ToyDirectory
October 17, 2017

TDmonthly Magazine

August 2010 | Vol. IX - No. 8


What's HOT: Toys That Draw the Masses

Silly Bandz and LeapFrog Bring in the Bucks

By Ashley Heaton
August 2010

Want to know the hottest toys out there? Online buying activity reveals that Silly Bandz from BCP Imports, LeapFrog, LEGO and Melissa & Doug are among the most popular playthings on the market. Take a look at this lineup of best sellers from Amazon.com and other mass-market sites including Toys "R" Us, Target and Walmart.

Silly Bandz Princess Pack by BCP IMPORTS LLC

Silly Bandz Princess Pack by BCP IMPORTS LLCThe 24-Pack Princess Shapes includes: Tiara, Diamond Ring, Glass Slipper, Princess, Majestic Castle, Magic Wand. This pack has shapes in six assorted colors to be collected, worn, or traded with friends. They can be treated as traditional rubber bands and worn as bracelets but spring back into their original shape when not in use. Launch date: 2010.
— Silly Bandz were on the top-10 best-seller list at Dancing Bear Toys in Asheville and Hendersonville, N.C., according to the storeowners, sisters Sarah and Erika Evers, in June 2010. “They are cute, inexpensive enough for kids to afford, and fun to trade,” they told TDmonthly.
— As of 7.13.10, this product had 4 out of 5 stars from nine reviews on Amazon.com, and was listed No. 1 in best-selling toys and games.
PROS: Fun, collectible, wearable (the right size for most children's wrists) and ideal for party favors. CONS: Some shaped rubber bands may have a bad smell, but it likely depends on the packaging and seller.
AWARDS: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller (entire Silly Bandz line) 6/7/2010 (MSRP: $4.95; Age: 4 and Up)


LeapFrog® Leapster® Learning Game: Disney Pixar Toy Story 3 by LEAPFROG

LeapFrog® Leapster® Learning Game: Disney Pixar Toy Story 3 by LEAPFROGAs Andy prepares to depart for college, Buzz, Woody and the rest of the loyal toys are troubled about their uncertain future. This comical adventure lands the toys in a room full of untamed tots who can't wait to get their sticky little fingers on these "new" toys. It's pandemonium as they try to stay together to ensure that "no toy gets left behind." The game features expanded play for the Leapster2 system, so Leapster2 players can connect online for extra games, activities and rewards, and parents can get detailed learning progress reports through the online LeapFrog Learning Path.
— As of 7.26.2010, this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 1 review on Amazon.com, and was listed No. 1 in the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Multiple games to choose from. CONS: Not perceived as challenging enough by some children. 7/26/2010 (MSRP: $24.99; Age: 4 to 7)


Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow Kit by D & L COMPANY

Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow Kit by D & L COMPANYWhen kids stomp on the launch pad, a blast of air propels the Stomp Rocket over 100 feet into the air. This kit comes with four glow-in-the-dark foam rockets.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.6 out of 5 stars from 291 reviews on Amazon.com. PROS: Simple to use, no assembly, rockets fly high, and foam construction of rockets doesn't damage people or property. CONS: Could use a sturdier base and wingnut/screw connection.
— In an August 2010 TDmonthly survey of 43 retailers, three cited Stomp Rockets as an overall top seller.
— Stephanie Dupuy of Playville in Covington, La., told TDmonthly in a November 2011 survey that their best selling flying toy is Stomp Rocket. They sell between 12 and 18 each month, depending on the weather. 7/26/2010 (MSRP: $14.99; Age: 3 and Up)


My Pillow Pets Ladybug by CJ PRODUCTS

My Pillow Pets Ladybug by CJ PRODUCTSThis 18" ladybug is made of soft red and black plush. Open the velcro closure to use the bug as a pillow, then close the velcro to create a soft pet.
— According to Cynthia Wyatt, president of Totally Thomas Toy Depot in San Diego, My Pillow Pets were on the store’s top-10 best-seller list in July 2010. “Soft and cuddly!” she told TDmonthly. “They are the perfect pal for naptime and nighttime. They sell well … when we can get them, that is!”
— As of 8.03.2010, this product had 3.5 out of 5 stars from 23 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 11 in the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Soft, cuddly and kids respond well to it. CONS: Some parents questioned whether it is actually washable.
— Want this? As of 05/06/2011, this product was available for purchase at Toys & Co. (Watch the My Pillow Pets Ladybug Video Watch Video) 7/27/2010 (MSRP: $29.95)


