by Tina Manzer
Lori Bergelin from Frankenmuth Toy Company in Frankenmuth, Michigan
“I ordered I Gotta Go With … (1) from a brand new company I saw at ASTRA’s Marketplace in June. It’s a pop-culture trivia game with questions that are so open-ended that anyone from any generation can answer them. They sold out in one month!”
Christine Osborne from Wonder Works toy stores in Charleston, South Carolina
“We recommend Sing Along Bling (2) by Wireless Express. It was a sellout last year, and this year it’s better than ever with disco LED lights that dance along with the music. The wireless microphone and Bluetooth speaker are covered in crystal bling. It connects to all smartphones and tablets.
“Scruff-a-Luvs (3) by Moose Toys offer a fun take on the unboxing trend – this time with plush. Kids can rescue and wash a bunny, kitty, or puppy and then dry, groom, and love them. It’s a nurturing play experience.
“There are more Mini-Sequin Pets (4) from Faber-Castell! In addition to Happy the Hedgehog, there’s now Norbet the Narwhal, Dazzle the Dinosaur, Hope the Hippopotamus, Sprinkles the Unicorn and Twinkles the Elephant. They offer a unique sensory experience thanks to their weighted bodies and flip-sequin backs. Their small plush size makes them portable and collectible.
“Cosmos StarCube (5) by California Creations is our number-one-selling fidget puzzle. It’s a new twist on the concept of the Rubik’s Cube. Eight little squares make up one larger cube. Flip to open and a 12-pointed star appears. Flip again, and you’re back to a cube.
“Botley (6), a robot from Learning Resources, helps children as young as 5 years old build STEM skills while they play. It’s ready to go right out of the box to teach kids to code. Thanks to advanced features, it grows with the children who use it.
“Squishmallows (7) by KellyToy are some of the softest, squishiest plush we’ve ever had. They are really trending right now, especially with tweens and teens. There are many sizes and styles to collect.”
Chris Tini from Sweet Be’s in St. Louis, Missouri
“Retro candy – candy buttons (8), for instance, and lollipops – always sell well, especially to parents and grandparents who want today’s children to experience the treats they had as kids.
Our candy/gift/toy store is located close to a school. Kids who stop in on their way home with their own money like the novelty candy, especially LEGO blocks, Soda Can Fizz (9)”