July 19, 2018

TDmonthly Magazine

July 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 7

UPDATED: See All 21 of ASTRA's Best Toys For Kids Winners!

View product descriptions, images, videos and more

By Justina Huddleston
July 2012

ASTRA has announced the 21 winners for the 2012 "Best Toys For Kids" awards. What sets these toys apart from other award-winners? “ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids award program is different from other top toy lists because it reflects the collective expertise of hundreds of toy retailers who know toys inside out,” Gwen Ottenberg, chair of ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids Committee and owner of Imagine That Toys in Wichita, Kansas, said in a press release. Retailers had the chance to view and vote for the nominated toys at the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy in Baltimore, June 10-13th.

The winners are:

scroll to the end of the article to learn more about these products
Active Play

Kickin' Putt by BeginAgain
OgoSport RAQ by OgoSport , LLC

Constructive Play
The ZOOB Challenge by INFINITOY, Inc.
nanoblock musical series assortment by Ohio Art Company

Creative Arts Play
Loopdedoo by Ann Williams
Sunflowers Master Kitz by Kidzaw

Early Play
Tobbles Neo by Fat Brain Toy Co.
Roll & Play by ThinkFun

Game Play — 3—7yrs
Look Look by MindWare
Feed the Woozle by Peaceable Kingdom

Game Play — 8yrs+
Pajaggle Board by Pajaggle, Inc

Game Play — Brainteasers
Perplexus Twist by PlaSmart
Rubik's® The Void™ Puzzle by Winning Moves

Pretend — Doll Play
Puppet-on-a-Stick(TM) by Educational Insights(R)

Pretend — Fantasy Play
E-Rangers Headquarters by PLAYMOBIL

Pretend — Role Play
Kidoozie Deluxe Build-A-Road with Elevator by International Playthings LLC

Scientific Play
My First Super Science Kit by Be Amazing! Toys
Snap Circuits LIGHT by ELENCO

Classic Play — 0-7yrs
Brio Classic Figure 8 Train Set by Schylling Toys

Classic Play — 8yrs+
Rush Hour by ThinkFun

According to ASTRA's website, toys with the Best Toys for Kids seal are:

Engaging: Encourage creativity, invite exploration, and spark a child's interest and imagination anew each and every time he/she plays.

Unique: Delight children with its original concept and ambitious design.

Open-Ended: Grow with the child as he/she advances from one developmental stage to the next. Introduce and reinforce age-specific skills while opening up limitless possibilities.

Fun And Safe: Most of all, provide hours of fun play, while meeting or exceeding all current federal safety standards.
A lot of great products were nominated along with the winners (which you can see below); check out the nominees in each category to learn more!

Active Play Constructive Play

Creative Arts Play Early Play

Game Play - 3-7 yrs
Game Play - 8 yrs+

Game Play - Brainteasers Pretend - Doll Play

Pretend - Fantasy Play
Pretend - Role Play

Scientific Play Classic Play - 0-7 yrs

Classic Play - 8 yrs+

Watch our video interview with Kathleen McHugh

See more products in our 2012 ASTRA Preview: 28 Toy Makers Share Products for Specialty

Prepare for ASTRA with our 11 Retailing Tips on Making the Most of Your Time at Trade Shows

Kickin Putt by BEGINAGAIN

Kickin Putt by BEGINAGAINThis outdoor game combines the fun of soccer, kickball, ying discs, and golf. The Kickin' Putt 2 player game is complete with 2 kick around golf balls and the ying scoring disc. Toss the scoring disc to set the hole, and get ready for a game of soccer meets golf. The scoring disc is made in the USA from wheat based plastic and the kick around golf balls are made from natural rubber. 4/30/2012 (MSRP: $30.00; Age: 3 and Up)


OgoDisk RAQ by OGOSPORT, LLCA hand trampoline for balls: throw, catch, bounce. RAQ combines the ease of the other OgoDisks with the added power of a handle. Features the new Flux ball, with adjustable speed, for tailored fun. Bounce any ball; for summer fun, try it in the pool with water balloons. Each set includes one yellow and one OgoOrange RAQ disk with one Flux ball. EVA foam ring. Nylon-spandex membrane center. 5/25/2012 (MSRP: $38.00; Age: 3 and Up)

