Hard not to smile, right? Calico Critters from International Playthings, stay tuned.
We had another big day at Javits today. I went in a dress (since I thought I was doing tv) and carrying tv shoes (there’s no way you can do Javits in tv shoes!)
We started at LEGO…always one of our favorites stops, visited with STEP 2 to see lots of fun new outdoor toys, International Playthings (super cute new toys from Calico Critters), Spin Master (lots of flying toys) and at Creativity for Kids we met the inventor of Shrinky Dinks!
My iPhone died right as we got to Spin Master–which was too bad since there were lots of fun things to tape there. Oh well. I did bring my charger–but alas the one that plugs into my computer, not an outlet. Pretty lame on my part. Below is a picture of Kate from International Playthings trying to find an adaptor so that we can charge my phone using the crank radio from their Ecotronics link. Unfortunately there wasn’t one that worked with my phone, but I was really so grateful to Kate for the effort!
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.
Dolls and Dollhouse
Other Green Toys of Interest
While we usually like lists of five or a dozen, we realized today’s list of 13 Top Games Under $20 was meant to be! Happy Friday the 13th. Read our reviews at www.toyportfolio.com.
The games included are:
Richard Scarry’s Busytown Eye Found It Game (I Can Do That Games)
Rainbow Race (International Playthings)
Scrabble Slam Card Game (Parker Brothers)
Yamslam (Blue Orange Games)
Pairs in Pears (Bananagrams)
eeBoo Fairytale Game (eeBoo)
Ring-0 Flamingo (Gamewright)
Uno Moo! (Mattel)
Too Many Monkeys (Gamewright)
I Spy Flip 5 Games (Briarpatch)
Dr. Seuss Super Stretch ABC Game (I Can Do That Games)
Curious George Discovery Beach Game (I Can Do That Games)
Here are six great games to think about for the holidays. The complete reviews of these award winners are on our site, www.toyportfolio.com
Active Fun Games
Dr. Seuss Super Stretchy ABC Game (I Can Do That Games)
Pure silly fun
Feeding Frenzy (International Playthings)
Ring-0 Flamingo (Gamewright)
Concepts and Strategy Games
eeBoo Color Dominoes (eeBoo)
Double Shutter (Blue Orange)
With budgets tight, it’s important to bring home things that really count – and there is no reason to break the bank! Here are some of our top picks for 2009 — all under $20. Read the full reviews on our site.
Sassy Crib & Floor Mirror (Sassy)
Infantino Wall Mounted Mobile Mirror (Step 2)
Stack ‘n Surprise Blocks Blockity-Pop Caterpillar (Fisher-Price)
Baby Deglingos Dog, Rabbit, Hedgehog or Cow (All New Materials)
Satin Ears Bear Security Cozy (North American Bear Co.)
Infantino Spiral Spin Top (Step 2)
Kids Preferred Nutbrown Hare or Peter Rabbit Hand Puppet (Kids Preferred)
Bright Starts Bees & Blooms Balls (Kids II)
Earlyears Zippy Zoomer (International Playthings)
Leapfrog Counting Candles (Leapfrog)
I’m always looking for toys that work in the dark. Maybe because when I was little we would go to FAO in NYC and then on the way home in the car, my brothers and I were always disappointed that we couldn’t enjoy our new toys in the backseat.
As a professional toy reviewer, I’m also amazed by the number of toys that say they’ll work in the dark, but don’t.
So that brings me to the wonderfully novel and silly Ecotronic Mr. Robot Head from International Playthings. First, it’s red–an attribute that always does well here. We love red…so this deliciously red cube already had us smiling. CRANK up the back (no batteries required–hence the name Ecotronics) and then touch the stylus to the top….
Read our full review at toyportfolio.com.
Go toyportfolio.com! testers and readers….the company is planning a special 10th annivesary of the game for 2010…and will take into account the omissions and errors pointed out by our readers! To read the earlier post click here.
We got an email from a family that bought the Great States! Game from International Playthings…in large part because our award seal was on the package (always nice to hear). We were really concerned that the family had a whole host of issues with this board game. There was a mechanical problem with the timer (which was replaced by the company). But the family also brought to my attention some concerns about the accuracy of some of the questions.
So we asked the company to send us another set–we first reviewed the game in 2004 and thought it was possible that it had been changed. We found that out of the 400 question cards there were six that were not completely correct.
The question: Name the three states that board the Pacific Coast? Answer: California, Oregon and Washington. Obviously Alaska and Hawaii have been omitted.
Where’s Alcatraz? Answer: On a small island off the coast of California. Not really, really in the Bay.
The question: Close your eyes and name 7 states that Border Canada. Answer: Correctly includes 13 states but excludes Alaska.
Question: Which is the most Northwestern state? Answer: Washington. Again…we’d go with Alaska.
Most of the questions have to do with a starting point that players are only supposed to include the 48 contiguous states. We agree with the family that complained that these questions should be adjusted.
We still think, after some debate here, that this is an engaging game that helps teach and reinforce American Geography and trivia.
We hope the company will address the questions we’ve identified (the family also took issue with the color of some of the state birds).
Perhaps because I grew up with many maps on my wall and a Dad that loved chronicling all of our journeys in the family Atlas…I have always liked games that work on these skills in a way that’s fun, not mean.
Sad to report that the Monster Badminton set from International Playthings that I demonstrated with Al on the Today Show is not going forward. We loved the super large birdie…and equally large racquets. Oh well.