May 2011 | Vol. X - No. 5
Get These Toys BEFORE They’re Hot!
Top Companies Share Sneak Peeks at 4Q Offerings
What’s a one-word explanation of the difference between 2010 and 2011? Excitement. Trade-show booths are selling out and more innovative products are making it into the marketplace. Even the mass media is whispering about a strong 4Q.
The specialty manufacturers that TDmonthly Magazine has been talking to are feeling the energy, and are pumped up about what they’re bringing out for the holiday season.
In this first in a series of TDmonthly’s Holiday Preview issues designed to help you research and buy the best toys and games, top specialty manufacturers tell you what they’re most enthused about for 4Q and why they believe kids will be, too.
Elaine Kollias of Folkmanis said that of the 20 new puppets the company’s preparing for the holidays, their Portuguese Water Dog puppet is expected to fetch the healthiest profits. Why will kids want to adopt it?
“It looks like the Presidential dog and is just a great, great puppet,” she said. The Portuguese Water Dog will first wag its tail at the ASTRA Marketplace in June.
These days, cupcake shops are springing up all over, so Devo Ihonde from eeBoo is serving up a game where kids get to create their own (cardboard) cupcakes, ingredient by ingredient.
“The illustrations for the Cupcake Game are done by a children’s book illustrator, Lizzy Rockwell, so it has a classic but contemporary feel,” Devo told TDmonthly. “It’s interactive for many different ages. If you’re very young, you don’t have to read. Older kids can get a lot out of it, because you get to pick what kind of cupcake you want to make, then spin to get all the ingredients for that particular cupcake: dry ingredients, frosting, colored paper liners. It’s especially good for older kids to think about what’s tantalizing to them.”
After consuming all those imaginary calories, kids can work off the frosting with a ride-on from Berg USA.
“We expect the new Buddys will most likely be our hits for the holidays,” said Matt Lindsay of Berg USA. “Grandparents like to have them around their house for kids to ride on and parents like them too.”
What sets the Buddys apart from other ride-ons is quality, said Matt. The vehicles feature sealed bearings, pneumatic tires and a drive system which allows pedaling forward and backward, plus freewheel coasting. They also come with a 2-year warranty.
But the best thing about the Buddy, continued Matt, is it “gets kids outside and gets them wanting to play.”
Tom Sebazco, from ENI Puzzle, is busy growing his new company and responding to client requests. This year, the fledgling operation moved its shipping from Astoria, Queens – where Tom did all the grunt work himself – to a fulfillment house in Texas, right in the middle of the country, to facilitate shipping to every corner of the nation.
“At February, we unveiled a new puzzle at Toy Fair – the mini and the keychain puzzles with numbers” for players who hankered for a more challenging, single solution, he told TDmonthly.
Over at Noodle Head, Susan DeCoste was looking forward to a new litter of Pawparazzi Pets.
“Two will be available in the summer and two in the holidays,” she said. The holiday releases include Mindy, a wildlife expert, and a re-release of Cocoa “one of our very first pets ― a free-spirited actor.”
The company also recently launched the Planet Pawparazzi website and a PawBlog.
“Engaging with kids in this new way and reaching them directly has brought a whole level of fun with them,” said Susan. The company is also expecting great things from their new Snuggle Paws line of plush-pet blanket carriers.
Cooperation will mark the coming year and beyond, predicts Jim Deacove of Family Pastimes. His company is releasing the Dragonfly game, which teaches kids that dragonflies are friends who eat mosquitoes, and 2012: The Mayan Calendar, a cooperative game for adults that addresses concerns about the prophesies of doom.
These games “introduce topics seldom being addressed and promote social skills so desperately needed to balance out the over-competitiveness of our society,” said Deacove.
The Learning Journey has a few innovative toys for 4Q, including a new WordPad that lets kids feel they’re part of the high-tech world, said Sherri Borelli.
Corolle Dolls remains low-tech but gives high-play value with its 2011 offerings.
“Some of our newest items include Bebe Amour from the Les Classiques collection, Miss Corolle's Coquettes, and the Les Cheries' latest, Capucine,” said Liza Grando for Corolle. “Corolle dolls are specially scaled and weight-proportioned to children of different ages, so children truly grow with Corolle. Corolle dolls have a delicate vanilla scent and celebrate ethnic diversity.”
Take a closer look at the new products, below:
This fun game allows kids to build a cupcake of their choice. They spin to compile all the necessary ingredients. The first finished cupcake wins the game for its creator. With illustrations by children’s book illustrator Lizzy Rockwell. Launch date: 2010.
— “It’s classic just for families to get together and play,” said Devo Ihonde, explaining the appeal of this simple game that doesn’t even require reading ability. “That will always be contemporary.”
