August 15, 2018

TDmonthly Magazine

June 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 6

Top-10 Most-Wanted Construction Toys

Lego, Uberstix and Other Sets Build Great Sales

By Marie Raven
June 2009

With additional reporting by Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Chris Lundy, J. D. Meisner, Claudia Newcorn and Brenda Ruggiero

In April 2009, TDmonthly Magazine surveyed 49 specialty retailers about their sales of construction toys for children. This foundational category continues to provide strong sales in independent stores around the nation that carry products for a variety of ages and interests. “I have a lot of different construction toys, and they do sell well across the board,” said Scott Loveless, owner of Toys That Teach in Bothell, Wash.

With its wide variety of styles and sizes of sets to choose from, Lego tops the list of most in-demand building toys. Little engineers are still enjoying classic Erector Sets as well more abstract building systems such as geometric Wedgits from Imagibility, and Magna-Tiles from Valtech. Here are the top-10 best-selling construction toys.

Star Wars Clone Walker by LEGO

Star Wars Clone Walker by LEGOStanding 3.5” tall and complete with flick-firing missiles, the Clone Walker packs a powerful punch as children use imagination and building skills to relive or reinvent their favorite parts of the Star Wars saga. Once complete, the posable model stands on two legs and carries two of the four included characters.
— “Legos are still king,” said Patti Tepper-Rasmussen when asked in spring 2009 about best-selling construction toys in her Oklahoma City, Okla., store, Learning Tree Toys, Books and Games.
— “Everyone wants Legos,” Ron Kutchik, owner of Grand Slam Toys in Kodiak, Alaska, told TDmonthly in April 2009 during a survey concerning best-selling construction items.
— More than 40 percent of 49 retailers pointed out Lego as a best-selling construction brand in their stores in spring 2009. 5/11/2009 (MSRP: $9.99; Age: 6 to 12)

Zoob 500 by INFINITOY

Zoob 500 by INFINITOYWho knows what 500 pieces of poseable, snap-together Zoob could stir in the imagination? Geometric structures, funky creatures, buildings and whimsical characters can be built and rebuilt easily with the simple ball-and-socket joints that connect Zoob pieces. The set comes packed in a sturdy, reusable storage case complete with four removable play pads that fit into the lid to act as foundations for the creations. 
— “Up until now, Zoob has been best,” Jeff Oslick, owner of The Enchanted Toy Store in Fullerton, Calif., told TDmonthly during an April 2009 survey about best-selling construction toys. 
— “I have a good run on Zoob year round,” said Amy Barrett, owner of Lasso the Moon Wonderful Toys in Helena, Mont., of her top selling construction items.
— Four of 49 retailers listed Zoob as a best-selling construction item in spring 2009. (Watch the Zoob 500 Video Watch Video) 5/11/2009 (MSRP: $90.00; Age: 3 and Up)

Uberbat by UBERSTIX

Uberbat by UBERSTIXFounded on the idea of a modular construction set that integrates with many other popular systems such as K'Nex and Lego, Uberstix is also intended for use with whatever recycled materials one might have lying around. Mixing Uberstix pieces such as the 60 contained in this set with found materials yields numerous possibilities. This model set is designed to yield a large bat that can really flap its wings. The kit also includes a 40-page book of Uberstix basics.
— “They are flying off the shelves,” said Janet Hoo, owner of Hoomade Toys in Phoenix, Ariz., who named Uberstix in response to TDmonthly's April 2009 survey of best selling construction toys. “Once the customer learns they are compatible with Legos and other sets they want them.”
— “I put some out to show how they work with Legos and others,” said Jacque Flagg, owner of Jacque's Educational Supplies in Bryan, Texas, on what makes Uberstix a best-selling toy in the construction department. 5/11/2009 (MSRP: $10.00; Age: 8 and Up)

Magna-Tiles by VALTECH CO.

Magna-Tiles by VALTECH CO.According to Valtech Co., Magna-Tiles were inspired by Pythagoras of Samos (560-480 BC), an important historical mathematician. (Perhaps you recall the Pythagorean Theorem from high school.) If this lofty inspiration doesn’t impress you, perhaps the design of the magnetic tiles themselves will. While using the tiles to build various constructs, children will also be developing familiarity with geometric shapes, which will lay a strong foundation for advanced mathematics, such as geometry and calculus. This product has no equal, Michael Ziegenhagen, owner of Playmatters in Cleveland, told TDmonthly. "It's used in some schools to teach geometry and spatial reasoning," he added.
— Two of 50 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in spring 2008 singled out this item as the best-selling construction toy in their stores.
— “We're constantly selling Magna-Tiles. This is a weekly seller, and they're even high end,” said Peggy Sebert, owner of Becky & Me Toys in Glenview, Ill., during an April 2009 survey of 49 retailers on their best-selling construction toys.
— “We sell the Magna-Tiles from Valtech really well on a consistent basis,” Kim Emigh, VP of e-commerce at Growing Tree Toys in State College, Pa., told TDmonthly of her store’s top-selling construction items in spring 2009. (Watch the Magna-Tiles Video Watch Video) 10/3/2006 (MSRP: $49.50; Age: 3 to 7)

