April 2014 | Vol. XIII - No. 4
Top-10 Most-Wanted Outdoor Toys
With additional reporting by Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero
Spring has technically sprung, and though snow and chilly temperatures may be lingering in some parts of the country, it's time to start thinking about outdoor toys. That's why TDmonthly Magazine interviewed retailers in March 2014 about their best-selling outdoor toys. You can see the products that made the cut below - then decide which would be a good fit for your store.
*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.
This 18” sports disk features a foam ring with a high-strength elastic membrane, and can catch and throw balls up to 150'. It is a safe, high-quality sports activity device that adapts to volleyball, tennis, baseball and other sports, and can be a blast at the beach or pool. A 12” size is also available. Suggested retail price for the two sizes ranges from $15 to $40. “The Super Sports Disk products are fantastic as confidence-building, motor-skill activities for young children, but are also great for more advanced users,” Kevin Williams of OgoSport told TDmonthly. This product received a Spring 2007 Parents' Choice Award. Launch date: May 20, 2007.
— Quality materials and a super bouncing effect earned the classy OgoSport a TDmonthly Innovations 2007 award. Its broad appeal and correlation to other sports make the disk applicable to a variety of fun and healthy activities, and its bright color and sleek packaging grab attention.
— “OgoSport is a good line for us,” Eric Masoncup, owner of Gepetto's Toy Box in Oak Park, Ill., told TDmonthly about his best-selling gift for boys in summer 2009.
— Joe Beradoni, owner of Pun's Toys in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2011 survey about best-selling toys that "during the summer, we sell 5-7 a week."
Past videos: WTHRA 2007
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11557 (added 2/21/2007)
Stomp on the launch pad and a blast of air propels the Ultra Stomp Rocket over 200' in the air. The kit contains four rockets with the OG-1 Nosecone. “We are the original creator. Stomp Rockets started the "stompin' revolution," Cynthia Peeks of D&L Co. told TDmonthly, stressing that Stomp Rockets are known for their name, quality and safety.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2008; iParenting Media, iParenting Hot; Dr. Toy Best Children´s Vacation Toy.
— Retailers surveyed by TDmonthly have been naming Ultra Stomp Rocket as a best-seller since 2006.
— Four of 45 retailers who spoke to TDmonthly in summer 2007 said the Stomp Rocket's success makes it a choice gift, reporting unit sales figures from four to dozens a month. Nine percent of 66 retailers named the Stomp Rocket as a best-selling gift for boys in July 2008. "We sell about 75 a month," Marilyn Walker, owner of Play Fair Toys in Boulder, Colo., told TDmonthly in early 2009. Thirteen percent of 47 retailers told TDmonthly in June 2009 that Stomp Rockets are a best seller for boys. “It's probably been the dang Stomp Rocket for about 15 years now. They just fly out,” Tye Steinbach, owner of Thinker Toys in Portland, Ore., said when asked about his most popular outdoor toy. Nine of 37 retailers named Stomp Rockets as a best-selling outdoor item in spring 2010.
— Despite multiple complaints about its durability, the Ultra Stomp Rocket received an average of 4.5 stars among 217 Amazon.com customers for being fun for all ages and pleasantly surprising when it comes to the distance the rockets can be launched. The toy is best used in open areas. Rockets are easy to lose and break, but refills are easy and cheap to find! (12.17.2012)
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 1088
As a creative, educational action toy, it’s loads of fun — kids jump on the air bladder to launch a 9" all-foam rocket into the air. The Junior Stomp Rocket is used by science teachers to help children learn about trajectory, force and motion. It is also valued by psychologists, physical therapists, special-ed teachers and parents of children with special needs. “Stomp Rockets are recognized for their positive contribution to the lives of millions of children and adults around the world,” Frank Reed, of D & L Company, told TDmonthly. Awards: Top Toy of the Year 2005, Creative Child Magazine; Excellent Product 2005, iParenting Media.