Dominion by RIO GRANDE GAMES

Dominion by RIO GRANDE GAMESIn this tactical card game, players are monarchs who rule small peasant kingdoms. The players compete to enlarge their kingdoms by claiming as much land as possible. The game is for two to four players and can be played in approximately 30 minutes.
— As of 1.06.2011 this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 128 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 29 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games. PROS: Variety keeps players entertained. CONS: Cards are easy to lose. 7/26/2010 (MSRP: $44.99)


BANANAGRAMS® by BANANAGRAMS

BANANAGRAMS® by BANANAGRAMSThe fast-moving word game consists of 144 ivory-like letter tiles in a zippered banana pouch. Players place the tiles face down on the table and randomly select 21 tiles. They turn their letters right-side up simultaneously and proceed to form as many intersecting and interconnecting words as possible, rearranging their own letters as many times as desired throughout the game. Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2007; 2009 TOTY Game of the YEAR, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal; 2007 iParenting; 2007 Parents' Choice Recommended; 2007 Dr. Toy Best Products. (Read Review)
— This product has been making the TDmonthly Best-sellers lists since 2007.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 456 reviews on Amazon.com.
— Eight of 66 retailers vouched for its best-selling status in May 2008; seven of 63 did in Sept. 2008. Shani Watmough of Planet Toys in Rockland, Maine, said her store sells 60 per month.  Fifteen of 38 named it a top-selling game in Feb. 2010.
— As of April 5, 2010, Bananagrams had spent 570 days in the top-100 best-selling toys and games on Amazon.com.
— According to owner Brett Sommer of Figpickels Toy Emporium in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,  “It was the 2009 game of the year. The brilliant packaging definitely helps this product." (Watch the BANANAGRAMS® Video Watch Video) 6/19/2006 (MSRP: $14.99; Age: 7 and Up)


Silly Bandz Fantasy Shapes 24 Pack by BCP IMPORTS LLC

Silly Bandz Fantasy Shapes 24 Pack by BCP IMPORTS LLCThese bands are designed to be worn, collected or traded with friends. The Fantasy Shape pack includes Mermaids, Unicorns, Genies, Dragons, Fairies, and Phoenix.
— As of 7.26.2010, this product had 3.5 out of 5 stars from 11 reviews on Amazon.com, and was listed No. 5 in the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Trendy and well-liked among children. This pack includes glittery and glow-in-the-dark shapes. CONS: Uniformly small in size so might break easily on larger wrists. 7/26/2010 (MSRP: $5.99; Age: 5 and Up)


The Settlers of Catan® (4th Edition) by MAYFAIR GAMES INC.

The Settlers of Catan® (4th Edition) by MAYFAIR GAMES INC.In this game designed by Klaus Teber, three to four players who are immigrants to Catan must develop their colony on the island by establishing roads, villages and settlements and making strategic trades of bricks and lumber, livestock or other commodities to obtain necessary resources. Play takes about 60 to 90 minutes. The first player to 10 points wins. "The new edition was released three years ago and has sold more copies in those three years than the first, second or third editions combined," Bob Carty, Sales & Marketing Director, Mayfair Games, told TDmonthly in early 2010.
— In August 2010, five percent of 43 retailers surveyed named The Settlers of Catan an overall top seller. The same month, Steven Levy, owner of Toy City in Keene, New Hampshire, told TDmonthly his store sells approximately three Settlers of Catan games per week.
— “It's real easy to teach, and then you just develop strategies from there," Mike Snyder, owner and manager of Cville's Hobbies, Games and Toys in Charlottesville, Va., told TDmonthly in a February 2012 survey about best selling games. Cville's sells 16-20 copies of the game each month.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.7 out of 5 stars from 632 reviews on Amazon.com. 3/3/2010 (MSRP: $42.00; Age: 10 and Up)


