November 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 11
TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Gifts for Boys
K'NEX Connects and Carrera Goes!
With additional reporting by regional correspondents Virginia Davis, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Christine Lebednik and Greg Rock
Specialty retailers recently told TDmonthly Magazine that popular holiday gifts for young boys this year should include Learning Curve's Percy and Carnival Set as well as action figures from Playmobil and Papo. Tween boys are likely to connect with new bricks from K'NEX or drive away with the latest NASCAR offering from Carrera Toys.
See what else boys may find under the Christmas tree. The first five are for boys 4 to 8; the second for tween boys 8 to 12.
This 40-piece playset features Thomas and Percy in a carnival-themed adventure. A push-button race starts the fun, with sound effects to top it off. Exciting spiral action and an elevated track mean roller-coaster fun. The giant hill, dizzying spiral ramp, hairpin turn, bulls-eye target, fun house and carnival scenes all support imaginative play. The set includes Thomas and an exclusive Percy, enough track for a 40" x 17" layout, and can connect with other play sets.
— "Consistent sellers are the Thomas trains," said Gary Rogers, owner of Rogers Pool, Patio, and Toy in Lowell, Mass., when asked by TDmonthly to predict Christmas 2007 sales.
— "Trains — Thomas is still probably the biggest seller," said Frances Finfrock, owner of Aunt Franny's Toys in Richland, Wash., when asked what younger boys will be into during the holiday season.
— Eight of 54 specialty retailers predicted that Thomas trains will still chug along, despite recalls, once the peak season comes around in late 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15310 (added 9/20/2007)
This fully armed squad of Roman Centurions is ready for all invaders. The set includes five distinctive warriors armed with spears, sword and shields, a battle flag and even a powerful firing catapult. If this band of brave fighters can't win the battle, then none can.
— "Playmobil Romans — we’re expecting it to be big [for Christmas 2007]. ...We always do well with Playmobil," said Cathy Foland, manager at Imagination Station in Fenton, Mich.
— "It’s supposed to be featured in November on one of the early news shows: ‘Today’ or one of the others," Foland added in anticipation of the popularity of the new line.
— "Playmobil's Roman Warriors bring the past into the future," said Michelle Winfrey, marketing and public relations manager for Playmobil USA. "The new Roman play world [including the arena] allows children to learn about the history of ancient Rome while playing,"
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15311 (added 9/20/2007)
For kids who have tired of swatting at gnats and mites, this new robotics construction set will give them something bigger to aim at. Kids can build a variety of critters, including a robotic bug. The bug will back off if it gets too close to an object or, if it feels threatened, it will reach out and “sting” the intruder.
This robotics toolset includes a “Quick Start” guide to build and program a robot in 30 minutes. Mindstorms uses “intelligent brick” and light, sound, motion and touch sensors. This product is blue-tooth wireless technology capable. LEGO Mindstorms NXT won first prize in the category “Technical Innovation” at the international Nürnberg toy fair in Münich. Launch date: 2006.
— "LEGO, if I can get them, but that's a whole other story," said David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont., when discussing upcoming holiday 2007 hot sellers for young boys.
— "We're the best ones to sell it for LEGO,” Campbell added. “I can steer people toward Mindstorms in my store, and I can steer them away from Mindstorms [if they] shouldn't have it. Walmart.com doesn't talk to people."
— Seven of 54 retailers said that despite the availability of LEGO in the mass market, it will still sell in specialty stores during the holidays.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7038 (added 2/28/2006)
This treasure chest features ornate brass handles, a locking skull latch, a pirate bandana, an eye patch, gold dubloon coins and a secret compartment for stashing away the most valuable loot. It has pretend-play value and allows little pirates to learn about adventure on the high seas. The chest measures 6.5" x 9.5" x 7.5".
— Melissa and Doug's Pirate’s Treasure Chest was cited by Linda Hays, owner of Hopscotch Inc. in McMinnville, Ore., when discussing popular items for young boys.
— Five of 54 retailers told TDmonthly Melissa & Doug items would be popular during the 2007 Christmas season.
— "Kids can store all kinds of treasures in this sturdy wooden pirate chest," said Valerie Cavallaro of Melissa & Doug.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15312 (added 9/20/2007)
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Papo is proud to introduce its new line of Weapon Master for 2007. The hand-painted King of Knights is just one of 10 in the series. For added play value, each of the Weapon Master Knights can ride a horse and stand on its own.
