Just back from the Today Show

April 2, 2009

I had a great time this morning–it was fun to do the segment with Ann..and the kids had so much energy!  Right before we went on they were all spread out doing different activities. At the last minute Ann asked, “who likes to paint?”…and then they all walked over to the easel and window setting! I didn’t get to the games at the end–but all of the info is posted.  That’s live tv–you just never know what’s going to happen.   If you didn’t get a chance to see it I’ll post the link as soon as they post it to the todayshow.com website.  Time to take off the “tv” high heels and start playing with the toys again!  The sun is out–so it’s time to start thinking outdoor toys…


Pick of the Day: I Spy Flip 5

March 9, 2009

If you’re fans of the I SPY series, you’ll want to take a look at Briarpatch’s new I SPY Flip 5.  The idea is to match similar images that appear on the play pieces (disks that have images on both sides).  The picture can be a photo or a silhouette of that image (a star fish, a horse, a panda, a ballerina, etc.)…At each turn, players take turns saying “1, 2, 3, 4, flip 5″—that player then flips five disks.  Players then look for matches –call them and collect them. The player with the greatest number of matches wins that round. The player to win five rounds wins. Our game players liked looking for the matching images–and the pace of the game. This is one you won’t mind playing again and again.  It’s a step above straight matching games–calling for a more developed sense of visual discrimination.  You can introduce the game to a younger child by using fewer disks–making it a bit less overwhelming. At $12.95, it’s a good price for a game that you can easily take along if you’re traveling–all of the pieces will fit easily in a big zip lock bag. There’s also a Dino Flip 5 that we’ve sent out for additional testing–we think dino-fans will love it…same idea but with images of dinosaurs.  Both games are marked 4 & up and will work with 2-4 players.

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Toyportfolio.com featured on BusinessWeek Weekend TV

December 15, 2008

2e7c661a89bc34d4bb456e0dab2992dd7170172cHere’s a link to the piece we did with BusinessWeek TV’s anchor Jill Bennett about the best toys under $25.  Read It! Play It! with Babies and Toddlers.


Oops…On the way to being green

October 24, 2008

My mother is laughing at me. I just opened a new Matching Game from Little Tikes. The game is part of their new “green” line…the pieces are made out of bamboo. Each has a little animal on them (cute enough although I’m not sure why they needed to add the Little Tikes logo under each animal.)
My mother is showing me how the game works– “better if you use the enclosed carton as the holder for the tiles while you play”—rather than putting them face down on the table. She’s forcing me to play (really).

So why is she laughing? I ripped the box open only to discover that the box is meant to be re-useable with it’s groovy bamboo handle. I feel green challenged…perhaps this will remind me to take my cloth bags to the grocery store today…

In all fairness shouldn’t the box say “don’t rip me”…


Dominoes with a Twist, literally

December 7, 2007

bendomino.jpgOne of my favorite games to play with my grandma as a kid was dominoes. They came in a really neat leather blue case with a real buckle closure. Being old enough to open the case made me feel very grown up (at 5). it was our game–and unlike my other grandma, she would let me win. Probably why I loved playing dominoes. Being the youngest of three kids, I also liked playing dominoes because my brothers were not interested–so it became what we did, sans older, more competitive siblings. When our family home was hit by lightning (and destroyed)– one of the brighter moments was finding that blue case (untouched by the fire/water damage).

This is a long intro about why I really love the new Bendomino set from Blue Orange Games. How could you improve on a classic like dominoes? These dominoes are “bent” in the middle — making the game just a bit more challenging, but not so far off from the original to be disconcerting. When we played this game at a game testing day we discovered that perhaps my grandmother also made playing the game a bit easier by allowing the “blank” space to be a wild card. Other adults we played with disagreed. I haven’t found an answer to this “wild” domino question.

Bendominos comes in a sturdy red tin and for $15.95 this is nice toy that will be enjoyed for a long time. For other great games to share, visit our website.


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