Just a little taken aback by the amount of porn that arrived as “followers”…I guess there’s porn everywhere. New to twitter, I decided to see some of the people that had signed up to follow me. I did this on my laptop while I was watching tv with my son Matthew. OMG…it took me just a bit too long to recover from what image was on my screen. One of my friends has just told me that you can pre-screen followers like you do for friend requests on fb….not a bad idea.
Here’s a shot of Three Musketeer Barbie…one without her fabulous purple boots and one with the boots (because I love them). I’m still waiting for my legs to grow to these lengths…but I don’t see an issue with her ankles.
In fact, looking at the length of her thighs they look more like Picasso’s bathers….elongated, no basis in reality. Although I can’t even imagine what Christian Louboutin would say about the extra pounds on these women!
There was a snafu with delivery on this product for the Today Show today–so they didn’t make it on the set, but this is a lovely set of fabric balls (that have different textures and sounds) from KidsII. We usually don’t go for such gender specific toys–but this is right on target for older babies and toddlers. Read our full review.
I actually love doing segments with lots of kids. I think it adds to the energy of the piece – but I do have to say last night I had this momentary thought “eight babies!, really?!…what were you thinking!”
The kids had a long wait until it was time to go into the studio–and one thing I’ve learned over the years, never show kids toys long before they go on air – especially when you’re talking about babies and toddlers. To expect them to be engaged with toys for more than 10 minutes in any given setting, just isn’t reasonable in real life, much less in a tv studio with so many people, lights and cameras around. So we had some other related toys for them to play with in their separate “green room”…but at a certain point, they all started moving about the lower concourse — to say this particular group of kids were cute, is an understatement. The kids were all in what I call that “cupcake” stage where they are just full of pure joy. (At least at that moment!)
Once we got to the set, I was happy. The kids and their parents were engaged with all the toys we had selected. (You can hear them throughout!) Doing segments with Natalie is also fun because she’s in the middle of this zone with her two sons…so she gets it.
And here’s a pic with Natalie after the segment is over….To watch the segment, click here.
Tomorrow I’ll be talking about some of our award winning picks for babies and toddlers. Looking forward to sharing some of the really great products for these age groups. We’ll be there with eight babies/toddlers! Should be lively!! The award winners are all featured on our Platinum List for this holiday season on our website, www.toyportfolio.com
We’ve always been huge fans of Maisy….and we’re thrilled that Maisy is now bilingual. Maisy’s Toys is just one of the titles available in Spanish. These are perfect books for toddlers and preschoolers. At $5.99, this is a great investment for your child’s own library. Read the review. We’ll be sure to add some of these titles to the next edition of our book, ¡A Leer! !A Jugar! (Read It! Play It! with Babies and Toddlers).
The Lego Star Wars collection was hot with our builders this year. What’s nice about the line is that there is something for everyone in terms of building level and budget. Remember if you have a new builder, resist the temptation to buy the BIG set. Start small. LEGO has gotten really much better about making the big kits more manageable — each “build” comes in its own bag..pre-sorted. Now for many of us, that may seem pretty wimpy –but it does make things much easier!
Read our reviews.We gave the whole collection an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award.
One of our advanced builders just put together the more elaborate (and very cool) Tantive IV. Comes with 1408 pieces. At $149.99, this is a big ticket item for sure–and to their credit, the box is marked for ages 14 & up.
I’m waiting for one of our LEGO builders to ask for the Death Star ($399.99)…with 3803 pieces. May the force be with you when you try building this one!
LOVE the attention today on the importance of reading to kids! Jumpstart, the non-profit organization, is encouraging everyone to break the record they set last year (700,000). This year the book highlighted is Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. You can get text alerts to see if they break the record: Text JSTART to 90999. Click here to be counted.
Even though most of us haven’t even contemplated buying our Halloween candy yet (ok, I’ve contemplated but I haven’t bought any yet), the major box retailers want you to think holiday toy shopping TODAY! Walmart has expanded its offer of toys for $10 to 100 items…KB Toys saw that and raised it to 200, and Target is trying to match prices. There’s free shipping to be had…and if you’re really sharp, you can find certain Barbie dolls for as little as $5.
So what’s a toy consumer to think?
1. Toy prices are getting a much needed adjustment. All of that toy safety testing costs a lot –and if you’ve bought a toy recently you’ll know that the added expense has been passed on to consumers. While we don’t rate toys based on price, we have had sticker shock here as we’ve watched the prices just continue to climb for the past two years. So from this point of view toy wars are good, very good.
2. Less Inventory. If there’s something your child wants for the holidays, buy it early. Tight inventories is another way retailers have protected themselves this year.
One of the trends we’ve watched this season is shrinkage…which always makes me thing of Seinfeld’s infamous shrinkage episode with George in the Hamptons.
Toy makers are making many of the same type of toys they used to…but smaller…much smaller…and much less expensive.
For example, last year we featured Playskool’s $300 Kota My Triceratops Dinosaur. This high tech dino-wonder was big enough for your child to sit on!
This year, the same manufacturer is offering Kota & Pals Stompers – Triceratops. He walks on my desk. Watch the video. He’s very cute and he actually walks (something the big guy can’t do)…but still, this is what the price wars mean.
So does this mean you should buy only $10 toys this holiday season?
There are in fact lots of toys for $10 and under that are really great. We have many award winners that fit the bill, but buying lots of “stuff” seems like a mistake in the long run. Keep in mind that 60% of our toy dollars are spent this time of year…so bringing home toys that will have lasting play value makes more sense in terms of having toys your kids will play with after the holidays are over.
Open-ended toys and supplies are a better bet. I love novelty toys as much as the next guy…and there are some on our list this year. The holidays are about making dreams come true, but if you’re looking to make your dollar stretch…buying more open-ended toys is the way to go. Art supplies, games (that are played again and again), blocks, pretend props (toy kitchens, dollhouses), and toys for active play (ride-ons, sporting equipment)…all will be enjoyed for a long time and played with differently as your child grows.
Pool your resources. If there’s a toy that your child really wants that costs a little more, have your family chip in. Much more fun to get the present you wanted, then lots of little token gifts from aunts and uncles.
The olden days. There was a time when we didn’t go to the toy store with a shopping cart. We got fewer toys…not necessarily a bad thing.
Get Your Screwdriver Ready. One way to keep prices down…toy makers leave more for parents to do. Many toys don’t even come with the pre-drilled holes. If you’re handy with a power drill/screwdriver, you’ll be fine. If you’re not, we warned you.
Make it count. We started the toyportfolio with the tag..we test all the toys so that “you don’t waste your money or your child’s time.” So no matter what your budget, we’ve tried to take the mystery of finding a great toy. So take a look at our Platinum List!