March 2010 | Vol. IX - No. 3
During the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s Share the Fair event at Toy Fair 2010, more than 80 representatives from specialty toy stores across the United States gathered to discuss the toys and games they’d been most impressed with at the show. The top-30 mentions from their list of more than 150 items yielded wooden favorites, licensed plush, a select few games and innovative construction sets. See them below:
Watch toy demo videos from Toy Fair 2010
Gourmet Grill (with food) by HAPE
This realistic-looking barbecue set features a hood that opens and a collapsible side table. It includes red knobs to pretend adjusting the heat during play, and wheels to roll it around to different locations. Primary materials are plywood, MDF and non-toxic paint. It measures 47 cm x 37.5 cm x 60 cm.
— This BBQ set was one of the top-two products mentioned by specialty retailers during ASTRA's Share the Fair event at Toy Fair 2010. ( Watch Video) 2/25/2010 (MSRP: $149.99)
KEVA Contraptions 200-Plank Set by MINDWARE
This kit gives some structure to free-form building with planks, including an idea book with instructions for building ball-track structures, ramps, funnels and more. It allows for scientific experimentation as kids test rolling the two included lightweight balls to see if they move as anticipated.
— "A new concept kit will help kids build bigger and better — simple, open-ended and smart," said John MacDougall, owner of Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., at Toy Fair 2010.
— It was also a top-two favorite at ASTRA's Share the Fair event during Toy Fair 2010.
— In an April 2012 survey, Elmer Carranza, manager of Doodlehopper 4 Kids in Springfield, Va., told TDmonthly that KEVA blocks are their best selling construction toy. ( Watch Video) 2/19/2010 (MSRP: $49.95; Age: 7 and Up)
Spot It! by BLUE ORANGE GAMES
Spot It is a party game for two to eight players. It's played by laying a random assortment of cards on the table and all players racing to find one image that matches between two cards. This fast-paced game is designed to never be the same twice, and though it has very few rules to remember it requires a sharp eye to master. The set of 55 round cards transports in its own carry tin. Watch Spot It: Top-5 Video, Toy Fair 2010
— Spot It has been been a top seller for retailers surveyed by TDmonthly since early Spring 2010.
— In a March 2012 survey, 3 out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Spot It was their overall best selling product, and had been for more than a year.
— Dean Smith, Co-owner of JaZams in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2011 survey that he sells 50-60 copies of Spot It each month.
Awards: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller, Dr. Toy 100 Best Children's Products - 2010
Where to buy:
NORTH WEST ( Watch Video) 2/11/2010 (Age: 6 and Up)
Stitch-It Squirrel Keyring by The Little Experience
From start to finish, kids can have fun creating this stuffed key chain animal. Beginning with pieces of pre-cut felt to eliminate struggling with tricky patterns, it's designed to be easy to stitch together the bright-colored squirrel character using a needle and embroidery floss in two colors. Everything required to complete this min kit from The Little Experience is included in the box. 2/10/2010 (MSRP: $6.99; Age: 6 and Up)
Morphology by MORPHOLOGY GAMES
Morphology is a fun, creative and challenging party board game combining simple shapes, imagination and creativity. Using wooden sticks, glass beads and colored cubes how would players create a butterfly¯? or airplane¯? The game challenges players to do just that, even with their eyes closed or using only the string. Morphology takes unique twists and turns throughout the game. Awards — 2011 About.com Readers' Choice award: Best Party Game of 2010; 2010 TIME Magazine's #2 Toy of the Year; 2010 Chicago Tribune Top Ten Game to Get a Party Started; 2010 Games' Magazine top 100 list; Top Party Board Game Nominee; 2010 TDmonthly Top Toys at Toy Fair; 2010 ASTRA Top Toys at Toy Fair 2/15/2010 (MSRP: $29.99; Age: 13 and Up)
Pumponator Balloon Pumping Station by PUMPONATOR INC.
The Pumponator Balloon Pumping Station is designed to make filling balloons with water or air easily. The Pumponator Balloon Pumping Station is filled with 500 balloons and strings for tying. Just fill the container with water, pump, press and fill the balloon. Leave out the water for indoor balloon fun.
— Two of 43 specialty retailers named Pumponator as a top seller in late spring 2010. Four of 40 surveyed retailers claimed Pumponator as an overall top seller in June 2010.
— “I order 144 at a time (and am on my) fourth order since May,” Barbara Fineblum, owner of Barston’s Child’s Play in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly in early summer 2010.
