November 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 11
Beachmorphs by RIVER DOLPHIN TOYS
Kids start with a crab, a seal, an eider duck and a mackerel, but what they end up with is up to them. The kit includes 40 easy snap-together pieces in robust colors that let kids mix and match life on the beach. Beachmorphs can also be combined with other Zoomorph sets. Launch date: June 2006.
— “The Morphs for sure,” enthused Ricki Block, owner for 20 years of Ariel’s Child in New Windsor, N.Y. Block recently had the Zoomorphs creators out to her store (VIEW ARTICLE). “They are colorful, made very well, and you can get new sets to add on to what you already have."
— “They’re creative and open ended,” pointed out Debbie Scholl, owner for 11 years of Fundamentally Toys in Houston. “They can go for both girls and boys.” Jan Grimsley, owner for 2.5 years of the 14-year-old Market Square in Little Rock, Ark., said, “They make up their own animals … a bird head, tiger body, dinosaur tail."
— These morph sets are a best seller at Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., according to Owner Idanna Smith. 7/11/2006 (MSRP: $15.99; Age: 4 and Up)
Calin Charming Pastel by COROLLE DOLLS
Calin Charming Pastel is specially designed to encourage hugs and capture hearts. Thanks to the soft, beanbag body, this doll can be posed just like a real baby. With blue sleeping eyes and a pink-and-white striped outfit this 12” doll is perfect for ages 18 months and up.
— Fifteen of 57 retailers TDmonthly surveyed said that Corolle dolls were among the best-selling classic toys in their stores.
— In spring 2007, Owner Sally Lesser of Massachusetts’ Henry Bear’s Park stores mentioned Calin dolls, specifically, as best sellers. Corolle dolls are also popular at Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., Owner Idanna Smith said.
— Maggie Moss-Tucker, public relations consultant for Corolle, told TDmonthly, "The bottom line about Calin is that it's truly one of the best dolls on the market. Its price, design, play value and accessories are what makes it such a great doll." 9/5/2006 (MSRP: $26.99)
Terrific Toes by CREATIVITY FOR KIDS
Girls get chic with fashionable feet. There's a foot-shaped buffer to prepare toenails. Then use the daisy toe separator to get toes in line. Polish with 3 trendy shades – pink, purple, and blue. Add some flair with glitter and mini stickers. Make toe rings with pastel beads and gel cord. Kit also includes a ready-made toe ring plus spa recipes to soothe the feet. The pink plastic case is handy for storage.
— Kits by Creativity for Kids are best sellers at Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., Owner Idanna Smith told TDmonthly. 12/8/2006 (MSRP: $15.00; Age: 7 to 10)
PlayFoam by EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS INC.
PlayFoam provides hours of creative fun with its lightweight, colorful foam-sculpting material that won't crumble, stick to skin or surfaces or dry out. According to an Educational Insights press release, PlayFoam was being “pre-ordered by the hundreds” at Toy Fair 2006.
— Sally Lesser, owner of Henry Bear’s Park in Massachusetts, told TDmonthly in spring 2007 that PlayFoam is a product her stores try to keep “in stock all the time, as I’m sure anyone would.” In fall 2007, Owner Idanna Smith of Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., named it as a best seller.
— Jim Whitney, president of Educational Insights, shared this insight with TDmonthly: "From the moment you touch PlayFoam it intrigues and fascinates ... It combines all the fun of sculpting with the soft, dry, squishy tactile feeling of a stress ball. It ... will last for years and is addictively fun."
— PlayFoam, a winner of a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award, is one of those creative alternatives to clay that many specialty retailers have made a staple in their stores. The reusable product comprises tiny foam balls that draw textural interest for the sculptor and offer visual appeal in a finished creation. Playfoam easily encourages open-ended play.
Where to Buy: Berkira; EQuick Xpress ( Watch Video) 12/14/2005 (MSRP: $9.99; Age: 5 and Up)
Blokus by MATTEL INC.
Europe´s 2002 game of the year, Blokus is a strategy game for the family. It's similar to the ancient Go Game — the board is a grid and players use their pieces to try to control as much territory as possible. The game pieces are in four, 21-piece sets of varying shapes. Each player chooses a color and works on expanding his territory on the board while blocking others from doing the same. Each new piece laid down must touch at least one other piece of the same color, but can only touch at corners, not along edges. The game ends when all players have been blocked from laying down more pieces. Points are deducted for pieces not played, and the player with the highest score at the end, wins. Blokus comes with a game board with 400 squares, 84 game pieces (red, green, blue and yellow), and instructions.