Butterfly Garden by INSECT LORE

Butterfly Garden by INSECT LOREThis net habitat (almost like a Chinese lantern) encloses caterpillars, food and the setting for a caterpillar’s eventual metamorphosis. It requires mail-sent larvae. “The Butterfly Garden not only shows actual insect metamorphosis, but it does so in just three weeks' time. Many other animal habitats can take up to six months for any changes to occur. This makes it a perfect item for kids who have short attention spans and is an ideal science project for any classroom,” John White, marketing director of Insect Lore, told TDmonthly.
— Fred Rosenberg of On the Park in Kingwood, Texas, named this as his No. 1 seller in May 2008, with sales of 50 to 60 units monthly. “I just can't keep them in stock right now,” he told TDmonthly. “We have a display on our counter with the real butterflies so people can see it go through the process,” said Kim Emigh, VP of e-commerce at Growing Tree Toys in State College, Pa.
— 25% of 64 retailers surveyed in August 2008 named this as their top-selling nature toy, reporting average sales of 12 per month. Five of 38 retailers named Insect Lore’s butterfly habitats as best-selling science and nature products in late summer 2009. In an August 2010 survey, 21 percent of 43 specialty retailers said Insect Lore is a top-selling science and nature brand. Five retailers specifically cited Butterfly Garden as a best seller.
— As of 5/21/2012, the Butterfly Garden had spent more than 1,600 days in the top-100 best-selling toys and games at Amazon.com and has 4.4 out of 5 stars from 461 reviews.
AWARDS: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller (Watch the Butterfly Garden Video Watch Video) 7/18/2005 (MSRP: $19.99)


WaterWheel Activity Play Table by THE STEP2 COMPANY

WaterWheel Activity Play Table by THE STEP2 COMPANYThe WaterWheel play table includes boats, a waterwheel and a cup for pouring, all in an elevated design that keeps children as clean as possible while still encouraging creative water play.
— As of 4/18/2012 this product had 4.6 out of 5 stars from 429 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Easy to assemble; appeals to a wide age range; Lightweight; a good value for the price. Cons: No plug makes it harder to drain; no cover is included. 7/26/2010 (MSRP: $42.99)


Zhu Zhu Pets™ Wild Bunch by CEPIA LLC

Zhu Zhu Pets™ Wild Bunch by CEPIA LLCInstead of hamsters, these pets are skunks, raccoons, bunnies and hedgehogs with the same spunk and charm of the original Zhu Zhu Pets. Launch date: 2010.
— As of 7.14.10, two Zhu Zhu Pets Wild Bunch Hamsters were ranked among the top-10 best sellers on ToysRUs.com for 3- to 4-year-olds, with 5 out of 5 stars from four reviews. PROS: A fun and fuzzy collectible and ideal gift item.
Awards: Dr. Toy 100 Best Children's Products - 2010 3/1/2010 (MSRP: $9.99; Age: 6 and Up)


Vuvuzelas - Fan Horn by ALIVE WORLDWIDE LTD.

Vuvuzelas - Fan Horn by ALIVE WORLDWIDE LTD.Designed for use at sporting events, this noise-making plastic item is 1-meter long and sounds like an elephant. Orders over 5000 pieces can be customized with team logos. Launch date: 2009.
— As of 7.26.2010, this product had 4 out of 5 stars from 17 reviews on Amazon.com and was listed No. 12 in the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Captures the spirit of the World Cup. Easy to use and features different play modes. CONS: Some might consider the sound annoying. 4/9/2009 (MSRP: $5; Age: 7 and Up)


Ultra Stomp Rocket by D & L COMPANY

Ultra Stomp Rocket by D & L COMPANYStomp on the launch pad and a blast of air propels the Ultra Stomp Rocket over 200' in the air. The kit contains four rockets with the OG-1 Nosecone. “We are the original creator. Stomp Rockets started the "stompin' revolution," Cynthia Peeks of D&L Co. told TDmonthly, stressing that Stomp Rockets are known for their name, quality and safety.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2008
; iParenting Media, iParenting Hot; Dr. Toy Best Children´s Vacation Toy.
— Retailers surveyed by TDmonthly have been naming Ultra Stomp Rocket as a best-seller since 2006.
— Four of 45 retailers who spoke to TDmonthly in summer 2007 said the Stomp Rocket's success makes it a choice gift, reporting unit sales figures from four to dozens a month. Nine percent of 66 retailers named the Stomp Rocket as a best-selling gift for boys in July 2008. "We sell about 75 a month," Marilyn Walker, owner of Play Fair Toys in Boulder, Colo., told TDmonthly in early 2009. Thirteen percent of 47 retailers told TDmonthly in June 2009 that Stomp Rockets are a best seller for boys. “It's probably been the dang Stomp Rocket for about 15 years now. They just fly out,” Tye Steinbach, owner of Thinker Toys in Portland, Ore., said when asked about his most popular outdoor toy. Nine of 37 retailers named Stomp Rockets as a best-selling outdoor item in spring 2010.
— Despite multiple complaints about its durability, the Ultra Stomp Rocket received an average of 4.5 stars among 217 Amazon.com customers for being fun for all ages and pleasantly surprising when it comes to the distance the rockets can be launched. The toy is best used in open areas. Rockets are easy to lose and break, but refills are easy and cheap to find! (12.17.2012)
 12/17/2012 (MSRP: $15.00; Age: 8 and Up)