— In a summer 2010 survey, seven of 38 toy and gift retailers named Pumponator an overall top seller. Terri Bracken, owner of Earth Explorer Toys in Zionsville, Ind., told TDmonthly in July 2010 that her store sold 120 Pumponator stations in less than two months. The same month, Kathy Burns, manager of My Favorite Toy Store in Downers Grove, Ill., called Pumponator "a neat, neat item, and very price-appropriate.”
— ''We sell about 500 per year at all 3 stores,'' Marc Holcomb, owner of owner of Toys & Co. in Greensboro, S.C., told TDmonthly in autumn 2010.
AWARDS: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller ( Watch Video) 10/16/2009 (MSRP: $19.95)
Bubber Modeling Compound by WABA FUN LLC
Bubber feels light as air and fluffy as a cloud. It's so light that it actually floats on water. Discover the joy of carving in a soft compound that leaves clean, sharp lines and amazing imprints. Bubber is non-toxic, leaves no stain or residue and never dries out, so you can play with it over and over. Watch Bubber: Top-5 Video, Toy Fair 2010
— "We came upon it today for the first time and ordered it promptly. The basic bucket sells for about $12.99 and comes in several colors," Joe Mitchell, owner of YoYo Joe's Toys & Fun, told TDmonthly at Toy Fair 2010. ( Watch Video) 2/15/2010 (MSRP: $12.99)
Buckyballs™ by Zoomdoggle by MAXFIELD & OBERTON
This set includes 216 powerful rare earth magnets that can be molded, shaped and snapped together in an endless variety of configurations. Each Buckyball has two poles — one repels, one attracts. Not intended for children. Watch video
— ''Pun's has sold about four dozen in the last month alone,'' Joe Berardoni, Sr., owner of Pun's Toy Shop in Bryn Mawr, Pa., shared with TDmonthly in the fall of 2010.
—Jeanette Lauture, owner of Aunt Jean's Toys & Treats in Montclair, N.J., sold nine of 24 units in two days after opening a box for display, she told TDmonthly. Two of 39 retailers named Buckyballs as a best-selling travel toy in March 2010.
— Dean Smith, Co-owner of JaZams in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2011 survey that he sells "probably 50" sets of Buckyballs each month.
— May 27, 2010 RECALL of 175,000 sets (prior to March 2010) with 13+ labeling violating a federal standard that powerful magnets not be sold to children under 14. ( Watch Video) 11/25/2009 (MSRP: $29.95; Age: 14 and Up)
A Light in the Night™ by CCA and B LLC
No More Monsters! A Light In the Night™, created by a mother to comfort her oldest son when he moved to his big boy bed, is a gift set which includes an adorable light-up creature and beautifully illustrated board book. Just one soft press of the tummy emits a bright glow which proves once and for all there’s nothing “going bump in the night.” Each nighttime guardian is available in bubble gum pink, mint green or ice blue. Each gift set includes a Light Up Creature, Children's Board Book, Display Box, and online access (register A Light In the Night online and receive an official "Certificate of Bravery").
Awards: Creative Child Magazine 2010 Preferred Choice Award, Storybooks With Character category ( Watch Video) 2/25/2010 (MSRP: $29.95; Age: 2 to 12)
The World of Eric Carle™ Caterpillar Bean Bag by KIDS PREFERRED INC.
This Very Hungry Caterpillar really knows how to wriggle around the house and into your child’s heart. Soft and colorful, this 7-inch bundle is stuffed with “beans” for easy grasping by little hands. Launch date: Spring 2010 2/19/2010 (MSRP: $10.00; Age: 1 and Up)
Consensus® Junior Edition by MINDLOGIC INC.
Consensus® Junior Edition is an educational and parent friendly game. It is well suited as a family game. Consensus® Junior Edition is a game about opinions. Consensus® Junior Edition is not a trivia game, nor is it a strategy game. It is a game that allows its participants to express themselves as individuals and/or as part of a group.It has received the following awards: Dr. Toy 100 Best Products 2009; Dr. Toy 10 Best Socially Responsible Products 2009; Major Fun Award 2009; Tillywig Laugh Out Loud Award 2009; Creative Child Magazine: Game of the Year 2009; Family Review Center Gold Award 2009; and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award 2009.
— Bernie DeKoven (Major Fun) proclaims that Consensus Junior Edition “is as much a tool for family harmony as it is a game for family fun.” With gameplay similar to Apples to Apples, Consensus Junior Edition challenges players to choose the noun card they feel best fits the revealed adjective card. Players who are able to come to a consensus and choose successfully move ahead. Everyone’s opinion matters, no matter their age, and even kids below the recommended age of 8 can play with a little parental help.
