April 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 4
The Hunger Games Movie Mockingjay Prop Replica Pin by NECA
From the Hunger Games movie of 2012. The mocking Jay pin replica as worn by Katniss in the Games. Measuring about 1.5" in diameter.
— As of 05/21/2012 this product had 4.6 out of 5 stars from 102 reviews on Amazon.com. 3/30/2012 (MSRP: $14.99; Age: 14 and Up)
Syma - 3 Channel Radio Controlled Infrared Remote Controlled Electric RC Micro Mini Helicopter w/ Gyro by TOY WONDERS INC.
S107 Syma - 3 Channel Radio Controlled Infrared Remote Controlled Electric RC Micro Mini Helicopter w/ Gyro + Colorful Strobing LED Lights. This S107 equipped with NEW Gyroscope System for simpliest controls and stabilities, NEW Metal Frame & Body for extra durabilities, NEW Awesome Look and Design, and Bright strobing muti-color LED headlights so you can enjoy flying in the dark. At only 7" long, it easily fits in the palm of your hand and is fully functional. This S107 even has the option to charge directly from computer's USB port (USB cable included) or transmitter which uses "AA" batteries! S107 is in RED & YELLOW colors. Each Helicopter is individually packed in a window box. Box size: 17.75"L x 3"W x 7.25"H.
— As of 05/21/2012 this product had 4 out of 5 stars from 730 reviews on Amazon.com. PROS: Lightweight, durable, two methods of charging. CONS: Not suitable for children under 14; repairs are difficult.
12/15/2010 (MSRP: $60; Age: 8 and Up)
Syma - 3 Channel Electric Helicopter RTF w/ Auto Stabilizing Gyro + Metal Frames + Cool Strobing Head Lights by TOY WONDERS INC.
S032 Syma - 3 Channel Electric Helicopter RTF w/ Auto Stabilizing Gyro + Metal Frames + Cool Strobing Head Lights. 11.5" long helicopter comes with battery, charger and transmitter. The Syma S032 RC helicopter can go forward, backward, left, and right. This S032 even equipped with bright strobing LED head lights, so you can enjoy flying in the dark. The unique co-axial rotors counter-rotate for unprecedented stability. Light and safe, this helicopter will transform any indoor environment into a cool chopper fly zone. Get about 12 minutes flight time per charge. S032 is in RED & WHITE 2-tone colors.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.1 out of 5 stars from 899 reviews on Amazon.com. 12/15/2010 (MSRP: $70; Age: 8 and Up)
Butterfly Garden by INSECT LORE
This 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 Video) 7/18/2005 (MSRP: $19.99)
LEGO Ninjago Kai's Blade Cycle 9441 by LEGO
On a dangerous journey aboard Destiny's Bounty, an ancient shipwreck, Sensei Wu and the ninja have located the powerful golden Hypnobrai staff deep inside of the secret snake shrine. As they land the flying ship in the water to seize the staff, Zane and Jay get a scaly surprise from Hynobrai General Skales and his accomplice warrior, Slithraa. Sensei Wu fires the ship's cannon into the battle until his ancient enemy, Lord Garmadon, appears. Can Sensei Wu protect the Ninjago treasures onboard without the help of the ninjas? Choose the battle in an epic showdown where the fate of the Ninjago world hangs in the balance. Includes 6 minifigures: Sensei Wu, Kendo Zane, Kendo Jay, Lord Garmadon, Skales and Slithraa; Destiny's Bounty ninja ship, snake staff shrine, golden Hypnobrai staff and 16 weapons.
— As of 4/11/2012 this product had 4.7 out of 5 stars from 9 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Lots of minifigs; sets are sturdy enough to play with after building.
— In an April 2012 survey, five of 13 retailers said that LEGO is their best selling construction brand. Melissa McCollum, owner of Learning Express in Hoover, Ala., told TDmonthly that they sell about 150 LEGO sets each month, especially from the Ninjago and DC Universe lines. 4/11/2012 (MSRP: $14.99; Age: 8 to 14)
Angry Birds Knock on Wood Board Game by MATTEL INC.
