July 2006 | Vol. V - No. 7
TDmonthly’s Top 10 Most Wanted Travel Toys
Retailers Say These Are Musts for the Road
With reporting by regional correspondents Marc Angulo, Dennis Furlan, Elizabeth Greenspan, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Willow Polson, Bonnie Priever and Donna Sacks
DVDs are increasingly being used to occupy young ones during vacation transport, but that doesn’t stop smart parents from loading up on creative and educational toys for the backseat or airplane. Victor Oliveira, operations manager of Henry Bear’s Park in Arlington, Mass., said he recommends that parents “invest in a lot of small things. That way, you can keep introducing new things throughout the trip to keep play new.” Think magnets, crafts and games, retailers told TDmonthly Magazine.
A surprising number of retailers said this was a top pick by shoppers when ready to hit the road. This newest version challenges players to find 39 small plastic zoo animals by shaking a tube filled with plastic pellets.
— Laura Miller, owner of Imagination Village in Concord, N.H., said, “It’s not supposed to be a travel toy, but a lot of people buy it for this use.”
— Meghan Bergman, “keyholder” at Rhyme 'n Reason Toys, in Pembroke, Mass., said “we recommend these for trips a lot.”
— Sandy Whitten, co-owner of Sparks Toy and Hobby Shoppe in Smithfield, R.I. said, “We just got a new shipment of 12 in a week and a half ago and we’ve only got five left.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8377 (added 6/22/2006)
These magnetic travel playsets offer a variety of popular themes to appeal to children of all ages. Imaginative children will enjoy getting lost in a magnetic world of their choice. The flat packaging and product are easy to store in a backpack or can be left in the back seat of the car.
— “They have wonderful themes — pirate, princess, fairy, Mr. Potato Head,” said Diane Robinson, president and owner of Silly Goose Inc. in Essex, Mass.
— Mary Kiely, manager of Stellabella Toys in Cambridge, Mass., said, “Bob the Builder’s one of our favorites. We’ve had a lot of comments from customers — great for ages 3 and 4 and up. The USA map version is great for the older kids.”
— Five of 36 retailers agreed in spring 2007 that Imaginetics are best sellers in their stores. Retailers reported selling anywhere from 10 to 30 units each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7485 (added 4/5/2006)
This portable, handheld electronic Sudoku features over 12,000 puzzles, three skill levels, a check button, a hint button for help, a timer, a step counter and an adjustable contrast screen. According to retailers, any kind of Sudoku product will do, as they’ve been flying off the shelves.
— Victor Oliveira, operations manager of Henry Bear’s Park in Arlington, Mass., said these are “really hot.” For older kids, the handhelds are top sellers and for the younger ones, there is even a Sudoku book that involves putting in animals instead of numbers.
— “I don’t think it’s just kids [that like it]. I think mom and dad are willing to buy because they’ll play with it,” explained Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toy & Book Store in Scottsdale, Ariz., who mentioned the Kid Galaxy variety as a popular version.
— “I would have to say Sudoku books would be it,” said Jordan Walden, store manager at Finnegan's Toys and Gifts in Portland, Ore., when it comes to most popular travel toy at her store.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8378 (added 6/22/2006)
This handy small-sized game challenges kids to steer through traffic in their ice cream truck escape car. It includes a board, bright plastic cars and 40 challenge cards to keep kids on their toes.
— “I always recommend these for travel,” said Laura Miller, owner of Imagination Village in Concord, N.H. “They’re perfect to throw in a backpack,” added Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toy & Book Store in Scottsdale, Ariz.
— Debbie Scholl, owner of Fundamentally Toys in Houston, said that strategy games by ThinkFun are popular. “[Kids] can play by themselves … it’s the same game over and over and it’s always different.”
— Rush Hour “helps kids develop strategy and problem-solving skills through a fun, real-life setting,” Emily Peters of Thinkfun told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8379 (added 6/22/2006)
Now kids can paint with just plain water by filling the included stylus up at the tap. The water reveals a rainbow of color when it moves over the board. The holding case has a carrying handle for portability and is double-sided so kids can paint on one side while the other side dries and erases.
— Diane Robinson, president and owner of Silly Goose Inc. in Essex, Mass., recommended these, explaining that “you can wipe the slate clean. They have a little stylus flat board.”
