TDmonthly Magazine!
June 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 6
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TDmonthly’s Top-10 Most-Wanted Activity Kits and Playsets

Activity Outsells Play


With additional reporting by Virginia Davis, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Christine Lebednik, Marie Raven and Brenda Ruggiero

A TDmonthly Magazine survey of 50 specialty retailers revealed that while best-selling playsets are typically gender-neutral, best-selling activity kits are predominately geared toward females. Fashion and accessories kits are extremely popular, and seven of the top-10 best sellers on the list below are activity kits, not playsets.

Topping the list are playsets by Playmobil Inc., Patch-a-Peel Purse by Alex-Panline Inc., Sticky Mosaics by The Orb Factory, Brain Noodles Kit by Brain Noodles LLC and craft kits by Melissa & Doug.




Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: 4172
Launch Date: January 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Pretend Play
General Toys
Creative Activities



Capture a video of the enormous Brachiosaurus with the adventure-seeking explorers. The set includes a Brachiosaurus with movable parts, two figures, a frog, camera, sword, cave, trees and other accessories. Launch date: January 2008.
— “The kids are pretty excited about the Playmobil dinosaurs. That’s one, particularly, that took off for us,” Yamil Castillo, owner of The Red Balloon Toy Store in Salt Lake City, Utah, told TDmonthly in April 2008. “[I sell] maybe 36 per location, [and] I've got three locations.”
— Playmobil has a “great following in our store,” Bob Breneman, owner of G. Willikers in Portsmouth, N.H., told TDmonthly in April 2008, when asked to name his store’s best-selling playset. “Kids spend their own money on it when they’re older. … [We sell] somewhere between 50 and 75 units across the line” per month.
— Seven of 50 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in April 2008 named Playmobil playsets as their best-selling playsets.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16628      (added 12/18/2007)
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Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Kits
Creative Activities



Kids can create their own beautiful handbag with this kit, which comes with a canvas purse, adhesive gems, more than 160 precut, sticky fabric shapes and easy instructions. This product is an iParenting Media Award winner.
— “Alex is our number one activity set … [and] make-your-own purse is good right now,” Joyce Matthews, owner of Just 4 Fun in St. Simon’s Island, Ga., told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— In April 2008, Steve Ricks, owner of My Story House Toys in Roswell, Ga., told TDmonthly that his store sells “maybe one a day” of this particular item.
— Six of 50 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in spring 2008 singled out this particular item as the best-selling kit in their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18752      (added 5/8/2008)
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MSRP: $15.00
Age Range: 5 and up
SKU or Item #: SMJB
Gender: Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Creative Activities
Gifts



Use hundreds of glittering stickers and sparkling jewels to create a beautiful, personalized jewelry box with this easy-to-use kit. Simply peel and stick and follow the numbered pattern. No glue or tools are required. “It’s going to be our No. 1 item in 2008.” Melissa Milne of The Orb Factory’s sales and marketing department told TDmonthly.
— “Our best selling craft kits are Sticky Mosaics from the Orb Factory. … We sell five or six every day,” Scott Sloan, manager of Toys, Inc. in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— “[Customers] like [Sticky Mosaics] so much because it is only $15, it is educational and it makes a great travel toy or birthday present,” Steve Ricks, owner of My Story House Toys in Roswell, Ga., told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— Five of 50 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in April 2008 named Sticky Mosaics as a best-selling kit in their stores. As of November 2009, this jewelry box craft had been a best seller for eight months at The Parent-Teacher Store & Toys Too in Louisville, Ky., Owner Kimberly Kopatz reported.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18366      (added 4/11/2008)
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MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: 377
Gender: Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Kits
Creative Activities



