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June 2015 | Vol. XIV - No. 6
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Top-10 Most-Wanted Activity Kits and Play Sets


With additional reporting by Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero

From arts & crafts to science projects, activity kits are some of the best toys for kids. We asked retailers about their  best-selling activity kits - you can learn more about the Top-10 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.




MSRP: $16.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2013)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Fashion & Accessories
Tween



Create an Owl Pal Pillow with special glittering fabric pieces.  Use the stylus to punch pretty fabric pieces and create this beautiful no-sew craft.
Awards: 2014 TDmonthly Top Toy Debut Award
— Debbie Gray, owner of Bear and Friends in Johnson City, Tenn., told TDmonthly in a July 2014 survey that Orb Factory Plush Craft Pillows are one of their store's best-selling toys.
— Barbara Fineblum, owner of Barston's Child's Play in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly in October 2014 that this was one of her store's best-selling jewelry and accessories items.

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 36391      (added 11/27/2013)
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MSRP: $19.95
Age Range: 6 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2014)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Science & Nature
Educational
Kits



Get ready to totally geek out on awesome science projects! Geek & Co. Science is a new series of 12 science-themed project kits that put fun first to make learning truly approachable and entertaining. With each kit, kids build a tangible, lasting item — an object worthy of keeping on display after the fun and educational process of creating it is over. Launch date: June 2014.
— In a May 2015 survey, two out of 11 retailers told TDmonthly that Geek & Co was their best-selling line of activity kits.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 36505      (added 1/23/2014)
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Specialty: Yes (as of 2014)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Creative Activities
General Toys



String Art was originally invented to make math concepts more accessible to kids, but it isn't just for squares (or triangles or circles) any more. With our crystal-clear, step-by-step illustrated system you only need to learn three simple techniques to make all the kids art in this book, including a fun fox, a darling dandelion, a cute cat, an awesome owl - you can even spell your name. The final results may look intricate, but we include an only-from-Klutz pin-pushing tool so even a string-art newbie can create awesome art with this classic craft. And our pin-pusher solves string art's prickliest problems by making sure that every pin goes in straight and at the same height. With instructions for 20 projects and enough materials for six, kids will be making amazing art in no time. Comes with: 60 page book, 360 feet of craft thread in 8 bright colors, 550 sturdy pins, 6 project boards, 10 decorative sheets of backing paper, 5 sheets of tracing paper, pin-pushing tool.
— In a May 2015 survey, two out of 11 retailers told TDmonthly that Klutz was their best-selling brand of activity kits.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 37032      (added 11/13/2014)
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MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 6 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2014)
SKU or Item #: 1137
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Science & Nature
Educational
Kits



Turn this plastic mason-style jar into your own little habitat with real plants and tiny figurines. Set includes a 5” h x 3 ¼” w jar, decorative lid, potting mix, organic chia and wheat grass seeds, garden figurines, decorative sand, river stones and a plant mister. Add dimension to your garden with translucent and glow-in-the-dark stickers – hold it up to the light and watch the fireflies glow.
— In a September 2014 survey, three out of 11 retailers told TDmonthly that this product was one of their top-two best-selling science & nature toys.
— Barbara Fineblum, owner of Barston's Child's Play in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly in October 2014 that this was one of her store's best-selling jewelry and accessories item.
Awards: 2014 TDmonthly Magazine Top Toy Award
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 36970      (added 9/29/2014)
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MSRP: $24.95
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Educational
Science & Nature
Kits



Non-soldering kit that shows you how to build exciting circuits: Alarm,Kazoo,Transistor radio,Voltmeter and more.
— Gregory Faith, owner of Inside Out Hobbies in Nashua, N.H., told TDmonthly in a May 2015 survey that this was one of their best-selling activity kits.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 2430      (added 1/5/2005)
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Age Range: 7 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2015)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Creative Activities
Preschool



This season’s hottest fashion accessory, Flower Crowns, is perfect for every day "bohemian" style, special occasions and even flower girl gifts! For younger girls, wear this special crown as you are transformed into your own magical environment.

  • It’s fun to make: twist realistic paper roses, beautiful berry bunches and charming ribbon ivy around the twig bases
  • Add a little bling with the golden shimmer accent paint included
  • You decide on the color scheme and how you want to wear it – as a headband, crown or maybe across your forehead for a groovy retro look
  • Enough materials to make 4 adjustable crowns
— Two out of 11 retailers told TDmonthly in a May 2015 survey that Creativity for Kids is one of their best-selling activity kit brands.


ToyDirectory Product ID#: 37296      (added 4/20/2015)
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MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 5 to 9
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction
General Toys
Play Sets



This is the first book & construction toy in the GoldieBlox series. Meet Goldie, her beloved dog, Nacho, Benjamin Cranklin (the cat with an attitude), Katinka (the dolphin ballerina), Phil (the sloth) and Flavio (the bear from Brazil). Help Goldie figure out how to build a belt drive to spin everybody. Includes: (1) storybook, (1) pegboard, (5) wheels, (10) axles, (5) blocks, (1) crank, (1) ribbon, (5) washers. Launch date: April 2013.
— In a May 2014 survey Suzi McMullen, manager of Doodlehopper 4 Kids in Falls Church, Va., told TDmonthly that Goldieblox was a best-selling construction toy in their store. "When we had it, we sold out all 24," she said.
— In a September 2014 survey, LyndaBlankenship from Smart Toys & Books in Knoxville, Tenn., told TDmonthly that Goldie Blox are one of the store's best-selling science & nature toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35737      (added 12/10/2012)
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MSRP: $94.95
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Science & Nature



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)
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MSRP: $29.95
Age Range: 7 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2014)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Hobby Goods
General Toys



Build your own medieval siege engine from pre-drilled planks, a little glue and the help of easy, step-by-step “blueprint” instructions. Then let the fun and experimentation begin! What travels farther: a marshmallow or a piece of macaroni? Alter the counterweight to adjust the trebuchet's hurl, and practice knocking down a field of target planks using the two included balls.
— In a February 2014 survey, Julie Steinbach, owner of Rainbow Toys in Falmouth, Maine, told TDmonthly that this Trebuchet from Mindware was among their best-selling wooden toys.
— Tye Steinbach from Thinker Toys in Portland, Ore., told TDmonthly in a May 2015 survey that this is one of their best-selling activity kits.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 36594      (added 2/27/2014)
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MSRP: $10.99
Specialty: Yes (as of 2015)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Kits
Arts & Crafts
General Toys



This 4m make your own garden stepping stone includes a 5.5" x 7.5" x 2-1/4" stepping stone and everything you need to create your own stone. create your own keepsake.
— Casey Sartain, co-owner of Tutoring Toy in Salt Lake City, Uah, told TDmonthly in a May 2015 survey that this was one of their best-selling activity kits.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 37316      (added 5/28/2015)
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Justina HuddlestonWriter'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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