February 2014 | Vol. XIII - No. 2
Top-7 Most-Wanted Musical Toys
With additional reporting by Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero
When TDmonthly Magazine interviewed retailers in January 2014, we learned that many specialty retailers no longer sell CDs, and that the music toys they are selling tend to be simple classics. Egg Shakers, Jingle Bells, and the trusty Kazoo all made the list.
You can learn more about these, and the other best-selling musical 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.
The kazoo measures 4.75” in overall length and comes individually boxed in a pegable four-color window gift box. The kazoos are sold as a 24-piece, four-color point-of-purchase display. The kazoo is handmade in a small Western New York factory which has made kazoos since 1916 and uses similar tools from that time. The packaging, also produced in the Western New York area, proudly features the U.S. Flag on the box and display.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35421 (added 11/5/2012)
ELC Sing Along Star Microphone by INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Other products from INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
The Sing Along Star Microphone makes singing fantastic fun. Kids can hear their voice amplified, enjoy backing music and also see cool lights flash as they sing to their heart's content. At the end of the show, the pink Sing Along Star Microphone adds clapping and cheering. Children can use the microphone's extending stand to sing along while playing an instrument with their hands, or making extravagant hand actions. They can also take the Sing Along Star Microphone off the stand to dance while they sing.
— In a December 2012 survey about bestselling musical toys, three out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that microphones were their bestselling musical toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35898 (added 1/7/2013)
This 10-piece set of musical instruments (heavy on the percussion with maracas, a tambourine and a triangle) lets a child explore the wonders of sound, music, anthropology or just the fun of making some noise.
― Richard Gibson, owner of Learning Express of Newton, Mass., says his store sells about 6 or 7 of these sets per month.
— In summer 2008, Meredith Zellweger, owner of Toy Jungle in Manhattan Beach, Calif., touted this set as her “go-to musical toy.” Melanie Anderson of Daly City, Calif., said, “The kids have so much fun playing with them. They are real instruments, not plastic imitations that don´t sound quite right. This was a purchase I don´t regret.”
— Three of 45 retailers cited Band in a Box when asked about best-selling musical toys in mid 2007, citing sales of between three and 10 units per month. Seven of 48 retailers named it as a musical best seller in January 2010.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4401 (added 8/31/2005)
These new and safety-approved capless egg shakers provide kids with quick, delicate and responsive shaker sounds. Constructed of durable wipe-clean plastic and filled with non-toxic steel shot, the Egg Shakers make sweet, reliable and rhythmic sounds for kids and adults alike. "Our egg shaker is unique because of our patented design sealing process. Other egg shakers are seamed in the middle or have a glued end cap. In other words, ours is safer and has a better appearance," said Ray Enhoffer, director of R&D at Latin Percussion.
— "Shakers are the type of toy that might be selling in the music section. We get them from LP RythMix," said Tristan Hewitt, manager at Dragon's Toy Box in Seattle. “Everybody needs some egg shakers,” said Janet Gregory, owner of Over the Rainbow Toy Store in Anchorage, Alaska. “They’re perfect for baby hands, and I sell them to lots of grown-ups for all kinds of things.”
— Two of 45 retailers told TDmonthly in 2007 that shakers from Latin Percussion are popular with their customers, citing sales of about 30 and 120 units monthly. Six percent of 68 retailers said in July 2008 that egg shakers are their top-selling musical toy.
— Egg shakers are “perfect for little ones to hold in their baby hands, and non-toxic,” Diana Nelson, owner of Kazoo & Company in Denver, told TDmonthly of this best seller in her store in January 2009. “It's something simple and not too noisy for a parent; I think that's why they do well,” explained Sherry Peddie, manager of Applause Kids in Bracebridge, Ontario, in January 2010.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14259 (added 7/23/2007)
Oversized jingle bells fastened onto a 9" Velcro wrist band. Color may vary.
— In a January 2014 survey, Cariad Owens Fichtner, manager of Out of the Blue, Ltd in Albuquerque, N.M., told TDmonthly that Jazzy Jingles was one of the top-2 best-selling musical toys at her store.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 36516 (added 1/30/2014)
This high-quality wooden xylophone is designed with lifestyle colors, has a handle for easy toting and storage for two sticks. The baltic birch frame and maple keys and two sticks offer fun, safe early melodies. Robin Lehnert, Hape Marketing Manager, told TDmonthly, "A 10-month old begins with a rap and a tap. Who knows what could happen next on the very beginner xylophone." Launch date: February 2010.
— In a January 2014 survey, Cariad Owens Fichtner, manager of Out of the Blue, Ltd in Albuquerque, N.M., told TDmonthly that Hape Xylophones were one of the top-2 best-selling musical toys at her store.
— In a January 2015 survey, two out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that Xylophones were their store's best-selling music toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27999 (added 4/14/2010)
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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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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