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March 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 3




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My Best Sellers: Kazoodles

Customers Go Here for Fun, Games and Creativity


Co-owner Mary Sisson of specialty-toy store Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., was so excited about ordering toys when her store first opened that the stock nearly overtook her home! Now, with things more streamlined, she knows which products get her customers excited — popular best-sellers such as Blokus by Educational Insights and the PlasmaCar by PlaSmart, as well as creative-play options including Active People’s Bilibos and Creative Whack Company’s Ball of Whacks. TDmonthly Magazine looks at what else made Kazoodles’ list:



MSRP: $69.99
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: PC020
Launch Date: February 2005
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Vehicles - Riding
Preschool
Outdoor Fun



The Original PlasmaCar continues to intrigue and fascinate. Powered by kid power; no batteries, gears, or pedals needed. Just sit, put your feet up, and turn the steering wheel to propel yourself forward. The patented safety seat design places riders in a safe, comfortable position and minimizes tipping. Moves up to 6 mph on any smooth, flat surface. Supports up to 220 lbs. Visit www.plasmacar.com to see all the wonderful colors available.
— In a March 2015 survey, two out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that Plasmacar is a best-selling outdoor toy.
—  As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 122 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: Does not work well on surfaces that aren't completely smooth.
— This top-seller in specialty stores earned a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award for its distinctive aerodynamic design and ease-of-use. TDmonthly believes it has the potential to become a classic due to its fresh, contemporary appeal and application in a child’s formative years.
Awards: 2012 Parents Choice Awards Recommended, 2009 Green Parents List Check Mark, 2009 DisneyFamily.com Top Action Figures and Toys for Toddlers, 2009+2008+2005 The National Parenting Centre Seal of Approval, 2008 iParenting Media Toy Award, 2008 Fat Brain Toy Award Active Play, 2006 TIA Outdoor Toy of the Year - Specialty Toy of the Year, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, 2005 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, 2005 Dr. Toy Best Vacation Products, 2005 Creative Child Seal of Excellence, 2001 International Patent Fair, Hong Kong Gold Medal
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3829      (added 6/28/2005)
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MSRP: $4.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Novelties



This monkey works like a slingshot and offers hours of screaming fun (he’s designed to scream on impact). The toy is 11” tall with an arm-span of 13”. With a bit of arm power, he can fly up to 30 feet – the farther one pulls him back, the farther he will fly. “The novelty of a monkey flying through the air and screaming, catapulted by the stretchy arms, brings smiles to children and adults alike,” said Ernie Wong, president of Playmaker Toys. “It requires interaction from those who play with it. You just don't watch it do stuff, you're an active part of what makes it such an entertaining product."
— “[We sell] three per day, 75 to 80 in a month” of the flying monkeys by Westminster International, Teresa Ford, owner of Kids’ Ketch in Lewes, Del., told TDmonthly in May 2008.
— “[We sell] at least 20 per month,” Owner Mary Sisson of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., told TDmonthly in May 2008. She buys the store’s best-selling monkeys from Westminster and California Creations. “We sold something like 97 in a week before Christmas — mostly to adults for their offices,” Sisson said in early ‘08.
— The Flingshot Flying Monkey was a surprise hit, and thus earned a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9727      (added 10/23/2006)
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MSRP: $30.00
Age Range: 2 to 7
Specialty: No
Made in: China
SKU or Item #: 0003
Launch Date: January 2001
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Preschool
Creative Activities
Pretend Play



bilibo is a Swiss-designed plastic shell that rocks when children sit in it. Kids have fun stacking the product as well, since it nests snugly in other brightly colored bilibos. Young children enjoy the simple design that they use in many imaginative ways. Awards: 2010 TIA Awards Toy of the Year; 2006 UK Good Toy Awards Toy of the Year; 2003 Deutscher Lernspielpreis, Auswahlliste; 2002 Dr. Toy 10 Best Active Products; 2002 Spiel Guy Arbeitsausschuss Kinderspiel 2002; 2002 Design Distinction I.D. Design Review
— "bilibo: We had to keep ordering it," was the response about hot-selling Xmas toys that TDmonthly got from Jenny Goodlund, manager at JT Puffin’s in Madison, Wis.
— Peg Scholtes, owner of Capitol Kids Ltd. in Madison, Wis., had great things to say about bilibo: "It's great for 2- to 5-year-olds. It's the modern version of the cardboard box."
— “We keep a DVD going up on the front counter that shows kids playing with [the bilibo]. Kids instinctively understand it, but adults don’t,” said Co-owner Mary Sisson of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., of this best seller in her store.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3522      (added 5/10/2005)
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MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Educational
Award Winners



The fast-moving word game consists of 144 ivory-like letter tiles in a zippered banana pouch. Players place the tiles face down on the table and randomly select 21 tiles. They turn their letters right-side up simultaneously and proceed to form as many intersecting and interconnecting words as possible, rearranging their own letters as many times as desired throughout the game. Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2007; 2009 TOTY Game of the YEAR, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal; 2007 iParenting; 2007 Parents' Choice Recommended; 2007 Dr. Toy Best Products. (Read Review)
— This product has been making the TDmonthly Best-sellers lists since 2007.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 456 reviews on Amazon.com.
— Eight of 66 retailers vouched for its best-selling status in May 2008; seven of 63 did in Sept. 2008. Shani Watmough of Planet Toys in Rockland, Maine, said her store sells 60 per month.  Fifteen of 38 named it a top-selling game in Feb. 2010.
— As of April 5, 2010, Bananagrams had spent 570 days in the top-100 best-selling toys and games on Amazon.com.
— According to owner Brett Sommer of Figpickels Toy Emporium in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,  “It was the 2009 game of the year. The brilliant packaging definitely helps this product."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8301      (added 6/19/2006)
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MSRP: $43.99
Age Range: 5 to 8
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Educational
General Toys
Electronic Games



