With additional reporting by Sheila Coyle, Virginia Davis, Terri Hughes-Lazzell and Brenda Ruggiero
What boys’ toys took off like a rocket during the 2007 holidays? According to 27 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly Magazine from Dec. 26 to 28, planes and rockets by Playmobil and International Playthings hit the stratosphere.
The next big mover was the Plasma Car by Plasmart. Knights by Papo and Schleich did well, too, but didn’t top the list as they had in the last two years.
Here’s what boys were ripping wrapping paper off of this year:
Large Pirate Ship by PLAYMOBIL INC.
This pirate ship comes with a cabin, a working anchor winch, a functional loading crane, a boat hook and space for treasure and cannons. It also includes four figures, a monkey, a parrot and other accessories. The boat floats or drives on rollers and can be upgraded with the PLAYMOBIL Underwater Motor (Item #7530). The ship measures 26" L x 9" D x 22" H. “The Pirate Ship also includes string which is used to make the anchor winch and crane functional,” Playmobil Inc. Advertising and Marketing Manager Michelle Winfrey told TDmonthly. Launch date: August 2008. — Three of 45 retailers shared with TDmonthly in early 2008 that Playmobil products are the hottest sellers in their stores. — The pirate line by Playmobil made the top-10 best-sellers list at LB Toys in Media, Pa. in spring 2008. “Much of the line is made in Europe, and it strongly encourages imagination,”said Owner Jamie Burdette.
The jet contains room for cargo and passengers, movable seating for more cargo space, mobile doors and four figurines with luggage. "Reality playsets are a feature of Playmobil," Playmobil Inc. Advertising and Marketing Manager Michelle Winfrey told TDmonthly. This product is a Fall 2007 Parent's Choice Award winner. Launch date: August 2007.
Selected for Parents Magazine's "Toys of the Year 2007" guide, this playset allows kids to care for the sick residents of their own little town. This new hospital includes several figures, functional elevator, adjustable operating table with light, movable patient's bed, reception area, children and babies' sections and tons of accessories. This product is a Fall 2007 Parent's Choice Award, 2007 iParenting Media Award and 2007 Oppenheim Gold Award winner. Launch date: September 2007.
Suitable for children 18 months and up, this rocket lights up and emits realistic rocket sounds with the push of a button. It has a handle for take-along play and comes with an alien, a moon crate, a dune buggy, a space puppy dog and two astronauts. The rocket features a cargo hold, a Murphy bed and toilet, a cockpit and an on/off switch and volume control. "The Lift-Off Rocket by iPlay is designed to encourage young imaginations and introduce them to new worlds. This high-quality playset has a space theme with an at-home-feel," Sue Tice, public relations director and product manager at International Playthings Inc., told TDmonthly. Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2007. Launch date: March 2007. — As of 5/12/2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com from 98 reviews. Cons: Doors fall off too easily; the dog and alien figurines are too large to fit in the rover. — Lynda Blankenship, owner of Smart Toys & Books in Knoxville, Tenn., told TDmonthlyin late Spring 2011 that Lift Off Rockets were among her best-selling activity kits and playsets. — “One of my favorite toys this season, for 18 months and up, is the iPlay Lift-Off Rocket," said Deb Necker, owner of Necker’s in Simsbury, Conn., when discussing hot-selling infant toys in her store. — The Lift-Off Rocket is popular at LB Toys in Media, Pa., according to Owner Jamie Burdette. “It’s a great 1- to 2-year-old toy for a boy,” he said in April 2008. “Rocket ship toys for this age are hard to find.” — Want this? As of 05/11/2011 this product was available at Smart Toys & Books
The Original PlasmaCar continues to intrigue and fascinate. Powered by kid power; no batteries, gears, or pedals needed. Just sit, put your feet up, and turn the steering wheel to propel yourself forward. The patented safety seat design places riders in a safe, comfortable position and minimizes tipping. Moves up to 6 mph on any smooth, flat surface. Supports up to 220 lbs. Visit www.plasmacar.com to see all the wonderful colors available. — In a March 2015 survey, two out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that Plasmacar is a best-selling outdoor toy. — As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 122 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: Does not work well on surfaces that aren't completely smooth. — This top-seller in specialty stores earned a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award for its distinctive aerodynamic design and ease-of-use. TDmonthly believes it has the potential to become a classic due to its fresh, contemporary appeal and application in a child’s formative years. Awards: 2012 Parents Choice Awards Recommended, 2009 Green Parents List Check Mark, 2009 DisneyFamily.com Top Action Figures and Toys for Toddlers, 2009+2008+2005 The National Parenting Centre Seal of Approval, 2008 iParenting Media Toy Award, 2008 Fat Brain Toy Award Active Play, 2006 TIA Outdoor Toy of the Year - Specialty Toy of the Year, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, 2005 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, 2005 Dr. Toy Best Vacation Products, 2005 Creative Child Seal of Excellence, 2001 International Patent Fair, Hong Kong Gold Medal
He almost makes you want to duck as he swings that battle axe with all his might, his long hair flying about covering the battle-raged expression on his angry face. It's the realism that comes with all the Schleich figurines, and it's never been better expressed than with the Hellebardier knight warrior. Standing 3.7" tall, which is 1:20 scale, this figurine possesses true-to-life modeling, is meticulously hand-painted, and comes with historically accurate detailing. — "Schleich company — the knights are very popular," said Deb Necker, owner of Necker’s in Simsbury, Conn., when asked to predict Christmas 2007 sales for young boys.
