The research for this article was compiled by January 31, 2005.
According to the NPD Group, building set sales totaled $416.3 million in 2004. Winners with kids of all ages, these sets also get a thumbs-up from parents, encouraging active involvement rather than passive observation. As they use their imagination for designs, kids also practice problem-solving and learn math concepts.
Big Air Ball Tower by K'NEX BRANDS
This kit constructs a huge (over 5 feet) working ball tower with custom obstacles around a transparent air-lift tube. --This toy won “Ultimate Construction Toy of the Year” at the Ultimate Toy Awards Show in Dec. 2004. --The Tower was nominated to be the 2005 Activity Toy of the Year by the Toy Industry Association. --Creative Child Magazine gave this set the 2004 Preferred Choice Award.
This 643-part set, with a carrying case, builds 25 models and includes a motor. Previously distributed by Nikko America (6.2.09). --This set was named as a “top seller” by Brio’s senior product manager Kay Thomson. --Erector sets are among the Top 10 product lines of 2004 at YoungBuilder.com. --YoungBuilder’s co-owner Mark Carson noted a trend toward “nostalgic” sets, noting that “the Baby Boomer generation is searching for toys that encourage creativity and problem-solving skills” for their kids and grand-kids.
Last spring, popular Lincoln Logs were introduced in clear bags with handles, offering the familiar wood logs and plastic roofs in portable form. --Lincoln Logs are a top seller on Amazon.com. --“Lincoln Logs have been around since 1916, yet nearly 90 years later, they still remain our top sellers,” said Mark Carson, co-owner of Fat Brain Toys. --These toys are among the Top 10 product lines of 2004 at YoungBuilder.com.
This set features plenty of fun features like a working cannon, a toppling mast, figures and animals. --This toy is listed as a best-seller for both Amazon.com and Target.com. --Modular parts from the ship can be mixed and matched with other sets in the Imaginext system, adding to play value. --This set hones both building skills and imaginative play.
This magnetic ball and rod set, which offers many construction possibilities, was on children’s wish lists for Christmas 2004. --This set is a top seller on such leading sites as Amazon.com, KBToys.com and Walmart.com. -- This toy offers educational value as well as timeless appeal. -- Magnetix was nominated for 2005 Activity Toy of the Year by the Toy Industry Association.
Geotrax Rail & Road System Tracktown Railway by FISHER-PRICE INC.
This interactive train offers a remote control that even young engineers can activate. -- The track can be reconfigured to create various layouts, adding to the play value. -- This set and accessories are top sellers on both Amazon.com and Walmart.com. -- This train set received good reviews from parents of 2 to 3 year olds on Amazon.com.
LEGO Mindstorms Robotics Invention System 2.0 by LEGO
This 718-piece set allows the creation of moving robot vehicles which can be programmed from a computer.
--This LEGO set is a best-seller on such sites as Amazon.com and Walmart.com. --This set has a good rating among customers on Amazon.com, with one stating, “The best toy I have played with in 40 years.” --Mindstorms is listed as a “core product” by the LEGO Company.
These building sets with a twist allow children to design jewelry.
--These sets were named 2003 Activity Toy of the Year by the Toy Industry Association, and are described as “highly popular” on Lego.com. --Several of these toys were listed as best sellers at retailers such as KBtoys.com --These sets appeal to those who wouldn’t ordinarily enjoy a traditional building set.
Block sets are a classic that never go out of style, and FamilyEducation.com notes that blocks allow kids to “master math concepts about shapes, space, balancing and gravity.” — “Wooden blocks by Melissa & Doug” were expected to be a 2006 holiday hit at The Name Dropper in Montgomery, Ala., owner Shea Schroll told TDmonthly. — “Standard building blocks by Melissa & Doug … we sell those every day,” Peter (Mr. Toad), owner of Mr. Toad’s Toy Company in Naples, Fla., told TDmonthly in April 2008. Erica Welton, manager of Bedford Falls Toy Store in Charlotte, N.C., said her store sells “two or three sets a day.” — More than 17 percent of retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in spring 2008 named this item as their best-selling construction toy.