December 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 12
TDmonthly’s Top-10 Grown-up Gifts
Educational Insights Has Eye on Big Kids
With additional reporting by regional correspondents Virginia Davis, Laurel DiGangi, Dennis Furlan, Gregory Rock, Terri Hughes-Lazzell and Krista Lebednik
Although most specialty retailers don’t carry products geared specifically towards adults, there are a few gifts that are popular among kids of all ages — especially games that require thinking. Of the 58 specialty retailers who shared their thoughts with TDmonthly Magazine, 21 cited games as the gift of choice.
Leading the intellectual game pack is Blokus by Educational Insights, followed by Rubik’s Revolution by Techno Source, science kits by Thames & Kosmos and strategy games by ThinkFun. Also popular are UglyDolls by Pretty Ugly LLC and dolls by Alexander Doll Co. Inc.
The next in the series of the international best-seller Blokus. Designed for two to four players, it was launched in 2006. THIS PRODUCT IS NO LONGER DISTRIBUTED BY EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS. 12/4/08.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7199 (added 3/10/2006)
The Rubik's® Cube is an icon recognized around the world, selling over 350 million units. Now there's an all new spin on the world's #1 Cube—the Rubik's Revolution™. Packed with speed games and brainteasers everyone can play, the award-winning Rubik's Revolution is an all new spin on the world's #1 Cube. Six addictive, fast paced electronic games are easy to learn, but will push your skills to the limit with multiple challenging levels to unlock. Fun for ages 5 or 105, play by yourself or compete against your friends in both single and multiplayer games to become master of the Cube. “Rubik’s Revolution was designed as the electronic sequel to one of the best-selling toys in history ... It provides a whole new take on cubing. It is about speed. It is about smarts,” said Eric Levin, executive vice president of Techno Source. “Techno Source is also offering a Professor Rubik’s Signature Edition for the specialty market.” Winner of 10 Awards including the TIA 2008 T.O.T.Y. Game of the Year, Rubik's Revolution won a 2008 iParenting Media Award, a 2007 National Parenting Center Seal of Approval Award, a Dr. Toy Summer 2007 Best Products Award and a 2007 NAPPA Gold Award. Launch date: Summer 2007.
― “I think it will do very well,” Debbie Wurzburger, owner of Toy Chest in Pikesville, Md., told TDmonthly.
— Four out of 58 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly cited Rubik’s Revolution as their most popular “big-kid” item.
— When asked what he would most recommend for older kids and adults, Bill DeFusco, owner of Toyz Toy Store in Chesire, Conn., told TDmonthly, “The first one that comes to my mind [is] Rubik’s Revolution.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11558 (added 2/21/2007)
A winner of 20 awards, Rush Hour continues to be one of ThinkFun’s most popular and renowned mind-challenging games. In honor of Rush Hour’s 10 years of success, ThinkFun is celebrating with a Deluxe Edition that is guaranteed to delight seasoned Rush Hour fans and newcomers alike. Just like the traditional game, the object is to put problem-solving skills in gear to help the red car escape the traffic jam. But Rush Hour Deluxe Edition has been revved-up for maximum performance, featuring 60 of ThinkFun’s best challenges and an exciting new level of play. It comes complete with a modern design, 15 bright metallic cars and a collector’s gift box for easy travel. Launch date: Summer 2006.
— When surveyed about his best-selling puzzles in a Summer 2011 survey, Joe Berardoni, owner of Pun's Toys in Bryn Mawr, Pa., said he sells between 5 and 7 Rush Hours puzzles each month.
— As of 7/12/2011 this product had 4.3 out of 5 stars from 19 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Helps build problem solving skills; great for travel or quiet time. Cons: Two reviewers said that the Deluxe Edition was disappointing, as it actually has less features than the original game.
— Kids caught in traffic love to pull out this game and find their way out of the crunch. Rush Hour makes a great travel toy, specialty retailers have told TDmonthly, and it's been a top seller in their stores for more than 10 years. For these reasons, we gave it our TDmonthly Classic Toy 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10158 (added 11/20/2006)
This computer systems engineering kit introduces kids to microcontrollers, sensors and programming. The educational kit includes 100 experiments involving light, heat and sound sensors, data collection and more. Kids will learn about the inner workings of computers and programs and how to assemble circuits, design circuits and write programs. This product received a Spring 2007 Parents' Choice Silver Award.
