August 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 8
TDmonthly's August Staff Picks
Designer Toy Cars Race Into America
Stylish, foot-long roadsters from a British company are zooming into the United States, eco-friendly baby toys are being primed with pink, and the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) has gone plush. See these and other staff picks from TDmonthly Magazine below:
Individuals can learn the art of sculptural needle felting with this kit by Woolpets. A generous amount of wool roving and instructional photos are provided to make it simple to create a family of penguins. Also included are two new felting needles and a wooden skewer packaged in an attractive take out container. All one needs is a foam pad and a sense of adventure. "Lots of step-by-step photographs and very clear instructions ensure success for beginners," Kevin Sharp, owner of Woolpets, told TDmonthly. Launch date: 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24463 (added 7/7/2009)
Nature Themed Number Wall Cards by CHILDREN INSPIRE DESIGN
Other products from CHILDREN INSPIRE DESIGN
These nature-themed, gender-neutral wall cards are numbered one through 10. The images are made using recycled paper. The cards are designed to be educational, stylish and environmental from start to finish, using only 100-percent recycled materials and soy ink for the product and packaging. "Wall cards are known as an economical alternative to expensive wall art, which makes them the perfect product for families on a budget. And their versatility allows them to be individually framed, or simply tacked up to the wall!" Rebecca Peragine, CEO of Art and Philanthropy, told TDmonthly. Launch date: May 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24460 (added 7/7/2009)
The Pink line includes organic rattles, teethers, and developmental toys designed with purpose. The House Sorter comes packed with four shape blocks ready to be shaken, squeezed and sorted. It's designed to stimulate and develop babies' sensory, motor and social skills vital to their personal growth and most importantly, have fun doing it. “From the organic cotton grown without pesticides and chemicals, coloring process, and right down to the plant-based fibers used in filling the plush toys, we’re all about delivering toys that babies will enjoy learning from and that don’t harm the environment,” Re-Think It Co-founder Amy Shumway told TDmonthly. A portion of the proceeds from the PINK line will support Breast Cancer Research. Launch date: September 16, 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24362 (added 6/29/2009)
Ecotronics Eco Mic by INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Other products from INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Ecotronic toys were developed to function just like regular electronic toys but with a different kind of energy. Dynamo technology inside of each toy converts a shake, squeeze or crank into energy that powers lights and sounds and other electronic functions. The crank-powered Eco Mic helps kids become eco-pop stars. Using four different buttons to activate voice amplification, music to sing along to, and two different drum sounds, the Eco Mic is an all-in-one music band with a color-changing light show. "Since kid-powered energy is a highly renewable energy source, Ecotronic toys will never run out of juice. Also, all Ecotronic toys are packaged in their specially developed Gekopak™ packaging, which is made of recycled paper and is completely bio-degradable," Vickie Cullen, PR account executive for International Playthings, told TDmonthly. Launch date: May 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24337 (added 6/29/2009)
KinderCone’s namesake product is a large, colorful cone filled with inspiring and educational gifts for young children, which parents give to their children to recognize the transition from kindergarten to first grade. KinderCone’s guiding principle is about inspiring young children to enjoy learning by celebrating this special milestone in their lives. KinderCones are 28" tall, handmade in Germany of sturdy box-board printed paper, and feature a limited edition design. Each KinderCone comes pre-filled with a Kinderjournal, Kalri, the plush main character of the journal, five pencils and temporary tattoos. The cones are offered in two main colors, red and bright green, and offer eight color options of the felt enclosure on top. "KinderCone is the first and only American company to re-create this concept outside of Europe," Vivian Lie, owner of KinderCone LLC, told TDmonthly. Launch date: July 15, 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24270 (added 6/29/2009)
organicKidz Stainless Steel Baby Bottles are a safe and practical alternative to plastic, aluminum and glass drinking containers.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24431 (added 7/3/2009)
Simply fill the vase 3/4 full with water, add Vase-Over powder and stir. After thirty seconds, add the fun, themed foam and glitter accents, and voila — a decorated, multi-dimensional container. All that's left to do is add flowers. "There is no need to change the solution, and most cut flowers will last longer in our patent-pending formulation than water! This is the only product on the market that revolutionizes vases and how they look, as well as being made in the United States," Alicia Borley, PR manager for DuneCraft, told TDmonthly. Launch date: February 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24360 (added 6/29/2009)
This 5-7" plush doll represents the Influenza A virus H1N1 in an oblong pink shape covered with pink fur and adorned with big red eyes and a pig snout. It is part of a line of educational stuffed "animals" that look like mini microbes. The GIANTmicrobes series turns creepy crawly microscopic organisms into irresistible stuffed toys. Launch date: June 2009.
