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Platinum Toys for Preschoolers


Guidecraft Grippies Builders - 30 Piece Playset

(Guidecraft $47.99) Even the younger builder can explore magnetic attraction with this set of pastel colored sensory Grippies and magnetic balls. The Grippies come in two lengths, four colors, and interesting textures. Combined with the big white magnetic balls, these are an open-ended building material for older toddlers and young preschoolers. A 20-piece set is also available ($32.99) Marked 18 months and up. We think this will be of more interest to slightly older kids and continue to be used by preschoolers in more complex ways. SNAP: The soft spongy covering on the rods make this an easier-to-grasp toy. Grippie Games: Use these for building fun or sort the pieces by size and sort then again by color. Sort them by textures looking at them and then with eyes closed. How long a train of blue can you make? How about orange? Play a game make patterns: You start with blue, green, blue, green, blue....what comes next? Make other patterns with two colors and then gradually do three color patterns.

Ages: Toddlers, Preschoolers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Magformers Creator Magic Pop Set (25 pieces)

(Magformers $47.99)

We always like Magformer sets that let you assemble the pieces flat on the table or floor and then lift and abracadabra the pieces come together. This pop-up set is no exception. It comes with a set of wheels that will make it all the more fun to play with when they build small models. It’s packaged with a booklet showing how to transform the 25 magnet shapes (that are safely inside of plastic forms) working step-by-step. The wheels have rubber treads so the vehicles they build can also be used for pretend play. The box says 3 and up, but really this is going to be a lot better for older 4’s and well beyond. We think 5’s and 6’s will like this, too.

Ages: Preschoolers, Early School

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Educational Insights Design & Drill SparkleWorks

Remember last season’s Design and Drill? This has it beat with exciting new add on’s that are sure to please. Sparkle Works, designed to appeal to girls, has a-see through drill that lights up as the flower and heart shaped bolts are put into ( and out of) the board. Turn on the switch and clap or sing and the lights on the sound-activated glow in the dark board dance to music and voices. Kids can make their own patterns and designs or follow the twelve designs in the package. Marked 3 & up, we think it will be enjoyed even more by slightly older kids with better eye hand control.

Ages: Preschoolers, Early School

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Pretend Toys

LeapFrog Count Along Register

(LeapFrog $18.99)

Kids love playing store and this is a fun prop for that classic play theme. The Count Along Register features age-appropriate one-to-one counting. Little shoppers can scan the food items that the talking keyboard counts up with its light up face. It tells how many items were scanned and asks for that number of coins. Now the shopper must put that number of coins into the slot. The coins fall into the register drawer so they can be re-used again and again. This toy register is for younger players and more appropriate for preschoolers than the calculator register from Learning Resources, that is really a better choice for school aged kids who are learning about real money ad doing addition and subtraction. Marked for 2 and up, we think older 2's and preschoolers of 3-4 will enjoy this more.

SNAP: An excellent choice for pretend play, simple one to one counting and language. The coins are big enough for children to handle with ease and use for simple counting.

Ages: Toddlers, Preschoolers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

MiO Playing Eating Sleeping Working + 2 People

A totally open-ended building toy that comes in a wooden box that’s chock full of possibilities. It can be a house, a boat, a store, a farm, or whatever your child imagines. It’s different than standard blocks the all natural wood planks and cubes, pillars and steps are not as uniform as unit blocks. Some of the pieces are painted and patterned. The set also includes small dolls with hand painted wood heads and soft beanbag bodies that lend themselves to dramatic play and story telling. The large storage box which can become a room of the building also includes: a grassy green patio, 2 rooms, 1 loft, 2 blocks, 1 hopscotch plank, 1 natural plank, 2 step pieces, 4 reversible tree/garden blocks, 4 pillars, 1 room divider plank, 1 graphic block, 15 cubes, 1 blanket, 1 pillow, 2 MiO beanbag people + drawstring storage bag. If your child is expecting a real doll house with rooms upstairs and down with furniture, this is not it. One of our testers called it a deconstructed dollhouse.It’s an untraditional building set that can become many kinds of houses each time your child imagines a new setting. Marked for 3 & up, but probably a much better choice for 4’s and 5’s.

Ages: Preschoolers, Early School Years

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

eeBoo Best Pals' Diner Pretend Play

(eeboo $12.99) Kids love pretending to run a restaurant, playing waiter, chef, customer and this little set of props will come in handy for playing diner. The set include 2 menus, a guest check pad, 2 cardboard plates, 17 pieces of cardboard play food and play money. This kind of pretend play develops language and social skills and opportunities for role-playing. These are all-important learning skills that have no right and wrong answers but encourage children to spin their own stories along with communication skills. Marked 3 & up, we think slightly older early school age kids will enjoy this even more and like writing down orders and even do a little math as they add up the checks. Ages: Preschoolers, Early School Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016 Click here to purchase the product from