Syma S107 Mini Indoor Built-in Gyroscope RC Helicopter by RC TOY HOUSE

Syma S107 Mini Indoor Built-in Gyroscope RC Helicopter by RC TOY HOUSEEquipped with gyroscope technology, this helicopter can fly up, down, left, right, forward and backward. It measures 7.5" x 3.8" x 7.5," and can be charged by transmitter or USB cable.
— As of 7.26.2010, this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 44 reviews on Amazon.com, and was listed No. 15 in the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Moves in multiple directions and is durable and stable. Comes with LED lights and a USB charger. CONS: Moves somewhat slowly. USB charger can mean a longer recharge time. 7/26/2010 (MSRP: $59.99)


LEGO Ultimate Building Set by LEGO

LEGO Ultimate Building Set by LEGOThis Lego starter kit lets younger children build a house, car, dog, helicopter and more. The set features 405 pieces stored in a durable plastic box with a see-through top. Included are minifigure, a building plate and a wide mix of standard bricks in various colors, as well as house and wheel elements.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.6 out of 5 stars from 293 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 19 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games. Pros: 405 pieces and one figurine included; packaged in durable storage container. Cons: Younger children may need help with construction; pieces do not fill up bucket all the way. 7/26/2010 (MSRP: $29.99; Age: 4 and Up)


Brilliant Basics Baby's First Blocks by FISHER-PRICE INC.

Brilliant Basics BabyTen bright blocks are ready for baby to drop into the open bucket or through the shape-sorting lid. This toy is designed for developing eye-hand coordination and other early skills. Then children can move on to sorting, stacking and learning about identifying and matching shapes. This set includes a plastic shape-sorting box with a handle and ten colorful blocks.
Awards: 1995 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Blue Chip Classic Award Winner.
— As of 05/21/2012 this product had 4.1 out of 5 stars from 314 reviews on Amazon.com. PROS: Basic, durable baby toy that keeps children entertained. CONS: Lid does not snap on; May contain carcinogens.


 7/26/2010 (MSRP: $12.99; Age: 0 and Up)


Minotaurus by LEGO

Minotaurus by LEGOThe mythical Minotaur protects a secret temple hidden deep inside a labyrinth and players must be the first to lead their three heroes to the temple, avoiding the Minotaur and cleverly placing walls to block their opponents. By changing the LEGO dice, players can jump hedges, and by re-building the maze, every game is a new adventure. For 2 to 4 players, the game includes 1 buildable LEGO® Dice, 12 LEGO microfigures, 1 building instruction booklet, and 1 rule booklet. Awards: Parent's Choice Award 2010
— As of 8.03.2010, this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 14 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 19 in the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Children enjoy playing, and it holds their interest. CONS: Small parts can be a choking hazard, and are difficult to manipulate on the board.
Awards: Dr. Toy 100 Best Children's Products - 2010 (Watch the Minotaurus Video Watch Video) 3/17/2010 (MSRP: $24.99; Age: 7 to 12)


Scribble & Write by LEAPFROG

Scribble & Write by LEAPFROGPreschoolers can practice drawing and writing by tracing the lights that make shapes and letters. This portable tool is designed to foster development of phonics and early writing skills, as well as gaining control of a pencil. It employs a retraceable surface, and parents can find more ideas for learning online at the LeapFrog Learning Path.
— As of 7.26.2010, this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from - reviews on Amazon.com, and was listed No. 20 in the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Educational but entertaining; children seemed to enjoy learning to write with this product. CONS: Some customers felt the product did not provide enough constructive feedback. 11/23/2009 (MSRP: $21.99; Age: 3 to 5)


