Gifeez, Spinning GIF Art Studio

(Spinmaster $19.99) A fascinating spinner that animates the 15 double sided art disks. Kids can color them with the markers, add stickers (also included. ) Kids can even put their own designs on the three blank disks. Now, dim the lights or better yet go into a dark room that has just a trace of light a watch as the disk spins and the light on the spinner flashes to animate the images. DON'T be fooled by the photo above...it won't work as it should in a brightly lit room! Some of the patterns create an optical illusion even without any color added. The disks rotate at different speeds in art and animation mode.A little art, a little science, a lot of fun. There is a warning on this package,

eeBoo Space Exploration Memory and Matching Game

(eeBoo $15.99) A playful way to learn the names of the planets and other spacey facts. It’s a traditional concentration game with 24 pairs of matching cards. There’s interesting reading on each of the cards such as Neil Armstrong, 1969, First Person on the Moon or Past the outer planets is the Kuiper Belt, or Titan, Saturn’s Biggest Moon. These small trivia facts may in fact spark the curiosity and lead kids to finding out more, especially kids who are already fascinated with space. Marked 5+, but we think this one will be of more interest to 2nd and 3rd graders. For younger concentration players, look for eeBoo’s Good Dog Memory and Matching Game. Kids who are mad for dogs will enjoy matchi

Hasbro FurReal Cubby, the Curious Bear

(Hasbro $99 ) A new FurReal interactive bear that like his bottle and honey comb snack and makes eating sounds of enjoyment, to prove it. His ears and nose move, as well as his mouth and he babbles like a baby when you speak to him. Cubby likes to play peek-a-boo when he’s in the mood. But he’s a sleepy cub and has big sleepy eyes that close when he settles down to sleep. In fact, he plays soft sleep time music for five minutes that are supposed to help your little one dose off, too. Don’t count on the last item. He is softer than most interactive dolls, but he’s not a replacement for a soft cuddly old-fashioned Teddy Bear. He’s more of a novelty toy that has 100+ sound and motion combinati

Fisher-Price Little People Elsa’s Ice Palace

(Fisher-Price $59.99) For all the very young Frozen fans out there, here's a charming pretend setting for replaying and making up new stories. This Little People version comes with two important characters: Elsa and Olaf and has magical sounds, lights and action built in. Open the doors, and tap a button and Elsa’s song begins as the palace lights up. Turn a button on the left to make the staircase appear. Spin the snowflake and press the button and the palace gets even taller. Put Elsa in her palace and it will play her song as she sings. There’s a slide for Elsa and Olaf to race down. Okay, it’s a lot of plastic, but if Frozen is on the hit parade, this is going to be a Wow-Wee gift for li

eeBoo Good Dog Memory Game

(eeBoo $15.99) With 24 pairs to match, all playful puppies on this concentration style game. With cute illustrations by Dan Yaccarino, it’s easy to think you have a match since some of the puppies are close, but not alike. It’s not as simplistic as some matching games, which can be a good thing. Kids need to sharpen their visual skills with these pictorial pairs before they begin seeing the difference between words that look almost the same as in...bed vs bud or bid. Introduce halfs the sets or less, giving children a chance to get the idea of how the game is played. Don’t be surprised if they out play you very soon. Marked for 3 and up, but this is a better bet for older 4s and early school

Wicked Big Sports Supersized Pong

(Wicked Big Sports $49.98) We’re always on the look-out for fun outdoor games and this one is uncomplicated. Our testers used this Supersized Pong game for a family party. No, they did not fill the giant size cups with anything (though water that splashed might have been fun). It’s a good team game that can be played by mixed ages and ideal if there are young ‘uns to chase after the ball. It comes with six “cups”, one ball, a pump with needle and a storage bag. Ages: Early School, Tweens and Teens Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Corolle Baby Doll Carrier

