January 2011 | Vol. X - No. 1
ZipBin™ by NEAT-OH! INTERNATIONAL LLC
The ZipBin™ line consists of attractively designed, transportable and collapsible, interactive storage products that unzip to become activity/play surfaces, and then zip back up to storage-bin form, capturing toys. Each is stackable with a durable, wipe-clean surface. The five ZipBin products for toys include: ZipBin Mansion, ZipBin Road & Rail, ZipBin Dinosaur, ZipBin Builder’s Bin for Plastic Blocks and ZipBin Medieval Castle. “We sometimes describe the ZipBin as a gift that parents give to ... themselves,” Katherine and John Hodges told TDmonthly about the ZipBin. “The unique functionality [of the bin] ... simplifies clean-up.” ( Watch Video) 12/9/2005
Play & Freeze Ice Cream Maker by INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION INC.
With the Play & Freeze Ice Cream Maker, you can make ice cream anywhere! You don’t need electricity, just add ice and rock salt in one end and ice cream mix in the other end; then have a ball as you shake it, pass it or roll it! You can make a pint of gourmet ice cream in about 20 minutes of having a ball! Made of durable polycarbonate, it’s lightweight, portable and easy to clean. Great for kids (ages 8+) as well as the whole family. Ideal for indoors or outdoors; Picnics, Parties, Camping and more!
— Industrial Revolution kicked their ball up and down the aisle at Toy Fair to convince specialty retailers that they really could make ice cream.
— The TDmonthly camera crew spotted a long-term specialty retailer ordering the ball for her toy store.
— Industrial Revolution said they did better than expected at Toy Fair with on-the-spot orders. ( Watch Video) 2/1/2006 (MSRP: $29.95; Age: 8 and Up)
Miniature UPS Package Truck by HOORAY!
This new line of vehicles features the UPS name, logo and colors. The UPS Package truck will be reproduced covered with the fuzzy flocking that Huggy Buggy products are known for in UPS’ signature brown color. The first product to be introduced is a miniature version of the package truck with a clip to attach to backpacks, purses, suitcases or anywhere. THIS COMPANY IS NO LONGER IN BUSINESS. THE FLOCKED VEHICLES ARE CURRENTLY PRODUCED BY RUBBABU, THOUGH THE UPS TRUCK IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE (10/13/10). ( Watch Video) 12/22/2004
M9 Sports Van by AUTOMOBLOX
The Automoblox M9 comfortably seats eight of our cool, blue people. The extra-long main passenger compartment and additional seating for four in the rear block give this vehicle the longest wheelbase in the line-up. Now your child can build a minivan like mom’s that even dad will want to drive. ( Watch Video) 3/31/2006 (MSRP: $37.99; Age: 3 to 9)
Soccer Mania Thumball™ Catch 32 by ANSWERS IN MOTION
6" size, 32 multi-colored panels, pleasingly squeezable. Inspires legions of fans and players to share their knowledge, skills, and experiences with the World’s most loved game. ( Watch Video) 4/9/2007 (MSRP: $13.99)
Cheche the Cheetah by ZOOBIES
Part of the Safari Pack, this super-soft plush is also a pillow and a blanket. It is three products in one. Zoobie Pets received a 2007 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award and a 2007 Top Toy of the Year Award from Creative Child Magazine.
― Debbie Scholl, owner of Fundamentally Toys in Houston, favored these transformable pets/pillows/blankies at Toy Fair 2007. ( Watch Video) 2/9/2007
The Original Fortamajig™ by THE HAPPY KID COMPANY
The Fortamjig provides a fun, easy way to build cool play spaces anywhere. The Fortamajig measures an open 8' square and is created out of durable nylon ripstop with no hard pieces to break or lose. It has open-able, stretchy loops around the interior and exterior edges for attachment to chair backs, tree branches, doorknobs and more, and features a closable mesh window, a flap door and four corner pockets. A reversible double-layer design is available for $89.95. This product is a Fall 2007 Parent's Choice Gold Award and Summer 2007 Dr. Toy Best Product Award winner. Launch date: February 2007.
— “The Fortamajig's open-ended design allows kids to create any play structure they can imagine, both indoors and out. Parents will appreciate the versatility the Fortamajig offers in one lightweight, portable and washable unit,” founders Katherine Huck and Kristen Stocking of The Happy Kid Company told TDmonthly. ( Watch Video) 1/8/2007 (MSRP: $49.95; Age: 3 to 12)
Dado Cubes by FAT BRAIN TOY CO.
Dado will engage your imagination and help develop a keen eye for design, color, shape, size, space, balance, proportion and composition. Constructed horizontally, vertically or nested together, Dado invites unlimited visual spatial development and problem solving through design-centered play. Dado features ten cubes, scaled from 1” to 5”. This game is "self-expression revealed through a contemporary palette of play, " Kathy Lorkovic, at Fat Brain Toys, told TDmonthly. This product has won numerous awards, including a 2007 National Parenting Center Seal of Approval Award, a Spring 2007 Dr. Toy Best Product Award, a 2007 iParenting Media Excellent Products Award and a Creative Child Preferred Choice Award. Launch date: September 1, 2006.
— “Dado Cubes forms the foundation of a series of design-centered educational toys,” offered Mark Carson, developer and president of Fat Brain Toys. Dado is “that rare toy that combines intuitive fun with fine design. Equally rare is its ability to entertain young and old alike,” he added. “Beyond Dado, we have a number of products in development that have been inspired by true educational research.”
Past Videos: Toy Fair 2007 ( Watch Video) 10/6/2006 (MSRP: $27.50; Age: 3 and Up)
Sprig Adventure Series by SPRIG TOYS, INC.
