Watch your creations being built at TEGU

One of my new favorite construction sets comes from TEGU.  These are beautifully crafted wooden magnetic blocks. If I were going to buy a toy that I know everyone would play with if I put it out on the coffee table for the holidays–it would be these blocks.  (Except of course if you have very small kids in the house).

Starting today, you can challenge their builder to build something specific. Right now I’m watching them put together a Chilean Miner! Take a look and tweet in your own requests at

Read our review.

If you like word games, check out Word On the Street…

wordonstreetIf word games are your thing, you’ll enjoy the new twist provided by Word on the Street by Out of the Box.  Read our complete review. We’re giving this one an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award.  Loads of fun for the 12 and up crowd.

Pick of the Day: LEGO Star Wars Collection

starwarsbackThe Lego Star Wars collection was hot with our builders this year.  What’s nice about the line is that there is something for everyone in terms of building level and budget.  Remember if you have a new builder, resist the temptation to buy the BIG set. Start small.   LEGO has gotten really much better about making the big kits  more manageable — each “build” comes in its own bag..pre-sorted.  Now for many of us, that may seem pretty wimpy –but it does make things much easier!

Read our reviews.We gave the whole collection an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio  Platinum Award.

One of our advanced builders just put together the more elaborate (and very cool) Tantive IV.  Comes with 1408 pieces. At $149.99, this is a big ticket item for sure–and to their credit, the box is marked for ages 14 & up.

LEGO Tantive IV

LEGO Tantive IV

I’m waiting for one of our LEGO builders to ask for the Death Star ($399.99)…with 3803 pieces. May the force be with you when you try building this one!

Lego Death Star

Lego Death Star

Pick of the Day: Dressable Madeline from Kids Preferred

I’ve been playing with a lot of talking toys lately…they’re fun to videotape.  The whole “look what the toy can do thing” is pretty seductive.  Rocky the Talking Truck is  a conversation starter…even with the other toys, he knows how to get the games started.  He is really much like the cool, “it” kid from elementary school.  The one you wanted to pick you for his kickball team.  Ok, maybe that’s stretching it…but there is something that happens when these high tech toys are around.  I’m reminded of our own warning to bring home toys that do not dictate the play..your child should always be at the center of her play experiences.

Dressable Madeline

Dressable Madeline

Which brings me to Madeline…she’s back from Kids Preferred.  If you’re in the Madeline book zone…the doll makes  a lovely present.  She’s well-crafted and even though this particular doll doesn’t talk…just watch her with your child…she’ll have plenty to say.

For a full review, visit

Pick of the Day: Stack 'n Surprise Count 'n Build Snail Pail

41viaooCcKL._SL500_AA280_If you’re looking for a game that will be fun to play with your older baby (8 months) and younger toddler…bring home the new Stack’ n Surprise Count ‘n Build Snail Pail.  It’s just right for fill and spill games.  In the beginning you’ll be doing most of the stacking…but filling is a great deal of fun for sitting up babies.  The pieces are just the right size…and the clear container makes is fun to see where they go! For a full review, visit This set won an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award.

The Today Show this morning…

Just got back from the studio.  The segment before mine ran a bit longer…so my five minutes became four 1/2 minutes—but we got through all the great products.  Natalie was great. To read the article with all the shopping information, click here.

I left without eating one of the delicious donuts!  Oh well!