TDmonthly Magazine!
December 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 12
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December Staff Picks

Plush Tell Stories and Electronics Sparkle


Any storyteller can impart endearing tales with Muddy Cloud's new character finger puppets, and teens can authentically encounter the basics of electricity with a kit from Sparkle Labs. See what other new products caught the eye of TDmonthly Magazine staff as they reviewed recent launches at year's end:



MSRP: $29.95
Age Range: 14 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction
Novelties



This set includes 216 powerful rare earth magnets that can be molded, shaped and snapped together in an endless variety of configurations. Each Buckyball has two poles — one repels, one attracts. Not intended for children. Watch video
— ''Pun's has sold about four dozen in the last month alone,'' Joe Berardoni, Sr., owner of Pun's Toy Shop in Bryn Mawr, Pa., shared with TDmonthly in the fall of 2010.
—Jeanette Lauture, owner of Aunt Jean's Toys & Treats in Montclair, N.J., sold nine of 24 units in two days after opening a box for display, she told TDmonthly. Two of 39 retailers named Buckyballs as a best-selling travel toy in March 2010.
— Dean Smith, Co-owner of JaZams in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2011 survey that he sells "probably 50" sets of Buckyballs each month.
— May 27, 2010 RECALL of 175,000 sets (prior to March 2010) with 13+ labeling violating a federal standard that powerful magnets not be sold to children under 14.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26179      (added 11/25/2009)
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Crazyoleez blend various colors of crayon into a single decorative shape, for a distinctive artistic experience while coloring. Other shapes and sizes are available.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26178      (added 11/24/2009)
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Age Range: 4 to 10
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Collectibles
General Toys



The Party Animal’s Lil’ TEAMMATES NCAA Running Back is available in the authentic uniform of more than 50 NCAA College Teams. Team Quarterback will also be available in 2010. Vinyl figures are approximately 3” tall with rotating heads. Comes in eye-catching, peggable double blister package. For ages 4-10. Hand painted, phthalate and lead free. Tested and meets all requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25773      (added 10/27/2009)
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MSRP: $25
Age Range: 3 to 12
Target Age Range: 3 to 5
Made in: Canada
SKU or Item #: 1001
Launch Date: September 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Educational
Special Needs
Gifts



This magnetic daily schedule for kids consists of 18 durable, kid-friendly magnets and a fold-&-go magnetic board that kids can take anywhere. Grandparents and babysitters can easily know a child's daily routine. It can be personalized with a dry erase marker. Users can place magnets down the middle or use the "To Do" and "Done" columns for a reward system. The back stores unused magnets. This mom/teacher-created product is made in Canada of 70-percent recycled materials. Individuals can mix and match from nine different kits to create a family's or classroom's perfect routine. "A daily visual schedule helps children become more successful and independent all because they feel safe and confident knowing what is happening next! Wonderful for helping preschoolers or kids of any age, and children with special needs, with event transition," Elaine Comeau, founder of Easy Daysies, told TDmonthly. Launch date: December 2009.
Awards: 2010 Creative Child Magazine Top Choice of the Year Award (Parenting Aids-Teaching Responsibility & Educational Products-Preschool Category); 2010 Parent-Tested Parent-Approved Award
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26089      (added 11/17/2009)
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Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Outdoor Fun



These Spinning Superstars are perennial favorites for wintertime sliding. Made of rugged plastic, these saucers are available in various colors.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25840      (added 10/29/2009)
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Baffle! consists of a 5 x 5 grid of 25 squares on the game board, plus 25 game pieces in five shapes and colors. The player strategically places and removes pieces to accomplish the goal of each particular game. In Baffle! Classic, he must end up with a configuration in which each row, column and diagonal has a piece of each shape and a piece of each color.
— At the Play House Toy Store in Durham, N.C., this game is a best seller, Owner Donna Frederick told TDmonthly in late November 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26223      (added 11/30/2009)
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MSRP: $49.99
Age Range: 12 and up
Launch Date: October 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Electronic Games
Developmental Toys
Educational



