December 2005 | Vol. IV - No. 12
Take It Outside for the Holidays
Top Outdoor Toys on Kids' Wish Lists
To see more fresh holiday products, click here.
Ride-on toys were most touted for this Christmas season: More than half the retailers spoken to thought that ride-ons would be their biggest seller in the outdoor category. “Kids never stop wanting to zoom around,” said Matt Delano, owner and manager of Cross Creek Toys in Baltimore, Md.
“This year,” explained Tom Handel, owner of Move & Go Studios in Boise, Idaho, “it’s all about the PlasmaCar (by Plasmart Inc. (ToyDirectory). It’s weird. It’s different. And it makes a great gift.”
Winner of multiple awards (like the Oppenheim and Dr. Toy awards), the PlasmaCar is just enough trike, just enough wagon and just right for Christmas morning. “The only thing I worry about,” commented Dot Rogers, manager of Gordon’s Gifts in Jefferson, N.H., “is how many Christmas trees are going to be run over by all the kids racing around the house.”
For the big-ticket shopper, Doug Langdon, owner of Race Pro in Sacramento, Calif., thought the Fun Quest Minimoto ATV was going to be “it” for Christmas: “It’s an all-in-one go-cart/all-terrain vehicle. A great starter, and not a ‘throw-away.' We sell the whole Minimoto line, and we think it’s the best.”
Also, the Minimoto Sport Racer Bike was a “great seller over the past year,” responded Dan Ecklestein of the Las Vegas Pep Boys.
Then it was items that defined a child’s place in his or her world: Pretend play was the second most predicted sale by the retailers. “In San Diego, we barbecue for Christmas, and I’m selling a lot of these BBQ Grill and Glows (by Little Tikes (ToyShow)),” laughed Duncan Morris, owner of the Toy Bag. “Boys and girls love to imitate dad when he grills, and this thing lets them do it without danger. And it rolls into the kitchen easily, too.”
Other stores from Wis. (Abbey’s Ark) to Miami, Fla. (Toys “R” Us) reported excellent sales on this item, too.
The Naturally Playful Sand & Water Activity Center by Step 2 “is the hit of our store,” gushed Dawn Wexler, manager and co-owner of The Learning Place in Helena, Mont. “Kids and parents can’t stop playing with it. And it’s the sturdiest and most well-thought-out playset of its kind.”
Roberta Goldstein of Water, Water, Everywhere in Atlanta, found this to be the hands-down best seller for her store.
There were those products that were good clean fun: Outdoors is the place to get wet and wild (that’s why parents send their kids out there). “Gazillion Typhoon Bubbles — it’s the coolest. I have one in my store,” said Terri Diamond, co-owner of New York City’s Toys & Toys. “First thing someone sees is bubbles when they come in. Nothing is better than bubbles, and this is the best bubbler out there.” The latest in FunRise’s (ToyShow) Gazillion Bubbles line, this puts out so many bubbles that it’s good for parties, too.
“This thing is going to ruin a lot of Christmas dinners,” predicted Todd Martin, owner of Lumas Toys in Portland, Ore., about Mattel’s Shield Blaster 3000. “It blasts three different streams of water, and although the crank is a little ‘cranky’ — it looks very cool. Kids like it.”
It sold well for more than a year, and continues to grow in popularity, said Wendy Tollins, of Tollins & June’s in Reno, Nev.
The final group of outdoor toys that were considered fast sellers were those that used the wide-open spaces. The most novel and talked about of the pack was the Tyco/Mattel Shell Shocker. It’s “the best thing I’ve seen in years,” explained Walter Anderson, co-owner of Techno-Toys in Walla Walla, Wash. “Everyone wants one. They’re RC and they morph, and we run them all over the store. Very big seller.”
Dolores Zucker, manager of TB’s Toys in Santa Fe, N.M., agreed: “It’s different, and boys go crazy for them.”
What a wide variety of toys, all good at getting the kids out of the house and into the great wide-open. That’s a gift for the parents as well.