Where to Buy: Really Great Toys
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13301 (added 6/7/2007)
MEGATRON is finally free, and his might will make the Earth quake. He possesses advanced AUTOMORPH technology designed to enhance vehicle-to-robot conversion that activates final battle mode, which comes with all the requisite lights and sounds. Robot mode features a launching rocket claw that becomes a chain whip and arms that combine to create MEGATRON'S infamous and deadly fusion cannon. He also has CYBERTRON jet vehicle mode.
— "Transformers will probably be the big thing," said Michelle, manager for Whippersnappers in St. Simon’s Island, Ga., when discussing upcoming sales for the 2007 Christmas season.
— Gary, manager of Johnny's Toys in Covington, Ky., told TDmonthly that movies such as “Transformers” will have a big impact on holiday sales. "They are popular at the theater and lots of them will be out on DVD for the holidays. That is when the movie toys do really well,” he said.
— Five of 54 retailers, concentrated in the Southeast, believe the Transformers line will be popular for the holidays.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15313 (added 9/20/2007)
Collectors can transport themselves to a time when the professional grenadier riding on his proud horse could be counted upon to maintain order with class and dignity. No patrol cruisers, no keystone cops, no call for backup. The grenadier was the symbol of professionalism and duty, embodied in this historically accurate, detailed and hand-painted classic from Papo.
— "For [boys ages 8 to 12], I've got the Papo action figures, pirates, grenadiers and all sorts of things," said Marilyn Sipila, owner of Toys Etc. in Poulsbo, Wash.
— Shirley Reilly, owner of Let's Play in Hillsboro, Ore., also predicted Papo will be a hot seller during Christmas 2007.
— Four of 54 retailers who spoke to TDmonthly about upcoming 2007 holiday sales suggested that Papo would be a key purchase for boys ages 8 to 12.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15314 (added 9/20/2007)
Part of the K'NEX line of tub and case sets, the Fun Rides 10 Model Building Set is loaded with more than 170 original K'NEX parts, micro K'NEX parts and new K'NEX bricks. The set allows kids to build exciting thrill rides to create their own theme park. It includes instructions for 10 models.
— When asked to predict will sell for older boys during the holidays 2007, Mary Sisson, owner of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., replied, "I'm guessing some of the more advanced construction kits. We just finally brought in K'NEX, and they've got some good ones."
— Four of 54 retailers TDmonthly spoke with said K'NEX would connect with older boys during peak selling seasons.
— "The Fun Rides 10 Model Building Set incorporates our new brick system. Even the very young can build fun amusement parks and playgrounds with it," said Barb Rentschler, vice president of global marketing for K'NEX Industries.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15315 (added 9/20/2007)
Featuring genuine NASCAR racers, this Carrera Go!!! set is sure to please fans of the racing series. A breathtaking loop, tight-banked corners and steep inclines and declines make this track almost as exciting as the real thing. The set comes with track parts, a lap counter and a speed controller. All that's missing is the firing of the starter's pistol.
— "The Carrera Go!!! sets seem to sell the best for [the 8 to 12] age group. ... We're going to redo our test track here in the store. We expect that to be a big dollar deal," said David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont.
— "For 8 to 12, it's going to be road racing — Carrera Go!!! electric road racing sets," added Diane Gervais for Amato's in Middletown, Conn., regarding projected sales for the holidays 2007.
— Two of 54 retailers specifically cited Carrera Go!!! car racing sets when predicting Christmas 2007 hot sellers for tween boys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15316 (added 9/20/2007)
GeoSafari 10-in-1 Electronic Lab by EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS INC.
Other products from EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS INC.
Curious minds can investigate the magic of electricity through the distinctive and versatile 10-in-1 Electronics Lab. Young electronic engineers can build 10 different circuit projects with one unit, including a Morse code telegraph, a burglar alarm and a radio that really works. The 20-page illustrated project guide provides easy-to-follow instructions and diagrams, and the spring-coil construction means no tools or soldering are required. The lab requires a nine-volt battery, which is not included.
— "For boys 8 to 12, we steer a lot of them toward science. We have a lot of science kits that are fun, [such as] GeoSafari by Educational Insights," said Linda Hays, owner of Hopscotch Inc. in McMinnville, Ore.
— Michael Lanz, owner of Kiddy Corner in Ellington, Conn., said that “anything to do with science — science kits by Educational Insights,” will probably sell well during the holidays 2007.
— Two of 54 retailers predicted that science kits from Educational Insights will sell well for tween boys at Christmastime.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15317 (added 9/20/2007)
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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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