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June 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 6
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See Your ASTRA Colleagues on Video!

Retailers Speak Out on Green Toys, Technology and More


“TDmonthly does an excellent job documenting the toy industry’s trends and highlighting new products with informative interviews that are enjoyable to watch. I always look forward to seeing the next set of videos.” Kathleen McHugh, ASTRA President
Meet your colleagues before you hit the ASTRA Marketplace floor by watching these videos TDmonthly Magazine shot during ASTRA's Party With the Stars at FAO Schwarz during Toy Fair 2008 in New York City. Specialty retailers, manufacturers, consumers and marketers spoke with TDmonthly's roving reporters, Chelsea Whitaker and Julie L. Jones, about the recalls, the latest trends and the most exciting toys at the show.

Do you agree with your colleagues? Watch and find out!
Manufacturers: Find out how a TDmonthly Video attracts buyers.

INNOVATIONS WILL CHANGE INDUSTRY

After 35 years of Toy Fairs, marketing consultant Bob McCall thought he'd seen it all — until 2008! This year, stunning innovations have convinced him that toys are undergoing a radical evolution that will manifest within five years. Even Mary and Tim Holmes, owners of two Go Bananas! specialty stores in Ashburn and Leesburg, Va., concede that a little technology can't hurt, as long as the child is still in charge of play.

BUT CLASSIC PLAY PATTERNS NEVER DIE

Yet despite all the advances, David Niggli, president and chief merchandising officer for FAO Schwarz, insists that classic toys, such as teddy bears and dolls, are still necessary and compelling to today's tech-savvy kids. Priscilla Moore, owner of the decades-old Mr. Fub's Party in Yellow Springs, Ohio, agrees, adding that the "new" trend toward safe, quality playthings is old-hat to specialty toy-store owners.

KIDS' COMMITMENT TO "GREEN" VARIES

Children, however, are new to the earth and new to the idea of saving it. Some are so concerned about keeping the planet healthy that it even affects their choice of toys. But others consistently gravitate toward the coolest thing on the market, even if it's not made from recyclables. How do Kathy and Bob Jenkins know? Not only are they the owners of Dalton, Ga.'s one-year-old specialty store, Toys in the Attic; they're parents, too.

Whatever kids think about when confronted with shelves of great new toys, George Husk, vice president of Successful Kids, maker of the Blunders manners game, predicts the trend toward educational toys that emphasize personal responsibility will continue to flourish as parents demand more from the playthings they buy.

Watch more videos from Zoobies, Zometool, Kids Preffered and a marketer (respectively):



Following are some of the toys mentioned by the interviewees:




Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: 689076729987
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Board Games
Educational



The uniquely designed Kingka Matching and Memory Game (English/Chinese version) is a multi-purpose toy that can further stimulate children’s spatial perception after they master the identification of a circle, a square and a triangle. It also exercises visual discrimination, fine motor skills, memorization and concentration, and teaches the hottest foreign language, Chinese. Kingka is the most age-appropriate toy that introduces Mandarin Chinese to toddlers and preschoolers from English-speaking families. Made in the USA, this brain-teaser game challenges people in all age groups.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15908      (added 10/31/2007)
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MSRP: $129.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Sporting Goods & Accessories



This sports board blends the anatomy of both surfing and snowboarding with an innovative and fun design. It features a cutting-edge kick tail and raised nose, plastic end platforms that rotate independently and are connected by a metal torsion bar for sharp turns and precision moves, polyurethane wheels and traction pads. It is available in red, blue, green, silver and pink, and each comes with an instructional “How to Ride” DVD.
— “The best thing [at Toy Fair] was the new Razor skateboard,” Manager Christi Johnson of Magic Box in New Orleans told TDmonthly. “There are twist bars in the middle so you can twist and turn. It’s really fun.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11724      (added 2/28/2007)
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MSRP: $24.00
Age Range: 8 and up
SKU or Item #: 11393
Gender: Girls
Category: Fashion & Accessories
Arts & Crafts



