2014 has come and gone, and here at TDmonthlywe saw a lot of great toys throughout the year. From Toy Fair debuts to best-selling favorites, our Top Toys of 2014 were selected from our Staff Picks, Top-10 Most-Wanted toy lists, and awards program.
Take a look at our favorite toys of 2014 below, and consider them for your store as you replenish your shelves after the holidays.
These easy to use sets feature a distinct and unique method that makes painting by numbers obsolete. The painter has complete control. Unique embossed picture cards absorb paint in some areas and repel it in others creating intricate, detailed works of art that even the youngest children can achieve. The vibrant colors provided in these superb painting kits are extremely appealing to children, Parents describe Aquarellum as captivating and relaxing for both themselves and their Children. The Aquarellum have three boards and 9 washable inks to create 1000's of exciting color combinations!
Introducing the Round Table Puzzles, the new way to do puzzles! These circular puzzles have the top of the image in the center & the bottom of the image around all the edges. Just as the Knights of the Round Table all had an equal seat around the table, everyone has an equal seat around the puzzle. The Creepy Critters Version, created by famed puzzle designer - Michael Searle, allows one to view some of nature’s smaller animals in all of their magnificent colors in their magnificently-colored habitat from the bottom up at every angle.Jigsaw puzzles are a timeless family tradition, but traditional puzzles present a problem to those working on them—typically only one person (the person building from the bottom of the puzzle) has a normal view of the puzzle image. The Round Table Collection now eliminates this problem. The Creepy Critters Version of the Round Table Puzzles has united a diverse group of nature’s colorful creatures—all living in perfect harmony for this unique moment in time! 500 pieces.
This unique drawing game takes kids on a deep sea adventure to fulfill underwater quests with the power of their pens. Each quest card has a detailed illustration and drawing instructions. On their separate transparent sheets, players complete the drawing and must trust their eyes in order to meet targets and avoid obstacles. The sheets are then placed over the card to score their sketch’s success. With 36 quests and two levels, the bait of the challenge hooks kids for hours of fun!
You’ll enjoy more colorful, magical, and powerful magnets in this larger version of the basic set. The 62 Piece Set contains 30 squares, 20 triangles, and adds building diversity with 12 pentagons. A wonderful set for the novice builder who’s ready to leap into creativity. This set is truly easy and simple to use right out of the box. Only the best materials are used, High Quality ABS Plastic and 1/3" rare-earth NEODYMIUM magnet on side of the shape.
This science book comes with materials included for 24 activities. Through rocketry and a classic set of favorite projects, Motion explores the central concepts of physics. This kit is packed with parts, including a beautiful, precision, brass colored balance scale to measure mass, a hover puck, a jet car that really zooms, the components to make your own spring meter, an accurate to 1/100 of a second stop watch to clock speed, velocity and acceleration and the tubes, stoppers and inflation needle to launch both water rockets and baking soda rockets. Each project has been refined, through years of testing and feedback, into age appropriate fun.
Build an energetic bouncing robot that uses an electric motor and a springloaded mechanism to jump forward in a continuous motion. Watch the robot crouch down, compress its coil spring, and store up energy. Then see how it instantly extends its legs and releases the stored energy all at once, launching itself upward and forward. Experiment with the metal coil spring to discover how the robot’s jumping mechanism works. See if the robot can jump over objects in an obstacle course you design for it. Learn about elasticity, potential and kinetic energy, the spring constant, cams, and linkages. Build seven other functional models using the same mechanical components — the spring, cams, and motor — to perform other tasks and demonstrate physical science principles firsthand. Construct a car that moves forward on spiral-shaped wheels. Build a crab that moves sideways, a kicking machine that uses the spring-loaded mechanism to propel an object away, a pitching machine, and a grappler claw. Assemble a fun amusement park ride that spins around using the electric motor. Learn about the physics of force, mass, and weight by making and experimenting with a spring scale. The full-color, 24-page instruction manual provides step-by-step illustrated assembly instructions.
Contains over 40 parts. 165 experiments can be completed using the kit, like a spinning lighted fan, a small RC car that moves forward and backward, and more. It stimulates the mind and teaches kids about electrical engineering, gears and rations in a fun and educational way. Awards:2014 TDmonthly Top Toy Debut Award
The perfect introduction to needle felting! Very satisfying and easy to do, simply poke colorful roving wool into the square canvas with a felting needle to paint four pictures of anything you can imagine! No glue or sewing required. Two bonus projects in every kit! Turn the box into a mailbox, birdhouse or special treasure box. The inner tray is perfect for framing your art. Ages 8 and up.
Squigz Benders join Squigz imaginative construction. These Fun Little Suckers bend, twist and loop their way into creative play! Connecting to each other and to any solid, non-porous surface - Squigz are a species all their own. They flex. They stick. They suck people into creativity. Once they take hold, it takes some pull to separate them. When Squigz POP! in protest - you’ll have to admit… your hands and ears are shamelessly delighted!
