September 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 9
TDmonthly 2008 Awardees Get Moving
Watch the Winners of TDmonthly's 2008 Awards in These Toy Videos
See for yourself why these products won awards over the thousands of toys and games that TDmonthly staff evaluated over the past year. Below are the winners of TDmonthly's Top Toy and Top Sellers awards. To see TDmonthly Classic and Innovations awardees, click here. Read about these toys in depth, including safety information and display ideas, by gaining access to TDmonthly's 2008 Specialty Toys Report, "Positive Toys for a Promising Future."™
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)
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)
This 22", PVC-free, hand-painted "Soft Play" dragon has posable wings, feet and heads. It passes the highest EU standards for toy safety. Launch date: 2007. Display Ideas: Place it where kids and parents can easily play with it and experience the fun of posing its wings, neck and head.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20278 (added 8/27/2008)
ScienceWiz™ DNA by SCIENCE WIZ / NORMAN & GLOBUS INC.
Other products from SCIENCE WIZ / NORMAN & GLOBUS INC.
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)
ZipBin® Wheelie Race Track by NEAT-OH! INTERNATIONAL LLC
Other products from NEAT-OH! INTERNATIONAL LLC
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)
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)
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)
Sticky Mosaics Jewelry Box by THE ORB FACTORY LIMITED
Other products from THE ORB FACTORY LIMITED
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)
This 12" doll has a soft beanbag body and eyes that close when she's "sleeping." She can wear clothing from Corolle's Mon Premier collection.
— “Our premier line is Corolle ... [it] always does best,” noted Lynn Sanchez of Wiz Bang Toys in Lake Oswego, Ore., in summer 2008.
— The 32 of 64 specialty retailers that named Corolle as a best-selling doll line in their stores said they sell between 4 and 72 Corolle dolls each month.
— “The little Calins move the best,” Jennifer Vanderish, co-owner of Picayune Toys in Dunwoody, Ga., told TDmonthly in summer 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19473 (added 6/19/2008)
MACK Granite Rear-Loading Garbage Truck by BRUDER TOYS AMERICA INC.
Other products from BRUDER TOYS AMERICA INC.
The Bruder classic garbage truck on the 1:16 scale now comes with a licensed MACK truck cab that includes a timely Recycle insignia. Kids can unload the two included bins using the hinged carrier plate, then transport the trash into the storage section of the body by manually spinning the screw extruders. The cab has folding mirrors, opening doors and tilts forward to display the detailed engine, plus the lift gate opens and the body inclines to dump the contents. All of the MACK truck cabs are compatible with the implements designed for the front of the trucks, such as the mower and snow plow. Dimensions: 22.8"L x 7.3"W x 10.2"H. Case Pack Qty: 2 pcs. Award: TDmonthly Top Seller 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19676 (added 7/1/2008)
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)
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)
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)
Baby Deglingos - Milkos the Cow by GEARED FOR IMAGINATION
Other products from GEARED FOR IMAGINATION
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)
Vintage Airplanes Scramble Squares® by b. dazzle, inc.
Other products from b. dazzle, inc.
This beautiful "Vintage Airplanes" 9-piece brain teaser puzzle, features the Wright Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis, the Red Baron´s bi-plane from World War I and the famous B-17 of World War II. It is one of ten Scramble Squares® puzzles honored with Dr. Toy´s Smart Play/Smart Toys Award for 2004 from the Institute for Childhood Resources in San Francisco. Over 100 different styles of Scramble Squares® puzzles are available for collecting and for educational fun for young and old alike.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 413 (added 9/1/2004)
Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by KIDS CAN PRESS
Other products from KIDS CAN PRESS
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)
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)
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)
Giftique Starter Set by POCKETS OF LEARNING LLC
Other products from POCKETS OF LEARNING LLC
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)
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.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16461 (added 12/5/2007)
Puzzibits™ Flexible 3D Puzzle Art™ - Ocean Depths by MANHATTAN TOY
Other products from MANHATTAN TOY
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)
Players try to fill their Zingo! cards with matching tiles from the Zingo Zinger. The first player to fill his or her card wins. Rules can be adjusted to favor more or less competition among players, and to vary the length of time each game requires. This game was a 2007 T.O.T.Y. Nominee for Specialty Toy of the Year. "It teaches memory, matching, vocabulary and social interaction skills. Kids have so much fun playing again and again; they don’t realize they’re learning essential thinking skills," Marketing Communications Manager Emily Peters of Thinkfun told TDmonthly.
— “Customers use this game as their ‘standard’ party gift,” Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass. told TDmonthly in summer 2007.
— “We sell out as soon as they come in,” added Pam Horwitz, manager of Mr. Toad’s Toy Company in Naples, Fla. Four of 63 retailers singled out Zingo! as the hottest-selling game in their store. Seven percent of 56 retailers listed Zingo as a top-selling game in January 2009. Six of 38 retailers called it a best-selling game in Feb. 2010.
— “Zingo is a great game for 4- to 5-year olds,” Jamie Burdette, owner of LB Toys in Media, Pa., told TDmonthly about this game — a top seller in his store — in April 2008. “The basic Bingo concept starts to introduce words and spelling.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3529 (added 5/10/2005)
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Writer'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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