After a poll which riled up toy lovers everywhere, it was decided that the G.I. Joe (which became Action Man in the UK) is the most beloved toy of all time. We all have opinions on this, obviously, because everyone will have their own memories of the top toys that they had in their homes all that time ago. However, a huge poll which was conducted over in the States came to the conclusion that it was the G.I. Joe, out of the hundreds of options out there that came out on top as the kids’ favourite. Does this surprise you? Were you expecting another toy to take the top spot? Follow us, as we guide you through some of the other prime picks in the top 20 list, as voted by people from all around the world, for a rundown of the best products ever.
Among the others named as favourites by those who voted on the poll, the list includes a whole host of instantly recognisable names, which will take you straight back to your childhood. Everything from Mr. Potato Head through to Play-Doh, bicycles to Etch-a-Sketch and so much more gets a mention. Running through the ones which you’re most likely to pay attention to, the top five were #5 – ViewMaster, #4 – Barbie, #3 – Lego, #2 – Transformers #1 – G.I. Joe. You may not have expected it to play out like this, but it’s how the people voted and considering tht people from Australia, Germany, Canada and many other places around the world took part in the survey, you can’t really argue with it.
Now you know what everyone else is saying, what’s your opinion? Was G.I. Joe part of your life as a youngster? Would you have valued another toy ahead of it? It’s a subject that everyone will want to have their say in, so make sure that your voice is heard too. What the crowd say doesn’t have to be what you say. It’s interesting to see that perhaps the most universal of all kids’ products, Lego, didn’t quite manage to reach the top of the list. Is it any surprise that an American product would rise to the top though? Did you see it coming? Or do you still feel as though your favourite was underrepresented?
For those who haven’t paid attention, it’s likely to come as a huge shock that Hamleys, the world renowned toy retailer, has been sold off to a French company. Hamleys is now the property of GroupeLudendo, who’s empire includes a mass of 300 toy shops around key Western European countries such as France, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland. The sale is alleged to be as much as £60 million, and marks a huge move in Hamleys history, after being founded as far back as 1760. Previously, Hamleys has been owned by the Icelandic investment company, the BaugerGroup , but was later taken over by Landsbanki – a local bank.
The chairman of Ludendo, Jean-Michel Grunberg spoke on the recent acquisition and where they stand, in regards to the future of Hamleysnd what they will do with it. Grunbeg said: “We have the utmost respect for the Hamleys brand and heritage, as well as the unique interactive retail environment of fun, entertainment and theatre that it has created. We have every intention of maintaining this unique brand and what it stands for, and building on its successful international development.”
Hamleys chief executive GudjonReynisson also gave his input as to what this sale holds for Hamleys and what it could subsequently lead towards in the upcoming years. He said that it will be “taking the fun, entertainment and theatre of Hamleys to new levels,” and that feeling seems to reflect the general consensus among others at the company, who have been anticipating a big change since the economic meltdown in Iceland and what would then follow with the banks there afterwards.
Recent expansions in Hamleys stores have seen it build on from its well-recognised Regent Street store. As of recent times, they’ve gone on to set up branches throughout the rest of Europe (including Denmark and Cyprus) as well as the wider world, such as their outlets in Jordan, India and in the United Arab Emirates. Ludendo, who have bought Hamleys, began as a company with just one store in Paris in 1977, before expanding on from that in the years following then.
It’s one of the most talked-about things in the toy world right now. It’s also one of the biggest things in the gadget world that everyone’s on about. If you’re rubbing you’re head in confusion over what it is, what no longer. We’re talking about the Toy ‘R’ Us-made Tabeo. Over the past few years, the tech community have seen a massive shift in the age groups which are picking up and using electronics as if it was second nature. From BlackBerrys to iPads, the younger age brackets are gradually all self—training themselves to adapt to the ever-changing technology. Now, Toys ‘R’ Us have come out with a tablet product which is built specifically with their needs in-mind, and the Tabeo might just be the beginning of something huge.
