Flamingos at Toy Fair…

February 18, 2010

Playmobil's Flamingos

We had a neighbor when I was growing up who was most proud of her plastic flamingos.  Of course, some people (who shall remain nameless) had great fun  moving those flamingos from time to time throughout the neighborhood.  Hey, it’s more humane than tipping cows.

As a result, I’ve always had a fondness for the plastic flamingo. This pair is from Playmobil.


Toy Fair 2010 Preview: Playmobil – get ready to build!

February 17, 2010

Playmobil's Dragon

We stopped by Playmobil today and visited with  Michelle Winfrey.  Last year you’ll remember we gave the Playmobil Egyptian setting our Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award.  Each year we wonder what will be the big new theme. This year, there were several new sets that I think will be a hit with our testers.  The two biggest sets are the Dragons – complete with Castles that can connect by a bridge. It made me think of that portion of the original Shrek movie.  (Of course here the dragons are not  trying to court Eddie Murphy, but hey it’s pretend so I guess anything’s possible!). You can take a closer look by watching our video with Michelle.

Playmobil's Fire Fighter Sets

The next set that really caught our attention was the Fire Fighters. What we love about Playmobil is the attention to detail in planning a series. As you’ll notice in our video of the Fire Fighters series, there’s not only a really cool looking fire station (complete with pole), there are two different fire trucks, a fire chief’s truck and a fire boat.


toyportfolio.com: Top GREEN Toys for 2009

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.

Trucks

Eco Trucks (Sprig Toys)

Dump Truck (Green Toys)

Playmobil Recycling Truck (Playmobil)

PushAlong Hybrid Car (ImagiPLAY)

Building Toys

Plan Toys Build ‘n Spin (Plan Toys)

Citiblocs (Citiblocs)

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)


Playmobil Underwater Adventure a Huge Hit

May 19, 2009

“Wow” was how the review started from one of our testing families.  Our tester parent sent us the following review after watching her kids enjoy this setting : “The complete set with the large boat, submarine, small  boat, diving cage, deep sea diving bell. etc. etc is just incredible.   Each set individually or all of them together provide innumerable  opportunities for pretend play.  The figurines and all of the  accessories provide EVERYTHING a child needs to act out nautical  stories.  I am amazed by the level of detail in each set.”

This set is right for the bathtub…this family also plays with it on “land”…

If you have a child that likes to pretend with miniature settings…this is one to consider!


Top Ten Green Toys

April 21, 2009

With Green Day hours away, we are certainly pleased with the trend in the toy industry to go green.  It seems like every week there are new organic doll collections, toys made of recycled materials, and toys/games that have an empowering (but not obnoxiously heavy-handed) green agenda.  More good news-the packaging also seems to be more friendly to the environment-with fewer toys trapped in a sea of plastic.

Here is our current list of top ten green favorites–happily the list keeps growing!

blabla dolls (blabla)

Earth Mates (Mary Meyer)

My Natural Collection (Hosung NY)

Organic Joobles (Fair Indigo)
Recycling Truck (Green Toys

Recycling Truck (Playmobil) ptru1-4866605reg1

Eco-Trucks (Sprig Toys)
Busy Bugs (Mudpuppy) fp_busy_bugs1
Green Dollhouse (Plan Toysimages-1
Elia Mini Chair (eliafun.com) eliaminichair11


Top Rated Green Toys

October 28, 2008

We’ve been bombarded with green marketing this year…some products are well meaning but have really heavy handed messages. With that in mind we looked for toys that represent a more planet friendly agenda in how they are manufactured, as well as toys that do deliver a message but in a child friendly way…Here are our favorites:

1. Parking Garage (Plan Toys)

2. Tonka Lil Gas Pump (Hasbro) – it shows how ethanol is made on the back of the pump.

3. Sprig Vehicles (Sprig)- new line of vehicles made from recycled materials.

4. Gator Golf (Hasbro)- The classic game is now made without batteries.

5. Indoor Gardening Kit (Green Toys)- made from repurposed materials.

6. Think Green Barbie – love that she’s joined this important cause…her motto…”Think Pink, Live Green”

7. National Geographic Kids Animals (International Playthings)- polar bears and snakes–oh my!

8. Cheekeyes Animals (Cheekeyes)- handsomely crafted line of wooden animals – perfect as props for blocks.

9. Recycling Truck (Playmobil)- a fun prop for pretend that reinforces what we all should be doing.

10. Eric Carle Brown Bear Floor Puzzle (Mudpuppy)- a friendly low key way of introducing kids to the creatures we share this planet with…without a heavy message.


Can you say Spartacus?

December 2, 2007

One of the most innovative pretend settings of the season is Playmobil’s Arena. Complete with lions, trap doors and the original “stadium seating” this is a large setting that also comes with a play mat to extend the area of play. As with most Playmobil sets, the Arena will require an adult involved in the building. There are lots of pieces and no one expects your five year old to be able to do the building independently. One parent we spoke with plans on having the whole thing built and under the tree ready to go for Christmas morning. That’s one approach (if you haven’t left everything else to be wrapped)…but I much prefer making the building project a parent/child event. Depending on the age of your child, you may be doing more of the building–but putting it together is part of the experience. It also reinforces that not everything is instantaneous…projects can take some time. Not a bad concept to share with your kids.

If a more modern pretend setting is more your thing, we also liked the new Playmobil Hospital (but it was not tested for lead content). This multi-level hospital has all of the wonderful attention to detail that Playmobil is well known for including wheelchairs, gurneys and a baby nursery.