February 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 2
Syma - 3 Channel Radio Controlled Infrared Remote Controlled Electric RC Micro Mini Helicopter w/ Gyro by TOY WONDERS INC.
S107 Syma - 3 Channel Radio Controlled Infrared Remote Controlled Electric RC Micro Mini Helicopter w/ Gyro + Colorful Strobing LED Lights. This S107 equipped with NEW Gyroscope System for simpliest controls and stabilities, NEW Metal Frame & Body for extra durabilities, NEW Awesome Look and Design, and Bright strobing muti-color LED headlights so you can enjoy flying in the dark. At only 7" long, it easily fits in the palm of your hand and is fully functional. This S107 even has the option to charge directly from computer's USB port (USB cable included) or transmitter which uses "AA" batteries! S107 is in RED & YELLOW colors. Each Helicopter is individually packed in a window box. Box size: 17.75"L x 3"W x 7.25"H.
— As of 05/21/2012 this product had 4 out of 5 stars from 730 reviews on Amazon.com. PROS: Lightweight, durable, two methods of charging. CONS: Not suitable for children under 14; repairs are difficult.
12/15/2010 (MSRP: $60; Age: 8 and Up)
Monster High Nefera de Nile Doll by MATTEL INC.
The Monster High student body just got scarier with the newest students joining the other ghouls in the howlways. Nefera de Nile, daughter of the Mummy, shares the sophisticated style of her younger sister Cleo de Nile. Her wrap skirt is accessorized with a snake necklace, jeweled earrings and a dramatic hairpiece. She carries two Egyptian-detailed bags and comes with pet Scarab Beetle, Azura. Nefera de Nile doll is fully articulated so she can be posed in many different ways and includes pet friend Azura, doll stand, brush, diary and accessory.
— As of 1/31/2012 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 6 reviews on Amazon.com. 1/31/2012 (MSRP: $29.99; 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)
Rory's Story Cubes by GAMEWRIGHT
This pocket-sized story generator is designed to provide hours of imaginative play for all ages. With Rory's Story Cubes®, anyone can become a great storyteller and there are no wrong answers. Players simply roll the cubes and let the pictures spark the imagination. "Rory's Story Cubes is unique because of its simplicity, small packaging, low price point and endless story possibilities. It's a great learning and writing tool that can be played with one person or a large group as a party game," Emily Nichols, marketing coordinator for Gamewright, told TDmonthly. Launch date: March 2010.
Awards: 2009 Dr. Toy’s 10 Best Games of the Year; 2010 Major Fun Award; 2010 Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Creative Child Magazine Seal of Excellence Award, iParenting Media Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.6 out of 5 stars from 306 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Helps develop story telling ability; promotes cooperative play; creative; affordable. Cons: One reviewer said they were bored with it after playing a few times, but that it is very affordable.
— Stacy Kalisz of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine “absolutely loved” using the Story Cubes with her family as they came up with a variety of games. One of their favorite play variations “is to tell a group story, with each person using one die on his or her turn.” 12/28/2009 (MSRP: $7.99; Age: 8 and Up)
Angry Birds Knock on Wood Board Game by MATTEL INC.
One player draws a construction card and builds the structure shown. Next, an opponent loads an Angry Bird onto the launcher and catapults the bird to knock down structures and pigs. The player with the most points and knockdowns wins. Features three Angry Birds, four green pigs, one slingshot-style launcher, structure pieces and multiple mission cards. For one or more players. Launch date: May 2011.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 3.9 out of 5 stars from 252 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Great alternative to the app for parents who want to reduce kids' screen time; fun for the family to play together; helps kids develop dexterity and patience. Cons: Certain structures are too elaborate to build and don't seem to be grouped in the correct level of difficulty; kids with short attention spans may lose interest in building the structures; structures are easy to knock down, which can be frustrating for younger players. 2/18/2011 (MSRP: $14.99; Age: 5 and Up)
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)
LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Carrying Case by LEAPFROG
Kids can use this stylish case to hold their LeapPad Explorer and 6 game cartridges (fits cartridges for LeapPad Explorer and Leapster Explorer systems). Launch date: 2011. 10/10/2011 (MSRP: $17.99; Age: 4 to 9)
Air Swimmers Flying Fish - Shark by WILLIAM MARK CORP
These helium-filled shark balloons are remote controlled to "swim" through the air. The infrared remote functions include climb, descend, and tail fin control. Up to a 40 ft range. 57 inches long, 36 inches high.
