May 2014 | Vol. XIII - No. 5
Top-10 Most-Wanted Travel Toys and Games
Summer vacation is almost here, so TDmonthly Magazine surveyed specialty retailers about their best-selling travel toys. Why should kids play games in the car, train, bus or plane? Studies have shown that kids can lose several months' worth of academic skills — especially math skills — over the summer. Playing games that keep their brains active can help slow the slide.
Travel Fractiles, for instance, have been endorsed by educators and even a Nobel Laureate in physics to help kids develop the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills they'll need to compete in our increasingly technological society. You can read more about Travel Fractiles here and see products, plus watch video testimonials below.
For more fun and learning while traveling, check out the list of 2014's Top-10 Most-Wanted Travel Toys below.*
*No manufacturer paid to be included in this list. All products listed were designated by editorial staff without regard to the company's relationship with TOYDIRECTORY.com/TDmonthly Magazine.
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Everyone gets ten dice. Someone says “Go.” Then everyone rolls and rolls as fast as they can until someone gets all their dice on the same number. It’s a fun, fast frenzy. It’s TENZI. It's "Super-simple to learn & super-fast to play," Steve Mark, executive Dice president of CARMA GAMES, LLC, told TDmonthly. Launch date: April 2011.
— In a February 2012 survey about games, Mary Porter Green, owner of The Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly that she sells 6+ copies of Tenzi each month.
— In a February 2013 survey, two out of 11 retailers told TDmonthly that Tenzi was their best selling game.
— Glisyn Lewis Jarrells, manager of Imaginations Toy & Furniture in Blacksburg, Va., told TDmonthly in a March 2013 survey that Tenzi is their overall best selling product. They sell around 15 copies of the game each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33134 (added 11/8/2011)
Spot It is a party game for two to eight players. It's played by laying a random assortment of cards on the table and all players racing to find one image that matches between two cards. This fast-paced game is designed to never be the same twice, and though it has very few rules to remember it requires a sharp eye to master. The set of 55 round cards transports in its own carry tin. Watch Spot It: Top-5 Video, Toy Fair 2010
— Spot It has been been a top seller for retailers surveyed by TDmonthly since early Spring 2010.
— In a March 2012 survey, 3 out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Spot It was their overall best selling product, and had been for more than a year.
— Dean Smith, Co-owner of JaZams in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2011 survey that he sells 50-60 copies of Spot It each month.
Awards: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller, Dr. Toy 100 Best Children's Products - 2010
Where to buy:
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27018 (added 2/11/2010)
Who says paper can't be functional and fun? The Drawing Pad from Melissa & Doug contains 50 9" x 12" sheets of premium heavy weight bond paper. It's great for use with pencils, markers, paints, crayons or anything else with which kids want to leave their mark.
— “The 9” x 12” plain white paper by Melissa & Doug” is the best-selling school supply item at LittleBits Toys in Wellesley, Mass., Owner and Manager Billy Thelander told TDmonthly in summer 2007.
— Thelander said he sells about 36 of the Melissa & Doug Drawing Pads on a monthly basis.
— Five of 45 retailers cited Melissa & Doug as a popular brand in school items.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14263 (added 7/23/2007)
BINGO on the go. Choose an appropriate theme among the eight provided, slide a card into each game boards and pay attention to the passing scenery. Includes two game boards and four double-sided game cards. There are no loose pieces and everything stores conveniently in the board. Great for travel.
— Laura Turman, owner of One Two Kangaroo in Shepherdstown, W.Va., told TDmonthly in an April 2012 survey that Travel Bingo is her best selling travel toy.
— In a late Summer 2012 survey, Mike Castor, owner of Pentwater Toybox in Pentwater, Mich., told TDmonthly that they sold 71 travel bingo sets in the past three months.
— In an April 2013 survey, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Travel Bingo from Melissa & Doug is their bestselling travel toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34060 (added 4/6/2012)
Unscramble the stickers to create surprise pictures of everyone's favorite Frozen sisters, Anna and Elsa. Place the numbered stickers on a numbered grid to complete the pictures.
Book Includes a booklet of 8 colorful jumbled sticker puzzles, book of 8 numbered puzzle grids and 240 stickers.
— In a May 2014 survey Suzi McMullen, manager of Doodlehopper 4 Kids in Falls Church, Va., told TDmonthly that they sell 1 Frozen toy per hour, making it the store's best-selling license.
— In a August 2014 survey, two out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that Frozen licensed products were their best-selling toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 36651 (added 3/31/2014)
Everyone’s favorite travel-size game has officially hit the open road. Each colorful symbol is something one would see on a typical road trip. This edition has a new way to play: One card is turned over, and all players scan the scenery for things that match the symbols from the card. Spot it to win.
— Karl Steinbach, owner of Rainbow Toys in Falmouth, Maine, told TDmonthly in an April 2013 survey that this version of Spot It! is a best-selling travel toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33348 (added 12/16/2011)
Enjoy a matching game with the Disney Princesses. Then create magical stories with the colorful play scene. Each tin consists of a color play scene printed on the inside of the tin, 2 additional cards with matching game board and 3 sheets of magnets.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 36649 (added 3/31/2014)
Quercetti Fantacolor Junior by INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Other products from INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
Fantacolor Junior is a product from Quercetti, an Italian-based educational toy company for whom IPI has been the US-distributor for many years. This portable product features large chunky pegs, picture cards and a convenient art easel that allows young ones to develop fine motor and color sorting skills while encouraging their creative side. It is a recipient of the Dr. Toy Smart Play/Smart Toys Product Awards Program for 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8291 (added 6/15/2006)
These Start to Finish Mazes Sets are teacher-created books that combine age-appropriate mazes with challenging activities such as counting practice, letter recognition and more. Lightweight paperback volumes are great for taking along on road trips or filling time at restaurants. 100 puzzles in all.
— When asked about her best selling educational products in November 2011, Mary Porter Green, owner of The Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly that "Just about everything in our store is educational, so this is a tough question to answer," but that "Workbooks from Mindware do well," in particular.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33148 (added 11/10/2011)
Mad Libs combine language education, creative stimulation, and just plain silly fun. Each page asks for a list of words by part of speech, which are then plugged into strategic blanks in a short story on the page following. When distributed throughout the Mad Libs framework, a list of seemingly ordinary words becomes inventive and hilarious.
― Two of 39 retailers who participated in TDmonthly's March 2010 survey of top-selling travel toys said Mad Libs are their best.
— “We sell three Mad Libs a day,” Ava Allen, owner of Be Beep A Toy Store in Columbia, S.C., told TDmonthly in autumn 2010.
— In an April 2013 survey, two out of 12 retailers said that Mad Libs are one of their best-selling travel products.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27942 (added 4/9/2010)
Following are some of the newest products from FRACTILES, the generous sponsor of the preceding article:
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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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