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The Few, The Proud…The Award-Winning Toys

Who Made the Cut This Year?

By Alison Marek and Julie L. Jones

Thousands of products are introduced to the toy industry every year, but only a limited number are good enough, playable enough and innovative enough to garner an award.

In addition to issuing TDmonthly Awards, TDmonthly Magazine regularly asks manufacturers to present their award winners to our readers so that retailers can quickly identify products with great potential and manufacturers can learn and be inspired by others' successes. Here are the most recent responses:

Trapdoor Checkers by GOLIATH GAMES

Trapdoor Checkers by GOLIATH GAMESThis game was designed to transform checkers into a game of cunning and luck where kids can beat their parents. On each turn, players spin to see if they either move, or open and close trap doors. If a checker is on one of the trap doors, it might fall through. Trapdoor Checkers features "quality components that stand the test of time," Jodi Swindle, operations manager at Goliath Games, told TDmonthly. Launch date: 2008. This game earned a 2009 Major Fun Award.


 5/22/2009 (Price: $29.99; Age: 7 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


ZipBin® Street Racer by NEAT-OH! INTERNATIONAL LLC

ZipBin® Street Racer by NEAT-OH! INTERNATIONAL LLCZipBin Street Racer is a backpack that looks like and is shaped like a race car. Unzipped, it becomes a city street with drivable roadways. When play is done, the Playscape™ becomes a backpack in a zip, capturing the toys inside for easy cleanup. This set includes two die-cast cars. It received a 2008 Seal of Excellence award from Creative Child Magazine. Launch date: 2009.


 5/22/2009 (Price: $19.95; Age: 3 to 10) ENTER NEAT-OH! INTERNATIONAL LLC TOYSHOW [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Giant Evolution Timeline Play Mat by CHARLIE'S PLAYHOUSE LLC

This 18'-long Giant Evolution Timeline Play Mat displays 600 million years of evolution with weird ancient creatures, fun facts and activities. It collapses to the size of a coffee-table book. The mat is lightweight, durable and environmentally friendly. It was named one of Dr. Toy's 10 Most Socially Responsible Products of 2009.


 5/21/2009 (Price: $49.99) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


PatchWord™ by KNIGHTWEAVER GAMES LLC

PatchWord™ by KNIGHTWEAVER GAMES LLCIn this fast-paced word game for two to five players, players trade two-sided letter cards between elegant wood racks, to create words, or steal them from each other. It may be used for family game nights as well as in educational settings. Game play takes 30 to 45 minutes. "PatchWord employs a unique game mechanic using cards with different letters on the inside vs. the outside, which trains logic, memory and sequencing skills, as well as spelling and vocabulary skills," Daniel Weaver, founder of Knightweaver Games, told TDmonthly. This product has won the following awards: 2009 Dr. Toy Best Vacation Children's Products; and 2009 Game of the Year for Educational Word Game from Creative Child Magazine. Launch date: January 29, 2009.


 5/19/2009 (Price: $19.99; Age: 7 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Patchwork™ by KNIGHTWEAVER GAMES LLC

Patchwork™ by KNIGHTWEAVER GAMES LLCPatchwork is a fast-paced logic game for two to five players designed to build logic, memory and patterning skills in a fun setting. Players trade colorful, two-sided cards between elegant wood racks to create sets, or steal them from each other. Game play takes 20 to 30 minutes. "The game employs a totally unique game mechanic that is easy to learn, fun to play and teach[es] logic, memory and sequencing skills," Daniel Weaver, founder of Knightweaver Games, told TDmonthly. This product has received the following awards: 2009 Oppenheim Gold Seal; 2009 Dr. Toy Best Vacation Children's Products; 2009 Seal of Excellence for Kid's Strategy Game from Creative Child Magazine; and 2009 Outstanding Products iParenting Media Award. Launch date: January 29, 2009.
— "It is an engaging game that encourages player to think logically while trading card with other players.  You have to use logic, memory and create pattern sets to win the game," said Angel Stahl of Angel's Toy Barn in Greensburg, Pa., who especially liked this game at the 2009 ASTRA Marketplace.
Editor's Note: Gamewright
announced May 25, 2010, that it signed an agreement for the worldwide publishing rights to Patchwork. Play will remain the same; however, Gamewright will re-launch the game as FlipOut in late 2010 or early 2011.


