Early School Years

New Reviews and Articles

Talk is a Two-way Street
Posted: 2016-02-25 14:57:54

An article recently published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics reports that when babies and parents played with electronic toys that claim to develop language, parents take a back seat and let the toy do the talking. As a result, they tend to interact less with their babies than when they play with more traditional toys and books. Not only do the talking toys lead to less talk from parents, the study found that babies vocalized less as well. (Click here for more)

Toys with a Star Wars Theme
Tags: star wars, construction, programming, drawing
Posted: 2015-12-06 17:03:26


Few movies have been more anticipated or inspired so many kinds of games and toys. Here are a few of our testers' favorites.

Day Two: The Best Toys for School Aged Kids (5-8)
Tags: Today Show, Best Toys 0f 2015
Posted: 2015-11-24 10:33:24 By: by Stephanie and Joanne Oppenheim

We partnered with the TODAY Show to conduct a nationwide toy review with families from all 50 states. For Day Two we were on the hunt for the best toys for school-aged kids (5-8).  We sent out 12 toys for each age category (babies-preschoolers, school-age kids and tweens). Each of the toys was tested by five families for a total of 180 play experiences with siblings, several sets of twins, and their parents all engaged in our mission to find products that were worth their time and toy dollars. We looked at toys from both small and large toy companies, including those that are being heavily promoted for this holiday season. Stephanie will share the findings for School-Aged kids on Tuesday, November 24th. Tune In. Click here to read the reviews.  (And for even more gift ideas, please be sure to consult our Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Awards List for 2015).

A Few of Our Special Needs Adaptable Products (S.N.A.P. Award Winners)
Tags: special needs toys, SNAP Awards
Posted: 2015-11-21 17:46:18

Shopping for kids with special needs can be challenging, but it need not be daunting. To simplify your job, we look for ordinary toys that build skills but are also entertaining, engrossing, and not didactic. We know that kids like toys that are like their siblings. You may need to adapt some of these toys, but whatever you do, choose toys that play to their strengths. Check all of our lists. Go to Search at the top of the Home Page and check the SNAP box and enter the year. We have dozens of SNAP items for 2015, but check out 2014 as well. Many of our SNAP reviews have games and adaptations suggestions. Here are just a handful of our favorites.

From Tots to Tweens
Posted: 2015-11-21 17:49:22

Readers often ask us if an old fashioned doll is still a good gift for kids who start playing with their parents cellphones before they can talk and moving the pages of ipads as if they were born with computer smarts. Let us reassure you, a doll is still a well-loved gift, even for the hi-tech kids on your list. The trick is finding a doll that fits. Click to find dolls for each age and stage.

For Christmas Stockings and the many nights of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa
Posted: 2015-11-21 17:51:05

Experienced shoppers have probably been putting aside the small gems that will make gift-giving simpler when Christmas stockings need filling and the many nights of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are upon us. We've grouped these by age groups.  Read More....

It's the Year of the Dinos!
Posted: 2015-10-02 12:12:27

Thanks to the new Jurassic World film, kids are going to have a wealth of fun dinosaur themed games, puzzles, and toys. Though the movie is for older kids, there are dino toys for preschoolers, early school age kids and far more complex ones for much older kids. If your child is already bitten with dino fever or you are planning a dino-themed birthday, here are just a few of the many great choices you will want to consider:

Designed for Summer Fun
Posted: 2015-09-27 09:53:02

Summer is an ideal time for encouraging kids to explore their creative powers. Some of our favorite kits this season provide the raw materials that invite kids to try their hands with new crafts. Big sidewalk chalk can be used for art shows, potsy games, or drawing elaborate mandalas. One of our tester's favorites, a set of sunglasses to decorate and wear on sunny days. Here are a few of the newest choices for creative fun.  

The Time Is Ripe Now!
Tags: STEM, Science, Math, Hands-on Learning, Experiments
Posted: 2015-06-10 12:15:40 By: Joanne and Stephanie Oppenheim

If you are hoping to spark your child's interest in STEM learning, the time is ripe! This season there are more new and fascinating kits designed to enhance their budding understanding and interest in science. Some combine art with science, others involve more reading and step by step problem solving. Kids are by nature curious about the real world and how things work. Providing tools that invite them to investigate and explore the natural world will keep that hunger for learning alive. We'll be adding more to this special list every few weeks; science, math and construction toys that build those interests. Check our age appropriate lists as well.

Here are some of the newest hands-on props for learning.

Send in the Grandparents!
Tags: Big Ticket Toys
Posted: 2014-12-21 08:18:14

Every holiday season we find some expensive but exciting gifts. Some are pure novelty items while others are toys that will go the miles to be enjoyed for years to come. If you're still shopping and not finding a significant enough gift for the grandchild, niece or nephew, son or daughter, here, in age order (from infants to tweens) are some top-of-the-line choices for 2014.

Index to Toy Reviews By Category


Products for Infants
Products for Toddlers
Products for Preschoolers
Products for Early School Years
Products for Later School Years
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