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TDmonthly Top Toy 2008 Awards

Toys You Don't Want to Miss


It's not easy deciding which toys and games deserve the most prestigious of TDmonthly Magazine's awards. Research over the past year — and more intensively over months of evaluating submissions and nominations for Positive Toys for a Promising Future: TDmonthly's 2008 Report on Specialty Toys— has led us to a group of products we are proud to say now carry the title "TDmonthly Top Toy!" (see 2007's Top Toy awards).

These products in particular are lauded for a combination of coveted qualities that include the following: superior design and materials, safety, excellent play value, innovation in the way the product is conceived and executed, strong sales potential, and environmental and/or social consciousness.

Here are the top specialty toys for 2008:




MSRP: $12.50
Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: 611
Launch Date: January 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Construction
Puzzles & Skill



Players attempt to position all five of their playing pieces on the playing field, while blocking their opponents’ attempts to do the same. No same colored pieces may touch or stand on the same side or edge; at the same time, no two pieces of the same height can be positioned next to each other. The game is available in four languages. Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy 2008. Launch date: 2008.

Where to Buy: 1 Smart Noodle

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17965      (added 3/17/2008)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $35.99
Age Range: 2 and up
Launch Date: January 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Infant & Toddler
Educational



The Potty Monkey is designed to make potty training fun for ages 18 months to 7. It comes complete with a plush monkey, a toilet that makes real flushing sounds, a timer that can be set to 30 or 90 minutes, a diaper, underwear, a certificate of completion, a book for children by Dana C. Smith and Denise McClure titled “Monkey Learns to Potty,” and a guidebook for parents called “The Potty Trainer” by D. Preston Smith. Potty Monkey asks to use the toilet, based on the timer setting, helping kids develop a healthy routine. “What sets us apart is the fact that this is a potty-training system focusing on education,” Jennifer E. Marma, director of PottyMD, told TDmonthly. Launch date: January 29, 2007. Read Review
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11546      (added 2/21/2007)
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This bright, poseable dragon measures 20” and is made of a soft, rubbery material.
— Although she carries a lot of animals by Safari Ltd., Owner Gillian Fetz of The Learning Tree in Missoula, Mont., plans to supplement her display with larger figurines — dragons, dinosaurs and elephants — in this line of “lightweight, kind of squishy animals.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18084      (added 3/24/2008)
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MSRP: $19.95
Age Range: 8 and up
SKU or Item #: 7811
Launch Date: January 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Science & Nature
Educational



This 40-page science book and materials kit includes eight major activities that transform the study of central concepts of molecular biology into child's play. Kids can extract DNA from a fruit, probe and spool real DNA, build a double helix model, solve a chromosome puzzle (Is it a boy or a girl?) and play a gene construction game. A more advanced version is available for appropriate markets. Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy 2008. Launch date: 2008.

Where to Buy: Kazoo Toys

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19701      (added 7/3/2008)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: A1210XX
Launch Date: January 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Play Sets
Gifts
Travel



ZipBin Softie Wheelie looks like and is shaped like a mag wheel and opens to reveal a side-by-side race track. The set’s play surface includes a garage area, a winner’s circle and a 12-car built-in parking garage. The set also features two, sturdy die-cast sports cars and a wipe-clean surface. Launch date: January 2008. This product was previously catalogued under the name ZipBin® Softie™ Wheelie™ (changed January 2009).
— This is “from Neat-Oh! International LLC, whose innovative line of ZipBin products has won 11 awards for product excellence,” Neat-Oh! International LLC Director of Marketing Gerry Linda told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16803      (added 12/28/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $28.00
Age Range: 3 to 12
Launch Date: May 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books
Creative Activities
Gifts



Kids will learn how to cook simple, yet delicious Mexican dishes, while learning about the vibrant Mexican culture. Each book is packaged in a tortilla bag with an oven mitt. "Ingredients and utensils are translated in the intro so kid chefs get to learn Spanish," Handstand Kids Founder Yvette Garfield told TDmonthly. Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy 2008. Launch date: May 5, 2008.

Where to Buy: Dolls Like Me

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17972      (added 3/17/2008)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
Age Range: 8 and up
SKU or Item #: 094922719355
Launch Date: July 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Card Games



This two-player, high-quality card game offers head-to-head fun as players take calculated risks to win sets by forcing their opponent to "bust." Yet, players must also play their cards defensively at the right time, or the tables will turn. The player who wins the most sets wins the game. Sixteen is easy to learn, while cribbage-like counting and a distinctive combination of cards yield high strategy and replay value. Playing time is about 15 minutes. Sixteen won the Dr. Toy 2007 Best Products Award, the Major Fun Family Award and the Creative Child Magazine Seal of Excellence Award. MSRP: $6.99 to $9.99. Launch date: July 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14049      (added 7/13/2007)
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MSRP: $16.99
Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction
Arts & Crafts
Educational



