October 2011 | Vol. X - No. 10
Top-10 Most-Wanted Novelty Items
Affordable and Zany Toys Made the List
With additional reporting from Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero
When TDmonthly asked retailers about their best selling novelty items in a September 2011 survey, they listed a wide variety of items — everything from the portable Pocket Volcanoes by Toysmith to the Little Helpers Broom Set from Schylling. What the items did have in common were relatively low price points and unique features not often found in other toys.
You can see all of the Top-10 novelty items below.
No manufacturer paid to be included in this article. All products listed were designated by editorial staff without regard to the company's relationship with TOYDIRECTORY.com/TDmonthly Magazine.
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Not only are MENTOS® great to eat, but these amazing candies are loaded with wonder. Learn how to create an enormous geyser by combining MENTOS® with soda. The eruption is amazing—up to 25 feet high—and so is the science just beneath the surface. The Geyser Tube™ allows you to load the candies and safely disperse them into the soda bottle.
— When asked about their best selling novelty toys in a September 2011 survey, Mary Porter Green, owner of The Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly: "We sell lots of the Geyser Tubes from Be Amazing! Toys."
— In a Fall 2013 survey, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Be Amazing was a best-selling brand of science toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18072 (added 3/24/2008)
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Kids simply add baking soda to this mini volcano and place it inside a glass filled with water. They will be amazed by the bubbly reaction, which is similar to an underwater volcanic eruption.
— When asked about best selling novelty toys in a September 2011 survey, Mary Porter Green, owner of The Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly that Pocket Volcanoes from Toysmith were one of her top-two novelty items.
— Two of 32 specialty retailers mentioned Toysmith in summer 2007 when discussing their best-selling science and nature toys.
— This product is “safe, fun [and] educational,” Debra Ashley of Toysmith told TDmonthly. It “entertains while educating.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14859 (added 8/23/2007)
The Magic Coloring Book has become a favorite with children's magicians for good reason: it's quick, visual and completely deceptive. Ours is printed exclusively for Fantasma and is offered at a great price. First, the magician shows blank pages. Next, the pages show pictures of some of the things the magician likes most, "favorite things," cars, ice cream, popcorn. The pictures are in black and white. Somehow they don't seem real enough. A bit of magic and they are now the magician's favorite things in full color. Oh, and did we mention, we've also hidden card images in the book, so it can be used with card magic. Instructions for the book and for the card tricks are included.
— Joe Berardoni, owner of Pun's Toys in Brynn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly in a September 2011 survey that "the best-selling novelty item is the magic coloring book from Schylling, but only because I love to demo it. Very seldom does that not result in a sale. I can sell a couple of dozen in any particular month."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32884 (added 9/12/2011)
These animal erasers have removable puzzle parts so they can be taken off and reassembled. The animal collection includes elephants, panda bears, a giraffe, a cow and a pig.
— "Over the course of the last year, it was 500 to 1,000 units per week," Gage Brownell of Belmont Toys in Belmont, Mass., told TDmonthly in March 2010 about his store's sales of Iwako erasers.
— BC USA Erasers were on the top-10 best-seller list at Jillie Beans Toys & More in Westminster, Colo., in April 2010, reported Owner Valerie Elsea. “Tweeny girls and boys love them and they are easy to collect,” she told TDmonthly. “They’ve been selling well since the fall of .”
— Gwen Bowden, manager of Doodlehopper 4 Kids in Springfield, Va., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2011 survey that her best-selling collectibles are "Japanese erasers. We sell some every day - about 100 per month."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27581 (added 3/15/2010)
This Little Helper Broom Set has three pieces, sized for kids. Includes a Broom, a Hand Broom and a Dust Pan.
— As of 09/09/2011 this product had 4.2 out of 5 stars from 91 reviews on Amazon.com.
— Ginger Milligan, co-owner of Fantasy Island Toys in Fairhope, Al., told TDmonthly in September 2011 that they sell 2-3 dozen of the Schylling Little Helpers Broom Set each month. “We sell those every single day. It's one of those things we're never out of,” she said.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32885 (added 9/12/2011)
This yo-yo features a roll of paper with a printed design on a 7” handle. The paper extends when the yo-yo is forced outward by a simple wrist motion.
— “Funny enough, Chinese yo-yos,” Alicia Smith, owner of Juneau's Imagination Station in Juneau, Alaska, told TDmonthly when asked to name the best-selling novelty item in her store. “I don't know why, but all of the sudden everybody loves them. [I] probably sell a couple dozen in a month.”
— “Chinese yo-yos … do really well,” Mary Sisson, owner of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., told TDmonthly in May 2008. “They're on backorder right now.”
— Nathan McKelvey, manager of Toy Castle, LLC in Jonesboro, Ar., told TDmonthly in a September 2011 survey that they sell about 100 of this item each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19279 (added 6/9/2008)
LockerLookz Wallpaper for lockers comes in eight fun patterns. The wallpaper is held up by 20 super-strong magnets, making sure no damage is done to the locker itself. The LockerLookz line of Wallpaper and accessories allows kids to personalize their space at school.
— Betsy Ordemann, owner of Magic Box LTD in New Orleans, La., told TDmonthly that she sells dozens of each piece of the LockerLookz line each month, and up to 3 dozen of the most popular pieces. “It's unbelievably popular. It's totally different than anything else in the market,” she said.
— Christine Osborne, co-owner of Wonder Works in Charleston, S.C., told TDmonthly in an October 2011 survey that LockerLookz was their best selling tween item. "We don't know how many" are sold, she said, "because it sells out too quickly!"
— William Meredith, owner of Learning Express in Cary, N.C., told TDmonthly in a Fall 2012 survey that they sell 100 LockerLookz products each month, making them a best seller in the tween category.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31742 (added 2/22/2011)
Squirmles are incredible toy puppets who'll wiggle, jump, and squirm their way into everyone's hearts. All Squirmles Pets are packed in their own colorful sealed packages and come with their own storage/carrying cases for when not in use. Packaged, Tied, and Ready to Play.
— Marc Holcomb, owner of Toys & Co. in Greensboro, N.C., told TDmonthly in a September 2011 survey that they sell about 120 Squirmles each month. They have a display that features a video of the product.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17222 (added 1/28/2008)
Ecotronics Hand Crank Flashlight by INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Other products from INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Squeeze-powered, kid-sized flashlights. Each animal's nose lights up when switched on. Side lever stores inside the body—release and squeeze to charge up the light.
— June Hargrove, co-owner of Black Forest Books & Toys in Charlotte, N.C., told TDmonthly in September 2011 that they sell 12 of this item each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32886 (added 9/12/2011)
Shoot potato pellets over 50 feet. Just combine one potato with this 6 inch potato gun for hours of fun. Each potato will yield about 300 pellets.
— John Blair, owner of Science Safari in Cary, N.C., told TDmonthly in a September 2011 survey that they sell about 15 of this item each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32887 (added 9/12/2011)
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Writer's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author
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