June 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 6
Holiday Preview - Construction Toys
Buildables That Play and Ride
Even a ride-on for tweens isn’t too big for the construction category. This year, creative kids can build everything from vehicles and animals to homes and gardens. Check out basic blocks, gears, marbles and more in TDmonthly’s Holiday Preview of Construction Toys.
Gears! Gears! Gears! School Set by LEARNING RESOURCES INC.
Other products from LEARNING RESOURCES INC.
Kids can name the five figurines and take charge of the day, from writing on the "blackboard" to extra-long recess. This set is compatible with other Gears! Gears! Gears! sets. Kids can follow the color-coded building instructions or use their imaginations. The 60-piece set includes 20 colorful gears, five figurines, playground equipment, a write-and-wipe schoolhouse, a flag, a sticker sheet and a base. All pieces except the cardboard school house are plastic. "Gears! Gears! Gears! School Set is a hands-on educational product that builds fine motor skills while creating positive feelings about school," Nancy Davies, group account director at the Salmon Borre Group, PR agency for Learning Resources, told TDmonthly. Launch date: February 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23917 (added 5/28/2009)
The MOOV by BERG is both a construction toy and a rideable vehicle for children, ages 5 to 12. Children can construct MOOV by themselves without the use of any tools or help from parents. The wooden parts, rings, shafts and frames are multi-functional. Once the model is complete, the fun continues. MOOV construction toys are available in three kits: Starter, Advanced, and Street. The Starter kit ($210.00) can create three wooden models, the Advanced ($300.00) seven models, and the Street ($376.00) up to 10 models. For each new construction, the old model must be taken apart.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23891 (added 5/27/2009)
EZ-Fort is an open-ended building toy that just requires the addition of sheets. The easy to use, 54-piece building system can transform into a playhouse, a ship, or even an obstacle course. Also, it's designed as an educational toy for developing critical thinking skills and nurturing the creative thought process. Launch date: September 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23866 (added 5/22/2009)
Designed to spark a child's imagination, these natural wooden toys feature assembly that engages the child's mind and promotes learning a new skill in the coordination of mind and hands. Pairing quality and design, the VARIS LOCK system is created to ensure tight construction that derives from precise design of the single pieces. Launch date: July 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23851 (added 5/22/2009)
Designed for LaQ beginners to enjoy snapping together flat models, this kit includes all 10 LaQ colors, four types of blocks and four colorful pages of instruction sheets to make 39 interchangeable models. "Children enjoy the snap! and click! sound when piecing the parts together. LaQ is a highly educational block toy with an infinite possibility of creating three-dimensional and spherical models. The Mini Kit Plane is an introductory kit," Mo Saeki, in the overseas division of Yoshiritsu Co., Ltd., told TDmonthly. Launch date: May 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23713 (added 5/19/2009)
With plenty of traditional wood 'logs' and bright colored accessories, children can build a charming dairy farm with a main house for the character figurines, a barn, and corral space for the included black and white cow. A nostalgic and creative building toy, Lincoln Logs can be used to assemble their suggested models into a quaint prairie town, or built into different structures to suit a child's imagination.
— “Lincoln Logs are still selling well,” said Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas. During an April 2009 survey of 49 retailers, she reported sales of about eight sets per month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23617 (added 5/11/2009)
This 15-piece set contains a mixture of favorite Wedgits pieces, as well as new angled and straight Wedgits Building Stix. The distinctive pieces allow for even more building possibilities, and the set integrates fully with other Wedgits sets so children can take the complex geometry, balance and stability of this building system to new heights.
— “Wedgits are doing very well. We sell them weekly,” Cathy Albrow, owner of Creative Learning Toys, told TDmonthly in spring 2009 of the construction toy best sellers in her store in Grand Rapids, Mich.
— Diana Nelson, owner of Kazoo & Company in Denver, Colo., named Wedgits as a best seller in an April 2009 survey about construction toys, remarking, “We sell a few sets a day.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23616 (added 5/11/2009)
Kids can learn about renewable energy by building this functioning wind generator. When the blades turn, they create electricity that powers an LED light, demonstrating renewable energy from the wind. Users just add a recycled plastic bottle and the kit provides everything else they need. No batteries required. Launch date: 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23706 (added 5/19/2009)
Third in the series of K'Nex amusement park rides, the Octopus Whirl is a 454-piece set that builds an expansive 2’-wide thrill ride. Swiveling seats dangle from the long spokes, attached to the center carousel, which spins on an included motor for a realistic model. Children can build an entire carnival with the other three Amusement Park models. The motor requires two AA batteries; not included.