— At Toy House and Baby Too in Jackson, Mich., Consensus Junior Edition is a best-selling game, Owner Phil Wrzesinski told TDmonthly in November 2009. ( Watch Video) 9/14/2009 (MSRP: $24.95; Age: 8 and Up)
Multi-Player Pentago: The Mind-Twisting Game by MINDTWISTER USA
This multi-dimension, multi-player version of the strategy game Pentago accommodates two, three or four players. Two players can play using one or two colors each, and in games with additional participants, players can choose to play as individuals or in teams. Launch date: March 1, 2010.
— A top pick, retailer Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toys, informed TDmonthly at Toy Fair 2010. ( Watch Video) 1/5/2010 (MSRP: $29.95)
Dr. Seuss by GREENPOINT BRANDS
This environmentally friendly plush doll is part of Hosung's My Natural brand and is made from certified non-toxic cotton and shaded via a chemical-free PureWaterWash process. It's in partnership with the Lorax Project, an environmental initiative for the Dr. Seuss brand. Launch date: Spring 2010. 2/11/2010
OgoBild Small Set by OGOSPORT, LLC
This set combines a fun construction toy with active play. It includes colorful interchangeable pieces to create sculptures that can then be tossed around and thrown on the ground both indoors and out. Watch OgoBild: Top-5 Video, Toy Fair 2010 ( Watch Video) 2/17/2010 (MSRP: $15.00)
Oball Roller by RHINO TOYS INC.
This push toy for toddlers features a plastic frame with a large, rolling Oball that features a ball inside. Launch date: 2010. ( Watch Video) 2/26/2010
SkitterBot by DESK PETS
The fast-moving SkitterBot is charged by a USB remote contoller. Individuals can battle or race the bots as each color has its own frequency. SkitterBot is available in four colors: Clear Diamond, Clear Emerald Green, Clear Ruby Red and Clear Sapphire Blue. "Our items can be charged by our unique USB remote control and SkitterBot travels at a speed of 12" per second," David Piltz, Managing Director, Desk Pets, told TDmonthly. Schylling is the distributor to specialty stores in the United States. Launch date: June 2010. Watch Video 2/23/2010 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 8 and Up)
Turbospoke - The Bicycle Exhaust System by TOMAX TURBOSPOKE(TM)
Turbospoke is the re-imagining of a classic playtime activity that many parents will remember; putting a baseball card in the spokes of their bike. Turbospoke brings this simple idea right up-to-date and allows parents to share this wonderful childhood experience with their own children.Turbospoke - the Bicycle Exhaust System makes any bike look and sound like a motorbike!! It attaches to a child's bike in under 5 minutes and using durable plastic cards and a realistic megaphone exhaust pipe it makes awesome motorcycle sounds as you cycle. The sound is generated by the card vibrating in the spokes of the bicycle wheel and the exhaust pipe captures the sound and amplifies it. The harder you pedal, the better it sounds. It looks cool, sounds awesome and transforms kids bikes! Turbospoke is also very rare for a toy product as it has been seen more than 25million times on YouTube. Turbospoke is so much fun that it naturally encourages active outdoor play. It gets children out on their bikes again and exercising. It also brings the opportunity for parents and children to cycle together which is a wonderful thing.
Awards: 2015 TDmonthly Magazine Top Toy Award; 2012 - Tillywig Toy Award - 'Top Fun' Category, USA; 2012 - Toyology Outdoor Toy Awards - Winner, UK.
— As of 10/01/2012 this product had 3.5 out of 5 stars from 27 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: A fun accessory for bikes; sounds like a motorbike. Cons: Several users reported quality control issues. 3/4/2010 (MSRP: $21.99; Age: 6 to 10)
Chess: Once A Pawn A Time by SCIENCE WIZ / NORMAN & GLOBUS INC.
Using the two captivating books included in CHESS: Once A Pawn A Time, this kit is designed to help children enjoy learning and playing chess. The endearing chess characters and story-book style are created to engage them in the game. "This imaginative approach to teaching chess was developed by author Patzi Stewart over her 20 years as a chess teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. The box opens so that customers can examine the books and understand the uniqueness of this chess product prior to purchase," Rachael Norman, Sales, Norman & Globus, Inc., told TDmonthly. Awards: 2010 Dr. Toy Best Toys Award. Launch date: February 15, 2010. ( Watch Video) 2/11/2010 (MSRP: $19.98; Age: 5 to 12)
SepToys by SEPTOYS INC.