— As of 10/14/2011 this product had 2.8 out of 5 stars from 19 reviews on ToysRUs.com. Pros: Visually striking. Cons: Difficult to assemble; flimsy; does not stay inflated very long.
— Mike McCollum, owner of Learning Express in Hoover, Ala., told TDmonthly in November 2011 that Air Swimmers are becoming one of his best selling flying toys. He said that since September 2011, he has sold 16 of the sharks and 7 of the clown fish. ( Watch Video) 10/14/2011 (MSRP: $41.99)
The Settlers of Catan® (4th Edition) by MAYFAIR GAMES INC.
In this game designed by Klaus Teber, three to four players who are immigrants to Catan must develop their colony on the island by establishing roads, villages and settlements and making strategic trades of bricks and lumber, livestock or other commodities to obtain necessary resources. Play takes about 60 to 90 minutes. The first player to 10 points wins. "The new edition was released three years ago and has sold more copies in those three years than the first, second or third editions combined," Bob Carty, Sales & Marketing Director, Mayfair Games, told TDmonthly in early 2010.
— In August 2010, five percent of 43 retailers surveyed named The Settlers of Catan an overall top seller. The same month, Steven Levy, owner of Toy City in Keene, New Hampshire, told TDmonthly his store sells approximately three Settlers of Catan games per week.
— “It's real easy to teach, and then you just develop strategies from there," Mike Snyder, owner and manager of Cville's Hobbies, Games and Toys in Charlottesville, Va., told TDmonthly in a February 2012 survey about best selling games. Cville's sells 16-20 copies of the game each month.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.7 out of 5 stars from 632 reviews on Amazon.com. 3/3/2010 (MSRP: $42.00; Age: 10 and Up)
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)
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)
Chica Plush by SPROUT
13" Soft, huggable plush. Push Chica's belly and she squeaks. Clean with a damp, soapy cloth and fluff dry. Launch date: November 2011. 11/7/2011 (MSRP: $14.99; Age: 0 and Up)
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)
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™ Epic by PATCH PRODUCTS INC.
The third Perplexus family member is a hot favorite with all ages, including teens and adults. Epic’s track is over 30 ft. long, and has 125 barriers. It is so challenging that it even has a mid-way restart point. Once kids pick it up, they won’t want to put Epic down.
— As of 01/12/2012 this product had 4.2 out of 5 stars from 114 reviews on Amazon.com.
— In an April 2012 survey about best selling travel toys, Kai Rady, owner of Shenanigans Inc in Charlottesville, Va., told TDmonthly that her best seller is "Perplexus, especially the Epic version."
Awards: 2012 The National Parenting Centre - Seal of Approval, 2012 Learning Express Toys - Best Toy Award, Games Category, 2012 Canadian Toy Testing Council- Best Bet 2012, 2011 The National Parenting Centre - Gold Seal of Approval, 2011 Parent Tested Parent Approved - Seal of Approval, 2011 Neighbourhood Educational Toy Stores - Gold Star, 2011 Fat Brain Toy ‘Award - Brainteasers, 2011 Family Fun - Toy of the Year, 2011 Disney Top 10 Family Fun - Toy of the Year, 2011 Creative Child Magazine - Game of the Year 1/12/2012 (MSRP: $29.99; Age: 8 and Up)
Bright Starts Rattle & Shake Barbell by KIDS II
This colorful rattle comes in a twisted barbell design. The transparent plastic ends hold colorful balls that rattle when baby shakes the toy.
