November 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 11
Cards Against Humanity by CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY INC
Cards Against Humanity is a "party game for horrible people." The game is simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a Black Card, and everyone else answers with their funniest White Card. Includes 550 cards (460 White cards and 90 Black cards); over 13 duodecillion possible rounds (10^40) with 6 players; professionally printed on premium playing cards; includes game rules and alternate rules; shrink-wrapped in a custom box.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.9 out of 5 stars from 865 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Very interactive; humorous; great party game. Cons: One reviewer said some of the cards were "a bit too much;" some references might not be known by everyone. 6/16/2011 (MSRP: $25.00; )
The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition™ by CCA and B LLC
This set includes an 8" vintage-style pixie elf, a keepsake storage box and a children's picture book with a rhyming story that tells how the elf helps Santa out by watching children's behavior by day and reporting it to Santa at night. The elf is designed to be placed throughout the house during the Christmas season, creating a hide-and-seek activity for the whole family. Launch date: September 2005.
— “Elf on the Shelf is doing really well since we put those out five or six weeks ago,” remarked Janet Gregory, owner of Over the Rainbow Toys in Anchorage, Alaska, in November 2008. “We just brought them in in November. [We] sold 24 last month, and 24 already this month,” Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, told TDmonthly.
— In a December 2011 survey about books, 2 out of 12 retailers named Elf on the Shelf their best-seller. "We sold 18 already, in just a couple weeks," Andrea Scartozzi from Hardware Toy Center in Paoli, Pa., told TDmonthly. William Meredith, owner of Learning Express in Cary, N.C., agreed. "Elf on a Shelf is our number one item. It has been for years!" he told TDmonthly.
Where to Buy: Smart Kids Toys; Kazoo Toys; Escapade Direct ( Watch Video) 2/18/2008 (MSRP: $29.95; 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)
Little People Disney Princess Songs Palace Play Set by FISHER-PRICE INC.
The Little People Disney Princess Songs Palace is a detailed, interactive play set that brings Disney Princesses to life in a special way. The palace features seven play areas. When kids place any Little People Disney Princess figure on a special location on the magical dance floor, it recognizes the specific princess and responds with her name, character phrases and a song from her movie. Includes Snow White and Cinderella pieces. Other princess figures sold separately. Launch date: 2012. 9/19/2012 (MSRP: $44.99; Age: 1 to 6)
LEGO Games: Creationary by LEGO
Roll the LEGO® Dice to select one of four exciting building categories (vehicles, buildings, nature or things) in this interactive game for three to eight players. With three levels of difficulty, this game allows families and friends to test their imagination, creativity, building and guessing skills. Game includes one buildable LEGO Dice, one LEGO minifigure, one LEGO microfigure, 96 cards, 1 rule booklet and 341 building pieces. Launch date: 2010. 4/5/2010 (MSRP: $34.99; Age: 7 and Up)
LeapPad2 Learning Tablet by LEAPFROG
The #1 learning tablet just got better! LeapPad2 Explorer™ inspires kids to imagine and explore with front-and-back cameras, 4 GB of memory and a library of 325+ apps for limitless learning and fun. Comes bundled with Explorer Learning Game Cartridges: Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Disney•Pixar Pixar Pals and a green LeapPad case. Also comes in pink. 7/27/2012 (MSRP: $169.99; Age: 3 to 7)
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)
Enchanted Forest by RAVENSBURGER
To set up the game, kids snap one treasure into the bottom of each tree and place the trees where indicated on the game board. Playing pieces are placed near the village on the game board, which serves as the starting area. The king’s castle reveals the treasures kids must search for throughout the forest. Once the treasure’s been found, it must be announced to the king. The first player to correctly announce the location of three treasures wins. For two to six players.
— ”We believe that games unite a family and keep kids off television and electronic games,” Kathleen Tutone, owner of Treehouse Toys in Portsmouth, N.H., told TDmonthly. 11/28/2005 (MSRP: $24.99; Age: 6 and Up)
2012 Star Wars Advent Calendar 9509 by LEGO
Get Christmas off to a galactic start with the LEGO® Star Wars™ Advent Calendar. Featuring 24 gifts, including iconic starships, minifigures, and accessories, this great advent calendar is the perfect gift for Star Wars fans of any age. 234 pieces total. 10/26/2012 (MSRP: $49.99; Age: 6 to 14)
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)
LEGO Ultimate Building Set by LEGO
This 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)
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® City Advent Calendar 7553 by LEGO
Kids can have fun with the 24 Christmas gifts from LEGO City with the LEGO City Advent Calendar (7553). With a great for each day, the LEGO City advent calendar has 24 days of building fun with Mini-figures, vehicles and other accessories for LEGO City sets. The LEGO City Advent Calendar (7553) includes: 6 MiniFigures, Christmas accessories, furniture and lots of vehicles. 9/1/2011 (MSRP: $34.99; Age: 5 to 12)
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)
Pillow Pets Plush Dream Lites NightLite Rainbow Unicorn by CJ PRODUCTS
Pillow Pet Dream Lites turns darkened rooms into a starry sky instantly. Simply press the button it projects a starry sky on the ceiling and walls. Creates a magical and tranquil environment that helps kids ease into a restful sleep. Built in timer shuts off after 20 minutes. Folds up into a pet or opens to lay flat. All the DreamLites come with 4 light options steady blue, amber, or green and the 4th is all three colors that transition every 4 seconds continually in a loop. The face of the particular pet is also projected along with the stars.
— As of 7/30/2012 this product had 4.1 out of 5 stars from 10 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Projects the stars well; good battery life. Cons: Hard plastic tops means they aren't very snuggly. 7/30/2012 (MSRP: $32.00; Age: 3 and Up)
TotSports Easy Score Basketball Set by LITTLE TIKES INC.
This adjustable basketball set features an oversized rim and junior size basketball. Baskets are easier to make, encouraging more active, winning play.
— As of 05/20/2011, this product had 4.3 out of 5 stars from 103 reviews on Amazon.com, and was listed No. 22 in the top 100 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Adjustable, durable and "addicting" for kids. Appeals to a wide age range. CONS: Board can bend forward. 5/2/2005 (MSRP: $34.99; Age: 1 to 5)
LEGO Friends Olivia's Tree House 3065 by LEGO
Take the Lego Friends fun to the tree tops with Olivia’s Tree House. All of the friends love meeting in this treetop retreat to play games and camp out under the stars. Climb the folding ladders to watch the ladybirds, catch butterflies and feed the cat. Watch the ocean waves or wish on stars through the telescope. Stash secret treasures in the hidden compartment and decorate the whole fort with wildflowers. Includes Olivia mini-doll figure, and features the tree house pet cat Maxie, 4 ladybirds, a bird Goldie with birdhouse, 4 butterflies, hidden compartment and folding ladders.
— As of 02/28/2012 this product had 4.9 out of 5 stars from 19 reviews on Amazon.com.
Awards: 2012 Dr. Toy Best Classic Toys 1/3/2012 (MSRP: $19.99; Age: 6 to 12)
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)
Furby - Teal by HASBRO INC.
New FURBY looks great in any color, but Teal FURBY seems to be our most popular so far. Maybe it's the luxuriant teal sheen of its fur, or the way the teal sets off the bright yellow-gold of its eyes. With a mind of its own, the new Hasbro Teal FURBY will develop its personality based on how kids play with it. It will dance to their favorite songs. Put it in a room with a few of its friends and they'll interact with each other in all sorts of hilarious ways while speaking either English or the special FURBY language, FURBISH. Launch date: 2012. 9/19/2012 (MSRP: $54.00; Age: 6 and Up)
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)