What follows is more information on the products mentioned in this article:
The Original PlasmaCar continues to intrigue and fascinate. Powered by kid power; no batteries, gears, or pedals needed. Just sit, put your feet up, and turn the steering wheel to propel yourself forward. The patented safety seat design places riders in a safe, comfortable position and minimizes tipping. Moves up to 6 mph on any smooth, flat surface. Supports up to 220 lbs. Visit www.plasmacar.com to see all the wonderful colors available.
— In a March 2015 survey, two out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that Plasmacar is a best-selling outdoor toy.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 122 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: Does not work well on surfaces that aren't completely smooth.
— This top-seller in specialty stores earned a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award for its distinctive aerodynamic design and ease-of-use. TDmonthly believes it has the potential to become a classic due to its fresh, contemporary appeal and application in a child’s formative years.
Awards: 2012 Parents Choice Awards Recommended, 2009 Green Parents List Check Mark, 2009 DisneyFamily.com Top Action Figures and Toys for Toddlers, 2009+2008+2005 The National Parenting Centre Seal of Approval, 2008 iParenting Media Toy Award, 2008 Fat Brain Toy Award Active Play, 2006 TIA Outdoor Toy of the Year - Specialty Toy of the Year, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, 2005 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, 2005 Dr. Toy Best Vacation Products, 2005 Creative Child Seal of Excellence, 2001 International Patent Fair, Hong Kong Gold Medal
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3829 (added 6/28/2005)
This revolutionary bubble machine comes with 32 oz. of the one-and-only Gazillion bubble solution. Simply switch it on and watch in amazement as a Typhoon of colorful bubbles shoot upwards blowing 5,000 bubbles per minute! Great for parties! Requires eight AA batteries, not included. Also operates with an AC adaptor.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4859 (added 9/29/2005)
The Shell Shocker is a radio-controlled toy like none other. Featuring an innovative "biomechanical" design (short for cool animal/robot cross), this crazy alien invader transforms from cyberball to a cyberbeast as it powers over mud, grass and pavement. Itīs brash, noisy, rude and incredibly cool, with an out-of-this-world adaptability that fascinates kids and leads to hours of exciting outdoor play.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5437 (added 11/9/2005)
The water blaster shoots and blocks: kids stay dry while they drench the "enemy." The blaster doubles as a full-size shield that fits right over the arm. It has a choice of three different soaking streams. No pumping required. Turn the handle and it starts spraying.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5438 (added 11/9/2005)
Naturally Playful Sand & Water Activity Center by THE STEP2 COMPANY
Other products from THE STEP2 COMPANY
This all-in-one table has two separate sides: one for water and the other for sand. The 8-piece accessory set includes: an umbrella, 2 bridges, 2 boats, 2 pots, 1 shovel and a plug for easy draining. A one-piece lid ties down securely and features roadways for additional play. The legs detach for ground level play. Minimal assembly is required.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5439 (added 11/9/2005)
This is a fine example of off-road kid action. This all-terrain cross between a go-cart and a dirt bike features a high-output 500-watt motor, 36-volt rechargeable battery, knobby tires and bump-devouring front and rear shocks all combining to deliver outstanding power and traction both on the dirt and off. With speeds up to 15 MPH, this is the real thing.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5440 (added 11/9/2005)
This toy barbecue grill for the younger set makes sizzling and grilling sounds, and has a bed of red "coals" that light up. A toy burger, drumstick, sesame seed buns and veggies can be flipped with a spatula (all included) on the toy range, which has a lift-up lid, pushcart handle, storage space and wheels. The grill is hollow, lightweight and brightly colored. Three AAA batteries and adult assembly required.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5441 (added 11/9/2005)
Become a Karate Master at home with the Black Belts Karate Home Studio. Learn blocks, punches, stances and kicks all in a fun and safe way. It comes complete with a 30-minute action-packed video, training mat with easy step-by-step instructions and an inflatable heavy bag to master the moves. Both DVD are VHS are available.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5442 (added 11/9/2005)
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