The ZOOB Challenge by INFINITOY

The ZOOB Challenge by INFINITOYHow can kids move a ball into a target with 2 high walls from 2 feet away? Build a ramp? A catapult? A trampoline? A zip-line? There are no right answers and we provide no solutions--it's up to kids to use ZOOB pieces (and other materials that they choose) to build contraptions that solve the challenges. The ZOOB Challenge features 175 ZOOB pieces, string, wheels, a ball, rubber bands, a foam play pad, and 25 challenges based on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) skills-skills that educators have targeted as essential to helping the US compete successfully in the 21st century. 5/25/2012 (MSRP: $32.00)

nanoblock musical series assortment by OHIO ART CO.

nanoblock musical series assortment by OHIO ART CO.The nanoblock ‘Miniature Collection’ includes a wide range of musical instruments. Form a miniature band with the Drum Set and Electric Guitar or perform a piccolo concerto on the Grand Piano or violin. nanoblocks are all about the creative construction process with rewarding sculptural results – the perfect three-dimensional puzzle. The miniature blocks connect securely to create extremely detailed objects of varying size and complexity. Challenging three-dimensional puzzle with amazingly small sized building blocks. 5/25/2012


Loopdedoo by ANN WILLIAMS GROUP LLCLoopdedoo is a new spinning tool that makes fabulous twisted bracelets in just a few minutes. It's fast, easy and fun. Just wrap the threads around the Loopdedoo device, turn the knob, guide the thread and minutes later the bracelet is done. Kids can even make necklaces, anklets, belts and more. There's no pattern to follow so each accessory is completely different and unique. Kids can use as many threads and color combinations as they like, and can make them thick, thin or anywhere in between. Launch date: November 2011.
— In a January 2012 survey, Barbara Finblum, owner of Barston's Child's Play in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly that Loopdedoo is their best selling arts and crafts toy. "They came in in December and we sold 194 out of 5 stores - 163 out of 3 stores alone. We sold out and couldn't get them back," she said.
— As of 10/5/2012 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 8 reviews on Pros: Easy to use; promotes creativity; fun. Cons: One user couldn't figure out how to start.
— In a Fall 2012 survey, Dean Smith, owner of Jazams in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly that they sell 15 of this item each month, making it one of their top-2 sellers in the Hobby category. 12/15/2011 (MSRP: $34.99; Age: 8 and Up)

Sunflowers Master Kitz by KIDZAW INC

Sunflowers Master Kitz by KIDZAW INCSunflowers have been become an iconic symbol of van Gogh's work. Many of his Sunflower paintings were done in the Yellow House in Arles and were used to decorate the room he created for Gauguin.  The vibrant colors and simplistic beauty of the paintings have led many artists to try and duplicate their beauty.  The Sunflowers Master Kitz includes all the tools your child needs to create their own Sunflowers masterpiece and the learning materials to deepen their understanding of van Gogh the artist and the time he spent in Arles. Each Sunflowers Master Kitz contains: A sturdy, re-usable art tool box with magnetic closures; 3 Custom Acrylic Paints (child friendly); 1 van Gogh Roller specially designed to replicate van Gogh’s active stroke; 2 re-usable Sunflower stencils; 1 foam paint brush; 2 pieces deluxe art paper; Fun, easy-to-understand van Gogh learning materials; Easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions.
Awards: 2013 TDmonthly Seal of Approval 5/25/2012 (MSRP: $29.99)

Tobbles Neo by FAT BRAIN TOY CO.

Tobbles Neo by FAT BRAIN TOY CO.The unique grippable texture of Tobbles Neo awakens touch. See those gentle, playful curves? They truly enliven tactile experiences. Young minds revel in stacking, toppling, and the discovery of endless ingenuity with Tobbles Neo. Six uniquely weighted pieces balance, neatly nest, and incessantly spin beyond your expectations. Includes 6 vibrant, weighted spheres & stacking base. Launch date: July 2012. 5/25/2012 (MSRP: $26.95; Age: 0 and Up)

