December 2005 | Vol. IV - No. 12
TDmonthly's Top 10 Most Wanted Last Minute Gifts for Boys
As Aunt Dot and Uncle Dan race to their family’s annual Winter Solstice celebration, they check off their gift list: Gramma — check. Gramps — check. Cousin Cindy — check. The nieces — check. The nephews … uh-oh. They forgot little Robby’s gift (and little Robby is a favorite). Uncle Dan slams a hard right and heads into the nearest toy store. What do the retailers recommend to this last minute shopper who is wrought with guilt and has money to burn? TDmonthly Magazine contacted more than 35 stores and asked: What are surefire hits for boys between the ages of 4 to 7 and 8 to 11?
Thomas & Friends Battery-Powered Around the Tree Set by LEARNING CURVE
Other products from LEARNING CURVE
With the push of a button, little (or big!) engineers can set Thomas into motion around almost any Christmas tree (up to just over 2 feet wide) with this 20-piece, battery-powered train set. The exclusive Gift Car, which plays “Jingle Bells,” is sure to bring a smile to kids’ faces. It’s joined by a festive caboose, reindeer-crossing sign and track, all made of real wood materials.
— It’s recommended by Karey Koehn, editor of retail franchise HobbyTown USA's Hobby Outlook Magazine for the 4 to 7 year olds. “It's sure to be a family favorite holiday train.”
— “This is for the kid who has Thomas, loves Thomas and can’t get enough Thomas,” explained Cindy Wells, manager of Toys “R” Us in Phoenix, Ariz.
— This has been a big seller on Amazon.com every Christmas since its inception.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5568 (added 11/16/2005)
Radio Rodent is on the loose! Kids can experience wild and crazy radio control fun with this 100 percent assembled radio control mouse that moves forward, backward, right and left. Radio Rodent's eyes light up sinister red as he scurries about. Rotating tail action quickly flips over the toppled critter. The Rodent comes with a cheeseburger controller/charger.
— “Coolest thing for a boy that age,” laughed Robert Elliot, owner of R/C & More, a hobby shop in Philadelphia. “We have three running all over the store. Makes the moms scream and the kids go crazy.”
— “Little boys will love an easy-to-operate radio control mouse,” stated Karey Koehn, editor of retail franchise HobbyTown USA's Hobby Outlook Magazine.
— “A really different, fun toy,” commented Bob Rexford, owner of Rexford’s Fun in Denver, Colo.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5569 (added 11/16/2005)
Players try to get four wooden columns in a row. The pieces can be moved after they’ve been initially played on the grid.
— Kathie Dockstader, buyer for Top Ten Toys in Seattle, said, "people like it because it´s visually stunning … it adds an element. It makes you want to play." Jude LaRene, owner of Izilla Toys in Seattle, recommended this for Christmas because: “It’s still a game many don't have yet and everyone loves.”
— “Customers are looking for word games; I call them logical-thinking games. [Games] such as Gobblet by Blue Orange,” Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, told TDmonthly.
— Two of 44 retailers named Gobblet as one of their absolute best sellers in late fall 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3950 (added 7/15/2005)
Cars in this set are each fitted with a microprocessor, which allows the racer to run multiple cars on the same track, just like the real thing, with more bumper-to-bumper thrills and lane change capabilities. The set includes a digital power control unit and track sections within the layout.
— Mary M. Tague, owner of Toy Town Inc. in Key Biscayne, Fla., suggested these sets for those coming to her store this Christmas.
— Steve Valentine, owner of Faster, Faster, Race, Race in San Diego thinks these are “the big-ticket item this Christmas. You wanna impress a kid? This is the thing to do it with.”
— Wally Wombat, icon for Wally’s ToyWorld in Boise, Idaho, got a set for his own kids. “My two sons are gonna love it.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5127 (added 10/21/2005)
This robot will tumble, fumble and stumble, but it always finds a way to right itself. The moment kids turn it on, Roly Poly speeds away on its two cyclonic wheels. The engineering genius behind this well-thought-out machine enables it to get on its “feet” whenever it tumbles and then continue on its new path of exploration. After assembling one worm gear and fewer than 20 parts, this mechanical marvel is ready to amuse. Kids can place original artwork or pictures that Roly Poly comes with inside its dome.
