Traditional toys still among the top sellers

By Amy McGillivray

Kids' Christmas wishlists now consist largely of gaming devices and talking toys rather than bikes and sports equipment - but there are some more traditional toys among those expected to be this year's best sellers.

Chief executive and founder of Mount Maunganui company iQ Toys, Shane Loomb, said the biggest change in toys over his 16-year career was that many of them now had the ability to download content and updates.

"Every year the toys are a lot more interactive but it's also good to have toys like Lego that are open-ended play too," he said. "The obvious change is the kind of link-up with technology."

Furbies, the fuzzy, talking toys from the 1990s, had been redeveloped and demonstrated just that.

Mr Loomb expected the toy to be one of the most popular presents this year.

The new model was able to better interact with people and other Furbies than the earlier model and could be fed remotely through an iPad application.

Other high-tech toys included the LeapPad, an iPad for kids, which was the company's top selling toy last year, Mr Loomb said.

The LeapPad 2 has just been released in time for the 2012 Christmas season to begin.

But Mr Loomb's pick for this year's most popular toy is much more simple.

He expects the Chalktrail, a device that attaches a large piece of chalk to the back of a bike enabling the rider to draw patterns, to be a hit with parents and kids.

While it may cause cleaning headaches in many streets this summer, the toy made it to the shops because of the support of internet pledges. "It was funded through Kickstarter," said Mr Loomb.

"The inventor in Washington, in the US, made a prototype and people saw it and really liked it."

Kickstarter enables entrepreneurs to market directly to small investors, who contribute money.

"The Chalktrail raised $40,000. It's very popular," he said.

Childsplay Toys owner Brian Godfery said the battery-operated gadgets that were so popular had been replaced with more traditional toys that stood the test of time.

"Toys seem to go in cycles. What people want now is good quality toys that will last. Wooden toys are back in," he said.

He expected one of their big sellers to be the Wishbone Flip, a New Zealand wooden rocking horse style toy which can be flipped over and used as a ride-on that kids can push themselves around on.

Scooters were also a popular purchase this year, Mr Godfery said.

He said gimmicks such as the Go Go Horn, which could be attached to the handle of a scooter or bike and make motorcycle sounds, were also popular.

A spokesperson for The Warehouse said the national chain expected the LeapPad 2, Furby, Lego Friends, Cabbage Patch Kids dolls and Nerf Elite gun to be the top sellers this year.

Most Wanted

LeapPad2 - From $179.99

Furby - From $117.99

Lego Friends - From $18.99

Chalktrail - $34.99

Grit Extreme Scooter - From $139

Wishbone Flip - $159

Go Go Horn - $20

- Bay of Plenty Times

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