May 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 5
TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Bath Toys
Kids Take a Bath With Alex
With additional reporting by regional correspondents Virginia Davis, Dennis Furlan, Elizabeth Greenspan, Terri Hughes-Lazzell and Brenda Ruggiero
The Alex navy patrols the high seas of bathtubs everywhere. At least that's what retailers told TDmonthly Magazine; the manufacturer’s bath toys were cited as best sellers by almost all of the 37 specialty retailers we spoke with this month. Also staying afloat is the Rubber Duck from Schylling, the Squeezy Swimmers from International Playthings, and the Tolo Fishing Boat from Small World Toys.
Here's what's making a splash with kids in the tub. And to read about the latest trends in tub toys, read Tweens Shun the Tub.
Artist in the Tub Painting Set by ALEX BRANDS
Other products from ALEX BRANDS
This complete set of Alex super-bright bath paints and sponge painting supplies includes a chunky fish-shaped roller and sponge brush that are the perfect size for small hands. The unique sponge painters have handles that fold back and snap into place for easy use. The set also contains five bath paints, sponge roller, sponge brush and roller tray, as well as five sponge stampers.
— "Artist in the Tub by Alex is pretty good," was a pretty good endorsement by David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont.
— Eleven of 37 retailers that TDmonthly spoke with in spring 2007 agreed that the Alex bath paint sets are top-sellers.
— As of 4/19/2012, this product had 1.8 out of 5 stars from 10 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: Paint is too thin and doesn't show up well; paint won't adhere to wet surfaces; Paint bottles are only filled with a small amount of paint and it gets used up in one bath time; paint can stain tile grout; one reviewer said the paint stained her child's skin.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12267 (added 4/10/2007)
The Draw in Your Tub allows young artists to color two unique pictures with bathtub crayons, then wash and use them over and over again. The soft foam boards stick to tile walls when wet. When tub time is over, simply wash the boards clean with the included sponge. The set comes with two coloring boards, a star crayon, a duck-shaped sponge and artistic license for the creative young mind.
— "Alex bath tub crayons and paints are by far our best-seller," said Amy, the manager at The Toy Store in Atlanta.
— Ten of 37 retailers told TDmonthly in spring 2007 that Alex bath crayons were customer favorites in their stores.
— Bath crayons were the second-most-cited product in the bath category, according to research conducted by TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12268 (added 4/10/2007)
The 3-in-1 Music Island includes three real instruments for the tub on a fish-shaped floating island. It's part of the famous Tub Tunes' line of bathtub musical instruments for toddlers. The Island includes a drum, xylophone and Octopus Jingle Shaker. It also comes with two mallets, music sheets and a music holder.
— “Alex is where it is at for bath toys. We sell at least two a week,” said Alison Cox, owner of Animal Quackers in Raleigh, N.C.
— “Alex bath toys do well, all of them. We especially do well with Tub Tunes,” Patricia Masing, co-owner of Tree Town Toys in Ann Arbor, Mich., told TDmonthly in March 2008.
— Five of 37 retailers cited the Tub Tunes' line as a hot-selling bath toy with customers in spring 2007. Thirty percent of 40 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in March 2008 singled out this item as the best-selling bath toy in their stores.
— Want this? As of 05/06/2011, this product was available for purchase at Hardware Toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12269 (added 4/10/2007)
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This shaving set comes with a 7-oz. can of Foaming Body Soap, plastic play razor, shaving brush, comb and an unbreakable, child-safe mirror. Awards: iParenting Media Award; Parents Magazine Best Toys of the Year, 2004.
— Retailers have been telling TDmonthly that Shaving in the Tub is a best-selling bath toy since 2007. Other Alex bath toys have been best-sellers in their category for several years as well.
— Shaving in the Tub was specifically named as a best-selling bath toy by three of 39 specialty toy retailers in spring 2007. Only six of 37 retailers surveyed didn’t mention Alex when asked about best-selling bath toys. In March 2009, four of 64 retailers told TDmonthly this product is a best-selling bath item in their stores, selling anywhere from half a dozen to two dozen units each month. Nine of 39 retailers cited it as a best-selling bath product in March 2010.
— As of 4/19/2012, this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 5 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Fun for younger kids; rinses easily; nice bonding activity for fathers and their kids. Cons: One reviewer said her child had fun with it once, but not a lot of creativity is involved and he lost interest the next time.