— “For the younger kids: Splash Art,” said Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toy & Book Store in Scottsdale, Ariz., of top-selling travel products at her store.
— Greg Bonner, owner of Heights Toy Center Inc. in Little Rock, Ark, agreed they sell well: “Art Boards. Doodling, coloring, it passes the time. Travel boards with write on/wipe off games. Still does well.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8380 (added 6/22/2006)
This kit allows kids to spread nonpermanent, kid-friendly paint on a blank page with a foam brush that is designed to soak up just the right amount of water and paint. A paint palette is handily built right into the cover of the book. Pictures that have already been drawn in white on the pages appear when painted.
— " I would just say that Klutz always sells well because they have a good product," noted Jean Schwartz, owner of Broadway Toys & Togs in Jackson, Wyo.
— "Klutz Magic Painting," was the best-selling painting toy at the Pumpkin Patch in Ames, Iowa, according to manager Barbara Wulkow.
— Klutz Publicist Melissa Goldner Bloomfield talked to TDmonthly about Chicken Socks: “Art meets abracadabra with Magic Painting. Any kid can instantly become an artist as hidden designs come out of each page with just the touch of a paintbrush!”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8381 (added 6/22/2006)
Because the game has sold so well since its introduction in 1996, Gamewright released a 10th Anniversary Edition in 2006. Players will still need to discard their rat cards while collecting cat cards, but the new edition will have brand new art, more power cards and the addition of a “Super Peek” power to make the game even more fun.
— “My best-selling games are from Gamewright: Rat-a-Tat Cat. It’s so popular because it’s travel-sized, it’s just a little card game, the whole family gets involved, and the price is right,” said Julie Nicolazzo of Toy Boat in Hudson, Mass.
— "Rat-a-Tat Cat by Gamewright is our best-seller [in card games]. I think it does well because it’s a small game to learn, not overwhelming," said Lisa McMartin, co-owner of Wonderment Inc. in Minneapolis, Minn. — 19 percent of 43 retailers cited Rat-a-Tat Cat as a card game best seller in a summer 2010 survey.
— Casey Sartain, buyer for Tutoring Toy in Salt Lake City, Utah, told TDmonthly the store sells approximately 24 Rat-a-Tat Cat games each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8382 (added 6/22/2006)
Each player takes five cards from the deck and tries to locate various roadside objects. In addition, several funny “Hear It," "Smell It" and "Feel It" cards encourage kids to use all of their travel senses.
— “Scavenger Hunt is a great travel game that is hot. It’s a great game,” said Kari Thomas, co-owner of Little Learner in Lakeville, Minn.
— Meghan Bergman, “keyholder” at Rhyme 'n Reason Toys, in Pembroke, Mass., said these little cards keep kids entertained, giving them stuff to look for out the car window.
— “That does very well,” said Jeri Dorsey, buyer for Kaboodle LLC in Carmel, Ind.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8383 (added 6/22/2006)
Make Your Own Pizza Sticker Activity Book by DOVER PUBLICATIONS
Other products from DOVER PUBLICATIONS
Written by Fran Newman-D'Amico, this affordable 4-page book is available in December 2006. It comes with 80 different pizza-topping stickers that can be used to decorate one plain pizza on four plates.
— Once Upon a Time Toys owner Jane Christopherson, in Stowe, Vt., said all varieties of preschool books do well.
— Meghan Bergman, “keyholder” at Rhyme 'n Reason Toys, in Pembroke, Mass., said “sticker books and activity books sell pretty good” and gave Dover Publications products as an example.
— According to Vanessa Vandor, with Dover Publications, this product line of inexpensively priced sticker books for preschoolers is a top-seller for the company.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8384 (added 6/22/2006)
Dress Cinderella and Prince Charming for a day of imagination and fun!
Each tin consists of 2 characters printed on the tin, activity card to be used on the tin and 1 sheet of magnets.
— “The kids like it because they have so many options. They can manipulate it so it gives them an opportunity to be creative,” said Tricia Cooper, buyer for Le Jouet Inc. in Metairie, La., who said they sell a lot .
— "The Travel Tins by Lee Publications," said Betsy Justings, owner of Betsy’s on Ross in Auburn, Ala., when asked about best-selling travel toys in her store. Three other retailers agreed.
— Justings told TDmonthly she sells at least one of these travel tins a day on a regular basis.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8385 (added 6/22/2006)
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