May 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 5
TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Travel Toys
Retailers Shout "Bingo" for Magnetic Games
With additional reporting by regional correspondents Virginia Davis, Terri Hughes-Lazzell and Brenda Ruggiero
Specialty retailers told TDmonthly that magnets attract attention in the backseats of cars across America. International Playthings' Imaginetics and Travel Tins by Smethport and Lee Publications are some of the favorites. Books are a logical part of the category, too, as Poof-Slinky's Buki Books and Klutz' Book-a-ma-Thing amaze kids while on the go.
Here's what kids are busy with while on the road. And find out what's happening trend-wise in this category by reading Take-Along Toys Are Magnets for Sales.
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)
The Amazing Book-a-ma-Thing for the Backseat is a hands-on book of puzzles and games, including a sliding-block puzzle, a pinball-baseball game and a lift-the-acetate Magic Writer. The Amazing Book-a-ma-Thing for the Backseat is the winner of the Canadian Toy Testing Council Three Stars Award, the National Parenting Publications Award and the Parents' Choice Approved Award, and was named Outstanding by Parent Council.
— "The Klutz kids travel is terrific," said Amy Barrett, owner of Lasso the Moon Wonderful Toys in Helena, Mont. Five retailers agreed in spring 2007 that Klutz travel is tops in their stores.
— While some retailers in the Southeast reported sporadic sales of the Klutz game books outside of summer, others suggested that 30 units sold per month was a more consistent figure for them.
— Owner Linda Angel of Kidoodles Toys in Norman, Okla., told TDmonthly in spring 2007 that Klutz is one of her favorite vendors.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12289 (added 4/12/2007)
Dress Cinderella and Prince Charming for a day of imagination and fun!
Each tin consists of 2 characters printed on the tin, activity card to be used on the tin and 1 sheet of magnets.
— “The kids like it because they have so many options. They can manipulate it so it gives them an opportunity to be creative,” said Tricia Cooper, buyer for Le Jouet Inc. in Metairie, La., who said they sell a lot .
— "The Travel Tins by Lee Publications," said Betsy Justings, owner of Betsy’s on Ross in Auburn, Ala., when asked about best-selling travel toys in her store. Three other retailers agreed.
— Justings told TDmonthly she sells at least one of these travel tins a day on a regular basis.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8385 (added 6/22/2006)
Kiddie Color is a basic coloring book with very simple pictures in broad outlines for small children. It's one of the many popular Buki Books offered by the Poof-Slinky company to meet the needs of children: younger or older, basic or advanced. All Buki Books have tear-away sheets for a child to save his or her work. It's perfect for displaying the completed activity on the refrigerator.
— When asked to name a best-selling travel product in her store, Mary Sisson, owner of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., replied, "Probably the Buki Books. We have probably sold about 1000 in almost a year now.”
— Two other retailers agreed in spring 2007 that Buki Books are popular travel products with their customers.
— Retailers who cited Buki Books as best sellers reported average sales of approximately 60 per month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12291 (added 4/12/2007)
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)
The Etch A Sketch manual, of course, comes with an Etch A Sketch, but also with a book of ideas, tips and tricks for making things come alive on the board. The screen also comes with 12 overlays to turn it into a golf course, pinball game, maze and other challenging courses to extend the play life of this traditional toy.
— "Klutz — all those little pocket games that are fun in the car," was the comment on travel toy best sellers given by Alison Cox, owner of Animal Quackers in Raleigh, N.C.
— Six of 37 retailers named Klutz as one of their best-selling travel lines.
— Specialty toy retailers consistently name Klutz a great seller.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7488 (added 4/5/2006)
This all-knowing handheld features “artificial intelligence” and can read minds. Players simply think of something, and then answer a series of questions. If the machine guesses within 20 questions, it wins. “20Q is an artificial intelligence, an electronic toy, a website and a phenomenon. Teachers everywhere…tell us how much fun it is to use 20Q with early readers in their classrooms, and as a motivator and reward for older kids,” Radica USA told TDmonthly.
— "A travel game we have for older children is 20 Questions. … the whole family can enjoy this one," said Peter, owner of Mr. Toad’s Toy Company in Naples, Fla.
— “The most perfect gift imaginable,” said DeeDee McMillen, co-owner of McMillen’s Magic in Trenton, N.J.
— Retailers have told TDmonthly that 20Q answers this pertinent question: What toy with wide appeal will boost my monthly totals? Since 20Q seems poised to do it again in 4Q, it’s been honored with a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3083 (added 3/1/2005)
Magnetic Wooden Board Habitats With Animals by MELISSA & DOUG
Other products from MELISSA & DOUG
Kids can put an animal in its habitat with the Magnetic Wooden Board Habitats With Animals. They just slide one of the three habitat scenes into the sturdy wooden frame and then sort the magnets to find the appropriate animals for each habitat. They’ll create a beautiful picture on the chosen background. The set includes three habitat scenes (farm, ocean, African plains), 26 magnetic wooden play pieces, a sturdy magnetic board and a plastic carrying case with an easy-zip back pocket. The board measures approximately 14" x 11.5" x 0.5".
— "For the little ones, it's magnetic animals by Melissa & Doug," said Trish Garlock, owner of Treasured Child in La Grange, Ky., about best-selling travel toys in her store. "We sell some [travel toys] every day,” she added.
— It's no surprise that Melissa & Doug made the travel toy best-seller list, as they produce a wide range of magnetic toys well suited to the category.
― “Some concrete examples of suppliers with whom I am very happy would include … Melissa & Doug,” Owner Drew Friedman of White Mountain Trading Company in Lutherville, Md., told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12292 (added 4/12/2007)
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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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