It's Friday…time for Play-Doh!!!

6105076n1ol_sl500_aa280_I’ve discovered over the years – you either love or hate Play-Doh.  I just had a really good time trying out the new Spaghetti Factory ($9.99)…It’s similar to the “hair” makers of the past.  (If you haven’t played with Play Doh since you’re a kid–then you will have no idea what I’m talking about.)  In both cases you fill the toy with Play-Doh and you press down on the mechanism and the Play-Doh comes out in long “spaghetti-shaped” strands.  If you have a child with special needs and you’re working on building strength in your child’s hands–you may want to give this one a try.  You’ll want to attach the pasta machine to the table surface for added stability.

The base has molds for making other shapes…my mother made a lot of ravioli and bow ties–but for me it all about pushing down the plunger and making the spaghetti come out.

Zoom, zoom…New Automoblox

c9r_08_front3qOk, so if a new sportscar isn’t in your future any time soon — this desk-size version from Automoblox may make you feel a bit better.  This particular car is their C9R model.  We’ve been big fans of these beautifully designed wooden cars that also can be taken apart. Designed for kids-but will also be enjoyed as a great office toy!

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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"Let the Force be With you!" – LEGO Star War's 10th Anniversary

8019-0000-xx-12-1I haven’t been blogging much today because I’ve been busy requesting new toys to test!  There’s alot of excitement with our Lego builders for the new sets based on Star Wars.  With the roll out of the Clone Wars, there’s a new generation of SW fans–much to my delight!  So we have many a young Jedi getting ready to test the new sets as they roll out throught the season.

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!

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!