— “K’nex is great,” stated Sheryl Guidera, owner of Kaleidoscope the Parent Teacher Store in Capitola, Calif., in response to a spring 2009 TDmonthly survey on top-selling construction products.
— Three of 49 retailers named K'nex as a best-selling construction toy in April 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23615 (added 5/11/2009)
Founded on the idea of a modular construction set that integrates with many other popular systems such as K'Nex and Lego, Uberstix is also intended for use with whatever recycled materials one might have lying around. Mixing Uberstix pieces such as the 60 contained in this set with found materials yields numerous possibilities. This model set is designed to yield a large bat that can really flap its wings. The kit also includes a 40-page book of Uberstix basics.
— “They are flying off the shelves,” said Janet Hoo, owner of Hoomade Toys in Phoenix, Ariz., who named Uberstix in response to TDmonthly's April 2009 survey of best selling construction toys. “Once the customer learns they are compatible with Legos and other sets they want them.”
— “I put some out to show how they work with Legos and others,” said Jacque Flagg, owner of Jacque's Educational Supplies in Bryan, Texas, on what makes Uberstix a best-selling toy in the construction department.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23614 (added 5/11/2009)
Who knows what 500 pieces of poseable, snap-together Zoob could stir in the imagination? Geometric structures, funky creatures, buildings and whimsical characters can be built and rebuilt easily with the simple ball-and-socket joints that connect Zoob pieces. The set comes packed in a sturdy, reusable storage case complete with four removable play pads that fit into the lid to act as foundations for the creations.
— “Up until now, Zoob has been best,” Jeff Oslick, owner of The Enchanted Toy Store in Fullerton, Calif., told TDmonthly during an April 2009 survey about best-selling construction toys.
— “I have a good run on Zoob year round,” said Amy Barrett, owner of Lasso the Moon Wonderful Toys in Helena, Mont., of her top selling construction items.
— Four of 49 retailers listed Zoob as a best-selling construction item in spring 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23613 (added 5/11/2009)
The magical world of pinklets™ opens in a beautiful garden that young builders create themselves. The Fairy Garden theme includes plastic rods, connectors, wheels, and decorative EVA flowers, leaves, and wings. Built on the award-winning Superstructs building system, pinklets allows for endless play possibilities.
Superstructs pinklets are designed for girls and the way girls want to build. pinklets embrace the themes young girl builders' want with easy-to-assemble components - and just enough structure - to create their own environments for nearly endless role play and storytelling.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23374 (added 4/27/2009)
These natural wood construction sets are made using wood from sustainable forest management practices and are packaged in a cotton duck canvas bag. There are also sets in canisters and tubs to make cabins, forts and treehouses. The interlocking pieces require no tools and provide hours of safe and educational fun. The sets are made in the USA. Launch date: 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23095 (added 3/31/2009)
This set comes with bricks and materials to create a miniature version of the Yellow House as portrayed in one of artist Vincent van Gogh's famous paintings.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22706 (added 3/4/2009)
This 500-piece starter kit includes enough components for the construction of 12 lineal elevated feet of monorail track. It also comes with a powered engine and a car to ride the rail and weather 30-degree grades.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22677 (added 3/2/2009)
Matador of Austria wooden construction sets are made of Austrian beechwood. Children learn through pictures how to build model planes, cranes and helicopters. Different levels available for children ranging from +3 to +5 years of age.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23180 (added 4/9/2009)
This series features four robots: Razor, Chomp, Turbo and Spider. Each set includes over 350 parts and and a motor that allows for unique mechanical motion features.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22579 (added 2/25/2009)
These eco-friendly construction toys were inspired by children's board books and come with landscape and character pieces. Each set includes flat panels printed with colorful, water-based ink and slotted building blocks made from earth-friendly Sprigwood. The Palace and Barnyard are large sets. There are also medium sets: Construction Site, Ladybug Adventure and Safari Adventure (MSRP: $19.99). Large sets are 90 pieces; the medium are 60. Launch date: Fall 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22483 (added 2/16/2009)
This set includes 100 pieces of various colors to make creative construction projects and marble runs. Launch date: July 1, 2009.
— Rebecca Goblish, owner of Picayune Toys in Dunwoody, Ga., told TDmonthly in a May 2013 survey that Q-Ba-Maze is one of her best-selling construction toys.
— Dean Smith, owner of Jazam Toys in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly in a May 2015 survey that this was a best-selling construction toy at their store.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22481 (added 2/16/2009)
This set of 12 blocks comes in a plastic tray and features various designs on each block side, so that kids can assemble them in different ways to form many distinct creations.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22480 (added 2/16/2009)
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Writer'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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