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The Few, The Proud...The Award-Winning Toys!

Who Made the Cut This Year?

By Alison Marek and Julie L. Jones

Thousands of products are introduced to the toy industry every year, but only a limited number are good enough, playable enough and innovative enough to garner an award.

In addition to issuing TDmonthly Awards, TDmonthly Magazine regularly asks manufacturers to present their award winners to our readers so that retailers can quickly identify products with great potential and manufacturers can learn and be inspired by others' successes. Here are the most recent responses:

Paint Ceramic Beads by ALEX BRANDS

Paint Ceramic Beads by ALEX BRANDSKids can design and paint their own ceramic beads and create personalized bracelets, necklaces and keychains. The kit includes 16 square beads, 10 shaped beads, two large heart pendants, six ceramic paints, two brushes, two keychain accessories, glass seed beads, ball chains, elastic and easy instructions. This item is an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award winner.
—  “Any arts and craft kits by Alex sell really well,” Linda Angel, owner of Kidoodles Toys in Norman, Okla., told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— “Our best-selling craft kits are bead kits by Alex. …[We sell] at least three or four every day,” Gary Timmerding, manager of Johnny’s Toys in Covington, Ky., told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— Over one-fourth of the 50 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in spring 2008 named Alex kits as  best-selling kits in their stores.
 5/8/2008 (Age: 7 and up) ENTER ALEX BRANDS TOYSHOW [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Patch-a-Peel Purse by ALEX BRANDS

Patch-a-Peel Purse by ALEX BRANDSKids can create their own beautiful handbag with this kit, which comes with a canvas purse, adhesive gems, more than 160 precut, sticky fabric shapes and easy instructions. This product is an iParenting Media Award winner.
— “Alex is our number one activity set … [and] make-your-own purse is good right now,” Joyce Matthews, owner of Just 4 Fun in St. Simon’s Island, Ga., told TDmonthly in April 2008.
— In April 2008, Steve Ricks, owner of My Story House Toys in Roswell, Ga., told TDmonthly that his store sells “maybe one a day” of this particular item.
— Six of 50 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in spring 2008 singled out this particular item as the best-selling kit in their stores.
 5/8/2008 (Age: 7 and up) ENTER ALEX BRANDS TOYSHOW [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Scribble Puzzle ABC's – Zoo Friends by SCRIBBLE MATS

Scribble Puzzle ABCThe puzzle features 24 big, chunky pieces and four non-toxic crayons. The puzzle’s draw-and-wipe surface allows kids to draw again and again, letting their imagination flourish. The puzzle is available in six varieties and measures 12-1/2" X 15" when assembled. This item is a 2007 Dr. Toy Best Product Award winner. “Scribble Puzzles keep the imagination and energy going!” Arlene Tucker of Scribble Mats told TDmonthly. “The color on- wipe off signature surface allows a child to create with crayon till infinity.” Launch date: Fall 2007.
 5/1/2008 (Price: $5.00; Age: 4 to 11) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Nana Star and the Moonman by ee publishing & productions, llc

Nana Star and the Moonman by ee publishing & productions, llcNana Star is ready to bring a lost baby star back home to the heavens, but the world has gone to bed and she feels alone and afraid until a new friend, the Moonman, promises that he’s watching over her, even when she can’t see him. A reassuring message about friendship and faith shines through this second book in the Nana Star series in terms easily appreciated by little listeners who don’t like the dark or feeling lonely. Written by Elizabeth Sills and Elena Patrice and illustrated by Linda Saker, this book was a bronze medal winner in the 2008 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards.
 5/1/2008 (Price: $15.95; Age: 4 to 8) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Rub a Dub Pirates of the Tub by ALEX BRANDS

Rub a Dub Pirates of the Tub by ALEX BRANDSThis 38-piece, phthalate-free set includes foam pieces that stick to the wall, letting kids build pirate ships and islands. It also includes three pirate squirters and a suction-cup mesh bag for drying and storage. This item is a Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award winner and an iParenting Media Award winner.
— “Alex has … pirate ships — we sell at least one of those every day,” Pam Horwitz, manager of Mr. Toad’s Toy Company in Naples, Fla., told TDmonthly in March 2008.
— “[We] carry a lot of Alex — they sell best. They all fly out the door,” Susan Blanton, owner of Pufferbellies in Staunton, Va., told TDmonthly in March 2008.
— More than 7 percent of 40 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in March 2008 singled out Alex’s pirate ship as their stores’ best-selling bath toy.
 4/30/2008 (Age: 3 and up) ENTER ALEX BRANDS TOYSHOW [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Elf Fun with Christopher Pop-In-Kins by ELF FUN WITH POP-IN-KINS

