A perfect puzzle for Spring: Mudpuppy's Busy Bugs

fp_busy_bugsThe actual Busy Bugs puzzle from Mudpuppy is really stunning…for some reason the artwork on the box doesn’t really convey how attractive this puzzle really is even though it’s the same image.  Kids will enjoy working on this oversized (2′ by 3′) floor puzzle that illustrates how busy all the bugs are in the garden. Comes with 24 large, sturdy pieces–lots’ to talk about as you work on this one.  Suggested retail $17 (3 & up–but of course 3s and 4s will need help to begin).

Pick of the Day: Ring-o Flamingo


Hooray! We have a new silly fun game to tell you about!  Ring-o Flamingo from Gamewright is really lots of fun to play.  The first thing that our testers loved was the game board.  You lock in the pink flamingoes and the two alligators into the board that fits into the box. The game play involves the concept that one of the flamingoes has gone overboard and you have to fling the flamingo a lifesaver as quickly as possible before the alligators get the flamingo!  Watch out, you don’t want to get a lifesaver around the neck of one of the alligators.  Now here’s the really fun part, each player has a life boat that is loaded with lifesavers–that you “fling” onto the game board. So it’s sort of like play ring toss…but you’re all playing at once.  The key is learning how to be far enough away from the board so that you hit the flamingoes repeatedly.  The more flamingoes you save the more points you get…and win.  Points are deducted if you save the alligators.  Fast paced and fun for all ages. We’re giving this one an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award!

Top Pick of the Day: Curious George Discovery Beach Game

curiousbeachThe Curious George Discovery Beach Game is great fun (and even looking at a beach on a cold January day made us feel better).  The board is really innovative.  The board shows a seascape with puzzle like pieces that lift off. Now here’s the really cool part–below the puzzle pieces there is “blue sand” that is safely behind  clear panels.  Players actually shake the whole board (box) and when they do they redistribute the sand and the hidden treasures.  We found that shaking the box was a great hit with players.

The object is to collect six cards representing hidden treasure that you look for on your turn (the spinner tells you where you may look on your turn).  So it’s a really fun visual discrimination game that moves pretty quickly (also a plus with this age group).

The other GREAT aspect of this game are the directions…which are much clearer than my explanation I think….kudos to the team at I Can Do That! Games for making the directions so easy we only had to read them once and we were good to go.

Curious George Discovery Beach Game is the type of game your older preschooler and early school age kids will want to play again and again.  ($16.95).  We have given the game an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award–but we can already tell it will be a strong contender for our year end Platinum Awards.

Toyportfolio.com featured on BusinessWeek Weekend TV

2e7c661a89bc34d4bb456e0dab2992dd7170172cHere’s a link to the piece we did with BusinessWeek TV’s anchor Jill Bennett about the best toys under $25.  Read It! Play It! with Babies and Toddlers.

Are you listening? / Diggity Dog

diggity.jpgOne of our favorite games this year has to do with listening. Diggity Dog (International Playthings $19.99) asks players to listen to the number of times the big electronic dog barks – and then the player must move his game piece that many times. When you land on the space, your magnetized dog picks up a bone. If the color on the bone matches your dog, you keep the bone in your dog house. One of our parent testers loved that kids really had to concentrate and listen. The games involves simple counting and color concepts. The kids loved the sound effects! A good choice for kids 3 & up. For other award winning games visit www.toyportfolio.com.

Today Show/ toyportfolio.com Platinum Award Toy Segment

Right before we went on air, our 4 minute segment became 3.5 minutes–that’s right–to talk about over 15 great Platinum Award winning products! We also had kids on the plaza (bundled up) that were really into playing with the Castle of Courage from Step 2, the Arena from Playmobil, and the Candy Land Castle Game from Hasbro. Al Roker is always fun to do segments with – and I usually like doing segments outdoors because the crowds are there – giving that extra energy that you don’t get if you’re in the studio. The downside? The wind today was kicking up. So right before we were about to go on live, I turned sideways and all of my hair got caught in my lip gloss. Not the best look. But more important than my hair was that the Havoc Heli RC helicopters from Spinmaster couldn’t fly – too much wind for these really cool tiny helicopters that are meant for indoor use or a very calm day. Thankfully the big K’nex Double Ferris wheel did not fall over! It looked iffy there for a moment too. Of course I could really talk about any one of these products for 3.5 minutes–so it’s always hard to decide what the sound bite will be for each–and I didn’t want to skip any–so it was full steam ahead. If you want more info about these award winning products, you’ll find a lot more on our website at www.toyportfolio.com and we also have posted a calmer discussion of some of our award winners on www.youtube.com. The best sign of a successful segment, the kids didn’t want to stop playing with the toys after the segment was over!