36502-pikos-the-hedgehogDeglingos are deliciously quirky   — and were a welcome treat at toy fair. The rows and rows of collectable dolls were gone this year…the dolls that look like real babies (in a seriously creepy kind of way)…we were just commenting on their absence when we hit the end of a row and found these decidedly off beat (funky meets folk art) dolls that will appeal to both boys and girls. Probably because I have two boys–I’m always sensitive to finding huggables that have that gender free appeal.  The Deglingos are a collection of animals – there’s a Cow (Milkos), a Wolf (Bigbos), a Bunny (Lapinos)…you get the idea. We’re looking forward to seeing the new line of Baby Deglingos and sharing them with our testers.

Another Recycling Truck…

Probably not too many other people in the world would take note of the number of recyling trucks…but here’s another sighting…

Fisher-Price Little People will also have a Recycling Truck this fall…it will be call the Little People Sing’n Learn Recycling Truck. There will be singing and sorting…looks fun.


Best Toddler Toy: Edushape's Rollipop

babyoliver_2039_55041116If you’ve spent any time with a two year old, you know they love to do the same thing over and over again. It’s through that repeititive play, that they develop their self confidence and sense of their own abilities. The other thing you know about toddlers is that finding toys for them can be really challenging.  They’ve outgrown their baby toys–and they’re  not really ready for most preschool toys with all of those pesky small parts that pose a safety risk.  They’re often more interested in seeing if they can climb on a toy  at this stage rather than play with it.  My son Adam did this with his first garage!

So just in case you’re looking for the perfect birthday present, I periodically like to recommend Edushape’s Rollipop ($24.95). We’re adding it to our list of Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Blue Chip Award winners – indicating that this great toy has been in the market place for more than five years and should not be missed just because it wasn’t invented yesterday!  The balls are big enough to be safe and they move through the toy slowly enough so that they can be tracked.  You can talk about colors as you play, but really just making something happen again and again is the biggest reward. We prefer this one to some of the other ball runs that have lots of noise–you really don’t need it!  Your child will add their own sound effects–promise!

Pick of the Day: Mary Meyer's Earthmates

show_image_in_imgtag We just received a new collection from Mary Meyer called Earthmates.  The little Organic Little Sprouts Club here is just 5″ tall, he’s made with organic cotton . There is also a small orange cat and sweet green dog.  The tag reads “They are all made without the use of any harmful pesticides, or toxic chemicals or dyes.”  What your child will love about them is that they are very sweet and soft.  Done in a soft Velour with stitched features, these are safe for infants and toddlers.  If you’re looking for something bigger, there’s    this 12″ friend Big Bear- he’s not as huggable as the smaller animals–but he is very cheery.show_image_in_imgtag-1

So many organic plush lines we’ve received this year arrived looking very washed out and sad. This  line is green and happily does  not sacrifice on play value and overall product appeal.

Pick of the Day: My Natural Collection from Hosung NY

tinylove-collectionWe LOVE this new collection of huggables from Hosung NY. They are just right (and safe) for toddlers – velour bodies with stitched features- and are really very sweet looking.  There are three different collections – all produced a round of oohs and ahhs as we went through the box.  There is the Long Leg Collection (sans clothes) – they retail for $14.99.  The ones in the photo are the Tiny Love Collection and are a very reasonable $9.99. The Tiny Tots Collections are smaller animals (fistfuls really) that have a sense of humor and joy about them.  Best yet, the entire line is made from 100% non-toxic cotton.  The coloring is from minerals and soy done with the company calls a “low eco-impact” dye process.  Unlike many “natural” collections we’ve seen, they are very vivid and don’t have that “ok, it doesn’t look great, but it’s very green and pc”.   Each are something you’d be happy sharing with the toddlers in your life….hooray!  We’re giving the entire collection an Oppenheim Toy Porfolio Gold Seal Award and they are certainly in the running for Platinum at the end of the year!