— As of 05/31/2011 this product had 4.7 out of 5 stars from 58 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Lightweight; bright colors; easy for small hand to grab; not overly loud. Cons: The plastic is hard, and one parent complained that their child kept hitting itself in the face, and needed a softer rattle; one reviewer said her baby liked a different rattle that was easier to hold. 6/2/2011 (MSRP: $2.99)
Bright Starts Grab and Spin Rattle by KIDS II
This Colorful spinning rattle helps baby develop hand/eye coordination. It includes 3 textured links that slide and rattle and an oval shaped handle that has teethable textures.
— As of 11/22/2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 31 reviews on Amazon.com. 12/1/2011 (MSRP: $7.99)
LEGO MiniFigure Series 5 8805 by LEGO
The LEGO MiniFigure Series 5 adds 16 all-new, special MiniFigures to the growing LEGO MiniFigure Collection. Each MiniFigure comes in a sealed, mystery bag. Each character has its own special accessories, display plate and collector's leaflet. Inspired by movies, sports, history and just everyday life. This collection includes: Fitness Instructor, Snowboarder Guy, Lizard Man, Lumberjack, Gladiator, Small Clown, Egyptian Queen, Evil Dwarf, Boxer, Ice Fisherman, Zoo Keeper, Graduate, Royal Guard, Cave Woman, Detective.
— As of 10/10/2011 this product had 4.9 out of 5 stars from 9 reviews on ToysRUs.com.
— Robert Lightburn from Cville's Hobbies, Games and Toys in Charlottesville, Va., told TDmonthly in an October 2011 survey that LEGO items sell well with the tween crowd. 10/10/2011 (MSRP: $3.49; Age: 5 to 7)
Twist & Fold Activity Gym by INFANTINO LLC
Designed to pop up in a single motion, this play gym includes four toys and a bolster pillow to be used for tummy time. It is available in two color options.
— Real Moms Real Views “was wowed by the [Gym’s] COLORS! They are so bright and fun.” The reviewer said, “Set up is a breeze,” and the Activity Gym “would make a wonderful Baby Shower Gift too!”
— “Infantino knows babies and knows what Mom's want and need in quality infant products,” declared Deborah Sloan at Baba’s Farm Life. Deborah loved how well thought out the Twist & Fold Activity Gym is with its emphasis on stimulation, style and safety for baby.
— As of 05/24/2011 this product had 4.6 out of 5 stars from 62 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: one reviewer said that hers would not stand up straight; One person said the colors in real life were different than those depicted online. 10/28/2009 (MSRP: $36.99; Age: 0 and Up)
Baby Einstein Baby Neptune Ocean Adventure Gym by KIDS II
This soft activity gym features an electronic aquarium with classical melodies and dancing lights. A whale-shaped prop-up pillow accompanies baby on this aquatic adventure, which comes to life with the crisp and colorful real-life scenery of the sea on the play mat. A soft textured border encourages tactile development. Remove the arch and the play gym becomes the perfect play mat for tummy time. Tummy time is enhanced by the animal peek-a-boo flaps with real-life imagery, as well as the ability to reposition and attach toys to loops on the mat or loops on the whale pillow. The play gym comes with several developmental and colorful plush and plastic toys, including a large fish-shaped baby-safe mirror, a set of Ocean Discovery cards featuring real-life images of 6 underwater animals, a Baby Neptune rattle, and a star-shaped teether. The play gym also has 8 links for repositioning the toys. The plush Octopus with various textures and dangling rattles and teethers offers baby an on-the-go toy. The play gym features a 2-in-1 musical aquarium toy that can be used both with the gym and in the crib. his underwater-themed gym folds up for easy transportation and storage.
— As of 05/20/2011 this product has 4.2 out 5 stars from 63 review on Amazon.com. Pros: Lots of elements can be detached; many reviewers like the light-up mobile. Cons: Not interactive enough; noises are annoying/ not melodical enough; not enough toys/toys not interesting enough. 5/5/2011 (MSRP: $69.99; Age: 0 to 2)
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