Cutting Food Box by MELISSA & DOUG

Cutting Food Box by MELISSA & DOUGThe Cutting Food Box is a super-sized play-food set that comes with a child-safe knife. Kids prepare their own healthy meals, cut into them as they make a crunching sound, and then have fun trying to put them back together again. The set includes a cutting board and a wooden crate for easy storage.
— "I think Melissa & Doug certainly ramped up the trend toward wooden toys in designing things like the food-cutting box out of wood," said Nancy Streeter, owner of Eureka in Newburyport, Mass.
— Melissa & Doug dominated the wooden toys' category in an early 2007 survey, as the brand was cited more than 50 times by a collective 51 retailers.
— Two of 39 retailers told TDmonthly that Melissa & Doug cutting foods make popular playsets.
— As of 8.03.2010, this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 201 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 20 in the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Entertaining and well-made. CONS: Paint can peel. (Watch the Cutting Food Box Video Watch Video) 1/31/2007 (MSRP: $19.95; Age: 3 and Up)


Fisher-Price Sesame Street Silly Sounds Remote by FISHER-PRICE INC.

Fisher-Price Sesame Street Silly Sounds Remote by FISHER-PRICE INC.This remote plays over 35 silly sounds and fun phrases as children press buttons just like those on a real remote. Fast forward and rewind sound effects and a real working volume control are included. Elmo’s eyes also open & close.
— As of 7.26.2010, this product had 4 out of 5 stars from 72 reviews on Amazon.com, and was listed No. 22 in the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Humorous, durable and keeps children busy. CONS: Some parents did not feel it was educational enough. 7/26/2010 (MSRP: $14.99)


Qwirkle by MINDWARE

Qwirkle by MINDWARERequiring no reading from its players, Qwirkle is a simple-to-learn but stimulating game based around matching the attributes of the game play tiles. Players build rows and columns by placing tiles adjacent to tiles they share an attribute with (shape or color), and score bonus points if they can think ahead and put a tile down touching multiple other tiles. While the game is easy to understand, a good eye and quick thinking make Qwirkle challenging enough for a wide range of ages to play together.
Awards: 2011 Speiele des Jahres (German game of the year).
― “We sell a lot of Qwirkle,” Sue Banducci said of popular games in her Danville, Calif., store, Games Unlimited. “Qwirkle was best-selling over Christmas,” said Shirley Reilly, owner of Let's Play in Hillsboro, Ore., in January 2009.
― When asked about his top-selling games in early 2009, Tye Steinbach of Thinker Toys in Portland, Ore. told TDmonthly, “It was probably Qwirkle. We're not huge gamers in our family, but it's really fun.”
— Four of 44 specialty retailers named Qwirkle as a best seller in late fall 2009. Ages & Stages Toy Box in Golden, Colo., sells about 10 Qwirkle games per month, Manager Holly Anvers told TDmonthly.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 483 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 6 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games. Pros: Exciting; intellectually stimulating, easy to learn. Cons: Some said it took too long to play; only had 3 reviews less than 3 stars, however. (Watch the Qwirkle Video Watch Video) 2/9/2009 (MSRP: $24.95; Age: 6 and Up)


My 1st Scooter by RADIO FLYER

My 1st Scooter by RADIO FLYERDesigned to be the ideal first scooter for children, My 1st Scooter features an extra-wide base for maximum stability, and comes 100-percent assembled. Two wheels in the front allow for for stable steering, and the tapered base creates a clear kick path. The scooter folds for easy storage. Awards: 2010 TOTY Award
— As of 8.03.2010, this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 42 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 23 in the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Stable, lightweight, durable and appeals to 2- to 3-year-olds. CONS: Might not be versatile enough for children 4 and up. 2/15/2010 (MSRP: $65.99; Age: 2 to 5)


Erector Tuning Radio Control Light and Music System Car by SCHYLLING

Erector Tuning Radio Control Light and Music System Car by SCHYLLINGThis set allows children to construct three different car models that feature orange metallic paint, flaming stickers, racing tires and chrome-plated rims. It has light and sound effects as well as a full-function controller. The set includes 368 parts, including a power tool. Previously distributed by Nikko America.
— As of 8.03.2010, this product had 4 out of 5 stars from 5 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 23 in the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Appeals to boys and holds interest. CONS: Electronics might not last as long as the model does. Can be difficult to assemble. 5/15/2007 (MSRP: $99.00; Age: 8 and Up)


