December 2006 | Vol. V - No. 12
Outdoor Toys Soar in Off-Season
Foam Artillery and Ride-ons Sell Despite Snow
Launchable rockets are soaring this winter, with more than 25 percent of retailers hailing airborne toys as the No. 1 item to watch. TDmonthly Magazine spoke to a dozen retailers about toys that sizzle despite the chill.
Shannon Nashis, Manager of Creative Kidstuff in Portland, Ore., prefers foam balls to snow balls. She’s counting on the Cosmic Thruster by Toysmith, a pumpable gun that shoots friendly warfare, to get kids outside “even during the cold months.”
Discover Depot, in Cookville, Tenn., has also “seen a real increase in Virtual Distance Football by Small World Toys,” owner Sherrie Cannon told TDmonthly, adding that Wild Planet’s Dodge Disks are also selling.
The most popular play missile among retailers was the Stomp Rocket by D&L Company (Gift Guide). Robert Noe of Playthings in Louiseville, Ky., said that, unlike many other outdoor toys, it “does well all year.”
Discovery Depot in Cookeville, Tenn., is having a good season with another Toysmith product, Blast-Off, a trick-performing rocket that blasts off more than 100 feet into the sky.
Ride-on toys wheeled in to the No. 2 spot on retailers’ lists for winter toys al fresco. Shea Schroll, owner of Montgomery Ala.'s toy store, The Name Dropper, is having great success with a ride-on that’s new this year to the U.S.: “… Wheely Bug by Prince Lionheart (ToyDirectory). We got them in and they sell like hot cakes,” she raved.
Here are the products that retailers and manufacturers think kids will bundle up for this Holiday season:
This game'll get kids up and moving. If they can't dodge the disks, they can block them with a built-in shield. Dodge Discs are a set of long-range disc launchers that send foam discs flying up to 25'. Each lightweight hand-held device serves as a disc launcher and doubles as a shield. A top-loading compartment holds 10 soft foam discs that feed into the rapid-fire launcher. Each set comes with 2 launchers and 20 discs that are dispersed with a push of a button. In early 2007, Michael Ziegenhagen, owner of Playmatters in Cleveland, had been selling Dodge Discs for one year. "It's a good action boy toy for indoors and out for under $20," he told TDmonthly. They were chosen as an iParenting Media Award Winner for Excellent Products of 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6372 (added 1/6/2006)
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Pump it up, press the button and watch it go! Foam rockets can soar over 100', while the trick foam glider performs loops in the air. The set includes a 14" pump, a launcher, two 9" foam rockets and one 10 1/2" foam glider. The launcher features a "safety launch" so rockets and gliders cannot be released if the launcher has flipped over. What makes Blast-Off so special? “Excellent performance, durability [and an] attractive package for gift-giving,” Debra Ashley of Toysmith told TDmonthly. Launch date: Summer 2006
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10237 (added 11/27/2006)
Active Edge Extreme Virtual Distance Football tells you how far you've thrown the ball. The football has a digital LCD readout on it that displays the distance thrown in yards. Super grip texture and durable foam construction are just like a real football.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10238 (added 11/27/2006)
Cosmic Thruster shoots foam balls by pumping the front handle. With a loud pop, the balls will be launched a far distance. The Cosmic Thruster is good for some stress relieving fun at home or around the office.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10239 (added 11/27/2006)
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
Sit and scoot on Thomas the Train with the Thomas the Tank Engine Train Rideon. This riding toy encourages activity, as the motion-activated engine sounds act as a reward. The 3-in-1 design of the ride on allows toddlers to scoot along, push it around, or be pushed along by an adult (with optional handle). Motion-activated sounds encourages scooting around.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10240 (added 11/27/2006)
Multi-award winning and multi-directional Wheely Bugs, distributed in the United States by Prince Lionheart, go backward, forward, sideways and 'round and 'round. These ride-on bugs have a magical mind of their own. Their bodies have a padded layer of sponge, which is covered with a tough polyurethane skin that can easily be wiped clean. Handmade and crafted from the highest quality materials, Wheely Bug features multi-directional casters and unlimited mobility on all level surfaces. “The fact that the Wheely Bug is multi-directional, encourages gross motor skills and at the same time is heaps of fun,” explains its appeal, said Sarah Eastman, sales and marketing associate at Prince Lionheart. “In addition,” she continued, “this is a great product for the specialty market because it is handmade and beautifully crafted. Now moms can let their kids play with bugs, worry-free.”
― Wheely Bug was a Toy Fair favorite spotted by Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas. It was voted Toy of the Year in BabyTalk's Dec. 2006/Jan. 2007 issue and received the 2007 Silver Award for Best Baby & Infant Product in The Netherlands.
— This handmade Australian toy earns gold stars for everything — wooden base, sturdy construction, simple design, adorable themes, easy-to-clean seat, multi-directional motion and two size options — all adding up to its receipt of a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award.
— Two of 60 retailers in a March 2009 survey listed Prince Lionheart Wheely Bugs as a best-selling ride-in in their stores. The Wheely Bug was a best seller at Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., in summer 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10241 (added 11/27/2006)
This black beauty heirloom is built with quality steel construction. Authentic character includes enamel paint, chrome windshield, steering wheel and hub caps, padded seat, solid rubber tires and adjustable five-position pedals. This toy’s safety has been tested and approved, though adult supervision is required.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10242 (added 11/27/2006)
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