Park & Play Garage

(BigJigs $130.00) Bruuum! Brummmm! Drive right in and park your car. Travel by helicopter? No problem. There’s a pad on top for happy landings. This is a well-designed garage with a working elevator that will take vehicles to the top and middle floors. Take the ramp down and fill the tank before driving away. No charging place yet for electric cars, but that should come soon. We liked the quality of this garage with colorful graphics and smooth edges. But be forewarned, it’s not easy to assemble and although the screws look small, it goes together better with a larger screwdriver. If this is a gift, prebuild it AND most of all, be sure to add cars and trucks that will fit in the lift and a s

Mindware KaBlocks Blast

(Mindware $39.99 ) Kids love building with blocks and knocking them down. This set comes with 30 foam blocks, a building platform, and instructions. Truth be told, kids will not need instructions with this toy, but it will give you some good questions to ask and trial ideas for more-than-simple build and knock them down experiments. Use the blocks as early math language by talking about the shapes and sizes. It’s hands-on (or in this case, foot-on) physics for beginners. Encourage them to find out how tall a tower they can build or how many shapes they can use, and what happens when they launch their block structures with the foot pedal. 3 and up. Ages: Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio G

Educational Insights Design and Drill Convertible

(Educational Insights $21.99) Preschoolers will have a great sense of accomplishment using the working toy drill to assemble this little convertible. Adults will need to load the three AAA batteries and the bit and demo how the switch on the drill works two ways— to put the 15 big bolts in and to get them out. Once built the toy can be played with as a working vehicle or they will more likely take it apart and put it together again. It’s something like a puzzle that they will like mastering. Preschoolers are likely to need help with getting the flower power sticker off the sheet and onto the convertible that looks oddly like a VW for Hippies of the 60s. Designed in colors that will appeal to

Educational Insights Artie 3000

(Educational Insights $69.99) Younger kids will like this new Robot that they can command to draw free form with forward, back and sideway directions from a smartphone, tablet or computer. But, that’s just the beginning. When slightly older kids are ready for simple coding, they can use the pre-programmed designs and games as they get the hang of how Artie moves to coded directions. Gradually, as they use these moves, kids will be able to put together their own commands and become an evermore powerful master of Artie. Marked 7 and up, we’d say that the preprogrammed coding is going to be a better choice for 9s and 10s. Artie comes with four colored pens and a supply of coding cards that will

Peaceable Kingdom Tic-Tac Surprise!

(Mindware $6.95) Tuck this little game into your bag for road trips. It’s a fun twist on the classic, Tic Tac Toe, only here instead of Xs and Os, you play chocolate donuts against vanilla ones. The object to get three in a row horizontally, vertically or diagonally. But watch out for sprinkles! If you or your opponent has one with sprinkles it can be put on top of any donut and change the game! It’s a quick game with lots of chances to win. 5 & up. Ages: Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award 2019

Faber-Castell World Colors Pencils

(Faber-Castell $7.99 ) We’re excited about these double-sided pencils with six skin tones that kids can use for their drawings. Do you remember never being able to find a crayon or color pencil that was anything like your own skin tone? These super soft and bendable double sided pencils can be blended so kids can create their own likeness or that of friends and family. This set has 27 pencils with three double- sided skin tone pencils. Ages: Early School, Tweens Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Creativity for Kids Glow-in-the-Dark Rock Painting Kit

(Faber-Castell $14.00) Painting rocks has been a popular craft for ages-in fact since prehistoric times. This kit gives 21st century kids a chance to try their hand at it. Best of all, it has the added charm of glow-in-the-dark paints! The kit comes with 10 good sized rocks, a tray of six fluorescent paints, five glow-in-the-dark paint sticks, two paint brushes (thin and thicker), and an instruction booklet. Kids can give their works of art as gifts or use them to decorate their own rooms. 6 and up. SNAP activity: It's not always easy to find forgiving craft activities that involve kids in using their fine motor skill in a fun way. There is no right or wrong way to do this craft, but it will

Just Play High Flying Buzz Lightyear

(Just Play $24.99) Covered in fabric and standing just shy of a foot tall, this Buzz Lightyear has wings that open when you press his hand and he’s loaded with favorite phrases, such as “To infinity and beyond” and “Full Speed Ahead!” It’s a novelty toy, inspired by the new Toy Story 4 movie. Not likely to have a long play life, but sure to make a hit with fans of the movie. Marked for 3 and up. Ages: Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Manhattan Toy Mon Ami Lucky

(Manhattan Toy $17.99) Looking for a black and white puppy that won’t need walking? This stout little 7.5 inch pup has weighted legs that can stand up or sit back on its haunches. Lucky has a sweet face with standup ears, lined in pale pink. Soft but short plush that doesn’t shed. HIgh contrast black and white will make this pup visually interesting to infants. Toddlers and preschoolers will find it appealing for pretend play. Ages: All ages Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Manhattan Toy Forest Friends: Fran Fox and Huck Hedgehog

(Manhattan Toy $22.00 each) You’ll have trouble choosing between these two lovable Forest Friends. Both have long lanky legs and arms for easy grabbing and hefty enough bodies to fill little arms. Best of all, they have wonderfully interesting textures that add sensory appeal. Fran Fox, 16” tall, wears furry blue shorts that do not come off. Her non-plush body is nevertheless soft to the touch. Huck Hedgehog, 16” tall, has the same soft furry trim around the neck and his body is covered with a short shag finish that contrasts to the plush free face, arms, legs and tummy. Ages: Toddlers, Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2019 Click here to purchase Fran Fox from Amazon.com 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.