One player draws a construction card and builds the structure shown. Next, an opponent loads an Angry Bird onto the launcher and catapults the bird to knock down structures and pigs. The player with the most points and knockdowns wins. Features three Angry Birds, four green pigs, one slingshot-style launcher, structure pieces and multiple mission cards. For one or more players. Launch date: May 2011.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 3.9 out of 5 stars from 252 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Great alternative to the app for parents who want to reduce kids' screen time; fun for the family to play together; helps kids develop dexterity and patience. Cons: Certain structures are too elaborate to build and don't seem to be grouped in the correct level of difficulty; kids with short attention spans may lose interest in building the structures; structures are easy to knock down, which can be frustrating for younger players. 2/18/2011 (MSRP: $14.99; Age: 5 and Up)
Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow Kit by D & L COMPANY
When 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)
Winkel by MANHATTAN TOY
Stunning colors give this perennial favorite a lively look. Babies will be engaged and amused by the responsive rattle, and caregivers can safely refrigerate this pliable plastic toy to produce a soothing teether. “We have so much of the Manhattan baby...we sell a lot,” Owner Amy Barrett of Lasso the Moon Wonderful Toys in Helena, Mont., told TDmonthly in early 2007. “People buy them for baby gifts...baby shower gifts. They like them because the colors are so bright.”
— “Winkels from Manhattan Toy — [we sell] about 30 per month,” Burdette told TDmonthly in March 2008. Five percent of the 40 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in spring 2008 singled out this item as their stores’ best-selling infant and toddler toy.
— "I sell 18 or so a month," Mary Ellen Cerney, owner of Dear Friends & Children in Duncan, Okla., said in March 2009. In June 2009, four of 47 retailers listed Manhattan Toy as their best-selling baby line. In March 2010, two of 39 specialty retailers cited Winkel as a best-selling baby toy.
— In June 2010, five percent of 40 specialty retailers named Manhattan Toy’s Winkel as a top-selling baby product.
— As of 05/21/2012 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 299 reviews on Amazon.com. ( Watch Video) 12/7/2006 (MSRP: $12.00; Age: 0 and Up)
Rory's Story Cubes by GAMEWRIGHT
This pocket-sized story generator is designed to provide hours of imaginative play for all ages. With Rory's Story Cubes®, anyone can become a great storyteller and there are no wrong answers. Players simply roll the cubes and let the pictures spark the imagination. "Rory's Story Cubes is unique because of its simplicity, small packaging, low price point and endless story possibilities. It's a great learning and writing tool that can be played with one person or a large group as a party game," Emily Nichols, marketing coordinator for Gamewright, told TDmonthly. Launch date: March 2010.
Awards: 2009 Dr. Toy’s 10 Best Games of the Year; 2010 Major Fun Award; 2010 Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Creative Child Magazine Seal of Excellence Award, iParenting Media Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.6 out of 5 stars from 306 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Helps develop story telling ability; promotes cooperative play; creative; affordable. Cons: One reviewer said they were bored with it after playing a few times, but that it is very affordable.
— Stacy Kalisz of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine “absolutely loved” using the Story Cubes with her family as they came up with a variety of games. One of their favorite play variations “is to tell a group story, with each person using one die on his or her turn.” 12/28/2009 (MSRP: $7.99; Age: 8 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)
SC-100 Snap Circuits Jr. by ELENCO
Kevin Tjaden, owner of Scientific Wizardry in Boise, Idaho, had this to say: “It's an electronic kit — kind of like the ones we had when we were kids. … It's really taken off. It also targets the right age range: 8-14, which allows for increased market share. It's become easier to use and easier to understand. As parents, everyone remembers it, but certain parts didn't work that well, certain springs would fall apart. … By solving those problems, people say, "This is like what I had as a kid, but better!”
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.9 out of 5 stars from 477 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 16 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games. PROS: Fun and educational, lots of possible circuits. CONS: Kit doesn't always explain how the circuits work.
— In a late Summer 2012 survey, four out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Snap Circuits were one of their best selling Science & Nature toys.
. ( Watch Video) 9/6/2012 (MSRP: $29.95; Age: 8 and Up)
Brilliant Basics Baby's First Blocks by FISHER-PRICE INC.
Ten 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)
Qwirkle by MINDWARE
Requiring 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 Video) 2/9/2009 (MSRP: $24.95; Age: 6 and Up)
Little Tikes TotSports T-Ball Set by LITTLE TIKES INC.
Beginning T-ball set includes an easy-to-use oversize bat, 2 oversize baseballs and Tee. Adjustable height “T” adapts to a child’s developing skills. Special “hang-on-the-wall” design for easy small-space storage. Helps improve batting skills, motor skills and coordination.
As of 05/12/2011 this product was #1 in the Toy Sports category on Amazon.com and had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 50 reviews. Cons: One reviewer said that though the minimum age is listed at 2 years, her two year old had trouble with it; the base isn't very heavy so on the grass it's not very steady; the height only adjusts by about an inch. 5/12/2011 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 2 to 4)
LEGO Friends City Park Cafe 3061 by LEGO
Andrea works at the City Park Cafe and loves dishing out tasty treats — when she is not singing into her broom and daydreaming of her big performance. It's the perfect place in Heartlake City for all of the Lego Friends to meet for milkshakes and burgers or to chill and have fun. Kids can bake goodies for the girls in the cafe kitchen, complete with everything needed to serve up cafe cuisine in style. Then hang in the outdoor dining area and have a milkshake in the sun. Order up a sweet snack, serve the customers and pay with Lego money bricks. Includes 2 mini-doll figures: Andrea and Marie.