 5/19/2009 (Price: $19.99; Age: 5 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Dozy Dolphin On The Go by CLOUD B

Dozy Dolphin On The Go by CLOUD BDozy Dolphin On The Go helps re-create sleep time routines by bringing familiar soothing sounds while away from home. Dozy Dolphin’s peaceful, water-based sounds are designed to take a child on a tranquil journey while effortlessly transforming unknown surroundings to a more familiar environment. Tucked inside Dozy Dolphin is a removable sound machine that plays fun sounds for play time and soothing sounds for sleep time. Dozy Dolphin On The Go is made from eco-friendly bamboo fabric. "It needs no plugs and comes with multiple soothing sounds with two timer options. All Cloud B products are made in consultation with our advisory board made up of pediatricians, sleep specialists and child experts," Emily Chae, marketing associate for Cloud B, told TDmonthly. This product received a a 2009 NAPPA Honors award. Launch date: May 2009.


 5/19/2009 (Price: $23; Age: All Ages) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


4M Tin Can Robot by TOYSMITH

4M Tin Can Robot by TOYSMITHKids can recycle a soda can into a silly, walking, wobbling robot. The kit includes all the parts needed, right down to the googly eyes, except for the two AAA batteries that are required. Launch date: 2008.
— “The Tin Can Robot is a huge hit. It’s from their Green Science series, which has been doing great,” Jennifer Schneeweis, owner of Izilla Toys in Seattle, told TDmonthly in late August 2009. Two of 40 retailers mentioned the brand when discussing best-selling educational items in fall 2009.
― “Right now we have the Tin Can Robot for 8- to 10-year-olds and that's doing well,” said Marlene, manager of Kits & Kaboodle in Carmel, Ind., when asked about her best-selling item for tween boys. Seven of 39 retailers surveyed in October 2009 said science kits are their top sellers for tween boys.
― “It's a good price point and an excellent product.  It sells all the time,” Priscilla Moore, owner of Mr. Fub's Party, Toys and More  in Yellow Springs, Ohio, said of the Tin Can Robot and other 4M science kits in spring 2010.
— In August 2010, seven of 43 retailers told TDmonthly that Toysmith is a best-selling science and nature brand. Two retailers named Tin Can Robot as a top product.
AWARDS: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller


 5/19/2009 (Price: $15.00; Age: 8 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Little Uglys Babo by PRETTY UGLY LLC

Little Uglys Babo by PRETTY UGLY LLCBabo is best friends with Wage...and the cookie jar. But once he gets to know you and the kinds of snacks you keep around the house, he will focus mostly on the snacks! Little Ugly Babo is 7" tall and won 2006 Toy of the Year Award, Oppenheim best Toy Award and the 2006 Parent's Choice Approved Award.


 5/14/2009 (Price: $10.00; Age: All Ages) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Wage by PRETTY UGLY LLC

Wage by PRETTY UGLY LLCWage is a hard worker, just like you! He works at the local Super Mart and wears his apron to serve his customers best. Does Super Mart know that Wage works there? Nope.But 14" tall Wage doesn't mind.He likes to put things in bags, especially snacks. Wage is the Ugly Doll that started a cultural phenomenon. Watch Video to learn more. Launch date: 2001.


 5/14/2009 (Price: $20.00; Age: All Ages) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Jumbo Kojo the Croc by ZOOBIES

Jumbo Kojo the Croc by ZOOBIESComing to you from Africa's wild Okavango Delta, this jumbo cuddly croc's toothy grin is sure to warm a child's heart. Kojo is not only an adorable crocodile, but also a comfy pillow and super-soft queen sized blanket all in one. Perfect for lounging on or just cuddling in bed. Features include: Microbead stuffed head for ultimate squishibility; Large, super-soft coral fleece blanket inside: 90"x59"; Bumpy Green Plush Body Material; 100% polyester. Blanket detaches for easy washing. Launch date: 2008.


 5/5/2009 (Age: 3 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]




Following are some of the programs represented in TDmonthly.com's section of award winners: Dr. Toy, iParenting Media Awards, TIA T.O.T.Y., Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, The National Parenting Center, and Parents' Choice Awards.

You may also access TDmonthly's review section to see which products earned 5 TD stars.

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