September 19, 2018

TDmonthly Magazine

October 2011 | Vol. X - No. 10

October Holiday Preview - Manufacturers' Favorite 15 Products

Educational, Plush, and Games are Manufacturers' Holiday Hits

By Claudia Newcorn
October 2011

With the holidays just around the corner, manufacturers told TDmonthly Magazine they have ramped up both the fun and the educational factors in the products they think will be their best sellers for the season.

Fashionable and Furry
Kids love animals, and Douglas Cuddle Toys is catering to this love with their Furry Couture fashion accessories. An innovative blend of fun and functional, these eye-catching creations feature stylish purses comprised of the body of a fancy puppy dog. There are several colors and patterns to choose from, each embellished with a posh feather boa or swanky satin accent. “Furry Couture offers something a little more edgy for the fashionista of all ages,” said Marketing Manager Erika Radich. “The price points make them affordable, yet they are expertly designed and skillfully made...the quality and personality of Douglas is evident.”

What’s a Christmas tree without a cuddly stuffed bear underneath it? Aurora World’s line of Winter Wagner Bears blends nostalgia and charm in their vintage-style bears dressed in trendy hats. Marketing Manager Tina Waldmier says that plush is a top gift during the holidays. “Plush provides that security and comfort that no other toy item can provide. Children literally bond with their stuffed animals and keep them for a very long time. When the next video game comes out, the old ones are thrown aside, but that teddy bear from years ago remains on their bed.”

Engaging and Educational
The Young Scientists Club gets minds working with their bus-shaped Magic School Bus Lab Series science kits. The new Chemistry Lab features three supply trays and 51 experiment cards. The Microscope Lab comes with a kid-friendly microscope, slides and more. “Retailers keep telling us these kits are a great value because each is full of educational components and years of science fun,” says Esther Novis, president. “The Magic School Bus brand has been around for 25 years and the books, DVDs, and TV shows are still used in most kindergarten and elementary school class rooms.”

Going For The Games
Ravensburger is touting three new games this season. Whoowasit? is the company’s award-winning first venture into electronic board games. A captivating “Who done it?”, this cooperative, timed game challenges players to find a magical ring. Labyrinth celebrates its 25th Anniversary with a special limited edition and a new twist. The new Children’s Puzzleball collection features larger pieces for little hands, and the new 3-D Building Sets line features landmark structures, like the Empire State Building, in 3-D puzzle form. “Ravensburger puzzles, games and toys make great gifts for the holidays and everyday,” Thomas Kaeppler, CEO of Ravensburger, told TDmonthly. “They are timeless, original concept products that are beautifully made, ensuring years of enjoyment.”

Four Clowns Game & Toy Co. has capitalized on the ubiquitous presence of smartphones with the new Codigo Cube game. “There is absolutely nothing like it in the marketplace,” says Todd Ruehs, president. “It’s a marriage between real world board gaming and online applications.” The game has one piece – the Cube – that players roll like a die. Then, players use their smartphone’s camera and a free app to access trivia questions. Scoring is done automatically on the smartphone's screen. “It is a perfect holiday gift because it is so different and unique. It is a go anywhere, play anytime game for any sized group, from 1 to 100 game.”

Unkle Skunkle Toys knows the kinds of gifts grandparents want for their grandchildren, and those include Destruct 3, Rapid 4, and Bambooga – The Human Puzzle Game. “Our games provide all players the opportunity to learn and think creatively without them even knowing it,” explains President David Schreiber. “They are social opportunities that allow people to interact in ways they normally don’t, at the same time providing a ton of fun.” Destruct 3 players build a tower, then roll dice to decide how to knock it down. Rapid 4 is a quick connection game involving luck and strategy as players drop marbles through the maze of levers for a winning combination. Bambooga uses color wristbands to bind players’ hands and feet to one another, with the goal of somehow reaching the finish line together.

Adorable characters and beautiful illustrations make GameBrotherZ’s three award-winning board games charming holiday gifts that get kids playing together. Spuzzle challenges players to be the fastest to finish a series of puzzles. Boo is a race to escape a haunted house. And in Mister Mailman, a player dashes along his route to deliver letters ahead of everyone else.

