Educator, parent & kid testing goes into each product considered for an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award. We don't accept ads or charge "review fees" from manufacturers or publishers, so you know you're always getting independent opinions. We have awards for the best toys, books, videos, and audio for kids.
Now that the cooler days of fall have come, outdoor play takes on a new vigor. It may be too cold for the beach, but not for the sandbox. This is the season for active games of hopscotch, learning to balance on ride-ons, for raking and jumping in the leaves. It's also a great time take photos of the changing season...go on a hunt for five signs of fall. Here are a few good choices for outdoor fun.
Maybe it seems like yesterday when that baby first came along and filled a special place in your heart. Can it be a whole year has passed? Finding a toy that "fits" the 12-month old baby can be challenging. Some babies are already up on their feet and toddling while others are still considering the possibilities. Choose gifts that build confidence rather than pushing them. Here are some good choices to consider.
Tags: Meet the Toymaker, Debra Sterling, Construction Sets, Building Toys
Posted: 2013-08-20 11:01:29
By: by Stephanie Oppenheim
I'm often asked how I made the transition from practicing law to playing with toys. So I decided to start asking other people how they found their way to toyland. I was particularly interested in Debra Sterling, the founder of the new construction toy company GoldieBlox. Debra, already distinguished as a recent engineering graduate from Stanford, decided to focus on empowering and enticing girls to play at problem solving and building. Drawing on her own experiences, she hopes that such early play will lead more young women to careers in engineering. With her idea formulated, Debra then raised more than $250,000 onKickstarter - indicating that other people shared her vision. While overseas supervising the production of her first line, we interviewed Debra about her journey. Her line will be available later this year - we look forward to trying it with our testers! Click here to read our interview.
For your very own prince (or princess) that has trouble going to sleep!
Posted: 2013-07-29 11:24:20
We couldn't let this week go by without reminding you of Joanne's The Prince's Bedtime (which is appropriately being sold at the Buckingham Palace Gift Store!) If you have or know a little one that has trouble getting to sleep, this is a must read! Even better, you can order your paperback copy now (it also comes with a audio CD narrated by Jim Boadbent) for only $9.99 by clicking here.
Posted: 2013-06-13 17:13:32
By: by Joanne Oppenheim
Stick-ability is a skill that does not come naturally or easily. Yet, developing the ability to wait for an event or to deal with the frustration of working at a difficult task and bring it to completion- these are important life and learning skills that children need. Whether they are learning to read, writing a term paper, or baking cookies, patience is often the key to success. Unfortunately you can't teach patience by talking about it. Lectures don't help. Click here for ideas that do help!
Posted: 2013-06-13 17:12:32
By: by Stephanie and Joanne Oppenheim
Planning a family reunion can be daunting. It sounds fun in theory - but making sure the day is a success requires some advanced planning. Knowing how your family plays well together is also key. Are you like the Kennedy family that enjoys a competitive game of football on the lawn or is a calmer game of bocce more your speed? Here are some suggestions that will engage a multi-generational crowd with something for everyone. You can watch Stephanie's segment from NBC's TODAY SHOW below and Click here to read the complete article.
Tags: crawling, making things happen, teething, cause and effect
Posted: 2013-04-23 10:09:42
By: Joanne Oppenheim
In a matter of months they learn to turn over, sit up, and before long work at crawling and pulling themselves upright. Now, instead of just watching and listening, the sitting up infant is ready to take hold of things and pass them from hand to hand. Toys are not just for gazing at any longer. They need to be tasted, tossed, banged, and examined from every angle. Babies continue to learn through all their senses. For your baby there is real excitement and a new-found sense of power in being able to make things happen. They are beginning to get a sense of cause and effect and thier own active part in that equation. Do they need all of these? No, but here are some good choices. Click here for several basic learning tools your vertical baby needs:
People often ask us just what kinds of toys new babies need. With so many choices it's hard for new parents and grandparents to know the basic gear from the glut of merchandise that only adds to the clutter in the nursery. To choose toys that really make a difference you need to think of a baby's developmental style of learning. It's through their eyes, ears, nose, mouths, fingers and toes that infants begin to explore and interact with people and things. For the early months, bring home a variety of playthings that stimulate their senses. Some of these are tried and true classics while others are new or updates of classics. Click here for basic gear your horizontal baby needs:
The first new kits have begun to arrive with fresh and inviting crafts. Many have enough art supplies to share for a play date. We look for kits with clear directions, ample supplies, and materials that introduce kids to skills they can carry forward when the kit is done. While kits are often prescriptive and less than open-ended; they do introduce children to materials and techniques that can be applied in more creative ways. Crafts are more than just entertaining, they develop children's dexterity, patience, decision making and problem solving abilities. Here are a few of the new ones that are noteworthy.
Stephanie shared some of the hot new trends from the International Toy Fair with NBC's Willie Geist and guest host Steve Harvey on the TODAY Show. Check out what got their attention! For more details on the products discussed visit Stephanie's blog.
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