We’re talking 4GB of memory, with Wi-Fi access, an Android 4.0 operating system, 50 pre-loaded apps, including Angry Birds, as many as 6,000 free educational programs and games, between 6 and 10 hours of battery life, and this is for children. Yes, you read it correctly – this Tabeo is a kid’s device, and still manages to boast all of those features. It’s unprecedented for the technology in use, yet it still doesn’t seem too far-fetched, as we’ve all seen how quickly tech has evolved and our mobile devices have become ever- better, as the years tick by. It might sound too good to be true, but what’s it going to take to get one of these in your home?
If the only thing that’s on your mind is the cost, then let’s set things straight. For just one of these Tabeos, you should be expecting to pay around £94. They will initially go on sale on the Toys ‘R’ Us online store in October. Don’t forget that you can also expect to find them on shelves in the shops themselves towards the end of October too. Now you’ve been made aware of that, where does it leave you? Are you still inclined to think that it’s right for your child? Is it out of the question now? Think about it and have your say, but it seems tom be the way that things are heading for children’s electronics.
It’s always quite difficult to predict trends with the potential next wave of dolls house products hitting toys store shelves. It’s challenging because of the nature of the products, and how they sit with consumers. Unlike a lot of newer toys which rely upon innovation and then latest developments to find a strong place in the market, these require the buyers to want to visit eras which have long passed. It’s true that you can get your hands on a lot of modern-styled dollshouse products these days, but the ones which always seem to do well and sell in abundance are the classic ones which take inspiration from the Victorian era and prior. They capture the feel of a time which they may not necessary have any connection to, but they wish to find a way to bridge it to their lives.
Without wasting any more time, we’ll now guide you through a few of the top picks that we have for dollshouses this year:
- Le Chateau. Get a taste of 18th Century France with this well-detailed piece. Everything about it takes you back to a time that you won’t necessarily have a connection with, but are able to by introducing it into your home.
- MiniTown Loft Shell Kit. Not everyone wants to go for a Victorian or older look with theirs, and it’s reflected in the direction of this one. It’s hip, it’s modern, and you can actually relate to it.
- Almond Blossom House. You can never really go wrong with GLTC. Whenever you have a little poke around their website, you’re always likely to find something new, and that’s what you get from their Almond Blossom House – a fully furnished lovable dolls house.
- Amber House. Said to be a good starting point for someone who is serious about these things, but hasn’t yet got a proper collection yet, this is a functional but stylish choice.
- Springwood Cottage. What little girl doesn’t want to live in a little cottage hideaway? With this one, you get the chance to experience something which you might not have thought was ever possible.
With competition coming from all angles, is LeapFrog’s premier kids tablet device now at the top? Are its days marked? Or are we expecting too much of the Tabeo and its potential to knock them out of the way? Well, looking back over their track record of excellence, it seems that you’d be speaking far too soon to simply say that they don’t have what it takes to keep their popularity levels high. They were the innovators in this field. The LeapPad came out way back in 1999, and in the time since they’ve found new ways to push for electronic-based educational apps which kids have put at the top of their Christmas lists. Does the LeapFrogLeapPad 2 match up to the new wave of products out there?
Tina Benitez-Eves is the business editor of Gifts and Decorative Accessories magazine. She spoke about what it is about the product which seems to draw the masses in: “This may just be one of the best years in a long time for toys. For consumers, finding that sweet price point is always going to be difficult, but even with this up and down economy, it’s possible that consumers may spend more this year.” She clarified that while there may be trends which come in and out of fashion periodically, and may take a few years to return back to the market, “educational, interactive toys, ones with an added tech advantage, are definitely more appealing,” regardless of what’s in for the moment.
As much as LeapFrog electronic products have been able to dominate the field for around a decade, it’s means that it’s also been inspiration for competitors to work on their areas where they may might seem to be, in some ways, flawed. One example is how Toys R Us have jumped in to take a chunk of the market share, by introducing the Tabeo – a device which is somewhere in-between that and an iPad. However, for the moment at least, it seems as though LeapFrogLeapPad 2s are going to be at the top of Christmas lists. Of course, there’s still time for this to change, but we’ll just have to wait and see how things eventually turn out.