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September 2006 | Vol. V - No. 9
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TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Foam Toys

PlayFoam Beats the Rest


With additional reporting by regional correspondents Virginia Davis, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Krista Lebednik, Bonnie Priever, Ted Rabinowitz, Brenda Ruggiero and Donna Sacks


PlayFoam by Educational Insights is the top-selling foam toy, according to 45 retailers that TDmonthly Magazine surveyed. It even beat the outdoor foam toys that were popular for summer activities. Here are the soft toys that resulted in hard sales:




MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts



PlayFoam provides hours of creative fun with its lightweight, colorful foam-sculpting material that won't crumble, stick to skin or surfaces or dry out. According to an Educational Insights press release, PlayFoam was being “pre-ordered by the hundreds” at Toy Fair 2006.
— Sally Lesser, owner of Henry Bear’s Park in Massachusetts, told TDmonthly in spring 2007 that PlayFoam is a product her stores try to keep “in stock all the time, as I’m sure anyone would.” In fall 2007, Owner Idanna Smith of Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., named it as a best seller.
— Jim Whitney, president of Educational Insights, shared this insight with TDmonthly: "From the moment you touch PlayFoam it intrigues and fascinates ... It combines all the fun of sculpting with the soft, dry, squishy tactile feeling of a stress ball. It ... will last for years and is addictively fun."
— PlayFoam, a winner of a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award, is one of those creative alternatives to clay that many specialty retailers have made a staple in their stores. The reusable product comprises tiny foam balls that draw textural interest for the sculptor and offer visual appeal in a finished creation. Playfoam easily encourages open-ended play.

Where to Buy: Berkira; EQuick Xpress

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5962      (added 12/14/2005)
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MSRP: $20.00
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Aircraft



The Backyard Flyer Double Pack is a high-flying plane from Kid Galaxy that brings the wonder of flight to the backyard. The toy provides two great planes, one red and one blue, with one launcher for high-flying variety and value. The Backyard Flyer is a powered flight plane that charges on its own integrated hand-held, battery-powered launcher. Made of high-strength EPP foam, both planes are ideal for young daredevils. This product is a 2007 Creative Child Seal of Excellence Award winner.
— "Kid Galaxy's Backyard Flyer, that is a good seller," noted Helen Noland, owner of Father Goose in Macon, Ga.
— "For 8 and up it's a terrific seller," observed Judy Bielewicz, manager of Imagination Toys in St. Louis, Mo.
— “Backyard Flyers from Kid Galaxy” are a best-seller at Izilla Toys in Seattle, Co-owner Jude Larene said in mid-2007. “My [7-year-old] son bought our first one and he has really spread the gospel about this toy. Amazingly, these sell well year-round.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 2179      (added 1/7/2005)
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MSRP: $15.00
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Rockets
Outdoor Fun



Stomp on the launch pad and a blast of air propels the Ultra Stomp Rocket over 200' in the air. The kit contains four rockets with the OG-1 Nosecone. “We are the original creator. Stomp Rockets started the "stompin' revolution," Cynthia Peeks of D&L Co. told TDmonthly, stressing that Stomp Rockets are known for their name, quality and safety.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2008
; iParenting Media, iParenting Hot; Dr. Toy Best Children´s Vacation Toy.
— Retailers surveyed by TDmonthly have been naming Ultra Stomp Rocket as a best-seller since 2006.
— Four of 45 retailers who spoke to TDmonthly in summer 2007 said the Stomp Rocket's success makes it a choice gift, reporting unit sales figures from four to dozens a month. Nine percent of 66 retailers named the Stomp Rocket as a best-selling gift for boys in July 2008. "We sell about 75 a month," Marilyn Walker, owner of Play Fair Toys in Boulder, Colo., told TDmonthly in early 2009. Thirteen percent of 47 retailers told TDmonthly in June 2009 that Stomp Rockets are a best seller for boys. “It's probably been the dang Stomp Rocket for about 15 years now. They just fly out,” Tye Steinbach, owner of Thinker Toys in Portland, Ore., said when asked about his most popular outdoor toy. Nine of 37 retailers named Stomp Rockets as a best-selling outdoor item in spring 2010.
— Despite multiple complaints about its durability, the Ultra Stomp Rocket received an average of 4.5 stars among 217 Amazon.com customers for being fun for all ages and pleasantly surprising when it comes to the distance the rockets can be launched. The toy is best used in open areas. Rockets are easy to lose and break, but refills are easy and cheap to find! (12.17.2012)
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 1088
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MSRP: $25.00
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Sporting Goods & Accessories
Outdoor Fun



The Surefire Compound Bow X2 is an accurate‚ high-performance foam bow and arrow. It features dual power cords‚ guide-wire technology and super-safe soft foam arrows. It includes one Compound Bow and four soft foam arrows. The bow can be used indoors and out.
— Sarah Evers, owner of Dancing Bears in Rochester, Minn., said that she continually runs out of stock on this popular item. “Kids always want one, but I don’t have any.” “The Compound Bow’s been a phenomenal seller for us last year and this year,” verified Tracy Mumford of Monkey Business Sports. “We have a new Surefire Crossbow 2 that features a lot of the same elements that made the Compound Bow popular, like cool design. There’s a whole new mechanism and the arrows will go over 60'.”
— Colleen Nelson, owner of Goodie Gum Drops in Burien, Wash., listed Surefire Compound Bows as a best seller in a March 2009 survey of 60 retailers, reporting sales of between 10 and 15 per month. “They are consistent sellers, and within the birthday party price range,” commented Deborah Smith of  Toys That Teach in Richmond, Va.
— Eight percent of 60 retailers told TDmonthly in spring 2009 that Monkey Business manufactures their top-selling outdoor and sports toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5797      (added 12/7/2005)
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MSRP: $24.99
Age Range: 3 to 6
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