These new construction/craft kits from Überstix take the company's commitment to recycling one step further. To complete the working ÜBERSTIX PirateShip™ or ÜBERFO™, one must collect a list of recyclable components from an included Scavenger List. Building the PirateShip, for example, requires ice cream sticks, a plastic water bottle, cups, a rubber band, a plastic bag for the sail, and tape. The ÜBERFO is easy to build and fun to fly.
— "The Scavenger Kits reward children in two ways," Uberstix Founder Dane Scarborough told TDmonthly. "First, they get to build a working model they can actually play with. Second, they can build bigger objects because they add to them with materials they find."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16612      (added 12/17/2007)
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Age Range: 8 and up
Launch Date: September 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Card Games
Eco-Friendly
Educational



In this third Xeko mission, two players must work to protect the islands of Indonesia. Along the way, via cards featuring animals with endangered, rare and common status, they will meet creatures unique to that region of the earth. The crate packaging, made of sustainably farmed pine wood from New Zealand, holds 41 cards, a playmat/eco-map, giant learn-to-play cards and two limited-edition sketch cards. Launch date: September 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19503      (added 6/19/2008)
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Launch Date: February 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush



This soft friend for babies has just as much crazy character as the large plush Deglingos. It measures 8.5" high and features a flattened design so it's easy for little ones to hug and tote around. Launch date: February 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17641      (added 2/20/2008)
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MSRP: $8.95
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: American-Made
Gifts
Novelties



Dolphins are playful, have individual personalities and adapt well to humans, making them a popular sea mammal to kids and adults alike, making for a very enjoyable Scramble Squares® Puzzle.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19266      (added 6/5/2008)
.


MSRP: $15.95
Age Range: 4 to 8
SKU or Item #: 9781554532254
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books



Scaredy’s idea of the beach consists of a faux set-up under his nut tree, with an inflatable pool, fake beach scenery and a plastic flamingo. But a visit to the real beach is tempting. Will his No. 65 sunscreen offer enough protection?
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17328      (added 1/30/2008)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $14.95
Age Range: 8 and up
SKU or Item #: SSG-001
Launch Date: September 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



This is a fun and portable tile game in which players simultaneously build an inner maze and an outer wall. Players try to position themselves to be the first to exit the maze once the exit tile has been played. A round can be played in 15 minutes, or players can decrease the influence of lucky maze-tile drawing by playing multiple rounds. The rules can be learned in two minutes, but there are lots of strategies. The “compact box size is great for portability and can easily challenge a variety of ages for any time, up to two hours,” CEO Mark Salzwedel of Strategic Space told TDmonthly. Launch date: September 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16495      (added 12/7/2007)
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MSRP: $150.00
SKU or Item #: CH1XR
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



The instrument measures 29"L x 17"W x 26"H and consists of 11 color-band coded aluminum tubes. It features a G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C tuning system, red finish wood, blue power-coated steel legs, two mallets, a songbook and a white gift box with a four-color label. Minimal assembly is required.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16945      (added 1/8/2008)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $34.95
Age Range: 2 to 6
SKU or Item #: 6710
Launch Date: January 2007
Gender: Girls
Category: Dolls



This seven-piece starter set includes a doll, five outfits and an embroidered carrying case. Each outfit has a Velcro backing so that children can dress the doll with just a press of the fingers. “The Press 'n Dress set engages the young child’s imagination even before their small motor skills develop,” May Grant of Pockets of Learning told TDmonthly. Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy 2008. Launch date: January 2007.

Where to Buy: Camelot Kids
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13616      (added 6/25/2007)
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MSRP: $16.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill



This game of deductive reasoning involves life-like candy play pieces. Players examine all the clues on the cards before making a move. Once they discover where to put a chocolate piece, they combine this knowledge with the clues to learn more information. Some clues give exact or possible locations, while others just give you the token color or shape. Narrow down all of the possibilities to fill each candy assortment. Challenges range from beginner to expert. Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy 2008.

Where to Buy: Rocking Horse Toy Store; Berkira

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16461      (added 12/5/2007)
.


Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: 121550
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill
Creative Activities



The 150 flexible, interlocking pieces included in this set can be used to create three 3D designs — a turtle, a seahorse and an octopus.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17317      (added 1/30/2008)
.


MSRP: $19.99
SKU or Item #: 2590
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puppets
Plush
Interactive



The hand puppet measures 15" x 9" and features arms and a mouth that can be moved. This puppet is part of Folkmanis' WebWilds, an online world about real animals and real places. Each WebWilds has it's own free online habitat – based on a real world habitat – where kids can explore, play games, watch videos, read stories, connect to fun learning content, use e-cards to share pictures of their animal with friends and more. Cons: Ape has a tendency to shed when being handled.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18017      (added 3/18/2008)
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Julie L. JonesWriter's Bio: Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author

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