The colorful jewelry set comes in a handy wooden box and includes five laces and more than 150 beads in a variety of shapes, colors and patterns. Kids can create an array of necklaces and bracelets.
— “I like the new travel and craft kits by Melissa & Doug. We sell at least one a week,” Bob Colbert, owner of The Toy Box in Searcy, Ark., told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— “Craft kits by Melissa & Doug,” Kathy Byrd, owner of Fantasy Island Toys in Fairhope, Ala., told TDmonthly in April 2008, when asked to name the best-selling kit her store.
— In April 2008, more than 5 percent of the 50 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly singled out craft kits by Melissa & Doug as best-selling craft kits.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18766      (added 5/8/2008)
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These highly detailed Papo figurines and accessories are hand-painted and historically accurate. They stand approximately 3.5” tall.
— “Papo knights and pirates are a huge hit,” Patti Tepper-Rasmussen, owner of Learning Tree Toys in Oklahoma City told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— “They do really well,” Diana Gisolfu, co-owner of Sisters Kids in Springfield, Mass., said of the Papo line in her store. “We probably sell around 25 a month. The knights are definitely the most popular.”
— In spring 2008, four of 50 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly singled out Papo playsets as the best-selling playsets in their stores. In May 2008, 20 percent of 55 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly singled out Papo knights as a best-selling action figure. Also in May 2008, two of 66 retailers named Papo as one of their top sellers overall.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18767      (added 5/8/2008)
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MSRP: $44.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Play Sets



This new environment gives the babies of Cloverleaf Corners lots of adventures as they slide down the slide, crawl through the tunnel, run over the bridge and climb to the top of the hill. Best of all, there is a hot air balloon they can ride above the park. The park itself comes with everything needed to start playing — including two twin-sized Critters!
— “Calico Critters have been an exceptional thing...my highest increase in sales the last three years,” Yamil Castillo, owner of The Red Balloon Toy Store in Salt Lake City, Utah, told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— “Calico Critters consistently sell. There is just something that appeals to adults and children as well,” Donna, manager of The Treasured Child in LaGrange, Ky., told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— Three of 50 retailers, who spoke with TDmonthly in April 2008, singled out Calico Critters playsets as best-selling playsets.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7349      (added 3/28/2006)
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Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Kits
Creative Activities



Kids can design and paint their own ceramic beads and create personalized bracelets, necklaces and keychains. The kit includes 16 square beads, 10 shaped beads, two large heart pendants, six ceramic paints, two brushes, two keychain accessories, glass seed beads, ball chains, elastic and easy instructions. This item is an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award winner.
—  “Any arts and craft kits by Alex sell really well,” Linda Angel, owner of Kidoodles Toys in Norman, Okla., told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— “Our best-selling craft kits are bead kits by Alex. …[We sell] at least three or four every day,” Gary Timmerding, manager of Johnny’s Toys in Covington, Ky., told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— Over one-fourth of the 50 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in spring 2008 named Alex kits as  best-selling kits in their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18753      (added 5/8/2008)
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MSRP: $10.99
SKU or Item #: 1809
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Creative Activities
Arts & Crafts
General Toys



The neon-colored foam glows when the lights are turned off. The foam sculpting beads are reusable, lightweight, non-toxic and won’t dry, harden or stick to surfaces, providing hours of mess-free fun. The pack includes six neon bricks in white, green, pink, yellow, blue and orange.
— “PlayFoam has been selling extremely well for about the last two years,” said Owner Melodie Ingwersen of Creative Kids Toy Shop in Columbia, S.C., in early spring 2008.
— “Our No. 1 activity set is PlayFoam,” Ingwersen reiterated in April 2008.
— In April 2008, four of 50 retailers named play foam as a best-selling item, while two of the four named Educational Insight’s product as the best-selling kit their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17471      (added 2/12/2008)
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MSRP: $14.95
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Kits
Books



This kit shows kids how to assemble the included colored pipe cleaners, bright wooden beads and glittery paper wings into five bug buddies. Kids can even stick on pre-printed sticker faces to give each bug its own personality. Additionally, the book opens up to become a charmingly detailed, three-room tree house, complete with a front yard, punch-out furniture, stickers and decorative accessories.
— “We do well with the Klutz books ... [especially] the Magnetic Magic and the bug book,” Mary Ellen Cerney, owner of Dear Friends and Children in Duncan, Okla., told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— “Anything by Klutz,” Emily Bieritz, manager of My Favorite Toy Store in Downers Grove, Ill., said in April 2008, when asked to name the best-selling arts and crafts item in her store.
— In spring 2008, more than 3 percent of retailers who spoke with TDmonthly named Klutz activity books as best-selling kits.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18769      (added 5/8/2008)
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