Pre-Toy Fair Buzz: Little Tikes Bumble Bee Buggy

little-tikes_bumble-bee-buggyThis cheerful looking Bumble Bee looks promising to us and at a suggested retail of $39.99 it’s a well-priced active toy for older toddlers and preschoolers.  One of our pet peeves at the moment is that most ride on/ride ins don’t really steer.  Kids have to literally pick up their ride on and change directions.  With four caster wheels, this one should respond well.  Stay tuned….

Notable Birthday: Fisher-Price Little People Hit 50!

41ztrqmn7xl_sl160_aa160_Move over baby boomers, the iconic Fisher-Price Little People are turning 50 this year. The Little People Farm that seems like it’s been around forever, first hit the shelves in 1968…and the School House arrived in 1971.

This year we tried the updated (there is always a new version!) of the school bus and airplane.  These classic toys got rave reviews from new parents. If you’re looking for vehicles for toddlers, this line is really a consistently strong choice. The vehicles make some sound, but not overpowering and you can use the vehicles without the sound (a plus). The openings, handles and weight also make these appropriate choices for toddlers that love moving their toys about.

We put the School Bus on our SNAP Award list (Special Needs Adaptable Product Award)– a long time ago when the company added a play figure with a wheelchair. We’re delighted that feature has continued.  The farm has been a focal point for us over the years–especially when they made the “barn” talk — so if you put the cow where the pig is supposed to go — your cow will oink…not moo.  We love technology but here’s an example of missing the way kids play with toys.   There shouldn’t be only one right place to fit an animal.  Or here’s a novel concept…your child can provide their own sounds!

Pick of the Day: Schylling's Color Roller

colorrollerWhen this push toy first came into the office this summer we were really thrilled. Finding fun toys that are right on target for toddlers is one of toughest tasks we have each year.  Much like the Blue Chip Corn Popper from Fisher-Price, the Color Roller doesn’t require batteries to make something happen. It makes a clicking noise when it’s pushed (one of our testers that lives in an apartment thought the noise was annoying after a while…so you do have judge your tolerance for “toy” noise). When you look at the roller part of the toy when it’s not in motion you can see many smaller cylinders of  blue, yellow, and red–but when you push the roller – amazingly the colors of the rainbow appear. High marks to this elegantly designed toy.

I recently took the Color Roller on the Today Show and one of the little sister that came to the green room with her big brother and sister loved pushing the toy. Always fun to see kids enjoy our picks–but here’s the thing I really loved. The older boys (5-7) started pushing the toy all over the place and then they started using the roller in their dramatic play. Not sure why boys (without making sweeping generalizations here) can find a way to turn almost any toy into combative accessories. Having grown up with two boys, having two sons of my own, and having observing so many kids over the years …there is a difference in the way they approach the play experience.

At $20, this is a really well-priced  choice  that encourages active play for toddlers who have tons of energy and will be pleased that they can make something happen.
For other top picks of the season for toddlers, visit

Pick of the Day: Edushape Rollipop Starter Set

41dd7yon5fl_sl500_aa280_I’m often asked about the best toys for each age group. Without question one of our all time favorite toys for two year olds is the Rollipop. If you’ve spent any time with toddlers, you know they love to do the same thing over and over again. This ball drop provides a great opportunity to have that opportunity. You can talk about the colors of the balls as they drop them down–but you can also sit back and enjoy watching them making something happen. It’s very pleasing. There are also bigger sets…but this beginning tower is a good place to start. We prefer the slow pace of this set to competing ball runs that have balls pop up or out. The magic of making something happen is engaging all by itself!

Pick of the Day: Bright Beginnings Jiggle Brights

jigglebrightsIf you’re looking for a first huggable at a great price, check out the new Bright Beginnings Jiggle Brights from Russ Berrie. With a suggested retail of $10, you really can’t do better. They’re made with soft Velour in a bright engaging pattern and have all stitched features – making them a perfect choice for older babies and toddlers. Very sweet.