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November 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 11
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TDmonthly’s Top-10 Most-Wanted Toys for Tweens

Kits Let Girls Craft, Build and Design


With additional reporting by Sharri Hefner, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Chris Lundy, Claudia Newcorn and Brenda Ruggiero

When asked about sales of items for tweens, between ages 8 and 12, 51 specialty retailers lauded craft kits as tops, particularly from Creativity for Kids, Alex and Klutz. Some retailers told TDmonthly Magazine it could be a difficult market in which to capture interest, and Ron Banducci, co-owner of Games Unlimited in Danville, Calif., noted that "if we get something good, it sells because there's not a lot [available].” Here are the top-10 best-selling items for tweens:




MSRP: $25.99
Age Range: 9 and up
Launch Date: January 1900
Category: Fashion & Accessories



This kit is designed to give the feet a real spa experience. Girls can soak their feet in the inflatable pedicure pool with included confetti soap, file and buff their toenails, and then create interesting nail designs with three colors of nail polish and sparkly rhinestones. The set also comes with pink spa slippers, toe separators and a handy tote to keep it all together when not in use.  
- “The Pretty Pedicure kit from Creativity for Kids. That’s a great set,” said Janet Gregory, owner of Over the Rainbow Toys in Anchorage, Alaska.
- Linda Laramy, owner of Cracker Jacks in Easton, Md., told TDmonthly she sells about 40 Creativity for Kids kits every month.
- Twenty-four percent of 51 retailers surveyed in September 2008 said fashion-related products accounted for their best sellers to tweens.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20619      (added 9/19/2008)
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MSRP: $16.95
Age Range: 8 and up
Launch Date: January 1900
Gender: Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Tween



This book allows girls to create their own poseable fairy dolls that feature petal dresses and flowing floss hair. Supplies to make 12 posey pixies are included, and the book is written by Rachel Haab.
- “Girls love Klutz; [it] sells constantly,” Jeanne McCullough, owner of Children’s Store Inc. in Boise, Idaho, told TDmonthly.  
- “Klutz is No. 1 by far,” said Ron Banducci, co-owner of Games Unlimited in Danville, Calif., when telling TDmonthly about best-selling items for tweens in fall 2008.
- “[Tweens] want to make something,” said Diana Gisolfi, co-owner of Sister’s Kids in Springfield, Mass.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20618      (added 9/19/2008)
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MSRP: $20.00
Age Range: 8 and up
Launch Date: January 1900
Gender: Girls
Category: Fashion & Accessories



The Fashion Illustrator kit from Fashion Angels contains everything young designers need to make a portfolio of their own original clothing designs.  The kit includes double-tipped artist markers, colored pencils, fabric swatches and a design workbook along with techniques to help kids learn how to represent their fashion ideas realistically on paper.  Whether starting from the design guide included with the kit, or dreaming up something totally new, the Fashion Illustrator is a place to capture all those innovations with the right tools and skills.  
— “Fashion Angels… the line is pretty diverse.  We sell a couple dozen every month,” said Jenny Thomas, owner of Applause! Give Your Kids a Hand in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada.
— Theresa Oppenheimer, owner of Toy World in Chanhassen, Minn., said in early fall 2008 she sells “mostly Fashion Angels” to tweens in her store.
— “A lot more fashion items are popping up,” remarked Kim Emigh, VP of e-commerce at Growing Tree Toys in State College, Pa.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20614      (added 9/19/2008)
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MSRP: $19.95
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Creative Activities



Kids can wear a different band every day of the week with these adjustable and durable ribbon bands. The quartz watch is water resistant. Kids can coordinate their watch bands with their outfits each and every day.
— “The ribbon watch from Alex did very well,” Susan Sellers, buyer for Tree Top Kids in Washington, D.C., told TDmonthly. “You change out the ribbon” to get a whole new fashion statement.
— Rich Gordon, owner of Learning Express of Exton, Pa., said that he always looks forward to new craft kits from Alex.
— Make-your-own clothing items from Alex, including crochet and knitting, were top sellers for a majority of specialty toy retailers surveyed.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6148      (added 12/22/2005)
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MSRP: $14.00
Age Range: 6 and up
Launch Date: January 1900
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books