The Discover Electronics Kit is designed to help users learn the basics of electronics and make their own projects. It contains the most common electronics components as well as a prototyping breadboard. Easy, full-color diagrams teach how to bring ideas to life, helping teenagers become smarter about the world around them. It offers a basic understanding of how things work and that knowledge is a great motivator in figuring out how to solve problems. Not overly simplified, it uses real parts and encourages creativity — not just following directions. "The kit takes you beyond the concept of turning on a light and guides you through the 'how' and the 'why' of electronics so you can get creative yourself," Victoria George, founder of Victoria George Public Relations, told TDmonthly. Launch date: October 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25852      (added 10/29/2009)
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MSRP: $10.00
Age Range: 5 and up
Launch Date: January 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Science & Nature
Educational
Novelties



The Particle Zoo is a collection of more than 36 plush versions of subatomic particles from the worlds of physics and astronomy. Often compared to Giant Microbes, these handmade soft toys represent the familiar neutron and proton as well as lesser-known particles like the charm quark and muon. A favorite of physics students can make unique birthday and graduation gifts, especially for physics students. The particles are handmade in the USA. "There are no other companies making plush subatomic particles, so they are a unique concept. Because they are weighted according to their relative masses, they can serve as a teaching aid or novelty gift," Julie Peasley, owner and seamstress for The Particle Zoo, told TDmonthly. Launch date: 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25847      (added 10/29/2009)
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MSRP: $59.95
Age Range: All Ages
Launch Date: November 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Teddy Bear
Eco-Friendly
Plush



These bears come from the Green Mountains of Vermont, but their cuddly soft fur and paw pads are made from 100-percent recycled post-consumer plastic bottles — the same fabric that goes into making some of the world's softest fleece and other cozy fabrics. They're made with 100-percent recycled stuffing. And just like all Vermont Teddy Bears, Go Green Bears feature "Born in Vermont" eyes and a "tush tag" confirming an unconditional lifetime guarantee. Launch date: November 15, 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26001      (added 11/5/2009)
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MSRP: $12.00
Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: JG5T100
Launch Date: September 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Creative Activities
Licensed Products
Eco-Friendly



The Jane Goodall Save the Animals Kit features 50 icons of species that have been brought back from extinction. With each purchase, 10 percent is donated to the Jane Goodall Institute to continue to raise awareness and support the animals of the world. "[It's] the only kit to feature these 50 species and the kit bracelets and elements are made from recycled materials," Ewa Zielinski, owner of Shainsware, told TDmonthly. Launch date: September 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25999      (added 11/5/2009)
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MSRP: $35.00
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: August 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Pretend Play
Puppets
General Toys



Muddy Cloud is a character-driven line featuring bright colors and abstract shapes. These pint-sized characters are ideal for on-the-go storytelling and include Doot, Balob, Joop, Beep and Tada. They are also available as a set. Launch date: August 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25988      (added 11/5/2009)
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To complement Teamees sports blankets, these organic cotton burp cloths have screen-printed designs, such as the basketball court shown. The cloths measure 22" x 11".
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25979      (added 11/5/2009)
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MSRP: $29.99
Launch Date: November 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Furniture & Decor
Infant & Toddler
Designer Toys



This multi-color table lamp features heat-free LED illumination, red, green, blue or rainbow mode, and a 15-minute timer to fade off and not disturb sleep.  Launch date: November 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25935      (added 11/2/2009)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 0 to 4
Launch Date: September 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Infant & Toddler
Safety
Award Winners



Endorsed by Medical Professionals, Snazzy Baby Knee Pads are made to high safety standards. Medical-quality Neoprene and non-slip traction beads help babies can learn to crawl and walk without injuries like bruising, cuts, scraped knees and rug burn. Worn inside or outside, they can be used for commando crawling, crawling, toddling, walking, bike riding and playground activities. They are designed to also offer Vital safe protection to special needs children. The knee pads are "ergonomically designed to safely give greater flexibility and movement over a long timeframe of use," Cyndy Mundy, CEO of Snazzy Baby, told TDmonthly. This product received an iParenting Media Award for Safety in 2006. Launch date: September 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25929      (added 11/2/2009)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: All Ages
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Novelties
Tween
General Toys