Apples to Apples Party Box Edition by OUT OF THE BOX PUBLISHING

Apples to Apples Party Box Edition by OUT OF THE BOX PUBLISHINGEach player selects a card from his or her hand that seems best described by a card played by the judge. If the judge picks that card, that player wins the round. Everyone gets a chance to be the judge. The Party Box version comes complete with more than 1,000 cards — the entire collection of cards from the original core game plus Expansion Sets 1 and 2.
— “Teachers love this game. It crossed the border from teacher outlets to retail toy stores. There’s a Junior to Adult version,” said Roberta Edwards, owner of Wishes Toys & Gifts in La Quinta, Calif.
— This has been a consistently solid seller for Tree Top Kids in Fairfax, Va., according to Susie Waterstreet, vice president of marketing.
— “Believe it or not, I had the Junior age 7 and up, Junior 9 and up and Party Box kinds and I only have one 9 and up left,” said Trish Garlock, owner of Treasured Child in La Grange, Ky.
—  As of 1.06.2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 340 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 10 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games. Pros: Encourages creative thinking; fun for large groups. Cons: requires at least 4 people to play; not for children under 12. 1/20/2006 (MSRP: $29.99; Age: 12 and Up)


My Pillow Pets Lavender Unicorn by CJ PRODUCTS

My Pillow Pets Lavender Unicorn by CJ PRODUCTSThis 18" cuddly Unicorn is made of soft lavender plush. Open the velcro closure and use as a pillow, then close it for a soft pet.
— As of 1.06.2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 51 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 17 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games. Pros:Very soft; appeals to girls of all ages. Good quality and multi-purpose. Cons: Difficult to wash and gets dirty easily.
As of 1.06.2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 51 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 17 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games. Pros:Very soft; appeals to girls of all ages. Good quality and multi-purpose. Cons: Difficult to wash and gets dirty easily.
 7/26/2010 (MSRP: $32.99; Age: 3 and Up)


Blokus by MATTEL INC.

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)


Melissa & Doug Deluxe Easel by MELISSA & DOUG

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Easel by MELISSA & DOUGKids can paint with sweeping gestures when they use this generous-sized easel. One side is a chalkboard, the other´s a dry-erase board. Load a piece of paper into the paper holder and kids can paint and scribble to their heart’s content. Each side of the easel features a colorful tray that can hold paints, cups, chalk, erasers, clips and more. “Our Deluxe Easel has become one of our best-selling items because of its great value, high-quality construction and versatility,” said Rick Davis, part of the marketing team at Melissa & Doug. It has two adjustable boards that allow children of all sizes to enjoy painting and creating, and the easy-to-clean trays are removable in seconds.”
— This product has been making the TDmonthly Best-sellers lists since 2005.
—  As of 1.06.2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 647 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 18 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games. Pros: Double Sided; easy to clean. Cons: Supplies must be purchased separately.
— "The Melissa & Doug Easel, hands-down, beats everything in terms of dollars. It's well-made and good value," was the praise given by David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont.
— “Our easel, from Melissa & Doug, just blows out of here,” said Nishan Shepard, owner of Rockridge Kids in Oakland, Calif., in early 2010.
— Seven of 48 retailers named the easel as their top-selling art item in January 2010, reporting average sales of three per month.
— This easel has been a consistent best seller for Jillie Beans Toys & More of Westminster, Colo., since the store opened in 2006. (April 2010) (Watch the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Easel Video Watch Video) 9/29/2005 (MSRP: $49.99; Age: 4 and Up)


Leapster2 Learning Game System by LEAPFROG

Leapster2 Learning Game System by LEAPFROGThe handheld system provides children with fun activities and rewards that encourage continued play while allowing parents to see what their child is learning and share in their accomplishments. The system features auto-levels that adjust games to fit each child’s particular skills and progress, so children are appropriately challenged.
— As of 1.06.2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 51 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 17 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games. Pros:Very soft; appeals to girls of all ages. Good quality and multi-purpose. Cons: Difficult to wash and gets dirty easily. 2/19/2008 (MSRP: $69.99; Age: 4 to 8)


Learn 'N Groove Musical Table by LEAPFROG

Learn Benefit from 15 activities, including bilingual learning for letters, numbers, colors, shapes and musical instruments. Learn ‘N Groove for sitting babies or standing toddlers.
— As of 7.27.2010, this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 568 reviews on Amazon.com, and was listed No. 34 in the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Colorful, appeals to a wide age range and entertains consistently. Includes bilingual feature. CONS: Children might try to climb on it. 12/8/2006 (Age: 1 to 3)


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