This journal includes a light-up pen that attaches securely to the cover, making it perfect to keep on a bed-stand to record dreams or late-night inspirations, or just settle down for some quiet time before catching some shut-eye. The kit includes a pen, a 100-page journal and a small information booklet on dreams and creative inspiration.
— Lauren Obenour, manager of Green Frog Toys in Portland, Ore., noted in fall 2008 that her top sellers to tweens tend to be “diaries and kits from Creativity for Kids.”
—  “Arts and crafts have consistently been one of the three best departments in the store since we opened,” said Gregory Sahagian, owner of Learning Express of Beverly in Beverly, Mass. “This age [tweens] also favors journals.”
— Eight percent of 51 storeowners said they consider diaries and journals to be top sellers for tween-aged children.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20612      (added 9/19/2008)
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Age Range: 5 and up
Launch Date: January 1900
Gender: Girls
Category: Gifts



This whimsical jewelry box is painted on all sides with rich watercolors in a scene out of a fairy tale. The main chamber hides a dancing prince and princess that twirl as the enclosed music box plays when the lid is open. The box features a divided, flocked tray, a large drawer in the bottom, and smaller drawers that come out of the sides for sorting out various treasures.
— “Jewelry boxes … the top seller comes from Enchantmints,” David Ekwall, owner of The Wooden Toy in Wethersfield, Conn., told TDmonthly in September 2008 when speaking about best-selling products for tweens.
— “Musical jewelry boxes by Enchantmints,” agreed Diana Nelson, owner of Kazoo & Co. in Denver, Colo., who sells more than two dozen a month. “[They’re] very nostalgic.”
— These music boxes were best sellers at Twirl Toystore & Playspace in Taos, N.M., in early 2009, according to Owner Molly McMullin. “Grandparents love to give these to their granddaughters … a classic we remember receiving as kids,” she said.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20609      (added 9/19/2008)
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MSRP: $20.00
Gender: Girls
Category: Plush



Big Toe is very busy, but he's going to take care of everything.  Just watch.  At first, Big Toe may seem a little slow ... until you realize he's always one step ahead.  Those donuts you were saving for tomorrow?  Gone. Those leftovers from the picnic? Done.  Big Toe's on top of things! An unstoppable force of knowledge, Big Toe's got the scoop on all the latest info, and knows what's going down at all times ... except for when it comes to you.  What's up with you? Big Toe wants to know. He also comes in a 2 ’-size ($50), Little Ugly-size ($10) and as a key chain ($6).
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11083      (added 1/11/2007)
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MSRP: $12.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: January 1900
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Interactive
Tween



This fluffy white horse comes with a special code kids can use to access Webkinz World online.
— Kathy Mabry, owner of The Village Toy Shop in North Easton, Mass., told TDmonthly that Webkinz continue to be a top seller for her store. She reported sales of hundreds every month in early fall 2008.
— “Ganz’s Webkinz — they're still selling well here,” said Linda Laramy, owner of Cracker Jacks in Easton, Md., when asked about best-selling items for tweens. “They’re still very popular.”
— Webkinz was on the top-10 best-seller list at Pun’s Toy Store in Bryn Mawr, Pa., in October 2008. “Although not the sellers they were before, they still present the greatest play value in our industry,” Owner Joe Berardoni, Sr., said.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20608      (added 9/19/2008)
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MSRP: $7.99
Age Range: 7 to 14
Launch Date: January 1900
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction



This 89-piece set measures 3.5” tall and includes a functional mast and forks that lift a cargo pallet. Please check with LEGO directly to see if this particular item is available for the specialty market.
— “Lego's been a big huge boost,” Ron Banducci of Games Unlimited told TDmonthly in early fall 2008 when discussing hot-selling tween items.
— “The kids like the challenge of building all the pieces,” said Linda Kapnick, owner of Ambassador Toys in San Francisco.
— Twelve percent of 51 retailers said Lego is a best-selling item for tweens.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20607      (added 9/19/2008)
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Marie RavenWriter's Bio: Marie Raven has a long history with the specialty toy industry as a family business. In addition to freelancing for TDmonthly Magazine, she writes creative and technical material for various other businesses. Read more articles by this author

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