— Online Reviews: Minnesota Mamas’ Sarah found GiantMicrobes “a fun way to teach your kids about germs and how to stay healthy as well as why they are ill.” The Mom Buzz thought the plush can help kids develop healthy habits, like washing their hands, as well as alleviating fear of medical procedures.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24401 (added 7/1/2009)
In this techno trading game, players try to diversify their hands with the best inventions from each invention family by 'doing deals' (trades) with other players. Deal Maker cards give an added zing to play. There's an inventor’s die and an inventions pocket guide. It "puts the future in childrens’ hands like no other game before it!" Geoffrey Moran, President, Evolving Toys, told TDmonthly. This product was a Museum Store Association Buyer’s Choice Award Finalist 2009. Launch date: August 15, 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24327 (added 6/29/2009)
Moonjar's Family Kit (financial literacy for the family) by MOONJAR
Other products from MOONJAR
This kit is designed to help parents teach kids about money — specifically saving, spending and sharing. It comes with a lesson plan, a book about how people approach money differently, a game to encourage money talk, and a Moonjar Moneybox to promote goal setting and budgeting. "This kit is designed to break open the money conversation at home and to help parents find staightforward, fun and meaningful ways to help the children sustain smart saving, spending and sharing for a lifetime," Mary Ryan Karges, vice president of Moonjar LLC, told TDmonthly. This product has received the following awards: 2009 Creative Child Seal of Excellence, Oppenheim Best Toy, Teachers Choice Award, IP award, and Global Learning Initiative award. Launch date: June 12, 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24449 (added 7/7/2009)
This hands-on way to help students identify beginning, middle and ending sounds in words can be played with an entire class, an individual student or a small group of students. The set includes six double-sided boards, six race cars and an activity guide. Launch date: 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24351 (added 6/29/2009)
Block Mates build upon the foundation of unit blocks by providing children with a themed exploration set. All Block Mates are designed to fit standard unit blocks and can be built in their natural form or mixed and matched with others in the set to create new, imaginative creatures. The patented gasket design is created for a snug fit. There are five characters per set. The Safari set includes Gorilla, Rhinoceros, Elephant, Alligator and Lion. Blocks not included. There is not a toy in any market like Block Mates™. "They bring new life to a store's unit block sales and they are not marketed in big-box stores. They can be sold as an educational toy or a creative toy," Dave Ruddock, digital imaging and design for Guidecraft, told TDmonthly. This product received a Best of 2008 Instructor Teacher's Pick award and a 2008 and 2009 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award. Launch date: October 20, 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24287 (added 6/29/2009)
The Monsterbooks are illustrated rhyming books for all generations. The books were created as a response to parents' desire for books to read to their children that adults can also enjoy. They draw upon themes that resonate with adults, including the Beatles, presidential politics and baseball. Launch date: June 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24278 (added 6/29/2009)
The KaZAM provides an alternative way to learn to ride a pedaled bicycle based on the concept of balance first, pedal last. It is a training bicycle that assists children to balance, increase coordination and ultimately ride a traditional bicycle for the first time with confidence. "This customized toddler bicycle has the steering and balancing challenges of a traditional bicycle but it has no pedals, chain or training wheels. Unlike all the competitors on the market, there is no more awkwardness with where to put your feet when gliding and cruising on a run bike — the KaZAM is uniquely designed with a foot rest area thereby making the transition onto a pedaled bicycle quicker and seamless! Because of its unique patented footrest and design, KaZAM appeals instantly to children and their parents," John Lugo, partner at KaZAM, told TDmonthly. Launch date: November 15, 2008.
Awards: Dr. Toy 100 Best Children's Products - 2010
— "All colors are great,"Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toys, told TDmonthly at Toy Fair 2010.
— Glisyn Lewis Jarrells, manager of Imaginations Toy & Furniture Colo. in Blacksburg, Va., told TDmonthly in a March 2013 survey that they sell around 10 Kazam balance bikes during the warm-weather months.
