July 2005 | Vol. IV - No. 7
|"Creative construction toys are easy sells." — Diane Ross, owner of Silly Goose Inc.|
Creative construction toys are easy sells, says Diane Ross, owner of Silly Goose Inc. of Essex, Mass. Specifically, she’s referring to Wedgits (ToyDirectory), a set of stackable hard plastic octahedrons and rhombi for children ages 3 to 5.
Wee Wedgits, a soft-plastic version for infants, is another good seller. All Wedgits sets are compatible with one another. "Lincoln Logs also remain a favorite," says Ross.
Lisa Maher, owner of Kid-O in New York City, has found her niche by carrying toys of high style and design that usually can’t be found in the blockbuster stores. She recommends interlocking blocks by Naef Spieler Ltd. for children under the age of 2. The wooden blocks in primary colors interlock with grooves to make the structures more stable.
“When they stack, they don’t fall down. It’s less frustrating for an infant,” she says.
Kapla Blocks are another good seller and are suitable for toddlers and preschoolers. “Each block is exactly the same dimension. It encourages children to be creative and is one of the best products that exists,” says Maher of the plank-shaped wooden pieces.
Wooden blocks are the specialty of online retailer Turner Toys, a.k.a. the Block Shop. Owner Ed Lowenton sells lots of the Bag-O-Blocks by T.C. Timber (ToyShow). His other best-seller for Pre-Ks is the ABC Flyer, by Uncle Goose Toys — a set of 28 classic alphabet blocks in a wooden wagon.
“These are as close as possible to the old embossed blocks,” says Lowenton. "They are probably the only blocks around that are still 3-D on two sides."
Imaginarium.com at online colossus Amazon.com provides hourly updates on best-sellers in a variety of categories, providing independent retailers with a searchable source of information. A recent top-five contender is the Giant Building Blocks set by Imagiplay (ToyShow); 40 big cardboard blocks suitable for children 18 months and up. They are waterproof and can hold up to 200 pounds of weight.
The following is more information on products that sell well in this category.
Wedgits Junior Set, 15 pieces by IMAGABILITY
The shapes fit together differently than standard building sets, helping children think on their own. The 15-piece junior set comes with instructions on how to make the Wedgits support each other and wedge into place, as well as a design book to get kids building creatively. Winner of numerous awards from 1998 through 2004 from Dr. Toy, the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio and Parenting Magazine, the blocks encourage creativity and stimulate spatial thinking and geometric patterning.
— “Wedgits, by Imagibility, are very, very good for us,” Brandy Cardenas, manager of Timbuk Toys in Denver, Co., told TDmonthly in April 2008. “Of our starter set with 15 pieces, we sell a good 25 or 30 per month.”
— “We always do well with Wedgits,” Leslie Chiaverini, owner of Adventure Toys and Teacher Supplies in Los Altos, Calif., told TDmonthly in April 2008, when asked to name the best-selling construction toy in her store.
— Over five percent of retailers, who spoke with TDmonthly about construction toys in April 2008, named Wedgits as their best-seller. 6/3/2005 (MSRP: $17.95)
Toddler Blocks by NAEF SPIELE LTD.
These 16 blocks in bright colors are made of wood from ecologically supervised European forests. Famed Swiss toy designer Kurt Naef designed these blocks in 1957; they were his first toy design. The sophisticated but easy-to-use interlocking feature enables small children to build towers that don´t fall down. Older children can experiment with building cantilevered structures. 6/3/2005 (MSRP: $150.00; Age: 1 to 2)
The ABC Flyer by UNCLE GOOSE TOYS
Twenty-eight wooden embossed Alphabet blocks, approximately 1-3/4” square, come in a wooden pull-toy wagon. Each block has an animal picture, a number or math symbol, and four letters (two embossed), for a total of four complete alphabets. The wagon is unpainted with wooden wheels. It sells for between $44.95 and $49.95. 6/3/2005
Lincoln Logs Conestoga Homestead by K'NEX BRANDS
The Conestoga Homestead comes with a plastic frontier couple, wagon, two horses, roof, windows and door. It includes enough wooden logs to build a small house. 6/3/2005 (MSRP: $19.99)
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