Stephanie Oppenheim on NBC’s Today Show: Recession Proof Games and Construction

Recession Proof Games

When I was putting together the products for this week’s segment , games came to mind right away.  If you’re in the game zone with your kids (how many times have you played Candyland?)…then you know that kids love to play games over and over again-  making them one of the best values in toyland!  You can check out the for current and past awards winners.  Here are the games we featured on the show:

Scrabble Slam (Parker Brothers/Hasbro  $6.99)  – A brand new card game that is quickly on its way to becoming one of our favorites of the year.  It’s a blend of Scrabble and Upwards–love the fact that you can take this one with you anywhere.
I Spy Flip Five (Briarpatch $12.99)- Based on the  award winning I SPY books by Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick,  this is a fun visual discrimination game where you’re looking for matches of photos and silhouettes of the same images.  Challenging for the 7 & up crowd–and parents won’t mind playing this one either.   Instructions are straightforward and just like the books, the images are pleasing.  There’s also a Flip Five Dinosaurs version–will be most enjoyed by true dino-holics. 
Dog Dice (Gamewright $11)-  A fun, easy to play  bingo game for the doggie lovers everywhere!  Our testers love the dog dice and looking for the images of doggies doing fun things.  Throw the whole game into a large zip-lock bag and now you’ve got a travel toy.

I Never Forget a Face Matching & Memory Game (eeBoo $13.95) – A classic version of Memory featuring a multi-ethnic cast of kids beautifully illustrated.  The thing about memory games–your five year old can usually beat you fair and square–but it’s also really great for your brain to play these games. So it’s a win-win.

Recession Proof  Building Sets

Another top rated and truly “recession proof” toy are building blocks. Whether you’re talking about cardboard blocks, wooden unit blocks or LEGO bricks–they’re all wonderful choices because they are so open-ended.  Blocks can be anything your child wants them to be!  They can be combined with farm animals, action figures and cars to create entire pretend settings.  And remember getting your girls building too–we know that building develops visual discrimination skills that translate to better performance in math!

While the new Star Wars LEGO sets are among the hottest toys requested by our testers, we’d also recommend the new LEGO Basic Bricks Deluxe ($29.99) – the set comes with 650 LEGO bricks and instructions for 15 builds and starting in June there will be more models posted on So it’s the set that keeps on giving.  You can also do with with your own stash of LEGO around the house…color sort them and encourage your kids to make their own creations.

Company Links:, Briarpatch, eeBoo, Gamewright, Hasbro, Lego


For free activities for 3-8 year olds,  take a look at our Read It! Play It!

For free activities for Babies and Toddlers, take  a look at our Read It! Play It! with Babies and Toddlers

Read It! Play It! with Babies and Toddlers  is also available in Spanish, A Leer! Y Jugar!: Con Bebes Y Ninos Pequenos




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