Set includes 5 pounds of Sands Alive!, 6 Geometric Shape Molds, 4 Deluxe Castle Molds, 4 Small Castle Molds, 5 Mini Castle Topper Molds, 2 Sculpting Tools, 1 Paver, Brick and Pebble Rollers with Interchangeable Handle and Large Play Tray. — In a March 2014 survey, 2 out of 9 retailers told TDmonthly that Sands Alive! was a best-selling product. — Kelly Ratoff, owner of Kennebunk Toy Company in Kennebunk, Maine, told TDmonthly in a May 2014 survey that Play Visions sands are consistently best-sellers. "As many as we can get, we sell through," she said. — David Castillo, vice president of The Red Balloon Toy Store in Salt Lake City, Utah, told TDmonthly in a November 2014 survey that Sands Alive is one of their store's best-selling educational toys. "Sands Alive especially has been hard to keep on the shelf," he told us.
The Creator Set is the smallest of the three sets sold. Boys and girls can create structures and models with endless possibilities. It contains 50 pieces ((30) wooden planks, (5) blue 90° connectors, (5) orange 90° connectors, (5) yellow 120° connectors and (5) red 120° connectors). This set retails at $29.95. Awards: 2014 TDmonthly Magazine Top Toy Seal of Approval
Easy-to-do. Learn basic embroider stitches and create beautiful embroidery with outline stencils. Contains 1 set of embroidery hoop, 6 spools of coloured embroidery floss, 3 sheets of embroidery canvas, 2 outline templates, 2 plastic needles, pillow stuffing and detailed instructions. Makes a 14cm X 14cm mini pillow or a mini bag. Made by 4M, distributed by Toysmith in the USA. Awards: 2014 TDmonthly Magazine Top Toy Seal of Approval
The Lifenest® Breathable and padded Mesh Crib Bumper was developed by a Medical Doctor in response to the concerns with baby suffocation raised by the research, but also with the aim of preventing injuries that bumper pads protect against. Made of Breathable Hypoallergenic Polyester Mesh material, the Lifenest Bumper simultaneously helps prevent suffocation and injury while at the same time, with its soft padding, promoting baby’s comfort. The Lifenest Crib Bumper collapses to prevent climbing and tucks below the mattress for additional protection. The bumper attaches easily with convenient ties complying with the ASTM standard to prevent entanglement. The Greenguard Gold Certification ensures that a product has met some of the world's most rigorous and comprehensive standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds into indoor air. The packaging is BPA free and phthalate free. The durable Lifenest Breathable Crib Bumper is machine washable and fast drying. It fits most of the US rectangular cribs. Awards: 2014 TDmonthly Innovations Award
String art has never been more fun, easy or artful. Simply push pins into our sturdy foam canvases and string away, no hammer or nails needed. Use our patterns or design your own. String'em, love'em, hang'em right away! Kits contains all materials needed to make three 8.5" canvases.
This extremely soft, large, padded mat is the perfect blanket for baby. The unique hedgehog design on the inside of the blanket adds to the appeal. Embroidered eyes and a fox tail add personality...roll up for easy storage.
This gravity powered logic maze is sure to put your visual perception and reasoning skills to the test. The colorful, translucent towers can be arranged in a plethora of visually stimulating structures but, for each challenge, you’ll have to think carefully to build a path that will successfully carry your marble to its target. 60 challenges, ranging in difficulty, will give you plenty of creative building time while you maneuver the maze in your mind! — Phyllis Stroud, owner of Rocking Horse Toy Store in Natchitoches, La., told TDmonthly in a January 2015 survey that Gravity Maze from Thinkfun was one of their store's best-selling STEM toys.
We just put a new twist on an old favorite. The Boogie Board Original 8.5 LCD eWriter that started a paperless revolution will soon be available in two exciting new color combinations – red case front with red LCD and cyan (blue) case front with cyan LCD! The new color LCDs feature the same writing experience that you’ve come to know and love from Boogie Board eWriter products. Write or draw with the included stylus or almost any other instrument – even your finger. Great for home, school and office – almost anywhere you use a paper and pen! Awards:2014 TDmonthly Top Toy Debut Award
The current Perplexus games are sphere-shaped, but Warp is, well, a warped sphere. "If one had to name it, it would be called a spherical octahedron, but around here we just call it weird, cool, different, warpy, or the hyper egg. The new shape is also a bit easier to hold, doesn't roll off a table, and maximizes player's visibility all in a fun new size," says Matt Nelson of Perplexus, LLC. Perplexus Warp features nine internal cups that act as "baskets" when you maneuver the marble to leap into them, and a new internal pivot that gives the illusion of a magnet sticking to the ball, defying gravity, as it travels across a bridge with no rails. Warp has six flagged check points, 50 challenging events, and is deemed a difficulty level of six. Awards: 2014 TDmonthly Magazine Top Toy Award
The Mark-My-Time™ 3D Digital Bookmark is a convenient, easy to set timer to count down or accumulate reading time. Motivational - encourages kids to read often and independently while helping them to record time for school or library reading logs. Portable - Encourage reading anytime and anywhere with a design that can remain in the book and be “on the go” like you are. Time is stored in the bookmark until you delete it. This bookmark is ideal for timed math fact activities, music practice sessions, homework study sessions and more. Parents and teachers across the country confirm that Mark-My-Time bookmarks are a great way to get kids excited about reading and wanting to read more. Made of durable polyethylene plastic and now available in three cool 3D Royce animal images, a Snow Wolf, Turtle Town and a special “in motion” T-Rex which transforms from reptile to skeleton. These exciting new bookmarks will be shipping, just in time for the holidays at only $11.95. Launch date: October 7, 2014
A natural wonder with whimsical detail, the OWLET IN TREE STUMP is nearly ready to take flight. This feathery soft baby bird rests in a sculptural tree stump complete with sweet fabric leaves. Pop him out for a fun surprise and a real hoot! 10"TALL.