Whether you’re looking for a plush forever-friend, an engaging game, or an innovative educational experience, these manufacturers have shared what they believe are the best gifts and most exciting of their products. You can read more about each of these items below.

Furry Couture Shoulder Bags by DOUGLAS CUDDLE TOYS

Furry Couture Shoulder Bags by DOUGLAS CUDDLE TOYSThese new pooch shaped over the shoulder bags include Poppy Pug, Karina Shih Tzu, Harper Golden, JJ Chihuahua, Piper Black Lab and Elle Yorkie. Each bag is designed in the complete body image of a fancy prancy puppy dog.  Each design has its own deep rich coloring and affluent pattern choice, such as argyle, leopard print, fleur de lure or simply rich purple or pink brocade fur. Each Furry Couture bag is embellished with a posh feather boa or swanky satin accent. There is even a sparkly gemstone here and there. “Furry Couture is simply elegant and playfully fun for little girls, but don’t be surprised if fashion savvy moms enjoy them, too” Erika Radich, marketing manager, told TDmonthly. “Douglas Company has an extensive line of award winning handbags and totes for young ladies, and Furry Couture offers something a little bit upscale.” Launch date: February 2011. (Watch the Furry Couture Shoulder Bags Video Watch Video) 6/23/2011 (MSRP: $25.00)

Winter Wagner Bear by AURORA WORLD INC.

Winter Wagner Bear by AURORA WORLD INC.Winter Wagner bears come in two styles of 18" bears and three styles of 12" bears. These soft teddy bears wear cozy, trendy winter hats. Launch date: Fall 2011. 9/26/2011

The Magic School Bus - Chemistry Lab by THE YOUNG SCIENTISTS CLUB

The Magic School Bus - Chemistry Lab by THE YOUNG SCIENTISTS CLUBMs. Frizzle and her students take Young Scientists on a wild ride with the Magic School Bus as they explore the field of chemistry. Young Scientists make sticky ice, use litmus paper, measure pH, perform chromatography, make bubble sculptures, wake-up fungus, create slime, form a bouncy ball, learn about density, produce a milk rainbow, plate copper, explode a volcano, and more. This bus-shaped kit comes packed with science components, 51 colorful experiment cards and a data notebook to record observations. "The Magic School Bus is a very popular brand and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. This bus-shaped kit is unique in that it is a lab in a bus! It comes with 51 instructions cards which provides hours of science fun," Esther Novis, president of The Young Scientists Club, told TDmonthly. Launch date: March 2011. 1/25/2011 (MSRP: $39.99; Age: 5 and Up)

The Magic School Bus - Microscope Lab by THE YOUNG SCIENTISTS CLUB

The Magic School Bus - Microscope Lab by THE YOUNG SCIENTISTS CLUBMs. Frizzle and her students take Young Scientists on a wild ride with the Magic School Bus as they explore the world around them with a microscope. Young Scientists learn about the history of the microscope, explore the different parts of a microscope, and discover how to use a microscope. Young Scientists make slides of water droplets, plant parts, textile fibers, all kinds of paper, crystals, and more. This investigative bus-shaped kit comes with a microscope, blank slides, cover slips, tweezers, collecting vial, 20 colorful experiment cards, prepared slides of fungi and algae, and a data notebook to record observations. "The Magic School Bus is a very popular brand that is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. This microscope kit uses the characters from the popular books to get the kids excited about the microscopic world around them," Esther Novis, president of The Young Scientists Club, told TDmonthly. Launch date: March 2011. 1/25/2011 (MSRP: $39.99; Age: 5 and Up)

