December 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 12
Top-10 Most-Wanted Educational Products and School Supplies
With additional reporting from Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero
In a Fall 2012 survey about educational products and school supplies, specialty retailers told TDmonthly Magazine that Hot Dots from EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS INC. and BrainQuest from WORKMAN PUBLISHING were their top-2 best sellers in the category.
"Brain Quest has made a huge comeback and is selling a lot. I can't keep it in stock," Dean Smith, owner of Jazams in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly.
You can learn more about these and the other Top-10 educational products and school supplies 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.
Hot Dots® Laugh it Up! Vocabulary Development Cards - Multiple-Meaning Words by EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS INC.
Other products from EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS INC.
A rich vocabulary is critical for successful test-taking, particularly in reading comprehension. Hot Dots Laugh It Up! Vocabulary Card sets are a fun and interactive way to grow kids’ vocabularies. Includes 6 Interactive vocabulary card sets in all, including synonyms (2730), antonyms (2731), multiple-meaning words (shown here), prefixes and suffixes (2735), context clues (2733), and homophones (2732). 50 double-sided, illustrated cards per set (100 questions), featuring jokes, riddles, cartoons, and kid-friendly questions.
— In a Fall 2012 survey, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Hot Dots were their best selling educational toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35447 (added 11/7/2012)
The multi-button, electronic cash register features a functional coin reader that correctly identifies real and included plastic play coins and a checkout scanner equipped with sound. The game will teach kids coin identification, addition, subtraction and place-value.
— Peg Scholtes, owner of Capitol Kids in Madison, Wis., said this product sells consistently well in her store.
— “I would have sold more of [them] had I not run out, but I thought I had ordered [more] and forgot,” Co-owner Mary Sisson of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., told TDmonthly in early 2008.
— This is a best-seller on imaginetoys.com.
— Two of 43 retailers named a product by Learning Resources, including this cash register, when discussing best-selling playsets in April 2010.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4384 (added 8/31/2005)
Brain Quest Write & Erase Set: Phonics by WORKMAN PUBLISHING
Other products from WORKMAN PUBLISHING
This Brain Quest write and erase format is geared to give the earliest learners a leg up on writing, reading, and using number. Featuring an attached pack of 40 large, write-on, wipe-off cards plus a dry-erase pen, each deck teaches a critical skill to help children learn to read before kindergarten. These are practical lessons that are also fun, entertaining, and informative. Phonics teaches early reading with fill-ins for long and short vowels and basic consonant sounds, letter scrambles, complete-the-words, and more.
— ''We just got [the Phonics write & erase sets] in, and we sold 18 last month,'' said Gwen Bowden, manager of Doodlehopper for Kids in Springfield, Va.
— ''Brainquest work books and cards go the fastest,'' seconded Susan Blanton, owner of Pufferbellies in Staunton, Va.
— In a November 2011 survey 2 out of 12 retailers said that Brainquest was their best selling educational item. “Brain Quest (Workman Publishing) has always done well for us," Chris Lowe, owner of Beanhead Toys in Sandy Springs, Ga., told TDmonthly. Mike DiAndrea, manager of Hardware Toys in Paoli, Pa., told TDmonthly that sell about 30 units of Brain Quest each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31225 (added 11/24/2010)
Learning Resources - Pretend & Play® School Set by LEARNING RESOURCES INC.
Other products from LEARNING RESOURCES INC.
Playing school is fun and prepares kids for learning. This set has everything a kid needs to let his or her imagination run wild in the ultimate pretend classroom: grade book, clock, bell, calendar, map, pointer and much more.
— In a Fall 2012 survey, two out of 12 retailers said that the Pretend & Play School Set was their best selling educational toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15630 (added 10/5/2007)
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In this captivating 3-D game of mental math, players try to get closest to the target number by creating different equations using addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and even powers. Launch date: 2004.
— Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, told TDmonthly in a Fall 2012 survey that Math Dice is one of their top-2 best selling educational products.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 19041 (added 5/23/2008)
Kids can make gobs of gum with this bubble gum factory. Create unique recipes by mixing and matching different flavors. Kit Includes citric acid packet, corn syrup, confectioner sugar, gum base, watermelon flavoring, blueberry flavoring, mint flavoring, 2 note cards, activity guide, and a plastic tin with lid.
— Andrea Scartozzi, from Hardware Toys in Paoli, Pa., told TDmonthly in a September 2011 survey that Bubble Gum Factory is their bestselling science toy.
