February 18, 2010
Crayola's Model Magic!
Based on our visit at Crayola, there’s a lot of promisingly fun products rolling out this year. Happily these toys will start arriving soon. For reviews, check our website www.toyportfolio.com.
Chalk News. You know I’m all a huge fan of their chalk. This year there are new super sets of 3D Chalk (one features Toy Story 3). I love this stuff. But what’s really new is a chalk making set. Looks like our kind of craft kit- we’ll have to see how it works. They also have a spiral top for chalk. My brothers will tell you, I really stink at the spining top thing but even I think I can make this one work. Watch the next post for a demo of the spiral chalk top.
Model Magic. How cute is this new set where you can make little pieces to add to forms.
New Model Magic Sets
Also big, things that Glow in the Dark. During our visit to their showroom, the lights were being turned off repeatedly to show off more glow-in-the-dark sets. I have a sense some will be more successful than others -but we’ll put them all to the test as they come out. We gave their Glow Station an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award.
Glow Station...larger glow-in-dark toy!
New Crafts for Tweens. They have a new line called Pop Art Pixies, featuring four tweens (that look like they’re related to the Fashion Angels) – each has a theme. One likes to recycle, one likes to decorate…you get the idea. Some of the kits looked like they would be great fun for 9-12 year old crafters. Stay tuned. I particularly liked the look of the recycle kits – and will be interested to see how our testers react.
Tween Craft Sets
Amazing On-line Program. You send in a picture of your child, they create a cartoon image based on that photo, you then customize your own coloring book adventure featuring your now “cartoon” child. LOVE this. You get the code for this site when you buy a certain size box of crayons (hey, who doesn’t need a new box of Crayola?). This new platform will launch officially in the fall–but we’re working out details for making it available to our readers soon.
February 17, 2010
A bear to love from Steiff
Needed to share this face with you right away! So cute and amazingly soft. More to follow on this classic handmade line of huggables from Steiff.
February 16, 2010
We started the day at LEGO – always fun. LEGO Duplo is the line designed as an entry point for older toddlers and preschoolers. New for 2010: a bigger bucket–we consider this basic gear for preschoolers.
The big new theme is a farm…
LEGO DUPLO FARM
There’s also a new set that includes numbers as an added feature.
LEGO’s Julie Stern, always a pleasure to work with– took us through the showroom. Watch the video.
February 14, 2010
Last year we had two talking trucks, Chuck and Matchbox Rocky. Take a look at this updated version of Chuck–he’s bigger and has more tricks. Look forward to trying this one with our testers. Watch our video.
January 8, 2010
Yesterday I walked past a display of silverware that was in the form of the Empire State Building. It reminded me of a great game to play with your kids that will keep them busy on a cold winter’s day.
Challenge your kids to build the tallest building using their LEGO Bricks! For younger kids this will be about adding more bricks until the structure falls down. But for older kids this can also become a real hands-on experiment–how do you make the structure more stable? What do we need to add to the base to make it less tippy. If you’re really into the building why not make your own city of skyscrapers. What kind of buildings do they think should be in the city? A sports arena, a shopping mall, a grocery store…always fun to hear what they want on their list. Matchbox cars and trucks can also be used to populate the city. Be sure to take pictures–you’ll be happy to chronicle the challenge. You can also have them create a book with the pictures–something that can be sent to Grandparents or shared on-line. Either way, I like encouraging kids to create their own structures from materials they have around the house.
December 14, 2009
If you have kids that are into performing, here’s a big ticket item from Lisa LeLeu that is very special. Click here to read our complete review. My apologies to the company–this award winning toy got lost in the shuffle when we switched over to our new website!
November 17, 2009
Green toys used to mean a recycling truck here or there…or a paper maker, but now there are many toys that are either manufactured with a green mandate or promote a positive green message to kids. The biggest trend are dolls made from organic materials–not all created equal in our book. Green shouldn’t have to mean scratchy or boring in design or color. Happily we received many that found the right blend of green and whimsy! The other big category — trucks…many made of recycled materials – were a real draw to our testers. Then there are the throw back toys–my personal favorite, the wind-up FM Radio.
Here’s the list of our Top Green Toys for 2009. Complete reviews on our our site, www.toyportfolio.com. Click on the toy name to read our rating/review.
Eco Trucks (Sprig Toys)
Dump Truck (Green Toys)
Playmobil Recycling Truck (Playmobil)
PushAlong Hybrid Car (ImagiPLAY)
Plan Toys Build ‘n Spin (Plan Toys)
Dolls and Dollhouse
blabla Dolls (blablakids)
Organic Joobles (Fair Indigo)
Earth Mates (Mary Meyer)
Plan Toys Green Dollhouse (Plan Toys)
Other Green Toys of Interest
Crayola Crayon Maker (Crayola)
Elia Mini Chair (eliafun.com)
Ecotronics Radio (International Playthings)
Ecotronics Mr. Robot Head (International Playthings)
November 10, 2009
Finding arts and crafts activities that will appeal to both boys and girls can be challenging since so many kits are so gender-specific.
Here are three from our Platinum List that will appeal to everyone!
Creativity for Little Kids Finger Paints (Creativity for Kids)
Crayola Crayon Maker (Crayola)
Money Monster Banks (Creativity for Kids)
November 9, 2009
We’re huge fans of these skirts from Acting Out that come with a motion activated music box. Our six year old tester got inventive with the music box and played musical chairs with her parents. Click here to see our full review. We’ve added this one to our Platinum List for 2009.
November 2, 2009
If you’re working on color concepts in your house, playing games can be a fun way to reinforce the concepts. Here five favorites:
Candy Land Castle Game (Milton Bradley)
eeBoo Preschool Color Memory Game (eeBoo)
Hot Wheels Color Shifters Blaster (Mattel)
Color Wonder Paper and Markers (Crayola)
Lego Duplo (Lego Systems)
Complete reviews are on our site www.toyportfolio.com