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March 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 3
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Top-10 Most-Wanted Wooden Toys


With additional reporting from Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero

Wooden toys are a staple of specialty toy stores, so TDmonthly Magazine interviewed retailers to find out which ones were selling the best. MELISSA & DOUG came out on top, with three of the 14 surveyed retailers saying puzzles from the company are bestsellers. Close behind was the Educo Early Melodies Pound and Tap Bench from HAPE INTERNATIONAL INC. (a Top-10 Musical Toy last month), as well as Automoblox from MANHATTAN TOY.

You can learn more about all of the Top-10 Wooden Toys 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.




MSRP: $12.99
Age Range: 2 to 4
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill
Interactive
General Toys



Featuring detailed images of 8 favorite noisy vehicles, this wooden peg puzzle makes the vehicle sound when a piece is placed correctly in the puzzle board. Eight sounds in all. Full-color, matching picture under each piece. Dimensions: 1.2" x 8.5" x 11.7" Assembled. AAA batteries not included.
— Michael O'Dell of Toys from the Attic in Rehoboth Beach, Del., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2011 survey that he sells 10 Melissa & Doug sound puzzles each month.
— As of 7/12/2011 this product had 3 out of 5 stars from 23 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Affordable; engaging. Cons: Many reviewers said the sounds were poor quality.
— In a February 2012 survey about wooden toys, three out of 14 retailers said that puzzles from Melissa & Doug were their best sellers in the category. “Melissa and Doug has been a core of the store for years and years," Mike Snyder, owner and manager of Cville's Hobbies, Games and Toys in Charlottesville, Va., told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32555      (added 7/12/2011)
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MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 1 to 5
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys
Preschool



Pounding sends the balls tinkling over the xylophone. Pull out the keyboard and the xylophone can be played solo. All Hape products comply with EN71 and ASTM quality standards - wood used comes from FSC managed forests.
Awards: May 2012 TDmonthly Top Toy Award. Why it won: This item was named a Top-10 Musical toy in February and a Top-10 Wooden toy in March by specialty retailers interviewed by TDmonthly. Its innovative design combines the elements of the popular shape sorting/tapping toy and the xylophone, giving it great play value.
— As of 1/6/2012 this product had 4.2 out of 5 stars from 13 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Durable; lots of ways to play. Cons: The keyboard is not properly tuned.
— In a 2012 survey about Musical Products, three out of 13 retailers said this item was their best seller. Kelly Boone, manager of The Elephant's Trunk in Greenville, S.C., told TDmonthly that they sold at least 36 during the holidays.
— In a February 2012 survey about wooden toys, two out of 14 retailers said that this was their bestseller in the category. Kristin Dolle, manager of Playthings Toy Shoppe in Louisville, Ky. told TDmonthly that they sell between 8 and 12 units of this item each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33433      (added 1/9/2012)
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MSRP: $10.00
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Vehicles - Small Toy
General Toys



With a future-retro design, and connectable, interchangeable parts, this sleek toy vehicle can fit in the palm of a hand. Automoblox Minis received a TDmonthly Top Toy Award 2007.
— Automoblox has been a best-selling line, according to retailers surveyed by TDmonthly, since 2007.
— "That little three-piece Automoblox set sold extremely well. I've sold about 40 of them in two months," Janet Gregory, owner of Over the Rainbow in Anchorage, Alaska, told TDmonthly leading up to Christmas 2009. Two of 44 specialty retailers named Automoblox as an overall best seller in late 2009.
— In a February 2012 survey about wooden toys, two out of 14 retailers said that Automoblox were their bestseller in the category. Pam Byrd, manager and buyer at The Little Cottage Toy Shop in Franklin, Tenn., told TDmonthly that "Automoblox is still strong."

Where to Buy: Blue Turtle Toys; Camelot Kids; The Satin Button

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25822      (added 10/29/2009)
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MSRP: $99.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys
Category: Pretend Play
Preschool
Wooden Toys



This dramatic play wooden workbench is designed to be the right size for young children, right down to the nuts and bolts. The set includes a functioning vise, a tool rack, wooden tools, hardware and a storage shelf. A booklet with creative play ideas is included.
— In a February 2012 survey about wooden toys, Mike DiAndrea, manager of Hardware Toys in Paoli, Pa., told TDmonthly that they sell six of this item each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 30681      (added 9/27/2010)
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MSRP: $24.99
Age Range: 1 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Infant & Toddler
Preschool



These cubes are a fun variation of a familiar form that are similar to other stacking blocks but have more graphics and characters. These blocks are very colorful. There is one animal for each box so it can be used for matching. The boxes nest for easy storage. The coated heavy cardboard is very durable and very brightly printed. The adorable animals and characters are made of soft PVC and are washable. In addition, each piece uses all sides for different motifs, so the sets are open-ended. For 18 months and up.
— In a February 2012 survey about bestselling wooden toys, Barbara Fineblum, owner of Barston's Child's Play in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly they sell 12 units of this item each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33602      (added 2/8/2012)
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MSRP: $1.30
Age Range: 7 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Puzzles & Skill



Clear hardwood Flip Tops will flip right over onto their stem if they are spinned fast enough. These tops are not recommended for kids under six as they haven't yet developed the proper dexterity to get the tops to work. Flip Tops measure approximately 1-1/4" diameter by 1-3/4" tall.
— In a February 2012 survey about wooden toys, Dean Smith, owner of JaZams in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly that these tops were their bestseller. They sell 15-20 units each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33603      (added 2/8/2012)
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MSRP: $10.99
Age Range: 1 to 3
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Puzzles & Skill



Detailed, brightly colored pictures encourage 1 1/2 - 3 years old to complete these 9-piece wooden puzzles, each with a different theme. Our level 2 puzzles help children learn to group like items and expand their vocabulary. Constructed with smaller knobs than Level 1 puzzles, each piece is easy to hold and promotes the development of fine motor skills.
—  Linda Laramy, owner of Crackerjacks in Easton, Md., told TDmonthly in a 2012 survey that puzzles from Small World Toys are their bestselling wooden toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33604      (added 2/8/2012)
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Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Preschool
Bath



Brightly colored wooden sail boats. Assorted numbered boats, from one to six.
— In a February 2012 survey, two of 14 retailers said that Toysmith is their bestselling brand for wooden toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33605      (added 2/8/2012)
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MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Musical Toys



Now kids can re-create the sound of a steam locomotive's whistle with this wooden train whistle. It's four chambers give it a rich, realistic sounding whistle while its chunky design is ideal for little hands to grip. Makes a great accessory for a child's train set or dress-up engineer's costume.
— In a February 2012 survey about wooden toys, Meghan Porter, owner of Charleston Child in Charleston, S.C., told TDmonthly that they sell more than 20 units of this item each month. “There's nowhere else in town” that has them, she said.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33606      (added 2/8/2012)
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Thomas and Mavis pick up cargo, then and ascend and descend step climbs in this play set. The trains follow the rails through the gates, up over the bridge and to the tug boat that just came for a visit.
— In a February 2012 survey about bestselling wooden toys, Barbara Fineblum, owner of Barston's Child's Play in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly that Thomas the Tank Engine toys were among their bestsellers.
— In a May 2012 survey, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Thomas the Tank Engine was their best selling licensed brand.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 30206      (added 8/25/2010)
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Justina HuddlestonWriter'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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