The multi-button, electronic cash register features a functional coin reader that correctly identifies real and included plastic play coins and a checkout scanner equipped with sound. The game will teach kids coin identification, addition, subtraction and place-value.
— Peg Scholtes, owner of Capitol Kids in Madison, Wis., said this product sells consistently well in her store.
— “I would have sold more of [them] had I not run out, but I thought I had ordered [more] and forgot,” Co-owner Mary Sisson of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., told TDmonthly in early 2008.
— This is a best-seller on imaginetoys.com.
— Two of 43 retailers named a product by Learning Resources, including this cash register, when discussing best-selling playsets in April 2010.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4384      (added 8/31/2005)
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MSRP: $109.95
Age Range: 4 and up
SKU or Item #: D11189
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Kits
Vehicles - Small Toy
Construction



This 150-piece game set allows kids to construct their own racing system. It includes instructions for 30 raceways as well as track, connectors, loops and two cars in a reusable storage bin with handles and a top that locks.
— Products by DARDA, including this set, are best sellers at Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., Co-owner Mary Sisson told TDmonthly in early 2008.
— Racing sets were best sellers at Twirl Toystore & Playspace in Taos, N.M., in early 2009, according to Owner Molly McMullin. “They are a great example of how having a demo out to be played with makes all the difference in selling,” she told TDmonthly. “Our salespeople all love showing people how to get the most effective run out of the pull-back cars.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17226      (added 1/28/2008)
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MSRP: $49.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Creative Activities
General Games



Kids can paint with sweeping gestures when they use this generous-sized easel. One side is a chalkboard, the other´s a dry-erase board. Load a piece of paper into the paper holder and kids can paint and scribble to their heart’s content. Each side of the easel features a colorful tray that can hold paints, cups, chalk, erasers, clips and more. “Our Deluxe Easel has become one of our best-selling items because of its great value, high-quality construction and versatility,” said Rick Davis, part of the marketing team at Melissa & Doug. It has two adjustable boards that allow children of all sizes to enjoy painting and creating, and the easy-to-clean trays are removable in seconds.”
— This product has been making the TDmonthly Best-sellers lists since 2005.
—  As of 1.06.2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 647 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 18 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games. Pros: Double Sided; easy to clean. Cons: Supplies must be purchased separately.
— "The Melissa & Doug Easel, hands-down, beats everything in terms of dollars. It's well-made and good value," was the praise given by David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Mont.
— “Our easel, from Melissa & Doug, just blows out of here,” said Nishan Shepard, owner of Rockridge Kids in Oakland, Calif., in early 2010.
— Seven of 48 retailers named the easel as their top-selling art item in January 2010, reporting average sales of three per month.
— This easel has been a consistent best seller for Jillie Beans Toys & More of Westminster, Colo., since the store opened in 2006. (April 2010)
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4844      (added 9/29/2005)
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MSRP: $35.00
Age Range: 8 and up
SKU or Item #: 861000000045
Launch Date: February 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill
Creative Activities
General Toys



The new Ball of Whacks features six brilliantly contrasting colors, creating 30 magnetic pyramids that can be arranged into a multitude of shapes and mosaics. Additionally, the pieces can be configured according to the included color-design challenges for even more brain-teasing fun. Launch date: February 2008.
— “Unlike most brain-teasers or puzzles, there are no wrong ways to play with the Ball of Whacks,” Creative Whack Company Communications Director Lynn Araujo told TDmonthly. “Every time you pick it up, you'll be inspired to find new ways to play with it.”
— The Ball of Whacks is a best seller at Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash., Co-owner Mary Sisson told TDmonthly in early 2008.

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ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16814      (added 12/28/2007)
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MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 5 to 12
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Board Games



Europe´s 2002 game of the year, Blokus is a strategy game for the family. It's similar to the ancient Go Game — the board is a grid and players use their pieces to try to control as much territory as possible. The game pieces are in four, 21-piece sets of varying shapes. Each player chooses a color and works on expanding his  territory on the board while blocking others from doing the same. Each new piece laid down must touch at least one other piece of the same color, but can only touch at corners, not along edges. The game ends when all players have been blocked from laying down more pieces. Points are deducted for pieces not played, and the player with the highest score at the end, wins. Blokus comes with a game board with 400 squares, 84 game pieces (red, green, blue and yellow), and instructions.
— In spring 2007, Sally Lesser, owner of Massachusetts’ Henry Bear’s Park, called Blokus a “consistent best-seller” at her three stores. It's also tops at Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., and Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash. Six of 63 retailers named Blokus as their overall best seller in September 2008. Three of 52 retailers named Blokus as one of their overall top sellers in November 2008. Blokus is no longer distributed by Educational Insights as of 12/4/08.
― “No. 1 is Blokus,” Linda Hanzelko, owner of Timmy's Toy Chest in Lake Mary, Fla., told TDmonthly when asked about best-selling games in early 2009. “It's an easy sell. It's one that people come back later and say 'You were right.'” In late 2009, Lori Hershman, owner of Evan's Toy Shoppe in Hamden, Ct., estimated sales of about 34 units monthly. Six of 38 retailers called it a best-selling game in Feb. 2010, selling from three to 150 units per month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3721      (added 5/27/2005)
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Brenda RuggieroWriter's Bio: Brenda Ruggiero is a freelance writer from western Maryland. Read more articles by this author

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