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February 2016 | Vol. XV - No. 2




Tools:

Top-10 Most-Wanted Science and Nature Toys


Science education is more important than ever in today's tech-dependent world. Luckily, these toys make quick work of introducing kids to the skills necessary for building a strong science foundation.



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: $43.99
Age Range: 5 to 8
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Educational
General Toys
Electronic Games



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)
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MSRP: $10.99
Specialty: Yes (as of 2015)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: STEM Skills
Educational
Science & Nature



4M Products are creative, imaginative, inspiring and most of all fun! The 4M Crystal Mining Kit let's you excavate your very own crystals. Once you excavate you have beautiful crystals to display and admire. Includes plaster rock with eight embedded crystals, digging tool, display case, drawstring bag and more! Perfect for ages 5 and up.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 37407      (added 9/30/2015)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2015)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Science & Nature
STEM Skills
Educational



Geeks in space! Explore what it would take to set up an extraterrestrial farm on another planet. Experiment with a nutrient gel to grow garden cress in hydroponic tubes without soil. In the greenhouse dome, grow the alien-like succulent Tiger’s Jaws (Faucaria tigrina). Find out what plants need in order to grow and how those things might be provided on another world. Geekstronaut figures tend to your space farm while it grows.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 37449      (added 11/3/2015)
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MSRP: $19.95
Specialty: Yes (as of 2014)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Robotics
Science & Nature
Eco-Friendly



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)
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MSRP: $21.98
Age Range: 8 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2014)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Creative Activities
Tween



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)
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MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2014)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill
General Games
General Toys



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)
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MSRP: $50.00
Age Range: 3 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2013)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Preschool
Wooden Toys
Eco-Friendly



Build a fantastic marble run with this brilliantly colored 30 – piece set. Watch the marbles spiral and hop down the various pieces of track. The Marble Run Deluxe is made of PlanWood, a sustainable material made from recycled sawdust.
— In a February 2014 survey, Julie Steinbach, owner of Rainbow Toys in Falmouth, Maine, told TDmonthly that Marble Runs were one of their best-selling wooden toys.

ToyDirectory Product ID#: 36084      (added 2/21/2013)
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Specialty: Yes (as of 2015)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction
Preschool
STEM Skills



The Trix Track Cat & Mouse Track is more than a classic wooden ball run with fun and exciting eye-catching tricks and an easy locking system that keeps your creations stable while you build your maze. With your imagination there are endless configuration possibilities! The Trix Track Cat & Mouse Track includes exciting new blocks that add an entirely new dimension to Trix Tracks which allow you to build faster and higher than ever before. Watch the mouse chase after the cheese thru many obstacles and the challenge of big cat waiting at the end of the track! Trix Tracks help understand the cause and effect relationship. Specially designed bricks are made from a combination of eco friendly recycled saw dust and food grade plastic so it is safe, durable and good for the environment. Combine with other Trix Track sets to create even larger tracks, more trix and endless fun!
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 37408      (added 9/30/2015)
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MSRP: $44.99
Specialty: Yes (as of 2015)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction
Electronics
STEM Skills



Laser Pegs® Sci-Fi Kit. Build the light up Transatmospheric Fighter and 15 more light up models like the All Terrain Racer, Alien Rover Droid, and the Automaton.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 37355      (added 7/20/2015)
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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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