— In spring 2007, Sally Lesser, owner of Massachusetts’ Henry Bear’s Park, called Blokus a “consistent best-seller” at her three stores. It's also tops at Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., and Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash. Six of 63 retailers named Blokus as their overall best seller in September 2008. Three of 52 retailers named Blokus as one of their overall top sellers in November 2008. Blokus is no longer distributed by Educational Insights as of 12/4/08.
― “No. 1 is Blokus,” Linda Hanzelko, owner of Timmy's Toy Chest in Lake Mary, Fla., told TDmonthly when asked about best-selling games in early 2009. “It's an easy sell. It's one that people come back later and say 'You were right.'” In late 2009, Lori Hershman, owner of Evan's Toy Shoppe in Hamden, Ct., estimated sales of about 34 units monthly. Six of 38 retailers called it a best-selling game in Feb. 2010, selling from three to 150 units per month. 5/27/2005 (MSRP: $29.99; Age: 5 to 12)
WEDGITS Starter Set by IMAGABILITY
This open-ended building set introduces kids to the spatial world of angles, color association and unlimited geometric design. With large components, this toddler-safe product offers the same open-ended fun kids find while building with WEDGITS Junior and Deluxe sets. The geometric shapes nest, and each set contains 15 pieces of primary-colored building blocks that can be configured in virtually unlimited configurations. The Starter Set is compatible with all other WEDGITS sets.
— “You can start very young with these,” said Patty Tepper-Rasmussen of Learning Tree in Oklahoma City, Okla. She sells approximately 10 to 12 WEDGITS sets each month. Idanna Smith of Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., named WEDGITS as a top seller in her store.
— “We came up with the starter set to meet the concerns of parents of toddlers regarding choking hazards. The pieces are big, so that all kids in the family can play with them without worrying about the littlest ones,” Rob McKinley, vice-president of sales and marketing for Imagability, told TDmonthly.
— The simple, open-ended play afforded by Wedgits makes it a favorite at toy stores and earned it a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
— Jillie Beans Toys & More in Westminster, Colo., has carried Wedgits, a consistent best seller, since the store’s opening in 2006. “These are an educational toy and parents love that they start at age 1 and you can continue using the early sets even as the child grows older,” reported Storeowner Valerie Elsea in April 2010. 5/2/2007 (MSRP: $20.99; Age: 2 and Up)
Tall Stacker Pegs Building Set by LAURI, a division of PATCH PRODUCTS INC.
Winner of a Parents’ Choice Award, this three dimensional stacking set teaches children to think ahead as they plan where they will set the next peg to build the next platform. Kids will not only learn about shape, size and color relationships during the building process, but they will also hone their motor and math skills. The set includes 100 Tall Stacker Pegs, a 1,100-hole peg board and 17 Crepe Rubber Shapes all packaged in a quality storage box that comes with a handle for easy transport. Launch date: April 2006.
— This item is a best seller at Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., according to Owner Idanna Smith. 5/15/2007 (MSRP: $39.95; Age: 3 and Up)
Totes by AUSTIN-ABBOTT INC.
These totes measure 13.5” in. x 5” x 11.25” and come in assorted colors.
— They are a popular item at Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., according to Owner Idanna Smith. 11/1/2007 (MSRP: $5.99)
Electronic Table-Top Air Hockey by INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
This two-player game lets opponents slide, shoot and score on a table-top air hockey arena that features electronic action pucks gliding along on a cushion of air. It includes a manual scorekeeper, three pucks and two paddles.
— This is a best-selling item at Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., Storeowner Idanna Smith told TDmonthly.
— In a July 2014 survey, one out of 14 retailers told TDmonthly that Tabletop Air Hockey from International Plaything was their store's best-selling electronic / battery operated toy. 11/1/2007 (MSRP: $20.00; Age: 3 and Up)
Stomp Launcher by INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
This toy offers stomp-action fun with two soft, safe rockets and a stomp launching base. The flying height of the rocket depends upon the strength of the stomp. Launch date: 2005.
— Stomp Launchers are a top seller at Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., Owner Idanna Smith told TDmonthly. 11/5/2007 (MSRP: $8.00; Age: 3 and Up)