Pick of the Day: I Spy Flip 5

If you’re fans of the I SPY series, you’ll want to take a look at Briarpatch’s new I SPY Flip 5.  The idea is to match similar images that appear on the play pieces (disks that have images on both sides).  The picture can be a photo or a silhouette of that image (a star fish, a horse, a panda, a ballerina, etc.)…At each turn, players take turns saying “1, 2, 3, 4, flip 5″—that player then flips five disks.  Players then look for matches –call them and collect them. The player with the greatest number of matches wins that round. The player to win five rounds wins. Our game players liked looking for the matching images–and the pace of the game. This is one you won’t mind playing again and again.  It’s a step above straight matching games–calling for a more developed sense of visual discrimination.  You can introduce the game to a younger child by using fewer disks–making it a bit less overwhelming. At $12.95, it’s a good price for a game that you can easily take along if you’re traveling–all of the pieces will fit easily in a big zip lock bag. There’s also a Dino Flip 5 that we’ve sent out for additional testing–we think dino-fans will love it…same idea but with images of dinosaurs.  Both games are marked 4 & up and will work with 2-4 players.

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Fun…Deglingos!

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.

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When Starbucks costs too much….Step2's Cafe Barista may help

cafe-baristaWith everyone cutting back on their expensive coffee habits, you can enjoy a pretend cafe latte or cappuccino with this new pretend setting from Step 2.  The Cafe Barista looks like fun–we really liked the “steamed milk” sound effect.  Looking forward to testing this one.  Will be available later this year. Be on the look out for more and more toys that focus on food…both real and plastic.

Top Trends from Toy Fair 2009: Jakks Pacific Eye Clops MiniProjector

images-2We’re eager to test this new mini projector from Jakks Pacific that you can use with your DVDs, your MP3 player and Video Games.  We like the idea of being able to create your own outdoor movie theater.  With a suggested retail of $99– it promises to project up to 70″ and fit in the palm  of your hand. If it works, it will be a hit with our tween testers.

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!

Best New Infant Toy: Mary Meyer's Sweet Chocolate Chime Ball

show_image_in_imgtag This 8″ soft fabric ball makes that lovely chime sound when it’s rolled back and forth.  Just right for encouraging babies to crawl–and fun for back and forth games on the floor with older babies and toddlers.  It also comes in pink and part of a larger line that also includes a very cuddly Sweet Chocolate Pillow Bear that opens up to become a flat pillow.  When you connect the Velcro underneath the Bear, it looks like a regular stuffed bear. The ball retails for $19 and the bear is $49. show_image_in_imgtag-1

Trends From ToyFair 2009: SpinMasters Air Hogs Switchblade

airhogsswitchblade2Last year we spent way too much time flying Spin Master’s little Havoc Helis around our office. We got pretty good at it too–so we’re pretty psyched that they have new flying machines!  The Switchblade promises to take off like a UFO and transform in the air–into a hig powered aircraft.   We’ll have to go outside for this one…field trip!

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.