The Amazing String Thing transforms an ordinary piece of string into a magical moving rainbow nearly 3' in the air. Point it up, down, even sideways and watch as the string playfully dances in mid-air. Gently touching the string generates wave patterns and interactive shapes that seem to defy gravity. Kids can operate The Amazing String Thing while inside the custom base (directly on any table top), or they can simply take the lightweight hand-held wand wherever they go and conduct their very own string show. It requires 4 "AA" batteries, not included.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25784      (added 10/28/2009)
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Age Range: 1 to 3
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Bags & Backpacks
Infant & Toddler



This fun bag for day trips features padded shoulder straps that adjust to fit, a handle on the top, zipper closure for the main storage area, and a zipped compartment on top that stores a weatherproof hood. It also comes with a detachable safety rein for parental use.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26131      (added 11/19/2009)
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MSRP: $30.00
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Bath
Gifts
Infant & Toddler



Each see-through pail contains 12 rubber ducks, ready for bath time or display. Black, white, gold metallic and silver metallic are available.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25774      (added 10/27/2009)
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MSRP: $18.99
Age Range: All Ages
Launch Date: December 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Eco-Friendly
Safety
Infant & Toddler



Little Bites Freezer Trays are designed to make storing and freezing homemade baby and toddler foods safe and easy. Made of durable, BPA-free and phthalate-free silicone, these stackable trays feature four storage cups and a see-through silicone lid. Users seal with a pinch, and then place in the freezer. They are sold in sets of two, and feature 2-oz. servings that can simply be popped out, warmed and served. The toxin-free trays are freezer safe, dishwasher safe and microwave safe. Kinderville offers "uniquely designed products made of resilient silicone. Not too many items in the market place ... are similar to what we are offering," Oliver Albers, president of Luft Industrie LLC dba Kinderville, told TDmonthly. Launch date: December 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26103      (added 11/17/2009)
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MSRP: $20.00
Age Range: All Ages
Launch Date: October 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush
Eco-Friendly
Wooden Toys



Made from organic cotton and sustainable rubber wood, this mischievous monkey hangs from just about anywhere. Launch date: October 15, 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26081      (added 11/16/2009)
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MSRP: $18.99
Age Range: 3 to 7
SKU or Item #: 0002
Launch Date: December 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Preschool
Educational
Developmental Toys



MY WEEK is designed to show little ones how days are organized in a way that is colorful, playful and personalized to a child's life. It may be used to introduce the days of the week, seasons, weather, routines and special events. Colours and symbols allow even pre-readers to differentiate each day. MY WEEK includes a magnetic calendar, 58 developmentally appropriate activity magnets, a dry erase marker and a reusable storage bag. "In a nutshell, it helps children to develop a better understanding of the abstract concept of time in an engaging, fun manner! We have found no other products in the market that address this need," Nathalie and Jennifer, owners of 2fish kids, told TDmonthly. Launch date: December 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25848      (added 10/29/2009)
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MSRP: $24.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Launch Date: September 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Board Games
American-Made
Religious



In 164 BCE, Judah Maccabee led his Maccabean army to liberate the land of Israel and reclaim the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But the Maccabees did not have enough oil to light the menorahs to rededicate the Temple. Now players must lead a band of Maccabees and acquire enough oil to light the new eight-stemmed menorah called a Chanukiah. But beware, there are still remnants of the Seleucid Empire’s army roaming the lands trying to thwart these efforts. This board game is made in the USA and turns the basic game of dreidel into an adventure. The entire game is in English and Hebrew, so it serves as a tool for learning Hebrew. Launch date: September 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25855      (added 10/29/2009)
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