The classic schoolyard game is reborn as an indoor/outdoor foam pad that also serves as an educational tool for toddlers. The board fits together like a puzzle and is designed with a numbered, colored pattern that helps kids learn as they play. It also includes beanbags for throwing.
— "It's a great seller and has been for a couple of years," noted Holly Reay, owner of Kid's Corner in Carmel, Ind.
— "Hopscotch by Alex is one of the foam products we do that is popular," said Samuel Cox, owner of My Favorite Toys in Carbondale, Ill.
— You really can't go wrong with this toy. Indoor or outdoors, it's a safe, fun and educational toy that allows kids to enjoy a traditional game without the mess of chalk.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4735      (added 9/22/2005)
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The new Fun Gripper Ball Toss is portable and safe. It can be played like a simple version of darts. Also available are Fun Gripper Football Toss, Fun Gripper Basketball Toss and Fun Gripper Toss & Target Game.
— "It's light weight, it's bright colors; kids tend to like that," were the reasons Jackie Englehart, assistant manager of the Great Rocky Mountain Toy Company in Bozeman, Mont., gave TDmonthly for why Gripper balls sell well in her store. Rick Henry, owner of Stellabella Toys in Cambridge, Mass., agreed.
— "They're just very, very, popular," added Tony Hoyt, owner of Hummingbird Toys & Treats in Arlee, Mont.
— "The little ones can grip them easier,” explained Greg Bonner of Heights Toy Center in Little Rock, Ark.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3259      (added 3/21/2005)
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MSRP: $7.00
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Pretend Play



This is a natural for kids who want to imagine themselves engaged in fantastic activities. It comes with a plastic handle and is made with foam, so the only thing it clobbers is boredom.
— "Magical Sword from Small World does real well," said Marilyn Walker, owner of Play Fair Toys in Boulder, Colo.
— "Foam Swords from Small World," was also the quick response that Betty Quigley, manager of Grandrabbits Toy Shoppe in Superior, Colo., gave when asked to name a best-seller in the foam category.
— The “blade” comes in red, yellow or blue and has a plastic handle.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9064      (added 8/21/2006)
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MSRP: $4.95
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Balls



These Painted Tip, Inside-Out Balls come in two sizes. When flipped inside out, the painted tips reveal an array of color. They were introduced in January 2005 and have exceeded the company´s retail expectations.
Virtually every retailer who has these products has told TDmonthly Magazine over the past year that this is a hot-selling product.
— “Are you kidding? They love them!” Chuck Susmilch, owner of J.T. Puffin’s in Madison, Wis., responded when asked how well they were selling at his store. “We always sell a lot at Christmastime.” He said that other stretchy products, such as the Urchin Ball and Glow-in-the-Dark, Inside-Out Ball from Play Visions, were also great sellers.
— It’s a ball … it’s a wig … it’s anything you want it to be! Retailers want best sellers and the Inside-Out Ball is that, too, which is why it was chosen for a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 2673      (added 1/31/2005)
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MSRP: $8.50
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill



This creative and durable puzzle set is the next step up for kids graduating from wooden puzzles. It stimulates the mind by providing two levels of puzzle solving. It’s easy to wash and lasts for years.
— "I don't carry a lot of foam toys, but that is one that we do have in our store," is the response Pam Sommer, of the Montana Book & Toy Company in Helena, Mont., gave about the Lauri puzzles she sells in her store.
— "The foam puzzles from Lauri are good for 2- to 3-year-olds," added Shana Hack, owner of Moon Rabbit Toys in Santa Fe, N.M.
— Mary Jo C. Meister, sales manager at Lauri Toys, gave a variety of reasons for why the Lauri puzzles are popular, including, "two skill levels in one, crepe rubber doesn't warp or crease, easily disinfected, comes with durable storage tray, latex-free and Lauri replaces lost pieces!"
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9065      (added 8/21/2006)
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MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Aircraft



These little planes can fly for more than 100 yards. They’re fully charged in only 10 seconds and powered by a micromotor. The charger is included.
— “We’ve done consistently well with the ECharger Planes by Spin Master,” said Tricia Cooper, buyer for Le Jouet Inc. in Metairie, La. “It’s a great price point for presents.”
— “Spin Master makes Air Hogs for boys that are very popular,” agreed Markie Carlson, owner of Children’s Gift Shop in Northfield, Ill.
— “The ECharger planes are an evergreen product that is a great intro to the category,” Harold Chizick, vice president of promotional marketing for Spin Master told TDmonthly. “It’s not radio-control, so kids can experience a powered toy flight without having to worry about controls.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8427      (added 6/27/2006)
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Dennis FurlanWriter's Bio: Dennis Furlan is a freelance writer who lives just outside of Toronto, Canada. He works on a variety of writing and editorial jobs with clients and publications worldwide. Dennis is proud to be part of the TDmonthly team, serving as a regional correspondent for the northwestern U.S. Read more articles by this author

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