(Corolle $38.99) Padded and lined with a playful cat printed fabric this lightweight doll carrier will hold a 14-17 inch doll. It’s perfect for take-along pretend. Dolly can nap or ride in the car on the way to Grandma’s or a play date. It has a nice handle and a curved bottom so kids can even rock their dolly to sleep. A special gift for nurturing play. Makes a nice big sister gift for the family with a new little sibling. Ages: Preschoolers, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Hot Wheels Track Builder Vertical Launch Kit

(Mattel $48.99) You’ll need a clear wall to set this up and not to worry…it comes with removable command strips that do not mark the wall. We're happy to report that it also comes with a wall template to take the guesswork out of putting it up. Be forewarned: An adult must do the assembly. Older kids can help with putting the track together, but this is not something kids will be able to figure out on their own. One of our test families was so eager to play, they found the hour long wait difficult, since the "command strips" need that long to set. Once assembled the tracks and chutes can be rearranged in multiple ways. Testers liked the spiral chute, the cross-over tracks and best of all yo

Home Learning Big Top Game

(Home Learning $7.99) Seeing patterns and knowing what comes next in a sequence is a skill used in math...as in 5, 10, 15.. and what comes next? Recognizing patterns helps us make educated guesses or to formulate a hypothesis. This little card game is a good way to build pattern awareness. Players take turns choosing a ticket card with a pattern and then dig in to the big top cards to find the card that completes the pattern. The player who finds the match keeps the card and the ticket. Winner is the first player to make three matches that complete the patterns. These are simple AB-AB-AB two place patterns. You can play similar pattern games with colored bricks and make the patterns more com

Home Learning Chili Pepper Pass!

(Home Learning $12.99) Learning left from right until it becomes automatic just got easier with an entertaining card game that comes with a red (foam) chili pepper. It’s a little like playing Hot Potato only you are not just listening for a signal and trying not to get caught holding the potato. In this game, players pass the chili pepper following directions on the card they draw and those cards are all bout using your right or left hand, or both…for example: “Pass your right hand on your right ear, then pass the pepper with your left hand” or “Pass the pepper 4 to the right.” Easy Peasy…right? Hold on, you read and pass the pepper against a 1 minute timer. The person receiving the pepper

Fisher-Price Code ‘n Learn Kinderbot

(Fisher-Price $59.99) Unlike many beginning coding toys, this one has a very intuitive design. The color buttons that run the Kinderbot are right on top and point in the directions forward, left, right, and back. It’s easy for kids to see the connection between the directions they give and the movements the Kinderbot will make. It can and should be played with in "free coding" mode, with the child taking charge before moving on to the learning challenges and secret codes, that dictate what to do. We were impressed with the way our four-year old tester “got it” and the eagerness with which he continues to experiment with it. He quickly noticed that the color keys he hit then light up on the

LEGO Friends Heartlake City Amusement Pier

(LEGO $129.99) A pirate ghost ship serves as the backdrop of this spooky amusement park! With a toy rollercoaster, chair swing carousel, ticket kiosk with turn style to get inside, game stalls and snack stalls. All five mini doll figures, Olivia, Emma, Stephanie, Zack and Chloe are included. It’s a challenging 1251-piece build, a top of the line set, that turns into a mini setting for lots of pretend play. 8 and up. Ages: Tweens Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

Lego Pop-up Party Bus

(LEGO $79.99) Inspired by LEGO Movie 2, this pop-up party bus is a challenging build. It has a futuristic look. Be forewarned: Emmet, one of the movie characters shown on the box is not in the box. There’s a cockpit that opens, foldout speakers, a rotating dance floor, and a flip-up disco ball. Kids can replay scenes from the movie or create their own with a buildable Disco Kitty as Unikitty and Zebe figures, plus Tempo and Melody mini-doll figures. This has over 1,000 pieces, so it’s not for beginners. Our ten-year old tester had no problems with this one. This will make a hit with both boys and girls who are fans of the movie. Our testers loved the light brick and all the moving parts. 9+

