February 2015 | Vol. XIV - No. 2
Top-10 Most-Wanted STEM Toys
With additional reporting by Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero
We love the current focus on STEM toys in the specialty market, and it looks like your customers like STEM toys too! Below, retailers shared with us the hottest STEM toys at their stores. Take a look at the products below, and see which would be a good fit for your store.
*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.
Build a working electric fan using a circuit that consists of a fan blade rotor, electric motor, LED, resistor, switch, and battery holder. Learn how motors work, the role each electronic component plays in the circuit, and how fan blades push air to make wind.
— In a January 2015 survey, four out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that Thames & Kosmos was their best-selling brand of STEM toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 36831 (added 6/29/2014)
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)
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)
Add a recycled magazine and two plastic bottles to this kit and blast a paper rocket up to 80 feet high. Exclusive to Toysmith in the U.S.
— In a January 2015 survey, 2 out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that 4M, distributed in the US by Toysmith, was their best-selling brand of STEM toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33426 (added 1/4/2012)
Think twice before discarding that 1985 CD-ROM, don’t throw away that aluminum can, and pick up that plastic bottle left under the couch. We can use them with our state-of-the-art, eco-friendly educational toy kit that will stretch your child’s imagination while allowing them to take part in the joy of recycling. The Super Solar Recycler Kit is powered completely by natural light so you never have to worry about batteries! In addition to your newly discovered treasures, all you need to get started is included in this kit (solar panel, motor and instruction). Your children can recycle a can of their favorite soft drink to create Street Roller and Walking Robot, create Bottle Yacht, Drummer Robot and Flying Bird using a plastic water bottle, and even turn your old scratched CD’s into the super cool CD Racer.
— Mark Rosenblum from Hobbytown in Fairfield, Conn., told TDmonthly in a January 2015 survey that OWI was their best-selling brand of STEM toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 36588 (added 2/26/2014)
These easy to use sets feature a distinct and unique method that makes painting by numbers obsolete. The painter has complete control. Unique embossed picture cards absorb paint in some areas and repel it in others creating intricate, detailed works of art that even the youngest children can achieve. The vibrant colors provided in these superb painting kits are extremely appealing to children, Parents describe Aquarellum as captivating and relaxing for both themselves and their Children. The Aquarellum have three boards and 9 washable inks to create 1000's of exciting color combinations!
— David Stelzer, owner of Shananigans Toy Store in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly in a January 2015 survey that Aquarellum painting kits were one of his store's best-selling STEM toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 37063 (added 11/24/2014)
This gravity powered logic maze is sure to put your visual perception and reasoning skills to the test. The colorful, translucent towers can be arranged in a plethora of visually stimulating structures but, for each challenge, you’ll have to think carefully to build a path that will successfully carry your marble to its target. 60 challenges, ranging in difficulty, will give you plenty of creative building time while you maneuver the maze in your mind!
— Phyllis Stroud, owner of Rocking Horse Toy Store in Natchitoches, La., told TDmonthly in a January 2015 survey that Gravity Maze from Thinkfun was one of their store's best-selling STEM toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 36728 (added 4/29/2014)
My First Ball Track - Basic Pack by HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.
Other products from HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP.
How constructive! Build up the fun with the My First Ball Track - Basic Pack set from HABA! Perfect for all master constructors ages 18 months and older, the ball track is guaranteed fun! The colorful connecting blocks come with pivots that easily lock into place on the bottom of the ball track pieces. This makes constructing easy and ensures the track stays in place even if your little one bumps against it. Plus.... ding! Build the curving track toward the finishing block with the bell so the ball with ring it whenever it reaches the end of the track! Contains 1 ramp, 6 curves, 8 colored connecting blocks, 1 finishing block with bell, 1 regular ball, and 1 special effect ball that glitters, rings, or rattles while rolling! Try it out with the My First Ball Track set and My First Ball Track Ball Ramp. As your little one grows older, this set can easily be complemented with any of the HABA ball track sets.
— Dean Smith, owner of JaZams in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly in a January 2015 survey that HABA Marble Runs and components are one of their store's best-selling STEM toys. They sell around 10 each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34658 (added 7/20/2012)
Everything kids need to fly like a pro, indoors or out. Our three only-from-Klutz, rubber band powered airplanes have been carefully engineered for coolness, from the extra-large Firebird (an impressive 19-inch wingspan), to the acrobatic Lightning Looper (it really loops), to the Shooting Star (which makes such tight turns kids can fly it in the living room). Simple directions explain how to assemble the planes from the included parts and, just as importantly, how to fly them for maximum performance. And by experimenting with the variations in the book, junior aviators will learn basic principles of aerodynamics and physics.
— Mary Porter Green, owner of The Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly in a November 2011 survey that Klutz flying books are her best selling flying toy.
— In a November 2013 survey, Mary Porter Green, owner of Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly that they sell several of these books each month.
— In a December 2013 survey three out of 10 retailers said that Klutz made their best-selling books.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33142 (added 11/9/2011)
GeoSafariŽ Jr. My First Microscope by EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS INC.
Other products from EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS INC.
Get preschoolers excited about science and introduce them to the miracles of magnification with My First Microscope! Magnify any small object – flat or dimensional – at 8x with this real, working microscope designed especially for little kids! Encourages scientific exploration; Rewards curiosity ; Introduces kids to a key scientific tool.
— Matt Peel, manager of Toys & Co. in Greensboro, N.C., told TDmonthly in a January 2015 survey that the GeoSafari line from Educational Insights was their store's best-selling STEM toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 37158 (added 1/29/2015)
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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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