Whoowasit? by RAVENSBURGER

Whoowasit? by RAVENSBURGERWhoowasit? is an interactive board game with an exciting electronic feature. Players must find the magical ring that was stolen from the wise king by a castle resident under the spell of the evil wizard. Playing against the clock, players move through the castle rooms to uncover clues to who stole the precious gem. Along the way, talking animals help players solve the mystery of the stolen ring with the help of a treasure chest that randomly supplies clues on behalf of the animals. Players must seek food, communicate with and then feed the animals to receive clues that help eliminate the suspects. Whoowasit? helps reinforce memory, tactical and teambuilding skills. Playing time 40 minutes. Contents 1 game board, 4 doors (to place on the board), 1 electronic chest, 4 playing pieces (red, yellow, green, blue), 1 ghost, 1 cat (game board), 9 food tokens, 4 key tokens, 10 suspect cards, 1 die, 1 ring, 1 ring base.
Awards: Children's Game of the Year 2008 in Germany 9/26/2011 (MSRP: $39.99; Age: 7 to 15)

Labyrinth 25th Anniversary Edition in a Tin by RAVENSBURGER

Labyrinth 25th Anniversary Edition in a Tin by RAVENSBURGERPlayers take turns to search the Labyrinth for their magical objects and characters by carefully moving through the constantly changing maze. The treasure cards are divided between the players, without revealing them to the other players. The maze cards are randomly placed on the playing board and the first player uses the extra card to start moving the first wall. Players strategically move the walls so they can collect their treasures, but block the path for the other players. Labyrinth comes complete with 1 game board, 34 moving wall cards, 24 treasure cards and 4 different colored playing pieces. This 25th Anniversary Edition of the game comes packaged in a high-quality and stylish tin. Content: 1 game board 34 maze cards 24 treasure cards 4 playing pieces Instructions. 1 game board, 34 maze cards, 24 treasure cards, 4 playing pieces, Instructions. 9/26/2011 (MSRP: $29.99; Age: 8 and Up)

Numbers 24 Piece Children's Puzzleball® by RAVENSBURGER

Numbers 24 Piece ChildrenThis puzzleball from Ravensburger is designed especially for pre-school kids. Extra large plastic pieces support 3D comprehension and fine motor skills. The 24 piece puzzleball comes with an assembly aide for the little puzzle beginners. 24 curved plastic pieces fit together to form a perfectly smooth surface. No glue required. The finished puzzleball is a "picture-perfect" decoration for every kids room. Colorful and age-appropriate puzzle fun for children from 4 to 6 years. Each puzzle piece is numbered on the back so kids can puzzle by the image or by number – their pick.
— In a July 2013 survey, five out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Ravensburger was their best-selling puzzle brand. 9/26/2011 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 4 to 6)

3-D Building Sets - Empire State Building by RAVENSBURGER

3-D Building Sets - Empire State Building by RAVENSBURGERAn extension of Ravensburger's popular puzzleball line, each of these buildings feature flat and hinged precision-cut pieces that snap together perfectly, and stand up to 15” high when completed. Other sets include Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and a New England lighthouse. 9/26/2011 (Age: 10 and Up)


Codigo Cube by FOUR CLOWNS GAME & TOY CO. LLCCodigo Cube is a socially interactive trivia game that uses players' web-enabled camera phone, a free app, and a patent-pending 2D bar-coded die. Codigo Cube is updated with new questions daily. Whenever breaking news happens Codigo Cube gets updated. Playing is fun and easy. Players simply download a free QR code reader for their phone, then scan any side of the cube. Roll the cube, scan the code, and answer the question from a list of four multiple choice answers. Guess correctly and re-roll. Guess wrong and the cube is passed to the next player. Launch date: October 2011.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy Award, January 2012; 2011/2012 The Toy Man Award of Excellence; 2011/2012 The Toy Man eChoice Award; 2011 The Toy Man Top 50 Toy Of The Year Award.
— Why it won: Codigo Cube is harnessing new technology for an innovative and inexpensive new game. Players simply scan the QR code on the die with their Smartphone to access a trivia question online. The trivia questions are constantly being updated, so the game never gets old.
— As of 9/21/2012 this product had 4.7 out of 5 stars from 23 reviews on Pros: Easy to use; more variety than a traditional trivia game because questions are always being updated. Cons: Needs to be played in a well-lit area or the QR code readers can scan the codes properly. (Watch the Codigo Cube Video Watch Video) 9/26/2011 (MSRP: $9.99; Age: 13 and Up)