Winner of a 2014 TDmonthly Top Toy Award, SET DICE is three games in one: SET CUBED, SCRAMBLE SET & CROSSWORD SET. SET CUBED is a strategy game with over 10 Best Game Awards! SCRAMBLE SET is fast-paced family fun, just like your favorite card game. CROSSWORD SET: create SETs up, down and across connecting all of your dice before your opponent.
Whichever way you decide to play, you will have fun with these custom over-sized dice. The more SETs you make, the higher your score. Roll, Connect, WIN!
Great for travel, free demo available with purchase of 11 games. 1 to 6 players. Ages 8 to adult. Awards: 2014 TDmonthly Magazine Top Toy Award
Connect these speakers to computers, iPhones, iPods, tablets, Android, game players & more. Multi-colored jets of water dance to the volume and beat of the music. That, added to the 4 multicolored LEDs, creates an incredible light and water show. The speakers stand 9" tall and are compatible with any audio device that has a 3.5mm audio jack connection. They are lightweight and portable. All connection cords are included. — In a August 2014 survey, Stan Giliberto, owner of Over the Rainbow Toys in Glastonbury, Conn., told TDmonthly that this is one of their best-selling toys. "It's good for older kids who are starting to age out of toy stores," he explained. — In a September 2014 survey, Beth Snyder, manager of Growing Tree Toys in State College, Pa., told TDmonthly that these speakers are one of the store's best-selling novelty items.
Looking for a fun way to teach reading, writing and arithmetic? The Educational kit from Laser Pegs comes with 12 Letter Blocks, 12 Number Blocks, 12 Word Blocks and a 3D Lite Board with 39 FUN games to play! Each block contains an LED that illuminates when connected to the 3D Lite Board. Combine and stack the blocks any way you can to make different words, sentences and equations. 100% compatible with all other Laser Pegs® construction kits so you can build and learn at the same time.
This colorful set encourages kids to learn how to dress for different weather. Kids love to talk about weather and make up stories. Flip the tiles upside down and it doubles as a stencil for added fun!
The beat goes on…and on with this 5-in-1 percussion section. When the concert's over, everything stores together until it's time for the next gig. Includes a xylophone, a drum, a cymbal, a guiro, a clapper and drumsticks. Awards:2014 TDmonthly Top Toy Debut Award — In a February 2015 survey, two out of 11 retailers told TDmonthly that toys from Hape were their best-selling wooden toys.
Rubberwood blocks with five different pitches for fun rhythmic play. When struck with a mallet the blocks sound higher or lower depending on their size – the smaller the block the higher the pitch. 12.5” ergonomically designed Mangowood base fits easily in your lap or on a table. Includes pair of wood mallets. According to Brett Sommers of Figpickels Toy Emporium in Coer D’Alene Idaho, not only do the toys have musical value, but kids are attracted to the bright, candy-like colors. Retail box will hang.
Entertain your friends and LOL with the Grunting Pig puppet. Delightful silky soft plush of pale pink with grey patches and a curly tail come to life with a workable snout, mouth and front trotters. Squeeze his pot belly to make him grunt and witness the hilarity that ensues! This little piggy wants to come home with you. 14” long Awards:2014 TDmonthly Top Toy Debut Award — In a June 2014 survey, four out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that Folkmanis was their best-selling puppet brand.
For the first time ever, Goldie comes to life as an action figure! More than just a doll, her articulated shoulders, hips, knees and joints along with specially designed hands and feet are designed for action. With the included construction kit, kids learn how to build Goldie a 13' zipline and send her soaring! Encourages spatial skills, basic engineering principles (suspension), and confidence in problem solving. Kids can now bring Goldie along and place her in the middle of the action with specially designed feet that fit on axles and hands that grip. New pieces! The GoldieBlox action figure comes with newly designed pieces that are compatible with all existing GoldieBlox construction sets. Includes: 1 action figure with articulated shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, 1 action figure tool belt, 1 action figure wrench, 4 wheel ends, 4 elbow joints, 4 T joints, 6 mini axles, 2 short axles, 2 spacers, 4 washers, 1 4-meter long zipline.
Writer's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author