Roll & Play by THINKFUN

Roll & Play by THINKFUNTo play, simply toss the big plush cube and identify which colored side faces up. Choose a matching color card and perform the simple activity shown. “Make a happy face,” “Moo like a cow,” etc. The activities supported by Roll & Play are designed to help kids shine, supporting healthy development and celebrating success. Roll & Play gently introduces play patterns and rules through a loving, joyful play experience. Launch date: 2012. 2/12/2012 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 1 and Up)

Look Look by MINDWARE

Look Look by MINDWARECrazy creatures abound in this fast-paced, mixed-up matching race. Draw a card to reveal the challenge. Will players need to find the identical creatures within two differently colored frames, or do quick math once they spot the numbers? Race against opponents to spot it or solve it. The winner keeps the card. The first to collect enough cards to spell "Look Look," takes the game. Game board is comprised of eight interchangeable frames, making it a new game every time it's played. Includes 68 challenge cards. 2 or more players. 5/25/2012 (MSRP: $19.95; Age: 6 and Up)

Feed the Woozle Cooperative Preschool Skills-Builder Game by PEACEABLE KINGDOM

Feed the Woozle Cooperative Preschool Skills-Builder Game by PEACEABLE KINGDOMFeed the Woozle is a cooperative game that focuses on developmental skills of children ages 3-6 in an active, fun game. The object of the game is for all players together to "feed" the Woozle 12 silly snacks. Players roll a die and then place the indicated number of snacks on a spoon. Then they spin a spinner that directs them to walk to the Woozle performing a gross motor movement like Bunny Hop or Walk Backwards. It's not so easy to keep those snacks from sliding off the spoon while hopping across the room. If everyone together can feed the Woozle 12 snacks, then everyone wins. "This game is cooperative - either the game wins or the players win. It encourages group participation and habits of cooperation. The game is leveled - meaning it focuses on specific preschool developmental skills in a fun way that is age-appropriate and grows with the child," Donna Jaffe, president of Peaceable Kingdom Press, told TDmonthly. Launch date: January 2012. 12/15/2011 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 3 to 6)

Pajaggle Board Game by PAJAGGLE INC

Pajaggle Board Game by PAJAGGLE INCThe award winning combination of a game, a brainteaser and a puzzle all rolled into one. Based upon concepts of spatial recognition and visual discrimination, the Pajaggle Board Game challenge players to quickly put unique pieces where they belong. Simple, right? Think again! Pick up a board and give it a try.
Awards: 2013 TDmonthly Seal of Approval, 2011 Tillywig  "Best Family Fun"; 2011 Major Fun: Keeper Award (First puzzle game to ever receive such an award); 2012 Astra  Best Game of the Year; 2012 Creative Child Magazine: Game of Year Award (Watch the Pajaggle Board Game Video Watch Video) 3/26/2012 (MSRP: $29.99; Age: 8 and Up)


TENZI by CARMA GAMESEveryone gets ten dice. Someone says “Go.” Then everyone rolls and rolls as fast as they can until someone gets all their dice on the same number. It’s a fun, fast frenzy. It’s TENZI. It's "Super-simple to learn & super-fast to play," Steve Mark, executive Dice president of  CARMA GAMES, LLC, told TDmonthly. Launch date: April 2011.
— In a February 2012 survey about games, Mary Porter Green, owner of The Curiosity Zone in Ashburn, Va., told TDmonthly that she sells 6+ copies of Tenzi each month.
— In a February 2013 survey, two out of 11 retailers told TDmonthly that Tenzi was their best selling game.
— Glisyn Lewis Jarrells, manager of Imaginations Toy & Furniture in Blacksburg, Va., told TDmonthly in a March 2013 survey that Tenzi is their overall best selling product. They sell around 15 copies of the game each month. (Watch the TENZI Video Watch Video) 11/8/2011 (MSRP: $14.95; Age: 7 and Up)

Perplexus Twist by PATCH PRODUCTS INC.

