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.
Tags: Today Show, Best Toys for Babies, Best Toys for Toddlers, Best Toys for Preschoolers
Posted: 2014-12-02 09:02:58
By: by Stephanie and Joanne Oppenheim
This week we kick off the TODAY Show/toyportfolio.com 2014 Toy Review. We had over 215 children (incuding seven sets of twins) from 24 states including Hawaii and Alaska participate with their families to review the top new toys for 2014. Many of the toys have been heavily hyped. We wanted to know how those toys stacked up with our reviewers. Each day this week we will reveal the results.
As always we just received some products that were too late to make our original award announcements. Happily, they are not too late for shoppers to find. We add new products throughout the year and here are three notable products we think you will want to consider.
Posted: 2014-11-20 12:29:48
By: by Stephanie and Joanne Oppenheim
School's back in full swing and you may be tempted to grab some flash cards...but wait, don't do it. We have much more playful ways to engage your kids in skills they need for school. Read the article here. Watch Stephanie's segment from the TODAY Show with Matt Lauer here:
Here at toyporfolio.com we are always hunting for toys that will be of interest and value to kids with special needs. Finding toys for kids with special needs is not that different from choosing toys for all kids. Good toys match children's developmental skills, their interests, and most of all are really appealing.
Well-meaning gift-givers often look for toys that are "good for" children. Of course, you want toys that have value, but a "good" toys should not be like medicine. They can help kids learn new skills without turning play into lessons that feel more like drill than fun.
This is the short list; you can find many more by going to SEARCH option at the top of the home page and enter the year 2014 in the right box; then scroll down to SNAP and check the yes box. These are mainstream toys that you can adapt or use straight out of the box. You'll find the reason these were chosen as well as playful ideas for adapting or using them. Here is a sampling of some of our favorites.
Choosing books for beginning readers is all about finding books they can read with ease. If they have to sound out or wait for help with every other word, save that book for later. Select books that build confidence and allow kids to develop fluidity and their desire to read. Here are three new titles that do exactly that.
You don't need to bring home workbooks or flashcards to keep them nimble with numbers. In fact, either of those solutions are likely to be both dreaded and regretted. Giving kids comfort with math begins with everyday experience with numbers. Think of all the ways you use numbers; on the phone, prices in the grocery store, numbers on buildings. How about cooking together and using recipes that call for counting and measuring? Recipe too big, how abouot cutting it in half? Showing kids how math is needed in everyday life makes sense. Have your preschooler help with setting the table: how many forks do you need? How many napkins? Playing scrabble or monopoly with older kids? Give them the job of score keeper and banker. Along with classics like Dominos with young players and Yahtzee with school age kids Here are some more playful choices that will enhance their math skills.
Posted: 2014-06-25 10:52:14
By: by Stephanie Oppenheim
When you add up birthday party presents for all of your child's classmates, friends, teammates and relatives - it can get overwhelming and expensive. Add multiple kids to the equation and it can put a real strain on your budget. On the other hand, you want to give a memorable gift. Here are some of our favorites and several suggested by our testing families. The idea is to give a gift that matches the birthday child's interests without breaking the bank. Click here to see our best birthday present picks. Stephanie shared many of our picks on NBC's TODAY SHOW on June 25th.
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