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.
If you would like a change of pace from your tried and true (and still great) Monopoly, Candyland, and Scrabble, have we got good news for you! This was the year of innovative games. Try these for now and stay tuned, more games to come. Click here to find some of the top picks of the season.
Tags: building toys build skills, dexterity, math concepts, eye hand coordination, creativity, imagination, language
Posted: 2011-09-22 12:34:16
By: Joanne Oppenheim
Construction toys are more than fun. They are basic gear for many important kinds of learning. Age appropriate building toys change as children grow from toddlers to teens. Click here to see the review.
Finding toys that do not play on gender stereotypes is a lot easier these days than it used to be. Although there is still plenty of pink and lavender out there that screams--Girls Only and plenty of black with skulls and eyeballs shouting--Boys Only, there are less gender specific choices that will be enjoyed by children of either sex. Click here to read more.
The Olympics are the perfect opportunity to make a connection for your kids that they are part of a global community. Watch Stephanie from the TODAY SHOW on how to make the most of the Olympics with your kids.
Tags: Beginning readers, matching skills, word games, visual discrimination, storytelling
Posted: 2010-01-10 20:17:08
By: Joanne Oppenheim
In our eagerness to help beginning readers parents often think that books that are harder will give their kids an advantage. With the best intentions, beginners get bogged down with flashcards, workbooks and are urged to "sound-it-out!" Instead of books being a shared pleasure, too often they become a source of tension. If you want to build a love of reading begin with books that build your child's fluency and ease with reading. Children need a sense of success and can-do power that comes with feeling confident. This is more important than trying to rush them to the next level. Bring home easy to read books with few words, even books with no words that your child tells from the picture clues.
Patience is one of those skills that does not always 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 skills 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!
Learning the alphabet is one of those basic skills that children often learn by rote as they sing the classic Alphabet Song that ends with "Now I know my ABC's." But knowing how to sing the letters does not mean they really do know their ABC's.
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