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.
Watch our segment from the Today Show October 2nd
Posted: 2012-09-30 12:32:00
This year's Oppenheim Toy Portfolio 2012 Awards cap off another wonderful busy year of testing for the best. As always we looked at hundreds and hundreds of toys. We're looking for the most engaging, innovative, well-designed toys of the year. The best of the best go on to our network of toy testers all over the country to give us their feedback. For this season we had testers as far as Alaska, Hawaii and even London in the mix. In additional you'll find books, audios and DVDs to enjoy together.
We are always grateful to the families that make this process so much fun. This year more of our first group of toy testers headed off to college-- how is that possible! Our complete Platinum, Gold, Blue Chip and SNAP Award winners for 2012 can be viewed by clicking here. Congrats to all our award winners!
Our mission remains the same: to take the guesswork out of finding wonderful products to share with your kids. We hope you'll find our list useful! Please join us on facebook, twitter, and pinterest as we update our coverage as toy season heats up!
All our best,
Joanne and Stephanie
You can watch Stephanie's segment on the Today Show here.
Bring it On!
Posted: 2012-09-27 14:54:34
We keep hearing how our kids are falling behind children of other countries in Science. Sparking their interest in science needs to begin early and it is best done with hands on exploration. Here are some wonderful new products that will need parental involvement, but are on the mark for the early years. Click here for several of our favorites.
Building Big Motor Skills
Posted: 2012-09-27 09:54:45
Toddlerhood is a sort of remarkable but often murkily defined time between babyhood and preschool. Toddlers are still closer to their inarticulate babyhood than the powerful preschoolers they will become when they can say what they want and don't want. Yet, they are increasingly able to get about and to take steps toward greater independence. Click here to find out what to choose.
Games that Subtract, Multiply,Divide and Add Up To Fun & Learning!
Posted: 2012-08-13 09:29:46
During these almost back-to-school weeks there are many ways to refresh math skills. When you play any game give the kids a turn at score keeping. If you keep a jar for coins, this is a good time to have them count it up and if they are able let them put it in coin wrappers from the bank. This may be the time for running a lemonade stand and learning how to make simple change for all takers. This season we received a number of terrific games that are geared to math and family fun. Click here for reviews of a few of the best.
Why It Matters
Posted: 2012-04-19 12:27:54
Although small screen games are being played by ever younger kids, the benefits of playing board or card games together are huge. Often the pace is more appropriate for beginners and so are the basic skills built into many of the best games. Simple counting, turn taking, matching, and beginning reading are often part of the games for the early years. But those are only part of the learning. Click here to find out more and reviews of some of the new games.
Important Learning Tools
Posted: 2012-04-19 11:42:36
We are always looking for toys that extend or inspire children's dramatic play. These are props that expand language and communication skills as well as develop imagination. Dramatic play allows children to step outside themselves and try on new roles. Here are a few of the early arrivals that our testers have rated high. Click here for reviews.
Books With Playful Connections
Posted: 2012-02-04 13:03:19
By: Joanne Oppenheim
A Dozen Open-ended Toys
Posted: 2011-11-12 14:42:14
By: Joanne Oppenheim
In a year when budgets are tight, choosing toys with long term play value is more important than ever. Almost all new toys are exciting when they come out of the box. The true test comes weeks later. We ask our testers to write to us two or more weeks after they arrive. We want to know if the toy they are testing is still being used and enjoyed. Most of the playthings that measure up in this test are open-ended toys. The best of these are not toys for watching, but rather those that involve active doing. Construction toys, art supplies, puppets, dolls, housekeeping props, miniature settings, and athletic equipment are among the classics that allow kids to shape their own games. Click here for 12 good open-ended choices.
For Every Age
Posted: 2011-11-03 09:55:55
By: Joanne Oppenheim
Every year we see a lot of toys that are "refreshed" with just enough tweeking to make them feel almost new. We sometimes forget that to kids most things are new. It would be a shame if kids missed out on building blocks or crayons or trucks, just because they weren't invented yesterday. Don't be afraid to bring home some of the favorites you played with not so-o-o-o long ago. Here is a short list of some of this year's Blue Chip list.
Posted: 2011-11-02 12:51:25
Our list is full of fun games, activities, dolls, and other fun props for play. Here are 20 of our favorites for this year. Click here to read the reviews.