May 2010 | Vol. IX - No. 5
Top-10 Most-Wanted Infant and Toddler Toys
Twilight Turtle Wins the Race
With additional reporting by Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Chris Lundy, Claudia Newcorn and Brenda Ruggiero.
Items like the Fill & Spill Mailbox from Melissa & Doug represent classic play patterns for young children, according to a nationwide survey of 39 specialty retailers discussing best-selling playthings for babies. For simple infant essentials, storeowners turn to brands trusted for safety, choosing grabbing toys and teethers from Haba and Manhattan Toy, for example. Here are the top-10 most-wanted infant and toddler toys as reported to TDmonthly Magazine in March 2010.
No manufacturer paid to be included in this article. All products listed were chosen by editorial staff without regard to the company's relationship with TOYDIRECTORY.com/TDmonthly Magazine.
Each Twilight Turtle and Friends character from the collection projects constellation nightlights that create a magical sleep-time environment. Each “shell” illuminates the night with three soothing color options to help ease fear of the dark. The Twilight Collection includes Twilight Turtle and Twilight Ladybug, each available in three colors and a Twilight Sea Turtle that also has five illuminated windows projecting images of sea life.
— Retailers surveyed by TDmonthly have been naming the Twilight Turtle as a best-seller since 2006.
— Six of 66 retailers mentioned one of the Twilight Turtles as a top-selling item for baby gifts in July 2008. Four of 47 retailers named Twilight Turtle as a top-selling baby gift in June 2009. Three of 64 retailers cited it as a top-selling infant and toddler toy in March 2009, and eight of 39 said the same in March 2010.
— In a 2012 survey, Erika Evers, owner of Dancing Bear Toys in Hendersonville, N.C., told TDmonthly that their best selling infant & toddler product is the "Twilight Turtle from Cloud B, and it's spin-offs, like the ladybug." They sell about 20 units each month.
— Want this? As of 05/06/2011, this product was available for purchase at Toys & Co.
AWARDS: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7426 (added 3/30/2006)
Suitable for babies 0 to 3 months and up, this teether and discovery toy features a contrasting spot pattern that offers visual stimulation, plus a squeaker for amusement. It is made of natural rubber from Hevea tree and colored with food paint. Sophie is distributed in the United States by Calisson.
— Retailers surveyed by TDmonthly have been naming Sophie the Giraffe as a best-seller since 2009.
― Nicole Boomhover, assistant manager of Learning Express in Cahaba Heights, Ala. told TDmonthly in late Spring 2011 that they sold between five and ten Sophies a month.
— In an April 2012 survey, three out of 11 retailers told TDmonthly that Sophie the Giraffe was their best selling infant & toddler product.
― “Sophie giraffe is a great baby product that we order over and over again,” Diana Nelson, owner of Kazoo & Company in Denver, Co., told TDmonthly in June 2010. “I can't keep them on the shelf,” agreed Keith Schumacker, general manager at Talbot’s Toyland in San Mateo, Calif.
― During a March 2010 survey of 39 retailers, seven said Sophie the Giraffe is a top-selling toy for infants. Sales averaged 24 per month.
— Want this? As of 05/06/2011, this product was available for purchase at Learning Express of Cahaba Heights, Ala.
AWARDS: 2014 TDmonthly Magazine Top Toy Award, 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23246 (added 4/10/2009)
This soft plush sorting toy from Melissa & Doug brings together a variety of fun developmental activities for toddlers. The mailbox has an opening front flap and see-through back panel, as well as a flag that can be raised and lowered just like a real mailbox. Cheerfully addressed letters come with Velcro stamps that can be taken off and put back on as a child imagines their letters going into the mailbox, flying all the way around the world, and coming back again.
― Twenty percent of 39 retailers named Melissa and Doug as their top-selling supplier of infant and toddler toys during a March 2010 survey conducted by TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27944 (added 4/9/2010)
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Skwish appeals to baby's visual and tactile curiosity, making this sophisticated toy a source of wonder and learning. ”It never loses its shape, allowing it grow with baby,” Associate Marketing Manager Amy Cathey of Manhattan Toy told TDmonthly. “Adults also love it as a stress reliever, so it appeals to anyone.” Launch date: 1988.
― Of 39 retailers asked to name their top-selling infant and toddler toy in March 2010, seven told TDmonthly that Manhattan is their best line. Three named Skwish, reporting sales averaging 24 per month.
― “Manhattan Toy is my biggest vendor, both for infants and toddlers,” said Barbara Paeth-Haas, owner of The Durango Kid in Durango, Colo., in spring 2010.
— In a February 2013 survey, Cariad Owen, manager of Out of the Blue Toys in Albuquerque, N.M., told TDmonthly that Skwish was their best selling wooden toy.
Where to buy:
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12998 (added 5/22/2007)
Fun Time Tractor by INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Other products from INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
This tractor has a farmer that drives around with five removable plastic farm animals that make their animal sounds when placed on the plastic vehicle.
— Out of the Blue Ltd. Store Manager Kara Fichtner, in Albuquerque, N.M., told TDmonthly in May 2006: “It’s one of my favorite toys. It’s something we show customers when they come in looking for a toy for a 1-year-old.”
— “We sell 144 tractors a year, and we don’t have many people coming in,” Grafton Stine, owner of Toys on the Square in Hummelstown, Pa, told TDmonthly in summer 2007.