Encourage recycling and reusing by offering these design kits to your little and tween girl customers. The kits are great for craft or slumber parties, too. This toy is still in development and artwork may not reflect the final product.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16420      (added 12/5/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $79.99
Age Range: 8 and up
SKU or Item #: 62068
Launch Date: April 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Licensed Products
Play Sets
Remote Controlled



The supercharged Mach 5 goes head-to-head with Racer X’s infamous #9 – Shooting Star – on a 1:43 scale. Fly down the track, careen around, over and through the competition, in this high-octane race set that includes almost 21 feet of track, a double loop, junction, flyover, lap counter, two turbo-speed controllers and the Mach 5 and Shooting Star cars. “Multi-generational fun,” Keith L. Strickland, a representative for Carrera Toys, emphasized to TDmonthly. “No matter whether you're a beginner, young racer, or young at heart, Carrera Toys' entertainment-licensed 1:43 scale GO!!! MarioKart and Speed Racer slot-car race sets have mass appeal.” This product won a Dr. Toy Award for Best Products for Summer 2008. Launch date: April 2008.
— "This toy was a huge hit in our household," said Sue Christensen, mother of four boys ages 6 to 14, all of whom participated in TDmonthly's Roundtable review of this product. "The kids were thrilled with Speed Racer from the moment they saw it in the box, through assembly and racing."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19019      (added 5/22/2008)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $24.95
Age Range: 5 to 10
SKU or Item #: 85115
Launch Date: February 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Educational
Board Games
Preschool



The adorable characters of Becky, Bobby, Brenda and Billy Blunder revolutionize the way manners are taught. The game includes a game board, a story book and 300 fun and interactive charade, multiple-choice, scenario and true/false questions covering social and dining etiquette. “Blunders™ is the only board game on the market today that makes learning manners interactive and fun!” Successful Kids Inc. President Aimee Symington told TDmonthly. This game has received the following awards: Dr. Toy, National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, iParenting Media, Creative Child Preferred Choice, Mr. Dad Seal of Approval, eChoice, and The Toy Man Award of Excellence and Seal of Approval. Launch date: February 17, 2008.
— "I've loved the Blunders Game from the moment I was introduced to it.  Now you can reinforce manners at one of the places where manners are key.  Manner Mats takes the blunders concept and turns it into a set of 38  table mats. The mats include tones of games including word searches, challenges, multiple choice, what is wrong with the picture, complete the sentence and many more. Another innovative way to teach manners without having to point your finger," Jennifer Shuman, owner of 1SmartNoodle, told TDmonthly at Toy Fair 2010.

Past videos: Toy Fair 2009
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16257      (added 11/27/2007)
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Age Range: All Ages
Launch Date: January 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
General Toys



The baboon acts as a plush toy, but can be opened to form a pillow and blanket set. The Zoo Collection also includes seven other varieties: Poallu the Polar Bear, Taj the Tiger, Pin the Panda, Tama the Tortoise, Orazio the Orangutan, Gogo the Gorilla and Khimba the Koala (with baby Kai). Zoobie Pets have won various awards, including a 2008 iParenting Media Award, the Toy Man's "Best of Show" Award and the "Squeal of Approval" from Babies & Moms Radio. Launch date: 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17826      (added 3/3/2008)
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MSRP: $19.95
Age Range: 6 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction
American-Made



Little white honeycomb balls and colorful sticks combine to make flowers, houses, giant spheres and more. The Pioneer Kit includes 121 parts and a colorful instruction booklet.
— At Big Fun Toys in Hoboken, N.J., these toys sell well, according to manager Wendy Kramer.
— Based on the mathematical principles of nature, Zome can create a plenitude of geometric shapes, molecular structures, quasicrystals, and more
— The manufacturer claims that Zome kits are in use in more than 6000 schools and educational institutions.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3793      (added 6/15/2005)
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Alison MarekWriter's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ...  Read more articles by this author

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