You scream, I scream…we all scream for ICE CREAM

Calico Critters Ice Cream TruckThis new Ice Cream Truck from Calico Critters (International Playthings) is off the meter on cuteness and feels right for today where it’s soooo hot in a good part of the country.

 

Still cuter…

The ice cream dispenser works…icecreamtrucktwo

For a full review and shopping info, visit our site.

 

 

 

 

icecreamtruckthree

In honor of Esther Williams…Barbie Splashes and Spins

Esther Williams passed away this month–but leaves us a wonderful legacy on film. I used to love watching her movies. If you’ve never seen one, take a look – they’re great fun. As a former All-American competitive swimmer and darling of MGM’s movies in the 40s, she made a bathing suit and swim cap look beautiful. imagesAs a kid, I always wondered how she could hold her breath for so long and always come up smiling with a full face of make-up.  Now I appreciate her strength, ability, and her healthy appearance. When Barbie Splash ‘n Spin from Mattel came in–it was hard not to think that this latest version of the iconic doll was inspired by Esther Williams down to the the kitschy spinning dolphins that circle Barbie’s waist.  For shopping details on the Barbie visit, www.toyportfolio.com.  Visit our youtube channel to watch the demo. 61iLh6m63+L._SL1357_

A fun Summer Craft

I’m always on the look out for craft kits that are good for a rainy day like today (where isn’t it raining?)

The new Paper Bead Jewelry Set from Creativity for Kids is a very satisfying kit with lots of pretty paper to work with. Plenty for a play date or siblings to share.  Read our full review at www.toyportfolio.comIMG_0184 IMG_0185.

Close…

We’re always looking for fun science kits. The kind you want to do rather than feel like you’ve brought home school work. So when we received the new Circuit Science Bubble Maker kit from Small World – we were excited. Bubbles = awesome. Our problem, which we hope they will address, is that the battery compartment is open – and since there is liquid involved not the best of designs.  IMG_0099

Fun New Vehicle from Step 2: Easy Turn Coupe

EasyRide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most parents today remember their own Cozy Coupe from Little Tikes. We’re always looking for variations on that classic first ride-in. Here’s a new vehicle in this category called the Easy Turn Coupe from Step 2.  Our testers loved the ease in which it moved. There is a third front wheel for added steering (always a plus). The cup holder got high marks.  There is a floor plate for younger kids– our only complaint is that if the intended rider is much younger, there should be a safety belt. Otherwise, this is a wonderful foot-powered vehicle.

 

Fairies Meet Disco

Kit comes with three lights to decorate.

Kit comes with three lights to decorate.

I’m a sucker for toys that work in the dark which is why I was super excited to try  Creativity for Kids new Color Changing Flower Lights. The kit comes with three plastic globes that have three different light settings. One is a disco ball effect that seems perfect for the fairies in your realm.  Read our full review at toyportfolio.com. Watch our video http://bit.ly/WPdOcI.

Play-Doh Sweets to Make…but not to eat.

I find it confusing to have toys for preschoolers where you make “food” but you can’t eat them – especially when they look so pretty. I get the whole pretend aspect of this toy and that many kids (including some of our testers) enjoy this product, but maybe because I was the kid that would have tasted it for sure,  it makes me wonder about the wisdom of such a toy. While I do have a soft spot for Play-Doh extruder accessories,  I generally prefer Play-Doh as an open-ended experience – after all, what’s better than making Play-Doh snakes?!

Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe from Hasbro

Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe from Hasbro

What do you think?

Behind the scenes at The Today Show

At the Today Show talking toys with Willie Geist and Steve Harvey

At the Today Show talking toys with Willie Geist and Steve Harvey

Last night I had odd dreams that were both a combination of Downton Abbey (I still feel so upset about the season’s ending)  and worrying that some of the prototypes (especially the last flying toy) wouldn’t work. By three in the morning I had Maggie Smith commenting on the series of spy toys we had on. Not the best night’s sleep.

Right before the segment with the Hot Wheel Car Maker

Right before the segment with the Hot Wheel Car Maker

This morning seemed very, very quiet. Maybe because it was soooo cold outside–it just seemed more laid back than usual. Since we were showing prototypes, there were no kids scheduled to be on the segment with me. That also made the green room less lively.  (Everyone did perk up when the Jeopardy teen champ came in.)  My mom, fresh back from her adventure through South America, was with me–which is always great. There was a guest there speaking about a 21 day cleanse. The whole idea made me hungry.

The segment was fun. You can watch it here. Willie Geist is fantastic and as a Dad with two young children, he’s totally in the toy zone. Steve Harvey was guest co-hosting today and was a total sport–trying out the Spy Net Lie Detector Toy from Jakks Pacific and flying one of the Atmospheres from Spin Master. Special thanks to Cara from LEGO and Rachel from Spin Master for coming in to make sure that they’re prototypes worked on camera. All the toys we showed today are featured on my blog posts from last week.

Love this picture because Steve is still playing with the toy!!

Love this picture because Steve is still playing with the toy!!

 

 

toyportfolio.com: Hasbro’s Monopoly News

Hasbro has a lot of Monopoly news this season. First they retired the iron play piece which feels right to me. I’ve never known anyone hollering to be the iron. So here’s the replacement…a cat. If you’re a cat person, I suppose, this will be a great addition. For me, I’ll stick with the doggie.

The new play piece for Monopoly...the cat.

The new play piece for Monopoly…the cat.

Also new for 2013, the Despicable Me 2 (click thru to watch the trailer-it’s really fun) version to coincide with the launch of the movie this July. Comes with off-the-chart cute minion pieces (they had to glue them down at toy fair so that they wouldn’t walk out of the showroom. In the good old days, they would have given us a sample, but I digress). Personally, I’d take any one of the minions over the cat! I like that both versions are classic Monopoly sets where a person, rather than a electronic device, is the banker.

Monopoly Despicable Me2 Version from Hasbro

Monopoly Despicable Me2 Version from Hasbro