— “This kit breaks down how computers actually work and thus is extremely relevant to the technology-dependent world in which children live and learn,” Christa Raimondo, customer relations manager for Thames & Kosmos, told TDmonthly.
— “Thames & Kosmos science kits do really well during the holidays,” Little Blue Choo Choo Manager Brandy Lindstrom in Scottsdale, Ariz., told TDmonthly.
— Five out of 58 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly named science kits as a popular gift item for older kids.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13414 (added 6/13/2007)
Apples-to-Apples Party Crate by OUT OF THE BOX PUBLISHING
Other products from OUT OF THE BOX PUBLISHING
This popular card game now comes in a solid wooden storage crate to be preserved for generations. It’s designed for 4 to 10 players, comes with 756 Red Apple Cards, 252 Green Apple Cards and two Deluxe Card Trays. Kids and adults can have fun by making outrageous comparisons that go beyond just “apples-to-apples.” Matt Mariani, director of marketing for Out of the Box Publishing, told TDmonthly, “It takes only 30 seconds to learn. A complete game takes less than 30 minutes to finish. The conversations around the table while playing the game are the focus.” Launch date: 2006.
— "Apples-to-Apples by Out of the Box: just got more in because people still want it, even after the holidays," said Karen Williams-Fox, owner of Woodbury Mountain Toys in Montpelier, Vt. Five of 31 retailers said the game was one of their best sellers for Christmas 2006.
— “The word is out about this game for adults as well as kids,” Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass., told TDmonthly in summer 2007. “We carry all the versions. It’s so much fun ... a must at our family reunions!”
— An Apples-to-Apples sale a day helps keep the bill collector at bay, retailers have told TDmonthly (in so many words) bushels of times, and so it’s been honored with a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9733 (added 10/23/2006)
Farm Fresh Deep Sea Jellyfish™ by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.
Other products from UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.
Within this amazing illuminated jellyfish environment, realistic-looking creatures naturally pulse and swim like real jellyfish. The sleek and elegant tank is internally lit with a black light, illuminating vibrant phosphorescent features and intricate details unseen in normal light. It creates an ideal ambience for a tween/teen room, can be a conversation piece for an executive desk, or can fit any place that could use a little mesmerizing accent. Launch date: July 2007.
― Owner Linda Angel of Kidoodles Toys in Norman, Okla., told TDmonthly in spring 2007 that Uncle Milton is one of her favorite vendors.
— “It looks like a miniature aquarium,” Mary Horne of J. Christopher Toys in Jonesboro, Ark., told TDmonthly. “You fill it with water and a motor system moves water around. Really cool for a dad’s desk.”
— When asked by TDmonthly what he predicted would be a popular item for big kids, David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont., cited Uncle Milton products, most notably the jellyfish tank.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11599 (added 2/23/2007)
Imported from Germany to the U.S. in 1995, this European designer game is thematically nonviolent, elegant in game play and visually appealing. Players must collect and trade resources, such as wood and sheep, and build the best settlement on an island. Moves require strategic planning, and negotiating and trade are crucial elements of the game.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 2230 (added 1/18/2005)
Both educational and fun, the Snap Circuit Remote Controlled Rover consists of over 30 parts that can be used to build over 23 projects. The illustrated color manual explains how to complete circuits using easy-to-handle snap components. The electronic unit can turn left and right, and move forwards and backwards. It also features a headlight for use in the dark. The hand-held device requires a single nine-volt battery, while the body requires six AA batteries. Launch date: September 2006.
— “Our top-selling science item is Snap Circuits,” Teresa Newman, buyer and manager at Toy World in Wayanta, Minn., told TDmonthly. “And it’s good for the older ages.”
— One out of every seven retailers told TDmonthly that remote control items are the most popular gifts for older kids.
— Two out of 58 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly singled out Elenco Snap Circuits as the recommended gift for older kids and adults.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13412 (added 6/13/2007)
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