Elf Fun with Christopher Pop-In-Kins by ELF FUN WITH POP-IN-KINSFrom late November to Christmas Eve, Christopher Pop-In-Kins “pops in” to visit children, play hide-and-seek, and share in the excitement of the holiday season. On Christmas Eve, he returns to the North Pole to tell Santa all about his young friends and holiday adventures. Each Christopher Pop-In-Kins Fun Set includes a posable Christopher Pop-In-Kins Elf, “Christopher Pop-In-Kins Pops In” by Flora Johnson ©1985 illustrated storybook, and a convenient storage case. Now in his 27th year, Christopher Pop-In-Kins was recently named one of Dr. Toys Best Classic Toys for 2011.
Awards: 2011 Moms' Best Award for Extraordinary Products; 2011 The Toy Man Award of Excellence; 2011 The Toy Man E-Choice Award; 2011 The Toy Man Seal of Approval; 2010 Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Excellence in Family Products; 2010 The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval; 2009 Preferred Choice Award from Creative Child Magazine; 2008 iParenting Media Outstanding Products Award; 2008 iParenting Media Hot Product Award; 2008 Dr. Toy Best New Products Award; 2004 Choice Award from the Chicago Home & Gift Market
 4/25/2008 (Price: $24.95; Age: 3 and up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

"Swing, Dance and Sing" DVD with Bonus CD Sampler by THE SWINGSET MAMAS

"Swing, Dance and Sing" DVD with Bonus CD Sampler by THE SWINGSET MAMASThis DVD contains a collection of favorite Swingset Mamas songs brought to life by imaginative sets, costumed characters, whimsical animation and graphics, and 35 real-life kids who extend the fun for children at home. From getting dressed yourself to being awed by nature's smallest creatures, the songs celebrate the daily rhythms and wonders of growing up. Genres range from folk-rock-blues to calypso, hip-hop and zydeco. “The Swingset Mamas blend terrific musicianship and heartfelt parenting tips with their signature style ranging from rock to reggae. The Mamas infuse their playful, inspiring tunes with their own mom-tested wisdom — providing musical strategies to making everyday activities fun,” Marlowe Bechmann of the Swingset Mamas told TDmonthly. This product received a 2008 Parents’ Choice Fun Stuff Award and a 2008 iParenting Media Award for Best Home Video/DVD Product. Launch date: January 8, 2008.
 4/21/2008 (Price: $12.98; Age: 1 to 8) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

SLIDER™ the Unscooter™ by IDEA MILL LLC

SLIDER™ the Unscooter™ by IDEA MILL LLCThe freestyle vehicle features 3-wheel steering, action-decks and dual hand brakes, designed to propel riders without requiring feet to touch the ground. The highly maneuverable vehicle is extremely easy to learn and ride, and comes in a variety of colors, including red, pink, black and blue. This product received a 2008 NAPPA Honors award. Launch date: February 2008.
— “Sliders are doing great,” remarked Terri Bracken, owner of Earth Explorer Toys in Zionsville, Ind., discussing her best-selling ride-on toys in spring 2009.
— Four of 60 retailers listed scooters as their best selling ride-ons in March 2009.
 4/18/2008 (Age: 3 to 101) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

Snack & Play Travel Tray by STAR KIDS PRODUCTS

Snack & Play Travel Tray by STAR KIDS PRODUCTSSnack & Play Travel Tray is made of soft, durable, 100-percent nylon. It buckles around the child and fits most car and booster seats. Snack & Play Travel Tray has two side pockets for storage and easy reach, plus a 2" wall to stop toys, food and other items from falling off the tray. It has won a number of awards, including iParenting Media and NAPPA awards.
 4/7/2008 (Price: $20.99) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

YogaLand! The Australian Adventure by YOGA INSPIRATIONS

YogaLand! The Australian Adventure by YOGA INSPIRATIONSThe DVD features the exclusive “yoga moment,” aerobic fitness and yoga poses, calming games and songs, an educational story and sense of adventure, parent/teacher instructions and testimonials. The Australian-themed DVD, led by certified teacher and yoga instructor Diane Cline runs 45 minutes long. It places a focus on mind, body, breathing and imagination, and teaches children Australian-themed yoga poses such as kangaroo, koala and bird. The video offers parents a powerful tool to engage children in the benefits of exercise with yoga told through story and techniques to help children calm down and focus. This item is a 2008 Parents' Choice Award, Creative Child Magazine's Preferred Choice Award, a Dr Toy Award and the Film Advisory Board's Award of Excellence winner.
 4/3/2008 (Price: $19.95; Age: 4 to 10) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]

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Following are some of the programs represented in's section of award winners: Dr. Toy, iParenting Media Awards, TIA T.O.T.Y., Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, The National Parenting Center, and Parents' Choice Awards.

You may also access TDmonthly's review section to see which products earned 5 TD stars.

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