— In a late Summer 2012 survey, Joe Berardoni Sr., owner of Pun's Toys in Bryn Mawr, Penn., told TDmonthly that "a certain few of the kits from Scientific Explorer, mostly any one that has to do with food," are their second-best selling Science & Nature item.
— Mary Porter Green, owner of Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly in a Fall 2012 survey that kits from Scientific Explorer are one of their top-2 bestselling educational products. They sell dozens each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32935 (added 9/19/2011)
Grow dozens of dazzling crystals and conduct 15 illuminating experiments with this classic science kit. Experiment with four chemically different crystals each with different properties, including potassium alum crystals that form regular octahedrons, rapidly growing sodium sulfate crystals, long needle-shaped sodium acetate crystals, and plaster which is made from gypsum crystals. Mold fun plaster shapes and mix the dyes to grow a rainbow of custom colored crystals. Measure how the crystallization of solids out of a solution, and the dissolution of crystals back into solution, affect the temperature of the solution. Learn about the energy of crystallization. Investigate solutions, crystallization, and the chemistry of crystal growing. Learn about the structures and geometries of different crystal shapes. This kit is thoroughly tested and safe: Over one million units of this kit have sold worldwide. A full-color, 32-page experiment manual guides your experiments in crystal chemistry and Earth science. Launch date: Summer 2012.
— Mary Porter Green, owner of Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly in a Fall 2012 survey that kits from Thames & Kosmos are one of their top-2 bestselling educational products. They sell dozens each month.
— Mary Porter Green, owner of Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly in a March 2014 survey that crystal growing kits were a best-selling products.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33501 (added 1/20/2012)
Grade 3 Multiplication, Kumon Math Workbook by KUMON PUBLISHING NORTH AMERICA INC.
Other products from KUMON PUBLISHING NORTH AMERICA INC.
This workbook covers repeated addition, skip counting, multiplication facts to 10 x 10, the inverse relationship of multiplication and division, commutative property of multiplication, identity property of multiplication, zero property of multiplication, and patterns and sequencing. "Just like our popular pre-school workbooks, Kumon Math Workbooks are based on the Kumon Method, a learning system designed to help each child reach his or her full learning potential. These workbooks are also correlated to state and national standards in order to ensure that the content is appropriate for your child," Adam Hennessy, in marketing and account management for Kumon Publishing, told TDmonthly. Launch date: July 14, 2008.
— Though educational books are not a top seller in his store (he only sells about 12 per month), Kumon is the top line, said Steven Levy, owner of Toy City in Keene, N.H.
— Gregory Sahagian, owner of Learning Express of Beverly in Beverly, Mass., told TDmonthly in a Fall 2012 survey that they sell 4-5 dozen Kumon books each month, making them one of their top-2 best selling educational products.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20174 (added 8/21/2008)
Homework Helper Workbook - First Grade Activities by CARSON-DELLOSA PUBLISHING
Other products from CARSON-DELLOSA PUBLISHING
First Grade Activities Homework Helper provides children in first grade with extra help in learning important skills. Packed full of fun-to-do activities and appealing art, children will have fun completing the reproducible pages while learning first grade skills at the same time. Answer keys are also included where needed. These workbooks provide help for students who need extra practice with basic skills, for the accelerated student who enjoys an extra challenge, and for the young learner who is developing basic concepts and readiness skills. They also help boost self-confidence and reinforce basic skills with activities that are geared to the specific grade level.
— Gregory Sahagian, owner of Learning Express of Beverly in Beverly, Mass., told TDmonthly in a Fall 2012 survey that they sell 4-5 dozen Kumon Homework Helpers each month, making them a top-2 best selling educational products.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35448 (added 11/7/2012)
States and Capitals Wrap-Ups by LEARNING WRAP-UPS INC.
Other products from LEARNING WRAP-UPS INC.
With this set, students wrap the string from the problem on the left to the answer on the right, and then turn the Wrap-up over to see if they got it right. Kids may want to use a stop watch to measure improvement and see how fast they can go. Each set contains 10 self-correcting keys.
— Deborah Smith from Toys That Teach in Richmond, Va., told TDmonthly in a Fall 2012 survey that Learning Wrap Ups are one of their bestselling educational products, especially in the beginning of the school year. "It always picks up around report card time. If the kid gets a bad report card, the parents are in the store looking for something to help.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15733 (added 10/12/2007)
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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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