— In a July 2013 survey Diana Nelson, owner of Kazoo Toys in Denver, Colo., told TDmonthly that Kazam balance bikes are her store's overall best-selling toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24276 (added 6/29/2009)
The Roadster Car is about 12 inches long and is made of durable ABS plastic. The range is designed to be safe for children of all ages, meeting stringent international testing standards including safety tests EN71. "Beautifully designed and well-engineered, these products perfectly straddle the toy and design world," Deepa Dadlani, president of VICI Enterprises (exclusive North American Distributor of Playforever Toys), told TDmonthly. Launch date: August 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24272 (added 6/29/2009)
Steiff's update on the classic rocking horse, Leo Riding Lion, is made of high-quality woven fur and solid beech. With a handmade inner frame of stainless steel that can hold up to 300 lbs., this handcrafted rocker stands 28" tall and is surface washable. With a soft, full mane and loving face, Leo is marked with Steiff's signature "Button in Ear," representative of the company's trademark commitment to ultimate quality and workmanship. Launch date: September 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24450 (added 7/7/2009)
This Solar Motor is ready to go right out of the package. Designed for demonstrating the principles of solar power, this kit includes a 1.1-volt, 75mA high-quality solar panel, propeller, and a state-of-the-art coreless DC motor capable of up to 22,000 rpm. This Solar Motor is a good way for introducing alternative energy concepts or just having fun outside while the sun is shining. Launch date: 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24307 (added 6/29/2009)
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There's no limit to what you can make with this beautiful collection of materials! With simple tips and lots of examples for inspiration, cut, glue and sew ornaments, bookmarks, jewelry, cards, mobiles, gift tags, collages & more! Two bonus projects in every kit! Turn the box into a mailbox, birdhouse or special treasure box. The inner tray is perfect for framing your art. Ages 8 and up
— "I love these craft kits because the materials used are so incredible. Kids get to play with 100-percent wool felt, glass and wood beads, and beautiful handmade paper. It’s an added bonus that the company has skipped excessive packaging and uses 100-percent post-consumer waste recycled paper, reusable bags and vegetable-based inks," said Autumn Orndorff, gift buyer for Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Ariz., after discovering Artterro kits at ASTRA Marketplace 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24262 (added 6/29/2009)
These Uncle Goose multi-color alphabet blocks have bug pictures and names, and are made in the USA. This set includes four complete alphabets, two upper case and two lower case, and numbers from 0 to 10 and math symbols. Uncle Goose blocks are 1-3/4" and are handcrafted from sustainable Michigan basswood with child-safe inks.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24261 (added 6/29/2009)
Pilloroo Pillows have a hidden pouch for hiding away a toy or gift item. The pillow is stuffed so the item cannot be felt from the outside. This product is made in the USA and received a 2008 Moms Best Award. Launch date: November 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24233 (added 6/29/2009)
Organic CabooseŽ Eco-Fleece Diaper Cover by ORGANIC CABOOSE
Other products from ORGANIC CABOOSE
Organic Caboose® diaper covers are constucted from Malden Mills' Polartec® Ecospun® fleece made from recycled soda pop bottles or Organic Merino wool.
Super soft and highly breathable, perfect any time of year! Great alternative to wool and a superb nighttime cover. Fold-back tabs for ease of washing.
Color available: oatmeal.
Sizes: Small (6-12lb/2-6kg) Medium (12-18lb/6-9kg) Large (18-28lb/9-14kg) Extra Large 28+lb/14+kg
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24414 (added 7/1/2009)
These three animals, an ox, elephant and hippo, have embedded magnets that allow kids to mix and match their head and tail components. Each measures about 5" L x 3" D.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24479 (added 7/8/2009)
The Wood Grain Style Qee Collection features figurines in a variety of sizes in both light wood and dark wood designs, each created with a unique pattern like real wood. The collectibles are available in 2.5" with keychain attachment, 8", 9" and 16". Launch date: 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24177 (added 6/19/2009)
Designed to challenge the mind, this puzzle ball features two rotating hemispheres and two sets of colored tiles that move within canals on the sphere. Once the tiles are scrambled, the goal is to get them back into their original configuration, with one white tile at the north pole and the other at the south. There are several different strategies and approaches for one or more players.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24496 (added 7/8/2009)
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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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