July 2006 | Vol. V - No. 7
TDmonthly’s Top 10 Most Wanted Water Toys
New Gizmos Give Water a Whole New Shape
With reporting by regional correspondents Marc Angulo, Dennis Furlan, Elizabeth Greenspan, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Willow Polson, Bonnie Priever and Donna Sacks
Eighteen retailers told TDmonthly Magazine that kids were all wet and it’s all right by them. Traditional water toys, such as sprinklers, diving toys and water guns, have been given a boost by new technologies, transforming the mundane into mondo cool. Here’s what they said was selling in their stores. (The order of toys does not necessarily reflect their popularity.)
Forget about squirting, Waterball utilizes one-of-a-kind technology that forms and launches balls of water. The SL175 Waterball Launcher enables kids to launch up to 175 balls of water per tank, or 40 balls per minute. Marble-sized waterballs travel from 6 to 20 feet.
— “It is very popular,” said Markie Carlson, owner Children’s Gift Shop in Northfield, Ill.
— “The kids really like it because it is like a water gun but isn't a gun shape, so their parents don't worry too much about buying it,” noted Jordan Walden, manager of Finnegan's Toys and Gifts in Portland, Ore.
— Wild Planet toys are consistently a specialty retailer favorite, according to TDmonthly surveys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8392 (added 6/27/2006)
Now kids can have private conversations underwater with these cool Water Talkies developed by an 11-year-old after a trip to Hawaii. Before going under water, kids need only take a deep breath, hold Water Talkies against their mouths, and then go below. From there they can start talking, speaking slowly and loudly with friends. The sound travels up to 15 feet.
— “We’ve always done well with the water toys from Wild Planet,” said Tricia Cooper, buyer for Le Jouet in Metairie, La. “The underwater walkie talkies have a great price point for presents.”
— Wild Planet has lots of underwater toys that are “very fun and popular,” Markie Carlson, owner of Children’s Gift Shop in Northfield, Ill., told TDmonthly.
— Seven of 18 retailers said that their most popular water toys involved being under, rather than just in, the water.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8393 (added 6/27/2006)
Players hit the timer, toss it into the water and follow the distinctive beeps to the ball. The first player to disarm the timer wins. The game includes one electronic sonic search with 60-second timer. Batteries are included. Kids can play alone or compete for extra fun.
— “Fundex’s Sonic Search is very popular,” said Jeri Dorsey, buyer for Kaboodle LLC in Carmel, Ind. “Parents are excited because it’s clear when it’s in the bottom of the pool, so kids have to use their hearing to locate it. It’s new this year for us.”
— Dive balls also do well at Children’s Gift Shop in Northfield, Ill., said owner Markie Carlson.
— Sonic Search has a “try me” button that lets shoppers test before buying.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8395 (added 6/27/2006)
Bubba the Bottom Feeder Game by FUNDEX GAMES
Other products from FUNDEX GAMES
Bubba the Bottom Feeder is an underwater game that can be played in the shallow or deep end of the pool. Players take turns “feeding” Bubba fish and the first one to make Bubba float to the surface wins. The fish are weighted differently so no game is ever the same. The game includes Bubba and eight goldfish.
— Kids like Bubba the Bottom Feeder “probably because they get to dive,” said Susan Robinson, manager of Wishing Well Toy Company in Omaha, Neb.
— Pool toys sell well for Greg Bonner, owner of Heights Toy Center Inc. in Little Rock, Ark.
— Bubba can be played alone or with friends.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8396 (added 6/27/2006)
This super water gun shoots a safe 1” stream of water for over 30 feet. It’s a winner of awards from Dr. Toy and Parent’s Choice. It comes in lime green, aqua blue and hot purple. The Gusher works on the pulling force of arms alone.
— “The Geyser Gusher,” is hot for cooling off kids at Imagination Village in Concord, N.H., said owner Laura Miller. “Kids like it because it's different and fun. It doesn’t involve diving. You don’t have to swim, so little kids can do it as well. You can get people wet who are not in the pool, which is always fun!”
— Water guns are a perennial item at Tom's Toys in Beverly Hills, said manager Steve Meynig.
— Not only is this a cool toy, “it’s patented,” said John Frazier, CEO of Geyser Guys. They also make Geyser Guys Water Squirters, Douser Dolphin, Geyser Whale, Splashy Turtle, the Geyser Flyer and the New Geyser Spray Football.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8397 (added 6/27/2006)
This cool board has a built-in water trigger that draws water straight from the pool.
— “We just keep selling out of it every time we get it,” said Steve Meynig, manager for Tom's Toys in Beverly Hills. “This one has a way of disappearing very quickly off the shelves.”
— One-third of retailers surveyed said that spraying and squirting toys are hot when it’s hot.
— The Battle Boogie NXT Generation has gotten “lots of press” said an anonymous source at Wham-O.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8398 (added 6/27/2006)
Attach a hose to this sprinkler and kids will have to be fast to dodge the unpredictable spraying action. It’s a twisting, spraying typhoon that’ll keep everyone cool, and the grass green, all summer long. It’s new for 2006. “It’s done incredibly well,” Small World Toys president, Debra Fine, told TDmonthly. “It’s fun because it’s random and a lot of kids can play at once.”
— The Geyser Blast is a hit at Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, owner Terry Meyers told TDmonthly. “It’s got tubes so water goes all over the place.”
— As of 06/08/2011 this product had 4 out of 5 stars from 24 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Sprays a lot of water in different directions; more fun than a regular sprinkler; great for watering the lawn. Cons: Does not work as well as advertised; boring; intended age group should be lowered.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8399 (added 6/27/2006)
Kiddie See Me Floatie Pool Toy by INTEX RECREATION CORP.
Other products from INTEX RECREATION CORP.
This inflatable toy features smooth leg holes, two air chambers, an inflatable sunshade and two rattles on the handle bar. It is for babies up to 25 pounds.
— “We sell a lot of inflatable pools by Intex,” commented Tricia Cooper, buyer for Le Jouet in Metairie, La.
— Toys that keep kids buoyant were also popular at Toys & More in Houston, said owner Zia Rizvi.
— Intex pools and floating devices are among the top sellers on amazon.com.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7090 (added 3/3/2006)
Designed especially for younger children, this plastic play mat keeps kids amused, while a gentle, adjustable stream of water keeps them cool. Activities include whimsical, floating characters, a safe plastic mirror, three squirting fish and water spraying fountains. The pool attaches easily to any standard garden hose.
— “This is the one that parents get because it’s for the very young,” commented Terry Meyers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas. “It’s like a mini water park for little ones.”
— “When blown up, the sides are higher than the bottom, so it’s safe for kids 12 months and up,” Small World Toys president Debra Fine told TDmonthly. “The water only comes up about 1 to 1½ feet.”
— This product was launched in 2005 and has been selling well ever since, added Fine.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8400 (added 6/27/2006)
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Writer's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ... Read more articles by this author
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