Lego Friends Rescue Mission Boat

(Lego $89.99) There’s good news and the other kind, too. We have serious mixed emotions about this one! The good news first: Years ago a rescue mission boat would have been marketed for boys. Sure, girls might have played with it, but it would have been on the aisle for boys toys. So, at first glance this seems a step in the right direction. A serious action toy for girls, a construction set with 908 pieces! Their mission to save a narwhal whale that is beached and in need of help. For this we were even able to overlook the pink hull of the boat. But then we saw a possible line in the sand. Why did they do this…why a PINK whale? Is this what they think girls who enjoy action toys want? Pleas

Paw Patrol Rubble Deluxe Vehicle

(Spinmaster $14.99) Paw Patrol fans like pretending and replaying scenes from their favorite show with this little truck. It comes with lights, sounds and best of all...Rubble in his black and yellow Super Paws Uniform. The yellow construction truck comes loaded with batteries and has a wrecking ball and button that activates the sounds and lights. Makes a small but welcome gift. 3 and up. Ages: Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award 2019 Click here to purchase the product from Amazon.com

LEGO THE LEGO MOVIE 2 Movie Maker

(Lego $39.99) With sets and characters from Lego Movie 2, this 482-piece set builds into a movie stage with a camera stand for a smartphone that will record movie scenes kids produce with the props and characters and special app. Attach the phone to any of the three places on the stage to get interesting angles and to pan movements. The set includes great action props like Emmet’s Escape Buggy and Rex’s Rexplorer, and 9 characters from the movie: Emmet, Lucy, Rex, Sweet Mayhem, Warrior Kitty, Star, Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi, an alien invader and a raptor. The characters have adjustable arms and sliders to move them around. There are two scene settings to use for background: Apocalypseburg or Sys

Lego Friends Andrea’s Talent Show

(Lego $49.99) Aspiring young wanna-be musicians and magicians will no doubt like building this miniature setting with three different rotating stage sets. There’s a dressing room where Andrea can get ready for her on stage appearance. She not only plays drums she can pull a rabbit out of a box. Two mega speakers on each side of the stage turn to revel big screens. Clip you cell phone to the stand and play a video or music. Chloe is one of the judges of the talent show and she can push buttons(with some help) to show the winners with flags that drop down on the stage and fireworks add to the big moment. With 492 pieces, this is going to take time and patience to put together, not to mention f

Fisher-Price Code a Pillar Twist

(Fisher-Price $34.99) This year's Code A Pillar comes with several new twists. Unlike the original, this one does not come apart in segments that can be rearranged. Instead, the segments have dials that kids twist to program the Code a Pillar’s motions. Ideally, this should lead to fewer lost pieces. It’s also less pricey and has no add-on pieces to buy. It’s otherwise the same, an early opportunity to code by sequencing a series of moves and seeing if the program created does what was planned. Designed for preschoolers, but also enjoyed by early schoolers, it’s a problem-solving toy, of sorts. Using furniture and other barriers, kids can create an obstacle course and then try to program the

Mattel Pictionary Air

(Mattel $19.99) We have mixed emotions about this new twist on Pictionary. It did not work with our big TV, so we played using smart phones. After downloading the app, players take turns sketching what their card says to draw, only instead of paper and pencils, players draw in the air and their drawings show up on their team’s smart phone. Some of our players drew too small, so their images were hard to decipher. We think if you can make it work on a TV screen it would be easier for players to get the hang of drawing in the air...but, the player is not supposed to see what he is drawing, only his team. That’s part of the challenge. It's a novelty that doesn't replace the original Pictionary,

eeBoo This Land Is Your Land 100 Piece Puzzle

(eeBoo $13.99) Kids who are learning state names and capitals will find this puzzle especially interesting. It’s a handsome map of the USA with those important labels plus products and iconic landmarks. The pieces are fairly-large and the finished puzzle will be 18 X 27 inches big, so set them up on a good-sized table to start, since they won’t want to have to move it midway through! Marked 5 and up, but this is more like a great choice for 2nd and 3rd graders. Ages: Older Early School 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.