Fabulous Awards 2016


There are toys, and there are fabulous toys. For retailers, they’re the ones that fly off the shelves, create buzz for the store and turn random shoppers into loyal, repeat customers. Fabulous toys are not necessarily brand new, but they keep kids and adults coming back to see what other cool things they can buy from your store. That’s what edplay’s Fabulous Awards recognize. This year’s contenders – nearly 70 – were “nominated” by the retailers we contacted at random last year for edplay’s regular “Retailers Recommend” column. Using descriptions like “We can’t keep it in stock,” “Everyone’s talking about it” and “Sure to be the next big thing,” store owners and employees told us about their favorites.




The Passback Football

Park_ThrowCatch_LogoOnlyThis product from Passback Sports scored big with retailers, and our readers chose it for the top spot in this year’s Fabulous Awards (based on the number of retailer likes on our Facebook page). Proving that their sports training gear really goes the distance, the Passback is the world’s only football that rebounds off a wall and spirals back to you, changing the game of catch – forever. The ball looks like a half of a football with a flat bottom. When it’s thrown against a wall, it bounces off and “passes” right back to you – so no other player is needed to practice.

Since Passback Sports was founded in 2013, it has been taking sports training to new heights. Athletes at every level, from Pop Warner Pee Wee to NFL pro, use the Passback Football to help build speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness. It’s also great just for play. Regular kids (and parents) have caught on to the fun, telling us, “It’s great for going out and playing catch when no one else is interested!” Another parent added: “In a few weeks, I truly saw a difference in my child’s hand-eye coordination, strength and reaction time.”

The original Passback is for ages 14 and up, and the line has been expanded to include other versions: the Passback Youth Pro for ages 9 to 13, the Pee-Wee Passback for ages 4 to 8, and the Passback Rugby Ball.

Passback Sports also makes training tools for baseball and basketball, plus heated clothing and kinesiology tape. Videos are available on their website, too, with tips to use for training – or to keep kids motivated and moving. Sounds pretty Fabulous to us!



Mixed by Me Thinking Putty

Mixed_By_Me_Thinking_Putty_Kit_1024x1024We all know that kids love Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty. But making it themselves? Now that’s Fabulous! Readers chose Crazy Aaron’s Mixed by Me Thinking Putty Kit as this year’s second place winner.

“Kids can create their own custom putties in all kinds of colors, mix their favorites and decorate tins to store them in,” Houston retailer Debbie Scholl told us last August. “It’s fun and therapeutic.”

Each kit includes five tins of clear putty, three concentrated color putties, three special effect putties, and an instructional mat – everything kids need to make putty that’s completely personalized. You can even create glow-in-the dark putty and add elements like glitter. Plus, just like the original, Mixed by Me Thinking Putty doesn’t dry out.

“This is my go-to birthday gift,” commented a reader on our Facebook page. “It’s a great way for kids to be creative and it keeps them entertained for hours!”





TENZI-with-DiceThe fast-action dice game TENZI isn’t new – it was actually a Fabulous Runner-up two years ago. It seems like we were on to something, because this year readers’ votes put it in the  Fabulous top three.

“It’s fun and easy to play in endless ways,” Connecticut retailer Kimberly Ramsey told us last summer.

Long before retailers were recommending TENZI to us, the game’s creators, Kevin and Steve – coworkers at an ad agency – went door to door to neighborhood toy stores, trying to get them to stock the game they developed. After two store managers said no, the third time was a charm. “The manager said, ‘If you can explain the game to me in less than 30 seconds, I might be interested.’ And we did!” they recall. The game is that simple. They even sold two TENZI games to customers in the store before leaving that day!

TENZI is now available in more than 5,000 stores across the country; it’s a favorite of retailers and customers alike. Kevin and Steve recently introduced a new game, SLAPZI, at and it was a huge hit at ASTRA Marketplace, retailers tell us. Looks like they’re on a roll!



Runners Up

The Swurfer
from The ROB Company

The Noggin Ring
from Smart Noggin

Baby Paper
from Wize Choice Creations

from Micro Kickboard 

3D String Art and Yarn Tree Kit
from Ann Williams Group

from Wiggles 3D


Sidewalk Games
from eeBo

Imagination Magnets
from Mindware

The Munch Mitt
from Munch Baby

The Secret Garden
coloring book from Chronicle

Poke-A-Dot Books
from Innovative Kids




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