Sprig Toys is a new, environmentally responsible toy company created by award-winning industry veterans (former Mattel and Radica designers). Its line of kid-powered, totally green adventure vehicles for preschoolers is made from Sprigwood™, a child-safe bio-composite material derived from 100-percent recycled wood and reclaimed plastic. The Sprig Adventure Series harnesses the natural energy of push- and pump-action play to power lights and other electronics — all without batteries. Adventure Guide characters wearing LED-lit hats plug into durable, attractively designed vehicles and engage preschoolers with audio that guides them through exciting adventures as they play. Launch date: Fall 2008.
— "The sets were attractive, nicely packaged in recycled/biodegradable material, and had a rugged, tactile quality," said TDmonthly reporter Marie Raven, also a buyer for Over the Rainbow in Anchorage, Alaska, at Toy Fair 2008. "It's a small line but felt to me like an appropriate number of items for a nice in-store presentation while appealing not only to the eco-sense of our customers, but also providing active and stimulating educational play."
— “I was really impressed by all the angles that it covered,” said Jennifer Klein, who in early 2008 ordered all three Sprig Toys vehicles for her store, Earth Child, in Sebastopol, Calif. Five of 24 retailers told TDmonthly this was one of their favorite lines at Toy Fair. ( Watch Video) 1/17/2008
HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creature by INNOVATION FIRST LABS, INC.
The micro-robotic HEXBUG is a tiny, obedient insect that features bump-sensor feelers that help it avoid objects in its path. It responds to clapping or other loud noise by backing up or changing direction. The HEXBUG is small enough to fit in the hand and comes in five different body types and colors including pink, blue, green, yellow and orange. Awards: TDmonthly Innovations 2008.
— According to more than 60 reviews on Amazon.com and Radioshack.com, this fun, durable toy has been rated 4 out of 5 stars due to its entertaining and educational features. It is portable for any occasion and appropriate for any age. Consumers should be careful though, as they have been known to be flimsy and easily breakable, like real bugs! (09.12.08)
— "Everyone wants one, from adults to kids," Charles Bonner, owner of Heights Toy Center in Little Rock, Ark., told TDmonthly of this best seller in April 2009. "I sell 200 to 250 a month." Three of 44 retailers tagged Hexbugs as an overall best seller in late fall 2009.
— During a September 2010 survey, two of 44 retailers listed Hexbugs as their top-seller for tweens.
( Watch Video) 2/12/2008 (MSRP: $9.99; Age: 8 and Up)
Classic Water Garden Starter Kit Eco-Aquarium by WILD CREATIONS
This balanced ecosystem offers a low-maintenance way for children or adults to enjoy an aquarium environment. It comes complete with water, a snail, two little frogs, food and care pack. The water in the aquarium only has to be changed every five or six months.
— ''We sold about 660 during the year,” Marc Holcomb, owner of Toys & Co. in Greensboro, S.C., said in autumn 2010. Dave Campbell of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont., sells approximately 12 per month.
— "I brought in 20, and in two weeks it sold out. I brought in 20 more and it sold out," Gage Brownell, manager of Belmont Toys in Belmont, Mass., told TDmonthly in March 2009 about the EcoAquariums he discovered at Toy Fair the month before. Molly McMullin of Twirl in Taos, N.M., reported sales of about 70 a month in March 2009.
— "Everyone was excited about them," Jeanne McCullough, owner of Children's Store Inc., said following ASTRA Marketplace in June 2009.
— In late summer/early fall 2009, three of 38 retailers named EcoAquariums as a best-selling science and nature product, noting sales of 18 to 60 a month. “We were hesitant to bring them in. We didn’t want to be a pet store. But it’s a neat idea. It’s low maintenance. It’s something the parents and kids can agree on,” Gary Green of Toy Box of Asheville in Asheville, N.C., told TDmonthly.
Awards: 2010 Tillywig Top Fun; Parent's Choice Award 2010
Past Videos: Toy Fair 2009 ( Watch Video) 2/16/2009 (MSRP: $30.00)
Rue, The Monster of Insecurity by THE MONSTERS IN MY HEAD LLC
Rue, the irresistible Monster of Insecurity hides behind flowers because he thinks he's different. He doesn’t realize that his unusual features make him interesting. He thinks that his nose just doesn't "fit" with his shaggy hair, cheese curl ears and fluffy wings. How silly! What he needs is a little encouragement. Won't you tell him he is perfect just the way he is? Rue is a part of the The WorryWoo Monsters series that tackles complicated feelings and transforms them into quirky, loveable characters. Rue and "The Nose That Didn't Fit" won a 2009 Excellent Product Award from iParenting Media and the 2009 Toy of the Year Award (category: storybook and plush) from Creative Child Magazine, as well as a TDmonthly Top Toy Award 2009.
Where to Buy: My Toy Smart ( Watch Video) 8/1/2008 (MSRP: $21.50; Age: 3 and Up)
Snap Caps® Rock Star by m3 girl designs LLC
Snap Caps® are the original, interchangeable, magnetic bottle cap necklace. This collection of Snap Caps offer designs for the girl rock star, from images of zebra stripes to hot pink iPods. ( Watch Video) 3/4/2009
CALAFANT Treehouse by CREATIVE TOYSHOP
With a treehouse kit made from high-quality, extra durable cardboard, all pieces come precut and easy to assemble. The child can decorate this treehouse with paint, crafting materials and get very creative. After decorating and building it, the kids can play with it and incorporate it in their every day play. Ideal size for play with 3" dolls or animal figurines. The material is 100% recyclable. Approximate size is 15" x 16" x 22". Launch date: June 1, 2008. ( Watch Video) 12/12/2008 (MSRP: $24.99; Age: 3 to 12)
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)