— “Our top selling flying toy is The Stomp Rocket Jr.,” confirmed Sallie Kashiwa, manager of Timbuk Toys in Denver, in October 2008. “We go through about four cases (40) a month.”
— Six of 68 retailers said in fall 2008 that the Stomp Rocket is their best-selling flying toy. Holly Anvers, manager of Ages & Stages Toy Box in Golden, Colo., cited sales of about 40 units per month in late fall 2009.
— Eighteen percent of 38 specialty retailers named Stomp Rockets an overall best-selling toy in July 2010. Scott Loveless, owner of Toys That Teach in Bothell, Wash., told TDmonthly in summer 2010 that his store sells “somewhere along the lines of 40 to 60” Stomp Rockets each month. “Stomp Rockets … are always a summer favorite.”
— In autumn 2010, Marc Holcomb, owner of Toys & Co. In Greensboro, S.C., said he sold approximately 50 per month per store. “It's our #1 gift item,'' he told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 1089
Spring Ring adds extra zing to indoor and outdoor fun. Use them to give favorite old games an exciting new twist or come up with something completely new and different. No Rules Required for this creative new toy. Constructed with a firm foam outer ring and a stretchy trampoline center fabric, the versatile Spring Rings can be used like a paddle, thrown like a frisbee. They even float. Great for indoors (when used with the dry splash ball) or outdoors.
Awards: 2010 Creative Child Magazine, Preferred Choice Award; 2010 Dr. Toy Best Picks Award.
— In a March 2013 survey, Joe Berardoni Jr, manager of Pun's Toys in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly that "The top selling outdoor item over the last two years has been the Spring Ring from Maranda...Even in the winter months, we have sold out of the item consistently, and have reordered several times already in 2013. We sell around 24-30 pieces a month during 'outside' weather months."
— Joe Barardoni Sr., owner of Pun's Toys in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly in a March 2014 survey that the Spring Ring was a best-selling outdoor toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35211 (added 10/4/2012)
The Spooner is a balance trainer that simulates board maneuvers associated with surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding but not limited to that. The Spooner helps to develop flexibility and strength in the legs as well as creating a better center of balance. The Spooner is a core trainer, a stabilizer and a pasteurizer because of the ability to work the muscles closest to the spine. Also, it's loads of fun and can be done on any surface indoors or out. Made of H.D.P.E. it is unbreakable. Our guarantee is "You break it, we replace it." Made by Hand in the USA. Launch date: 2006.
— In a March 2012 survey about outdoor toys, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Spooner Boards were among their best sellers.
— In a March 2012 survey, Chris Lowe, owner of Beanhead Toys in Sandy Springs, Ga., told TDmonthly that Spoonerboards were one of her best selling ride-on toys.
— Alexander McPherson, toy supervisor at Little Dickens in Lynchburg, Va., told TDmonthly in a March 2013 survey that Spooner Boards are their best selling item - they sell about 114 each year, with sales of the item concentrated in 4th quarter.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23177 (added 4/7/2009)
This sleek ride-on is fueled by cambering motion — the rider pushing his or her legs against the front bar, to the left and right. It has a hand brake and features an extendable design to host riders up to 6' tall. Maximum recommended weight is 150 lbs.
— Learning Tree Toys, Games & Books in Oklahoma City, Okla., sells about a dozen EzyRollers per month, Owner Patti Tepper-Rasmussen told TDmonthly in fall 2009.
— Jackie Roy, owner of Learning Resources Toy Magic in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., told TDmonthly in late 2009 that she brought in five EzyRollers on trial on sold out in a week and a half.
— Two of 37 specialty retailers cited the EzyRoller as a top-selling ride-on in spring 2010. “The EzyRoller, by far, continues to be the best,” Christine Osborne of Wonder Works in Charleston, S.C., told TDmonthly in March 2010, reporting sales of a couple dozen per month.