Playskool Love2Learn Elmo

(Hasbro $59.99) Testers were pretty unanimous about this year’s Love2Learn Elmo, a novelty doll that learns your child’s name and can play dozens of games. You’ll need to use the Elmo app to personalize the doll and select the subjects, level, and games that Elmo will then play with your child. It has 350+ responses, 10 songs, laughs and plays three different games. Love2Learn Elmo app works with select iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android devices. One tester loves squeezing his nose to make noises. Another carries Elmo wherever she goes and listens to what he has to say. A very young tester was a little put off by Elmo at first meeting. But when her mom put Elmo on her own lap and clapped his hands, the fun became apparent. Now they play with Elmo together, enjoying the songs and games. It’s powered by 4x 1.5 AA alkaline batteries that are not included. Like all electronic dolls, this is no substitute for the soft and silent doll that says whatever your child imagines. Novelty dolls like Elmo generally have a shorter play life than the old fashioned kind since they have an agenda supplied by others. Just saying, children will enjoy interactive talking dolls like Elmo, but a teddy bear they can snuggle and talk to will interact in very personal ways. Ages 18 months to 4 years. Ages: Toddlers, Preschoolers Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016 Click here to purchase the product at Amazon

Games and Puzzles

Janod Giant Jungle Dominoes

(Janod $12.99)

Match up part-to-whole images of jungle animals or classic counting dots on these sturdy cardboard dominoes. Play with twenty-eight double-sided dominoes with witty and stylized images of a flamingo, lion, elephant, panda, hippo and other creatures. Or flip them over and play a more traditional game of matching the dots. A solid game choice for building visual perception, memory, color and number concepts and connecting parts to create whole images. Can be played as a turn taking game or solo matching puzzle. 3-7

Ages: Preschoolers, Early School

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Mudpuppy Around the Town Puzzle

(Mudpuppy $16.99)

Around the Town is a 36-piece puzzle that becomes a big 20” x 16” roadway when assembled. Players can use the roadway for the 8 cardboard play vehicles to ride over. Be sure to fit the vehicles firmly into a play stands so that they stay together. We like the idea of a puzzle combined with dramatic play-ability. Small toy cars can also be added to the scene. 3 & up.

Ages: Preschoolers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

C. R. Gibson Round ‘Em Up Partner Board Game

(C.R. Gibson $21.00) Cowboys and Cowgirls alike will love this lively board game with a multicultural cast of cowpokes, both male and female. Players take turns galloping around the game board with their cowpoke, trying to be the first to collect a lasso, vest, cowboy hat and belt to match the pieces on their playing card. The game involves simple counting, matching, and turn taking; just right for 4's and 5's. Also Platinum Award winning, Ballet Beauties Board Game.

Ages: Preschoolers. Early School

Award Year: Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Click here to purchase the product from

High Tech Toys

OSMO Creative Set

(Osmo $49.99)

First things first: This is not a stand-alone game. You need an i-pad AND you need their Starter Kit ($68) a stand and camera that makes all the other programs work. The good news is that the stand and other games were introduced last year so obviously Osmo is supporting their hardware with new and interesting games that make the starter kit an investment with legs. We really like this year's games even more than earlier ones. You’ll find three different games in this Creative Kit for mixed age groups. For the youngest player, there’s a Magic Show starring Mo, the friendliest Monster ever. He’s also a magician who directs the show asking players to draw on the Osmo Creative drawing board. Watch carefully now! It's magical when their drawing hop from the drawing board to the screen to be used by Mo. This game is for kids from 4-9. Newton is a lot tougher. It’s a physics game in which kids use problem solving skills and draw paths to guide the tiny on-screen balls to solve puzzles that are something like designing a pinball machine. This one calls for lots of exploration, otherwise known as trial and error. Then there's a game called Masterpiece that allows you to trace with a marker an image on the screen to your paper or Osmo Creative Drawing pad. You can also take a photo and it will reduce the photo to outlines you can trace. Share the images you draw and color with friends and family by making a time-lapse video. This game is marked 7-12. More skilled artists will get better end products than beginners, but that’s how you grow. Of course the i-pad you need to do these games does not come in the box. With this kit you get an Osmo Creative Drawing Board and Yoobie erasable markers in a fuzzy eraser pouch, and access to the apps.

Ages: Preschoolers, Early School, Tweens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar

We’ve seen a number of toys designed to introduce young children to coding and this one is designed for the youngest kids. Each segment of the Code-a-pillar has a directional or sound or light symbol on top. Kids snap the segments in the order of their choice and watch their code in action. It’s an open-ended toy that invites kids to experiment and discover if their predictions and actions bring the desired effect. It’s also an empowering toy since kids are in charge of what happens in planning sequences and figuring out how to make the code a pillar to do as they wish. There are add-on segments with different sounds and tricks (three to a pack, $15) that can be purchased separately. But for starters, the basic eight piece Code-a-pillar comes with plenty of action and ideas for putting your Code-a-pillar through tunnels made of pillows between chair legs or simply get from the Start and end target. There is an app for the toy that we did not get to test yet. Note: This works best on a bare floor. They say this is for 3-6's. We'd say the sweet spot is more like late 4's-6's.

Ages: Preschoolers, Early School

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

Outdoor Active Toys

New Micro Mini Deluxe

We’ve told you about the Micro Mini scooter that’s designed for the younger rider. What’s new this year is the adjustable T-bar that grows with your child from 17” up to 25”, an inch higher than the original fixed handlebar. Available in 8 bright colors, it can handle up to 75 lbs. It has the same smooth-gliding wheels, low-to-the-ground deck and stable lean-to-steer ride. Kids soon learn to lean right and left and develop balance. For best protection, children should wear helmets and knee pads when riding. The company says that the non-marking wheels allow children to learn to scoot in the safety of your home. Marked for 2-5. We think lots of young 2’s, especially are not ready for scooters. We think 3 is son enough and then only with helmets, kneepads, and supervision. Comes in many colors.

Ages: Preschoolers

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2016

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