Nature at Toy Fair courtesy of Safari Ltd.

February 19, 2010

In the middle of Toy Fair...a gentle bear.

If you’ve ever been at a big trade show, you know that after a day or two–you start craving real air, real food, real anything.  Something about concrete floors (badly covered with carpeting), horrible concession food and the din of the crowds that makes you want to find a tree and hug it.  So I was happy to have a little nature (albeit plastic) retreat in the miniature at Safari Ltd. – they are the masters of making really small animals. Wilderness in the miniature

We visited briefly with Safari’s President, Ramona Pariente– who was very gracious even though we were in the final hours of the show and by our own admission a little slap happy to be approaching the finish line.

You’ve probably seen their line in museum, gift and specialty stores. I’m not sure why but this collection of super small animals makes me so happy.  What is it about miniature things that seem so fun?

Of course these small animals are just right as props for dramatic play whether it’s in combination with blocks or just on their own. The line is so extensive, that you’re bound to be able to find the animals, fish, bugs or birds that capture your child’s interest. Designed for kids 3 & up, these are wonderful to collect and play with!

Nature (really tiny) from Safari Ltd.

Advertisements

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.


Snow Day!

February 10, 2010

Snowed in? Cranky?

Declare the day  a beach day. Have kids prepare a picnic–and picnic like food. Take out the beach towels.  While throwing on bathing suits can be fun, it’s even more fun over your pjs. Sometimes doing something really silly–can change the tone in your house.  Truth be told–often the parents need a reset button.


Buying a Dollhouse: What you need to know

December 7, 2009

Read Joanne’s article on buying dollhouses–front page of our site today….www.toyportfolio.com.


Princess & the Frog: Princess Tiana Just One Kiss Doll

November 30, 2009

Disney's Princess Tiana

Last week I talked about this doll as one of the top five hottest toys in toyland on the TODAY Show.  But because I only had two minutes to discuss five toys, I didn’t have time to demonstrate why this particular Princess Doll is so much fun.  Watch our toyportfolio.com video and you’ll see the interactive/light up features of this talking doll.

Right after my segment, I got an email from Disney–reminding me that there were less expensive Princess Tiana dolls…so true.  You can get your Princess fix for under $16.  The Just One Kiss doll retails for $24.99–and I already see lots of price gauging. There are plainer Princess Dolls–but we have not personally seen or tested them–I do see some complaints on line about the quality of the least expensive version–but we can’t confirm. We’re thrilled that Disney is featuring the first African-American Princess.  If you’d also like a book, we’d recommend Princess and the Royal Ball by Natasha A. Tarpley/illustrated by James Finch)–a full review is on our site.

 


Pick of the Day: Kota & Pals Stompers from Hasbro

October 2, 2009
Kota & Pals Stompers: Triceratops

Kota & Pals Stompers: Triceratops

I’ve been playing with this fun little dino all summer.  Unlike the BIG Kota from last season, this little guy actually walks!   For a demo and full review, visit the website today www.toyportfolio.com.


Dolls Wars…they’re heating up

August 19, 2009

photo(3)Which side will you be on?