This set includes 32 seven-sided design blocks in various shapes and colors that are designed to allow for nearly unlimited constructions. ( Watch Video) 2/25/2010 (MSRP: $32.00; Age: 4 and Up)
Zyclone by ZING
Zyclone offers long-distance flying fun. Kids (and adults) can just load the Zing-Ring, pull back, and twist. The ring is made to fly over long distances, so the toy should be used in an open area.
— Zyclone by Zing Toys was a top-10 best seller at RoundTable Toys in Winterville, N.C., in Dec. 2009. “It was a surprise late addition for us both in our store and online, but when we played the video on our site and customers played with it in our store, it became an instant hit,” Storeowner David Davis told TDmonthly. “Also, having David Letterman demo the item on his show didn’t hurt!” 1/25/2010 (MSRP: $29.99; Age: 6 and Up)
B. Pop-Arty! by TOYSMITH
Pop, pop, pop. This snap-together jewelry features fashionable colors and distinctive shapes for playtime and party fun. Launch date: 2010. 2/26/2010 (MSRP: $29.99; Age: 4 to 10)
Twilight Ladybug - Relaunched by CLOUD B
The redesigned Twilight Ladybug features a vibrantly colored shell and soft, matching fur on its body. The constellations are on a 45 minute timer. Each Twilight Turtle and Friends character from the collection projects constellation nightlights that create a magical sleep-time environment. Each “shell” illuminates the night with three soothing color options to help ease fear of the dark. The Twilight Collection includes Twilight Turtle and Twilight Ladybug, each available in three colors and a Twilight Sea Turtle that also has five illuminated windows projecting images of sea life.
―As of 1.06.2011 this product had 4 out of 5 stars from 833 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 25 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games. Pros: Soft plush; shuts of automatically to reserve battery power. Cons: Light burnt out and was not replaceable.
― In a June 2010 survey, nine of 40 retailers told TDmonthly that Cloud B Twilight critters are top-selling baby toys, with five citing Twilight Ladybug and six citing Twilight Turtle. Twilight Ladybug is the “go-to (product) for infant gifts” at School Crossing Inc. in Williamsburg, Va., according to Owner Sherry Phipps. ( Watch Video) 11/5/2009 (MSRP: $29.95)
Celtic Challenge by FIND IT GAMES
Celtic Challenge is a timeless strategy game for one or two players. Crafted in an old-world style, the game features rustic tiles, a Celtic "rune" staff for scoring, and an elegant hardwood playing board. Players try to remove as many tiles from the board as possible in the turns allowed. Legend has it that no one has ever accomplished the nearly insurmountable "Celtic Challenge" — sweeping all tiles from the board in one game. Rich with Celtic symbols, this game is designed for families, dads, or anyone looking to expand their library of classics. "While it is evocative of mah jong or solitaire, our Celtic Challenge game can be learned in less than five minutes, and played in 10-15 minutes. The sheer beauty of the game, and the look and feel of the playing tiles, set the product apart as deserving of an everyday place on the coffee table or anywhere in the home," Brian Maggio, Sales, Find It Games, told TDmonthly. Launch date: May 2010.
Awards: 2010 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Toy Award, Gold Seal. 2/26/2010 (MSRP: $39.99; Age: 10 and Up)
Magformers XL Cruisers Construction Vehicle Set by MAGFORMERS LLC
This collection is designed for Magformers to transform into hundreds of creative construction vehicles. Each set includes emergency lights and engine sound, plus an attachable, poseable figurine. Launch date: June 2010. 2/26/2010 (MSRP: $50.00)
Solitaire Chess by THINKFUN
In this sequential logic puzzle fashioned by the rules of chess, participants pick a challenge card and set up the pieces as shown. They they alternate turns moving pieces one by one until only one piece is left on the board, declaring the winner. It includes 60 challenges, from beginner to expert. ( Watch Video) 2/26/2010 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 8 and Up)
Inchimals™ by FAT BRAIN TOY CO.
Inchimals is a set of 12 wooden blocks with animal images that measure from 1” in height (ladybug) to 12” high (giraffe). They can be combined with the 100 write on/wipe off math puzzles for kids to practice counting, number values and recognition, fine motor skills, language and more. Launch date: Spring 2010. 2/26/2010 (MSRP: $29.95; Age: 3 and Up)
Lubies™ Hippopotamus by ROCKET USA
This softball-sized round plush is soft, cuddly and ideal for tossing around. 2/25/2010 (Age: 0 and Up)