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)
May 28, 2009
It’s back! Last month I showed everyone had to make Crayon Muffins on the Today Show from old crayons…one of my favorite activities that I used to do with my mother as a kid. Those are still fun to do–but it does involve an oven and you do have to be really careful about the hot tins, melting crayons, etc.
We were happy to see at Toy Fair that Crayola was bringing back their Crayon Maker (a former Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award winner)…this time with a huge improvement in design…you can see the crayons melting in the chamber (the old design had a solid piece of plastic). The heating element is a 60W bulb (the tapered kind). I sort of wish the bulb was included–since not everyone has one of those bulbs hanging around the house but I can imagine the shipping issues would be too complicated. There is a warning on the box that the bulb is not included…a plus. I really have a problem with the small print warnings on some products- you get the product home, everyone is psyched and then you find you don’t have an essential element.
Just like the original — you load up your old crayons into the chamber–it heats up and voila you get new crayons! The chamber does not open until the tray has cooled–a very important safety feature.
There’s something so happy and life affirming to have new crayons…the possibilities of what you might do with them always struck me (and sometimes meant I was staring at a blank piece of paper). I also realize that I still feel happy when I open a new box of crayons (the smell especially)…does that mean I’m forever 8?