Papo is proud to introduce its new line of Weapon Master for 2007. The hand-painted King of Knights is just one of 10 in the series. For added play value, each of the Weapon Master Knights can ride a horse and stand on its own. — Shirley Reilly, owner of Let's Play in Hillsboro, Ore., discussed with TDmonthly the upcoming 2007 Christmas season, noting that Papo Knights will be big with little boys. — “Papo has truly outdone themselves creating one of the most detailed knights on the market,” said Brian Shackleton, operations manager for Hotaling Imports, the toy’s U.S. distributor. — Ask retailers’ advice for how to sell to boys and Papo Knights ride to the rescue again and again, no matter what the season. They’ve been on three TDmonthly Top-10 Most-Wanted Toys lists over the last year, which is why they’ve been named a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007.
The Sliced Lunch Meats from Haba are a great addition to a child's kitchen collection. Part of Haba's line of pretend play grocery items, which includes Sliced Cheeses and Tagliatelle Noodles, the Sliced Lunch Meats give kids the chance to do what the grown-ups do every day. Mommy and Daddy buy sliced meats with groceries, so now kids, too, can buy sliced meats with their groceries. The grocery items help stimulate creative expressions and independent play, and measure 2.5" x 1.75". Launch date: 2007. — "I would say any of the Haba grocery items," said Candace Gooch, owner of At Once All Agog in Limerick, Maine, when asked by TDmonthly to suggest what little kids might like for Christmas 2007.
With this MACK truck, kids can turn the crank to make the cement mixer spin. The doors open and close, and the cab can be tilted forward for viewing of the engine. The truck has treaded tires and a movable chute fed by the drum. It measures 25.8” L x 7.3” W x 10.8” H.
This mechanical bouncing machine includes a newly developed spring system that creates a sensation similar to that of jumping on a trampoline. This updated version of the classic pogo stick introduces a new generation of kids to hopping fun, propelling them into the air higher than they were able to go with the original toy. It is suitable for a weight of 120 to 250 pounds. — “SBI makes a great pogo stick and they are doing really well right now here with 9- to 12-year-old boys,” Karen Fox, owner of Woodbury Mountain Toys in Montpelier, Vt., told TDmonthly. — "We’re selling a ton of pogo sticks by Fly Bar," Patty Meyer, owner of Meyer's Toy World/USA Baby, told TDmonthly. "The pogo sticks are a surprise, but I think it might go to the obese kid news we’re hearing, as well as the get back-to-basics, and this is one of those items." — SBI invented the pogo stick back in 1918 and brought out the multiple award-winning Flybar 1200 in 2004. “We wanted to come out the gate with the best showing,” David Jargowsky, principal of SBI, told TDmonthly. “The 1200 is a high-performance model … People can jump six or seven feet, do backflips, tricks, etc.” Starting in June, the Flybar 800 for kids 80 to 180 pounds will be available. Right now, “The retailers who sell Flybars steadily say they have kids coming in all day, staring at the 1200, waiting for the 800.” Jargowsky said that many 800s have been presold and they expect a six-to-one or eight-to-one sales increase over the adult-sized 1200.
Writer's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ... Read more articles by this author