— Jude LaRene, owner of Seattle’s Izilla Toys, said, “though they are challenging [to put together], they are super fun and educational.
— “These are still selling strong, and for a last-minute gift, nothing can beat it,” touted Maxine Golden, assistant manager of Fun, Fun, Fun in Washington, D.C.
— Dotty Holden of Toy Rapture in Chicago had been waiting all year to sell these at Christmas. “They’ve done well so far, but I know they’re going to fly off the counter at Christmas. They’re perfect for science-minded kids."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 2651 (added 1/12/2005)
Now kids can shoot digital movies, snap photographs and create their own VideoNow personal video discs with a digital video camera made just for them. The portable VcamNow, with its hip, sleek look, is the perfect accessory for kids with an “on-the-go” lifestyle. It’s loaded with an array of cool and easy-to-use features. Users can view their digital movies and photos on television and view, edit and send video and photos on their computer. It can even be used as a camera.
— “These are going to go like hotcakes,” predicted John Sedgwick of Sedgwick’s Toys in San Francisco. “They are the perfect price point, and every kid wants a camcorder.”
— The manager of Never Enough Toys in Houston, Leslie Watamul, agreed: “Every kid is going to want one of these. They are the perfect high-end stocking stuffer.”
— Jackie Washington of the Toys “R” Us in Westminster, Colo., said they’ve ordered “quite a few, expecting a real demand for them.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4701 (added 9/19/2005)
This 70th anniversary edition is a luxurious interpretation of the classic property trading game. “Own it all” in style, with 1930s-inspired graphics, plastic houses in four architectural styles, unique hotels and 12 deluxe tokens inspired by players’ favorites.
— “Greatest family game of all time,” said Thomas Ryan, owner of The Game Shoppe in Boston.
— “Christmas always means Monopoly in my store,” explained Donald Jacobs, owner of Jacobs’ Ladder, in Tallahassee, Fla. “It’s a family game that everyone can play.”
— Monopoly is the most-played board game of all time according to Wikipedia and, according to the Guiness Book of World Records, more than a half a billion people have played the game since its creation.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5570 (added 11/16/2005)
Every young boy wants to learn to fly; the Firebird Commander 2 shows them the way. The radio-controlled plane’s Anti-Crash Technology monitors the plane’s flight and sends corrections to the receiver so kids can avoid taking a dangerous dive. When they've mastered the Commander, the Anti-Crash Technology can be turned off so kids can expand their skills. It's a perfect family-together time gift.
— Karey Koehn, editor of HobbyTown USA's Hobby Outlook Magazine, believes, “This is really a parent/child gift — but one that will be the hit of the holiday season.”
— “The Commander 2 has been selling very well for us; in fact, it has been our top seller since it was released. I believe with the quality of the product and the low price, this plane is going to do excellent this Christmas,” pointed out Mitchell Kern, store manager of Boondoggles in Victoria, Texas.
— The Commander 2 sells well even as far away as Mr. Gadget in Australia (where it is sold out).
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5571 (added 11/16/2005)
iZ from Zizzle is a 9", three-legged fusion of toy and music. The unique character, which will initially be available in red, green and blue, provides a broad-aged audience a multitude of play opportunities. Kids start by pressing his stomach to start a beat. Once they find a sound they like, they move to iZ’s right ear to add a little rhythm to the equation, and turn his left ear to find a musical lead. An easy-to-use tempo control makes the sounds limitless as players create tunes never heard before. iZ’s eyes even independently rock out to the innovative tunes created, bouncing up and down independently of each other. Also, a special “flicker” switch dangling above the hysterical creature’s head adds sound effects and “scratch” to really kick up the jam! iZ also speaks his own special “jibberishy” language to add the most amazing commentary to any tune.
— Jan Cummings, assistant manager at the Tucker, Ga., Toys “R” Us said: “They are the hit of the season. We got them in, sold them out, got them in again … and they’re selling out. Everyone likes them.”
— Amazon.com ranks this as one of the hot toys for Christmas 2005.
— The company is headed by the same team that developed and marketed Furby, one of the best-selling toys of the past 10 years.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5308 (added 11/2/2005)
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