Perplexus Twist by PATCH PRODUCTS INC.The newest Perplexus model requires a player to twist, turn, and realign the tracks within to escape traps, dead ends, and cliffhangers. A captivating new dimension for the Perplexus family of toys. Thirty transition points.
Awards: 2012 ASTRA Best Toys for Kids – Gameplay/Brainteasers 2/12/2012 (MSRP: $29.99; Age: 7 and Up)

Rubik's Void Puzzle by WINNING MOVES GAMES

RubikThe Void is puzzling to comprehend because there’s a hole right in the middle of it. Consumers can literally put their finger right through the center of the Void. The object is to solve each side, much like one would a standard Rubik’s Cube, but that’s where the similarities end. The Void has different colors, rounded edges, and requires a different solution. Launch date: February 2012.
Awards: 2012 ASTRA Best Toys For Kids Nominee 3/19/2012 (MSRP: $14.95; Age: 8 and Up)


Puppet-on-a-Stickô by EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS INC.Three oversized puppets on sticks inspire dramatic play with silly faces, movable mouths and endless possibilities.
Awards: 2012 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Toy Award Seal; 2012 Oppenheim SNAP (Special Needs Adaptable Products) Award. 5/25/2012 (MSRP: $23.99; Age: 4 to 10)

E-Rangers Headquarters by PLAYMOBIL INC.

E-Rangers Headquarters by PLAYMOBIL INC.With a detachable roof and changeable transparencies in the command canter. The balance Racer can be turned into a propeller or a jet-car racer. Launch date: August 2012. 5/25/2012 (MSRP: $129.99; Age: 7 and Up)

My First Super Science Kit by BE AMAZING!

My First Super Science Kit by BE AMAZING!This kit is for kids as they begin to explore, experiment and discover their world. Over 70 fun exciting experiments to stimulate young minds. Launch date: 2012. 2/13/2012 (MSRP: $40.00; Age: 4 to 8)

Snap Circuits LIGHT by ELENCO

Snap Circuits LIGHT by ELENCOSnap parts together to build different circuits, and watch the different pieces light up. Includes fiber optics over a light organ that can be connected to an iPod; the lights will flash to the beat of the music. Includes strobe lights with different plates so kids can experiment with strobe patterns, white LED lights, glow in the dark and lighted fan blades, a light up egg, and more.
Awards: 2013 TDmonthly Seal of Approval

Where to buy:

SOUTH  5/25/2012 (MSRP: $75.00)

Classic Figure 8 Wooden Train Set by BRIO CORPORATION

Classic Figure 8 Wooden Train Set by BRIO CORPORATIONThe never-ending track makes for never-ending fun. The looping track is made of natural, unstained wood. The wooden train and two trees are brightly painted. The sturdy 24-piece track measures 112” in length. Train cars are held together by magnets.
— "Brio wooden train sets," was the direct answer given by Paula Tremba, owner of One Two Kangaroo in Shepherdstown, W.Va., when asked which wooden toys sell well in her store.
— "We have Brio trains," said David Correa, buyer at Mrs. Tiggy Winkles in Tucson, Ariz. He added, "Brio is really dedicated to really good quality."
— In an early 2007 survey, Brio Trains were specifically cited by three of 51 retailers TDmonthly spoke with about wooden toy best-sellers. 9/30/2005 (MSRP: $34.00; Age: 8 and Up)

Rush Hour by THINKFUN

Rush Hour by THINKFUN

Voted one of Parent's Choice Foundation's "Best 25 Toys in 25 Years," Rush Hour puts players to the test, demanding thought and vision. As if the commute home isn’t enough, in these 40 beginner-to-expert challenges, players must navigate a red car through a traffic jam and gridlock to successfully leave the game board. Challenge cards fit neatly into a pull-out tray beneath the game tray. Watch video
― “Logic games are selling very well, particularly (those from) ThinkFun,” Amy Akin, manager of Giggles for Kids in Suwanee, Ga., told  TDmonthly in early 2009.
― “We do really well with ThinkFun games — problem solving, like Rush Hour,” added William Bingham, owner of Firefly Toy Shop in Milford, Pa. When asked about best-selling item for tween boys in October 2009, Fred Meyer, owner of Meyer's Toy World in Battle Creek, Mich., told TDmonthly, “Rush Hour is great. We sell hundreds.” It was named a best-selling game by five of 38 retailers in Feb. 2010. During a summer 2010 survey of 40 retailers, two said Rush Hour from ThinkFun is their top-selling puzzle, citing sales of up to 60 pieces per month.
AWARDS: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller 9/29/2005 (MSRP: $15.99; Age: 8 and Up)

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