— Want this? As of 05/06/2011, this product was available for purchase at My Imagination Station.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12270 (added 4/10/2007)
Rub-a-dub-dub, there’s a big duck in your tub. Schylling Toy Company believes that bigger is better, which is why this duck is 12” long from beak to tail. The Large Rubber Duck comes with an assortment of hats for virtually any occasion a child might have in mind: rain hat, bonnet and sailor’s hat.
— "Rubber duckies by Schylling" were bath best-sellers according to Tristan Hewitt, manager of Dragon's Toy Box in Seattle. Another agreed.
— Both retailers noted that ducky sales are sporadic throughout the year.
— Mike DiAndrea, manager of Hardware Toys/Big Smile Toys in Paoli, Pa., told TDmonthly in an April 2013 survey that they sell about 5 of this toy each month, making it a best-seller in the bath toy category.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12271 (added 4/10/2007)
Squeezy Swimmers by INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Other products from INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
Kids can wind up these little swimmers by pressing their feet or fins together. Their rotating arms propel them around the tub. The product is suitable for children 18 months and up.
— “We've had it on the shelf for about two months and it sold out,” raved Frances Finfrock, owner of Aunt Franny's Toys in Richland, Wash. “It's safe and fun. All ages are buying it.”
— One other retailer also told TDmonthly that bath toys from International Playthings sold well with customers.
— The Squeezy Swimmers are part of Tomy's preschool line of toys, and are specifically designed with safety and developmental value in mind.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12272 (added 4/10/2007)
Furnis Wash Cloth Puppet- Frog by CHALLENGE & FUN INC.
Other products from CHALLENGE & FUN INC.
Kids can get hopping clean with this 6” x 8-3/4” terrycloth puppet bath mitt. The mitt comes in two sizes: one for adult hands and one for kids to make bath-time extra fun. Other Challenge & Fun Furnis Puppets include the duck, the elephant, the horse and the bear.
— "We just recently got hand puppets/bath mitts from Challenge & Fun. … They have a lot of organic and basic stuff. We did really well with the bath mitts," said Sarah Green, manager of Kids At Heart in Portland, Ore., in spring 2007.
— Kids at Heart sells three to four wash cloth puppets per week, which accounts for 40 percent of their bath-toy sales, added Green.
— "The design is quite fun and the quality of the cotton is thicker than most on the market, so it has a nicer feel to it," said Rob Wilson, director of marketing for Challenge & Fun. He added that the cotton is OKO-TEX-certified, which means it's "extremely clean" and "the next best thing to organic."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12273 (added 4/10/2007)
The Tolo Fishing Boat Bath Toy is actually 3 toys in one: a fisherman inside a small boat that fits insides a larger boat. It's made of durable plastic in bright primary colors. The Tolo Fishing Boat is a real catch for young sailors in their tubs.
— "One thing we sold a lot of is little boats from Small World," said Mary Sisson, owner of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash.
— Sisson said she sold 22 units in the last year: "We would have sold a lot more if we had gotten a lot more, too."
— "This is the only fishing toy in the market that actually works to really catch the fish, since it brings the magnets together in the water," said Lisa Orman, public relations for Small World Toys. "They are European-made to last forever and are diamond polished so that the edges are completely smooth."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12274 (added 4/10/2007)
The magic of the Color Lab Mixer is in its three scientifically designed chambers. Kids fill the two side-by-side chambers with water, and then add a different Color Splash™ Tablet to each chamber. When they carefully tip the Color Lab Mixer, the two colors spill into the front chamber, creating a third color. The toy includes color wheels, a mixing diagram and 24 assorted Color Splash Tablets. The Color Lab Mixer demonstrates the magic of color mixing, making bath time not only great fun, but a hands-on learning experience as well.
— Products by Damert are the best-selling bath toys at Fun Forest in Sumter, S.C., Manager Kim Anderson told TDmonthly.
— Anderson said they sell about one unit a week of bath products from Damert.
— According to damert.com, "We have more ways to color a bath than you can shake a rainbow at, plus paints and crayons to finish off the sides of the tub."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12275 (added 4/10/2007)
Kids can wind up this 7.5" diver and watch him make his way underwater from one shore of the bathtub to the other.
— "The Diver by Toysmith" was a best-selling bath toy according to Peter (a.k.a. Mr. Toad), owner of Mr. Toad’s Toy Company in Naples, Fla.
— Regarding sales of the Diver in his store, Peter told TDmonthly, "Sometimes it's two or three a week, and then we might go a month and not sell any."
— The Diver can be used in conjunction with a whole arsenal of Toysmith bath toys, such as the Aqua Bomb, the Diving Sub and the Splash Water Squirter.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12276 (added 4/10/2007)
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Writer'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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