— As of 4/18/2012 this product had 4.9 out of 5 stars from 14 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Cute; fun to play with; very detailed. Cons: Too easy to put together; not as much educational or developmental value as other LEGO sets. 4/18/2012 (MSRP: $29.99; Age: 6 to 12)
WaterWheel Activity Play Table by THE STEP2 COMPANY
The 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)
Perplexus Original by PATCH PRODUCTS INC.
The first member of the Perplexus family, this see-through sphere houses a 3-D labyrinth game with 100 barriers, turns, twists and cliffhangers that serve as obstacles to getting a small steel ball to the end. Invented in 1970 by Michael McGinnis, a design teacher, Perplexus helps develop motor and dexterity skills, along with hand-eye coordination.
― As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.4 out of 5 stars from 393 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 12 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games.
— At Izilla Toys in Seattle, "Perplexus is selling really, really well for us," Co-owner Jude Larene told TDmonthly in late fall 2009.
— In summer 2010 this game was a top-10 best seller at Dancing Bear Toys in Asheville and Hendersonville, N.C..
Awards: 2012 Parents’ Choice Awards - Silver, 2011 Time Magazine – 15 Smartest Toys for Young Geniuses, 2011 Parent Tested Parent Approved – Seal of Approval, 2011 Grand Prix Kidexpo – Elu par les Parents (Parents’Choice), 2011 Children of Museum of Indianapolis – Top 10 Toys of 2011, 2011 Canadian Toy Testing Council – Children’s Choice, 2011 Babble List – Best Kids Toys, 2010 Toy Insider – Hot 20, 2010 The National Parenting Center – Seal of Approval, 2010 Prémio Brazil – Award of Excellence, 2010 Parents’ Magazine – Top Toys, 2010 NAPPA – Gold, 2010 ASTRA – Best Toy for Kids 12/2/2009 (MSRP: $24.99; Age: 6 and Up)
LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar by LEGO
The all-new LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar comes with 24 unique gifts, including an exclusive Santa Claus Yoda minifigure plus vehicles and accessories from the Star Wars universe. Features 8 minifigures, mini Millennium Falcon and X-wing Starfighter, and is 266 pieces total. 8/22/2011 (MSRP: $49.88; Age: 6 to 14)
Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Pack - Legendary Trigger Happy by ACTIVISION
For centuries, Skylanders have competed in gladiator-style events inside epic arenas of sport, where only the greatest of combatants become immortalized as magical, golden statues that stand watch as guardians. These are the Legendary Skylanders. Whenever the world is in peril, special Portal Masters can bring these statues to life and summon the Legendary Skylanders to defend Skylands against any evil that threatens it. Bring the Skylanders to life in the Skylanders Spyro's Adventure video game and on the web in Skylanders Spyro's Universe. Build the ultimate collection of Skylanders - over 30 Skylanders to collect. Each Skylander has their own unique powers and abilities to enhance game play experience and save Skylands. Each character has unique abilities and powers - play more and unlock special moves and superpowers. Skylanders are action figures with brains - the Skylanders are so powerful that they remember their in-game experiences and upgrades. Skylanders figures work on and across all major video game systems, including Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3 and PC/Mac computers. Skylanders Single Pack includes: 1 Skylander Figure, 1 Trading Card, 1 Sticker Sheet, 1 Web Code.
— As of 4/11/2012 this product had 4.7 out of 5 stars from 10 reviews on ToysRUs.com. 4/11/2012 (MSRP: $9.99; Age: 6 and Up)
Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark by LITTLE TIKES INC.
This water table helps children develop "put and take" and early motor skills. They can: drop balls down spiral, watching them go round and round and down into the lazy river; turn the Ferris wheel to scoop up and drops off balls; fill the cup and pour into the funnel to power twin water wheels; and turn the spinner that powers the "lazy river."
As of 05/24/2011 this product had 4.6 out of 5 stars from 7 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: Assembly is somewhat difficult; one customer received a box with missing pieces, but the company replaced them when she called.
— In a May 2012 survey, Barbara Fineblum, owner of Barstons Child's Play in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly that they "just sell Little Tikes" in the furniture/play house category. 5/24/2011 (MSRP: $39.99; Age: 2 to 6)