June 2013 | Vol. XII - No. 6
Top-10 Most-Wanted Activity Kits and Play Sets
With additional reporting from Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero
TDmonthly Magazine interviewed retailers in May 2013 to find out about their most popular activity toys and play sets. Many retailers said products from Creativity for Kids were their top-sellers in the category, and the retailers overall favored hands on toys that stimulate creativity. See all of the Top-10 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.
Creature Bots combines the timeless popularity of monsters and robots into a clever craft. Build and customize the three movable Creature Bots that chomp, flap and grab. They’re named GrabBot, FlapBot and ChompBot and utilize TechCard Technology™ – simple push-fit components – for building. Technology, engineering and physics add an educational element to the kit.
— In a May 2013 survey, 3 out of 10 retailers surveyed said Creativity For Kids was their best-selling brand of activity kit.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35850 (added 12/20/2012)
Glitter Glam Watch Bands let kids decorate five interchangeable watch bands with rhinestones and sticker accents. With the pop-in watch dial kids can change the look to fit their personal style or mood. Kit also includes three boldly colored watch faces.
— Mark Rosenblum, owner of Hobbytown in Fairfield, Conn., told TDmonthly in a May 2013 survey that Glitter Glam Watch Bands is one of their best-selling activity kits.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35847 (added 12/20/2012)
Duct Tape Doggie Fashions is the newest addition to the duct tape trend. This kit includes a stuffed dog and puppy, five rolls of duct tape, duct tape stickers, scissors, patterns and printed paper. Six-year and older crafters can transform rolls of colorful and printed duct tape and printed paper patterns to create pet fashion and accessories.
— Mark Rosenblum, owner of Hobbytown in Fairfield, Conn., told TDmonthly in a May 2013 survey that Duct Tape Fashion is one of their best-selling activity kits.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35846 (added 12/20/2012)
Kids can serve up a low-fat, high-protein meal to their teddy bears with this wooden play set.
— “Wood slicing food by Melissa & Doug,” Anna Barr, owner Anna’s Toy Depot in Austin, Texas, told TDmonthly, when asked about her store’s best selling wooden toy item.
— “We sell numerous sets of wooden food, like Melissa & Doug ones,” Emily Holmes, a buyer for Ambassador Toys in San Francisco, Calif., told TDmonthly.
— Over 11 percent of retailers told TDmonthly in early 2008 that wooden play-food sets were selling very well in their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12727 (added 5/11/2007)
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Loopdedoo is a new spinning tool that makes fabulous twisted bracelets in just a few minutes. It's fast, easy and fun. Just wrap the threads around the Loopdedoo device, turn the knob, guide the thread and minutes later the bracelet is done. Kids can even make necklaces, anklets, belts and more. There's no pattern to follow so each accessory is completely different and unique. Kids can use as many threads and color combinations as they like, and can make them thick, thin or anywhere in between. Launch date: November 2011.
— In a January 2012 survey, Barbara Finblum, owner of Barston's Child's Play in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly that Loopdedoo is their best selling arts and crafts toy. "They came in in December and we sold 194 out of 5 stores - 163 out of 3 stores alone. We sold out and couldn't get them back," she said.
— As of 10/5/2012 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 8 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Easy to use; promotes creativity; fun. Cons: One user couldn't figure out how to start.
— In a Fall 2012 survey, Dean Smith, owner of Jazams in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly that they sell 15 of this item each month, making it one of their top-2 sellers in the Hobby category.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33342 (added 12/15/2011)
Kids can make their own volcano and then watch it erupt. The kit includes a volcano mold, fast drying plaster, paint, a stirring stick and a paintbrush. Simply add baking soda and vinegar and watch the volcano erupt with bubbling lava. Adult supervision is required.
— Mary Porter Green, owner of Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly in a May 2013 survey that this toy is their best-selling activity kit.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18855 (added 5/19/2008)
The Duct Tape Party craft kit from Alex Toys includes 108 feet of brightly colored duct tape and all the supplies and instructions needed to make jewelry, bags, headbands and more.
— In a December 2012 survey about bestselling toys, four out of 12 retailers said that Duct tape kits from Alex were their bestselling Arts & Crafts toy. Kathy Mabry, owner of The Village Toy Shop in North Easton, Mass., told TDmonthly that they sell more than 36 units of Duct Tape Party each month.
— In a May 2013 survey, two out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that Alex Duct Tape products were their best-selling activity kits.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35874 (added 1/4/2013)
Snap Circuits allow children to create electronic projects including AM and FM radios, digital voice recorders, burglar alarms, doorbells and more. All pieces are mounted on plastic modules and snap together with ease. This Pro version contains over 75 parts and an illustrated manual for building over 500 experiments. The set uses four AA batteries.
— In late summer 2010, six of 43 retailers named Snap Circuits a science and nature best seller.
— In August 2010, Jim and Retha Davis, owners of Kid’s Center in Tucson, Ariz., told TDmonthly their store sells “about 100 (Snap Circuits) a month.”
— In a late Summer 2012 survey, four out of 12 retailers said that Elenco was one of their best selling Science & Nature toy brands.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 30502 (added 9/9/2010)
Matisse's Red Studio was a breakthrough in modern art with its flood of vibrant red color and white sketch lines. The different perspectives Matisse used have been studied and debated by artists since the painting first debuted in 1911. The Red Studio Master Kitz includes all the tools children need to create their own masterpiece along with learning materials to deepen their understanding of the Red Studio and its impact on modern art. Each Red Studio Mater Kitz includes: A sturdy, re-usable art tool box with magnetic closures; 1 re-usable stencil; 2 pieces of high quality art paper; 2 sticker sheets; 1 acrylic paint; 1 oil pastel; 1 foam brush; Fun, easy-to-understand Matisse learning materials; Easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions.
— Rebecca Goblish, owner of Picayune Toys in Dunwoody, Ga., told TDmonthly in a May 2013 survey that Snap Circuits are one of their best-selling activity kits.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35050 (added 9/17/2012)
Package includes: Rainbow Loom(TM), Mini Rainbow Loom(TM), hook, a bag of c-clips, instruction manual and 600+ mix rubber bands (colors may vary). Makes up to 24 rubber band bracelets.
— Chris Lowe, owner of Beanhead Toys in Sandy Springs, Ga., told TDmonthly in a May 2013 survey that Rainbow Loom is their best-selling activity kit. They sell about 50 each month, and if they could keep it in stock, would likely sell more. "I got 24 the other day and they were gone instantly," she told TDmonthly.
— In a July 2013 survey, four out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that the Rainbow Loom was their overall best-selling product.
— In a Fall 2013 survey, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Rainbow Loom was their best-selling novelty toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35367 (added 10/25/2012)
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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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