Past Videos: WTHRA 2008
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25944 (added 11/3/2009)
Blast PadŽ Advanced Missile Launch System by MARKY SPARKY TOYS
Other products from MARKY SPARKY TOYS
This launch system features a flex tube that stretches to nearly 3’ and won’t restrict airflow. It only blasts vertically (9 degrees either way), using Metalix™ missiles (three included). The parts store in the base, and the product is also available in Electric Extra Terrestrial Green and Exploding Sun Yellow.
— Two of 66 retailers told TDmonthly in July 2008 that this product is one of their overall best sellers. Five of the 66 named it as a best-selling gift item for boys. Three of 39 retailers listed Blast Pads as their best-selling item for tween boys during an October 2009 survey. “I've been accused of giving them away with how fast I go through them,” Jude Larene, owner of Izilla Toys in Seattle, Wash., said in March 2009.
— “Blast Pads from Marky Sparky were our biggest sellers last year,” Joe Berardoni, owner of Pun’s Toy Shop in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly in spring 2009. Of 47 retailers, two told TDmonthly in June 2009 that Blast Pads top their sales of boys' items, reporting figures of seven to 15 sold per month. "We sell that all year. Every time we get them in we sell out," reported Kim Haynes of Lollipop Toy Store in Dawsonville, Ga., in March 2010.
—‘’We sell at least one per week, sometimes more,’’ said manager Gwen Bowden of Doodlehopper 4 Kids in 1Q 2011.
AWARDS: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20356 (added 8/28/2008)
Made of genuine balsa wood. Rubber band powered. Easy to fly.
— Mary Porter Green, owner of The Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly in a November 2011 that Balsa airplanes are among her best selling flying toys.
— Geoff Pendexter, owner of Whirlygigs in Brentwood, N.H., told TDmonthly in a Fall 2012 survey that they sell about 15 of these planes each month, making them a best selling aircraft toy in the store.
— Gregory Faith, owner of Hobby Town USA in Nashua, N.H., told TDmonthly in a February 2013 survey that these gliders were their best selling wooden toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33145 (added 11/9/2011)
Ready, Set, Pogo - Jump high, fast and far. This Pogo Stick has soft grip handles, non-slip footrest and a wide rubber foot for extra stability. It has a padded frame for added comfort, too. Includes an encased metal spring for extra safety. Bounces up to 24 inches. Recommended weight is 44-99 lbs.
— Patti Tepper-Rasmussen, owner of Learning Tree Toys, Games & Books, Inc in Oklahoma City, Okla., told TDmonthly in a March 2014 survey that the pogo sticks were a best-selling outdoor toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34175 (added 4/30/2012)
The KaZAM provides an alternative way to learn to ride a pedaled bicycle based on the concept of balance first, pedal last. It is a training bicycle that assists children to balance, increase coordination and ultimately ride a traditional bicycle for the first time with confidence. "This customized toddler bicycle has the steering and balancing challenges of a traditional bicycle but it has no pedals, chain or training wheels. Unlike all the competitors on the market, there is no more awkwardness with where to put your feet when gliding and cruising on a run bike — the KaZAM is uniquely designed with a foot rest area thereby making the transition onto a pedaled bicycle quicker and seamless! Because of its unique patented footrest and design, KaZAM appeals instantly to children and their parents," John Lugo, partner at KaZAM, told TDmonthly. Launch date: November 15, 2008.
Awards: Dr. Toy 100 Best Children's Products - 2010
— "All colors are great,"Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toys, told TDmonthly at Toy Fair 2010.
— Glisyn Lewis Jarrells, manager of Imaginations Toy & Furniture Colo. in Blacksburg, Va., told TDmonthly in a March 2013 survey that they sell around 10 Kazam balance bikes during the warm-weather months.
— In a July 2013 survey Diana Nelson, owner of Kazoo Toys in Denver, Colo., told TDmonthly that Kazam balance bikes are her store's overall best-selling toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24276 (added 6/29/2009)
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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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