— In a February 2014 survey, Joe Novak, owner of Kazoo Toys of Buckhead in Buckhead, Ga., told TDmonthly that Eeboo's Cupcake Game was one of their stores top-3 best-selling games.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32220 (added 4/29/2011)
Ditto is a soccer star. He comes in a window box that transforms into a play set for him and his Pet friends. Launch date: Summer 2011.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32211 (added 4/29/2011)
Some people don’t realize that the dragonfly is a friend. It eats up a lot of mosquitoes in the summer. In this cooperative board game, one to four players maneuver the dragonflies to catch as many mosquitoes as they can. Cooperative games teach kids to work together to achieve a goal.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32212 (added 4/29/2011)
This Mini Eni in pastel colors can be manipulated to create interesting patterns. Or, place the numbers in the correct order to solve the puzzle. Launch date: February 2011.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32210 (added 4/29/2011)
Accessorize an iPhone or a backpack. Individualize the accessory by creating a unique color pattern, or solve the puzzle by getting the numbers in order. Launch date: February 2011.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32219 (added 4/29/2011)
Capucine is an Asian doll with all of the familiar elements of the Les Cheries Collection: long, lush hair, and contemporary fashion. Complete with a trendy outfit, Capucine especially appeals to children ages 4 and up. She makes an ideal playmate for sharing confidences, for hairstyling, and fashion play. Launch date: March 2011.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31892 (added 3/8/2011)
Snuggle Paws are a super-soft blanket rolled up in a blue puppy or a pink cat, with a handle for toting around.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31785 (added 3/2/2011)
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Buddy drives both forward and in reverse, and provides optimal safety and back pedal brake thanks to the unique BFR-hub. Also features a 3-way adjustable seat and height adjustable steering wheel. Stability on any terrain is possible with its swivel axel.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23893 (added 5/27/2009)
Shop and Learn Cash Register by THE LEARNING JOURNEY INTERNATIONAL
Other products from THE LEARNING JOURNEY INTERNATIONAL
Kids love to role-play and the Shop and Learn Cash Register gives them the opportunity to play grown upShoppers. Three play modes encourage kids to shop, count, identify food and determine values. Thiselectronic talking register guides children through learning with encouraging words, amusing sounds and fun games. Kids can scan food, enter coins, slide the credit card and openthe cash drawer. The toy requires two “AA”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32214 (added 4/29/2011)
ABC WordPad by THE LEARNING JOURNEY INTERNATIONAL
Other products from THE LEARNING JOURNEY INTERNATIONAL
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Children can carry along their own electronic tablet with the ABC WordPad, a compact electronic learning device that looks and feels like a little tablet. It features include five different learning activities: Letter Learning Fun, Word Learning Fun, Find It!, Spelling Practice Fun and Music Fun. This portable playbook requires two “AA” batteries (included). Launch date: May 2011.
Awards: 2011 Creative Child Preferred Choice Award; 2011 Dr Toy 10 Best High Tech Products and 100 Best Children's Products.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32215 (added 4/29/2011)
Bachmann welcomes James the Red Engine to our Large Scale Thomas & Friends™ lineup. He features moving eyes and international-style hook and loop couplers. With his shiny scarlet coat and cheerful smile, James the Red Engine is ready for BIG railroading adventures. [Manufacturer’s note: This is the only electric Large Scale James the Red Engine on the market.] Launch date: 2011.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32216 (added 4/29/2011)
Now boarding for Thomas & Friends™ fun! With three platforms, all of the HO scale Thomas & Friends engines can enjoy a full schedule of arrivals and departures. (Two or more kits can be combined to create larger station configurations.) This is the only expandable Knapford Station on the market. Launch date: 2011.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32217 (added 4/29/2011)
The Mayan Calendar is much more than a system to mark off the passage of time; it is a prophetic calendar that may help us understand the past and foresee the future. Some people believe it predicts the end of the world as December 2012, while others believe it forecasts the start of a new era. This game incorporates both views.The object of the game is to create a physical vehicle like a pyramid to focus and spread universal spiritual power. For this task players will need builders, materials, equipment and money. They must work together to build 11 spiritual centers around the planet to ward off destructive perils entering from many directions. "2012" includes a 13” x 18” board, four movers, two dice, a sheet of 55 die-cut pieces, eight player roles, six centers destroyed, 11 spiritual power markers and 12 destructive perils markers.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29090 (added 6/24/2010)
New from the Les Classiques collection is Bebe Amour, a huggable baby dressed in a cute corduroy dress, print blouse, striped leggings and knitted hat. Like all Corolle dolls, she's softly scented with vanilla. Launch date: 2011.
— While the latest high-tech toys offer new ways to amaze and sometimes educate children, the fundamentals of doll play have been around for centuries,” said Liza Grando for Corolle. “Whether it's dressing it, styling its hair, or having a conversation, these tasks allow children's creativity to flourish, offering them a constant companion and creating memorable play that will last a lifetime.”
— In a summer 2011 survey, Rebecca Goblish, owner of Picayune Toys in Dunwoody, Ga., told TDmonthly that Corolle Dolls are her best-selling line of collectibles.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32213 (added 4/29/2011)
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Writer's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ... Read more articles by this author
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