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May 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 5
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Take-Along Toys Are Magnets for Sales

Short But Profitable Season Sends Little Toys Zooming


With additional reporting by regional correspondents Virginia Davis, Dennis Furlan, Terri Hughes-Lazzell and Brenda Ruggiero

Though nine of 13 specialty retailers told TDmonthly Magazine that travel toys account for only 1 to 5 percent of their total sales, the approach of summertime urges preparedness for this small but very seasonal category. Magnetic tins, games and play scenes haven’t lost their attraction, a survey of 36 toy-store owners revealed, and activity books are high on the list for keeping kids busy en route.

WHAT'S SELLING

TDmonthly’s Top-10 Most-Wanted Travel Toys article has the scoop on which travel product garnered sales of 1000 units within a year at one store. But besides the top-10 mentions, retailers pinpointed a few more favorites for those long hours of travel.

Owner Debbie Wurzburger of Toy Chest in Pikesville, Md., sells two to three dozen units of ThinkFun travel games per month. “They have a lot of one-person games, and they usually have storage as well,” she pointed out.

And collectible wind-up toys from California Creations sell at a rate of about 540 annually at Giggles Toys & More in Bozeman, Mont., Manager Kim Duff told TDmonthly. They’re great for airplane travel, she said, because “you can use them on the tray table.”

For adult travelers, Manager Tristan Hewitt of Dragon’s Toy Box in Seattle said his store has found success with John Hansen and Wood Expressions — so much so that “we stopped carrying most of the other travel games we started off with.” He estimated that Dragon’s Toy Box sells 10 to 20 Wood Expressions chess sets weekly.

WHAT'S FADING

While games and books that keep kids busy are all the rage, some travel classics won’t make their way into many backseats this summer.

Games that challenge travelers to identify license plates or find objects on the side of the road seem to be going downhill, shared Hewitt and Amy Barrett, owner of Lasso the Moon Wonderful Toys in Helena, Mont.

Also losing steam are “the draw-with-water multi-color” activities, said Shirley Reilly, owner of Let’s Play in Hillsboro, Ore. On a similar note, magic-ink books and invisible inks have slowed down, according to Missy Beutler, an associate at Tinkerz Toy Shop in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, and Owner Betsy Justings of Betsy’s on Ross in Auburn, Ala.

Take a look below to see other products for travel:




Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Preschool
Creative Activities



This line of themed felt boards has settings on the boards and more than 20 movable felt pieces for children to place. There are tiaras and thrones for "Pretty Princess," glass slippers and a broom for "Cinderella," and lots more. Unique features include beautifully crafted silkscreen pieces and background boards with an attached handle perfect for travel.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11152      (added 1/12/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $9.00
Age Range: 5 and up
SKU or Item #: TT200
Launch Date: April 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill



Magnetic Travel Tangoes delivers all the fun of traditional Tangrams in a compact form. With magnetic puzzle pieces, an integrated play surface, wire-bound puzzle booklets and a snap closure, it’s great for short trips, long journeys or even staying at home. It is also available in Object and People themes. Launch date: April 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11607      (added 2/23/2007)
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MSRP: $4.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



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)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $17.00
Age Range: 8 and up
SKU or Item #: 019275 03200 5
Launch Date: February 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Puzzles & Skill



In this high-stakes spatial-development game, kids must cover their tracks on a journey through mud, sand, snow and cement. First, kids select one of 20 challenge cards. Then they must place all four pieces on the game tray to cover their tracks. As this single-player game gets more challenging, players will put their spatial-development skills to the test on this journey across different terrains. Launch date: February 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10710      (added 12/14/2006)
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MSRP: $39.00
SKU or Item #: 10-4307
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Board Games
Wooden Toys
Travel



This circular wooden folding chess set measures 7” in diameter and features 9/16" squares. It includes a 3/16" king and other magnetic pieces.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12280      (added 4/11/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: 768
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Card Games
Travel



When folks are driving on city streets or country highways, this “sight and say” card game gets the fun rolling. A player deals five cards to each passenger and sets a time limit or mileage distance. The passenger to sight the most items on their travel cards wins the game. It is approved by AAA and Rand McNally. “Participants must put away their laptops and high-tech gizmos and take the time to observe, for their own, the sights that are happening around them,” said Susan Hebblethwaite of Family Games. Are We There Yet? is popular for customers embarking on a long car trip, Owner Tom England of Dancing Bear Toys & Gifts in Frederick, Md., told TDmonthly in spring 2007. His store sells 120 units of the game per year, “mainly in the summer.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12281      (added 4/11/2007)
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MSRP: $16.95
Age Range: 6 to 10
SKU or Item #: 0-486-45909-8
Launch Date: November 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Play Sets
Arts & Crafts



This treasure chest of pirate booty includes 29 stickers, including many that glow in the dark, 20 tattoos and stencils, two complete coloring books, four stained glass coloring sheets, and a pirate eye patch and bandana. “Fun Kits feature high-quality multiple components offering good value,” Joanne Cole of Cole Communications told TDmonthly. Launch date: November 2006.
— "That would be activity books. I sell a variety of different ones. I sell them from Dover," was the comment on best-selling travel toys given to TDmonthly by Scott Loveless, owner of Toys That Teach in Bothell, Wash.
— One other retailer had similar sentiments about the travel appeal of Dover books.
— Loveless told TDmonthly he sells up to 150 Dover books during his peak selling season.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11489      (added 2/19/2007)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Dolls



This 13” machine-washable travel doll comes with a carrier, a soft backpack car seat, and mix-and-match outfits. As her name suggests, she is “EZ” to dress — no buttons, snaps or ties — and her clothing sticks on easily. The doll is made for little hands (ages 18 months and up) and includes the Goldberger Lifetime Guarantee. She helps develop fine motor skills, promotes eye-hand coordination, gives children a sense of accomplishment, teaches cause and effect, nurtures the feeling of security, and inspires imagination and creativity. She was named one of the Top 100 Best Children’s Products of 2006 by Dr. Toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9764      (added 10/25/2006)
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MSRP: $7.50
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Gifts



The Pocket Farkel Travel Set includes larger 16mm dice, a travel size score pad and a pencil, all contained in a 4" high resealable container.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9207      (added 9/1/2006)
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Active families and friends on the go can enjoy playing the award-winning Don’t Quote Me magnetic travel games wherever their travels take them. The travel games feature 250 quotes and questions, magnetic pawns and a built-in magnetic game board, all in a secure flip-top box. Three titles are available. THIS PRODUCT HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9165      (added 8/29/2006)
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MSRP: $19.95
Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: 6 94089465319
Launch Date: June 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



GOLO is fast, fun, simple, portable and addicting. Anyone can learn to play in five minutes and the game can be played anywhere. Though it’s easy to learn, it’s difficult to master, which makes it “addicting and compelling to play again and again,” P.J. Shea of Front9 Inc. told TDmonthly. He added that GOLO is about to break into the mass market, and it’s been a growing success for the past six years. People can even play GOLO on their cell phones. Launch date: June 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8001      (added 5/25/2006)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $34.99
Age Range: 8 and up
SKU or Item #: H117
Launch Date: July 2000
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Travel
Board Games



This high-quality 11" x 11" folding magnetic chess set features a walnut-inlaid board and a 1 3/4" king. The men are weighted and felted, and the set has interior storage. Launch date: July 2000.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12339      (added 4/16/2007)
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Julie L. JonesWriter's Bio: Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author

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