— “For a first birthday toy, it’s the Fun Time Tractor from iPlay — it really sells,” noted Teresa Ford, owner of Kids’ Ketch in Lewes, Del., when asked about best-selling baby gifts in July 2008. Six of 39 retailers told TDmonthly in March 2010 that International Playthings supplies their best-selling infant and toddler toys. Two singled out the Funtime Tractor as a top-selling individual item with sales of four per month.
— In a 2012 survey about best selling infant & toddler products, Joe Berardoni, owner of Pun's Toys in Bryn Mawr, Pa. told TDmonthly, "Pun’s best selling baby toy continues to be the Funtime Tractor from International Playthings. Even though it retails for more than $30, this store sells a disproportional amount- up to 12 a month, even during slow times. Of course, my staff all love it also, so it is usually recommended."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4385 (added 8/31/2005)
This rubbery, tri-colored ball is a staple for any child learning cognitive and social skills and developing fine- and gross-motor skills. Ideal for children with a special need, the ball is durable and has a skeletal structure that allows for easy catching. "Kids and teachers agree that Oballs are the easiest balls to catch and hold. The cool design already has won five awards for excellence and innovation, including an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award and a Dr. Toy Best Vacation Products Award,” said Suzanne Silverglate, owner of Rhino Toys.
— “Everybody buys it,” Dalene Lockhart, owner of Toy Town in Casper, Wyo., told TDmonthly in 2007. “Right now it is head and shoulders above others [in the infant/toddler category]. It's probably been that way for two years.” Retailers reported average monthly sales of five to 25 a month.
— In summer 2008, four of 66 specialty retailers named the Oball as one of their top-selling gifts for babies. “We sell more of them because our store does gift wrapping and it makes a good topper,” said Jill Jernigan, owner of J. Christopher Toys in Jonesboro, Ark.
― Ask retailers about top-selling balls and the Oball is an answer that’s sure to come up, winning the graspable toy a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award. Six of 64 retailers named the Oball as a best-selling baby toy in March 2009, and two of 39 said the same a year later. “[It] is definitely the best-selling gift for babies,” stated John Naisbitt, owner of Thinker Things in Del Mar, Calif., in June 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 456 (added 9/1/2004)
Stunning colors give this perennial favorite a lively look. Babies will be engaged and amused by the responsive rattle, and caregivers can safely refrigerate this pliable plastic toy to produce a soothing teether. “We have so much of the Manhattan baby...we sell a lot,” Owner Amy Barrett of Lasso the Moon Wonderful Toys in Helena, Mont., told TDmonthly in early 2007. “People buy them for baby gifts...baby shower gifts. They like them because the colors are so bright.”
— “Winkels from Manhattan Toy — [we sell] about 30 per month,” Burdette told TDmonthly in March 2008. Five percent of the 40 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in spring 2008 singled out this item as their stores’ best-selling infant and toddler toy.
— "I sell 18 or so a month," Mary Ellen Cerney, owner of Dear Friends & Children in Duncan, Okla., said in March 2009. In June 2009, four of 47 retailers listed Manhattan Toy as their best-selling baby line. In March 2010, two of 39 specialty retailers cited Winkel as a best-selling baby toy.
— In June 2010, five percent of 40 specialty retailers named Manhattan Toy’s Winkel as a top-selling baby product.
— As of 05/21/2012 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 299 reviews on Amazon.com.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10528 (added 12/7/2006)
Made in Germany of high-quality wood and non-toxic paint in brilliant colors, the Miro clutching toy and teether has an interesting shape and set-in rattle. Large, smooth bumps on the circular panels offer texture to engage the fingers and soothe sore gums.
― When asked about her best-selling infant and toddler items in March 2010, Martha Bimblich, owner of Twinkles of Bay Harbor in Bay Harbor Island, Fla., told TDmonthly, “Haba is a great seller for us.” Bimblich said she sells 25 to 30 pieces per month.
― Three of 39 storeowners said in spring 2010 that Haba is a consistent top seller in their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27945 (added 4/9/2010)
This sturdy, radio-like box comes with five colorful, sensor-controlled blocks and a memory cartridge. Little ones have fun placing the blocks into the box, hearing snippets of Mozart songs as the blocks are placed in the square seats. Switching around the blocks creates new songs.
― “I sell a lot of Music Blocks because I love them to pieces,” Wendy Bricht, owner of Chatterpillar Toys, Gifts, and Balloons in Frazier Park, Calif., told TDmonthly in spring 2010.
― During a March 2010 survey of 39 specialty retailers, two named Neurosmith as their top brand of infant and toddler products.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5242 (added 10/27/2005)
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Toss the Taggies is approximately 8" in diameter and comes adorned with loads of multi-colored, multi-textured tags that babies and children love to rub and grab. It is designed to benefit children developmentally as they are enticed to explore the various tactile and visually stimulating looped satin tags. The colors and material are both soothing and comforting. This product recently received an iParenting Media Awards editorial inclusion and an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award. It also received the 2007 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award and the 2007 Oppenheim SNAP (Special Needs Adaptable Product) Award. “The patented functionality and multiple tactile and developmental opportunities offered by our unique, looped tags…set this product apart,” Shirley Conner of Taggies Inc. told TDmonthly.
— "Anything by Taggies; those sell like crazy," Holly Anvers, manager of Ages & Stages Toy Box in Golden, Colo., told TDmonthly about her best-selling infant product in March 2010. "Especially the Toss the Taggies ball." Two of 39 retailers named Taggies as a top-selling baby product.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7104 (added 3/3/2006)
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Writer'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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