Octopus Whirl by K'NEX BRANDS

Octopus Whirl by KThird in the series of K'Nex amusement park rides, the Octopus Whirl is a 454-piece set that builds an expansive 2’-wide thrill ride.  Swiveling seats dangle from the long spokes, attached to the center carousel, which spins on an included motor for a realistic model.  Children can build an entire carnival with the other three Amusement Park models. The motor requires two AA batteries; not included.
— “K’nex is great,” stated Sheryl Guidera, owner of Kaleidoscope the Parent Teacher Store in Capitola, Calif., in response to a spring 2009 TDmonthly survey on top-selling construction products.
— Three of 49 retailers named K'nex as a best-selling construction toy in April 2009.  5/11/2009 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 7 and Up)

Rolling Fun Set by WABA FUN LLC

Rolling Fun Set by WABA FUN LLCThe 70-piece Superstructs Rolling Fun set allows kids to create cool cars, trucks and even a motorcycle. It includes an illustrated, step-by-step guide to four different models and a driver character with two hats. The pieces are packaged in a 6.5" L x 6.5" W x 9" H canister.
— “Superstructs do awesome. This is one toy kids always get out to play with, grandparents tell us,” Cathy Gabay told TDmonthly in spring 2009 of this top-selling construction item in her Salina, Kan., store, The Toy Parade.
— Two of 49 retailers surveyed in April 2009 named Superstructs as a best-selling construction toy. 4/27/2009 (MSRP: $19.95; Age: 4 to 11)

Wedgits Imagination Set by IMAGABILITY

Wedgits Imagination Set by IMAGABILITYThis 15-piece set contains a mixture of favorite Wedgits pieces, as well as new angled and straight Wedgits Building Stix. The distinctive pieces allow for even more building possibilities, and the set integrates fully with other Wedgits sets so children can take the complex geometry, balance and stability of this building system to new heights.
— “Wedgits are doing very well. We sell them weekly,” Cathy Albrow, owner of Creative Learning Toys, told TDmonthly in spring 2009 of the construction toy best sellers in her store in Grand Rapids, Mich. 
— Diana Nelson, owner of Kazoo & Company in Denver, Colo., named Wedgits as a best seller in an April 2009 survey about construction toys, remarking, “We sell a few sets a day.” (Watch the Wedgits Imagination Set Video Watch Video) 5/11/2009 (MSRP: $22.99; Age: 3 and Up)

Lincoln Logs Happy Valley Farm by K'NEX BRANDS

Lincoln Logs Happy Valley Farm by KWith plenty of traditional wood 'logs' and bright colored accessories, children can build a charming dairy farm with a main house for the character figurines, a barn, and corral space for the included black and white cow.  A nostalgic and creative building toy, Lincoln Logs can be used to assemble their suggested models into a quaint prairie town, or built into different structures to suit a child's imagination.
— “Lincoln Logs are still selling well,” said Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas. During an April 2009 survey of 49 retailers, she reported sales of about eight sets per month. 5/11/2009 (MSRP: $39.99; Age: 3 and Up)

Magformers by MAGFORMERS LLC

Magformers by MAGFORMERS LLCThis magnetic construction set features 108 powerful magnets permanently encapsulated inside 18 jewel-toned square Magformers and 12 triangle Magformers. The magnets rotate to their attraction position upon contact, so Magformers always connect regardless of their polarity. Watch in amazement as Magformers "form" into three-dimensional structures. Magformers received an Oppenheim Gold Award as well as the 2007 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award. The product’s “magnetic connector concept allows the end user to create quick, magical 3-D models,” President Larry Hunt of Rainbow Products told TDmonthly. Launch date: April 2006.
— Lynda Blankenship, owner of Smart Toys & Books in Knoxville, Tenn. told TDmonthly in late Spring 2011 that Magformers were a best-selling construction toy.
— Magformers are a best seller at Piccolo Mondo Toys in Portland, Ore., Owner Michelle Smith told TDmonthly in Dec. 2008. “We have them on a play table,” she said. Magformers have been best sellers for at least a year at Pufferbellies in Staunton, Va., Co-owner Susan Blanton said in September 2009.
— Mike DiAndrea, manager of Hardware Centre in Paoli, Pa., told TDmonthly during an April 2009 survey that he sells between 100 and 150 sets of Magformers per month. Magformers are also a best seller at Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., Owner John MacDougall told TDmonthly in August 2009.
— Want this? As of 05/10/2011, this product was available for purchase at Smart Toys & Books (Watch the Magformers Video Watch Video) 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $34.98; Age: 5 to 11)

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