Destruct 3© by UNCLE SKUNKLE TOYS, INC.Players build the tower, roll the dice to determine the destructive device and then knock down the tower with the Catapult, the Pendulum or the Ramp. The entire set is made from beautiful, sustainable rubber-tree wood. This game received a 2007-2008 Informal Education Products Award. Launch date: June 2008. 1/29/2008 (MSRP: $69.99; Age: 8 and Up)

Rapid 4® -- Available in Plastic or Wood by UNCLE SKUNKLE TOYS, INC.

Rapid 4® -- Available in Plastic or Wood by UNCLE SKUNKLE TOYS, INC.Rapid 4® is the quick connection game that reminds us of a pachinko machine that involves luck and strategy. Players take turns dropping marbles through the maze of levers in order to get a winning combination of 4 in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. The removal of a fifth marble in a column allows for continuous play and unexpected twists. Rapid 4® is a great game and gift - for home or vacation fun. Available in Wood ($44.99) or Plastic ($19.99). 5/21/2008 (Age: 8 and Up)

Bambooga® - The Human Puzzle Game by UNCLE SKUNKLE TOYS, INC.

Bambooga® - The Human Puzzle Game by UNCLE SKUNKLE TOYS, INC.In this human-puzzle game, players use color wristbands to bind their hands and feet to one another, leading to a sticky mess of people. The goal of the game is to crawl, walk, scoot or jump one’s way towards the finish line, all the while maintaining the connections determined by a shake of the Bambooga Shaker. Bambooga is safe and eco-friendly, adhering to "green-" manufacturing practices with second-generation, sustainable bamboo construction. “Bambooga is the result of a social-entrepreneurship project sponsored by Kids Ark Foundation of Thailand, organization that hopes to find a solution to the AIDS epidemic in Thailand,” Uncle Skunkle Toys Inc. Marketing and Communications Director Maya Cardoso told TDmonthly. A portion of "the proceeds from the manufacturing of Bambooga [is] recycled back to Kids Ark and [goes] towards projects to raise education and standards of living.” Launch date: April 2008.
Awards: Bambooga is a winner of "Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Picks Children’s Products for 2009" and also won Creative Child Magazine's "Toy of the Year Award" for 2008. Bambooga has also been recognized with a favorable review by The Old Schoolhouse, a magazine for homeschooling families. (Watch the Bambooga® - The Human Puzzle Game Video Watch Video) 11/30/2007 (MSRP: $34.99; Age: 8 and Up)

Spuzzle by GameBrotherZ inc.

Spuzzle by GameBrotherZ inc.Spuzzle is a fun-filled race to see who can finish their puzzles first. Designed for children, this game will challenges kids to finish their five puzzles first. Includes 5 sets of 20 puzzle pieces (blue, yellow, purple and red), 1 game board, 28 Spuzzle cards, and Instructions.
Awards: PTPA Seal of Approval, Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award, National Parenting Center Seal of Approval. 9/26/2011 (Age: 5 and Up)

BOO by GameBrotherZ inc.

BOO by GameBrotherZ inc.The goal is to reach the exit before Sweet Little BOO gets upstairs. Who will succeed? Laura, Elliot, Albert, Rose, Alec, or Fixela? Together or by themselves, family members can engage in this exciting race. With each roll of the dice, some players will move faster, some will have to step back, others will discover secret passages, but everyone will have fun. Includes 1 game board, 7 character pawns, 3 dice, and Instructions.
Awards: Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval; Creative Child Magazine Seal of Excellence Award. 9/26/2011 (Age: 5 and Up)

Mister Mailman by GameBrotherZ inc.

Mister Mailman by GameBrotherZ inc.The mail must go through!

The whole family will have fun trying to overcome the hurdles of your local letter carrier! Enjoy this hilarious race full of suspense, unexpected twists and turns, and be the first to deliver all your mail to the neighbourhood. 7/10/2009 (MSRP: $29.95; Age: 8 and Up)

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