Before Jimi picked up his guitar, Yo-Yo picked up his cello and Alicia took up the piano, they sang along. It may have been with the radio, or the television, or their parents but most likely they sang along to a toy. And sing-along toys have only gotten better. TDmonthly Magazine talked to over 30 retailers, manufacturers and parents who were all “singing” the praises of the latest sing-along products.
Wee Sing Children's Songs and Fingerplays by PENGUIN GROUP USA
The best-selling Wee Sing line is now tailored for the most modern Wee Sing fans. These eight classic Wee Sing titles are now in one great new package — a book and CD in a reusable blister. Songs are by Pamela Conn Beall and Susan Hagen Nipp. — Emily “She Who Has Been There the Longest” at Ambassador Toys in San Francisco, said, “The Wee Sings CDs are still around and selling.” — Jordan Walden, a 31-year veteran of the toy industry and manager of Finnegan’s Toys and Gifts in Portland, Ore., explained that they sell many Wee Sing tapes: “It’s the only thing we have.” — Maria Felix Ortiz, a mom from San Antonio, Texas, said, “It’s my 2 ½-year-old son's favorite, and one I enjoy a lot, too. … The collection encourages dance and fingerplays so it is good rainy-day fun.”
Reggae Playground presents renowned artists from reggae’s birthplace of Jamaica. Judy Mowatt, a former backing vocalist for Bob Marley and a respected solo artist, invites listeners to get moving with her rousing “Let’s Dance.” Children hear about the importance of respecting each others’ differences and the need to work together in Rita Marley’s classic anthem, “Harambe.” The Jamaican reggae arrangements of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by the legendary Toots & the Maytals and the Burning Souls’ rendition of “Here Comes the Sun” demonstrate the adaptability of this infectious beat to almost any tune. — Pat Selby, owner of Calico Cats LLC in West Bainbridge Island, Wash., “Just ran out. We’ll be ordering more Putumayo Kids.” — Donald Roland, owner of Dot’s in Montreal likes all the Putumayo Kids disks: “Folk Playground is coming out in May, and the Reggae is on in the store all the time.” — “Reggae music has a great beat that kids love, so everyone was pleased to see a new album of reggae music created for children to enjoy along with their parents!” said Shana Kirsch, manager of Western Region of Putumayo Kids & Education.
BeBop Kidz Sing-Along CD Player by MUSIC FOR LITTLE PEOPLE/MFLP DISTRIBUTION
The all-in-one CD player and karaoke machine duo features twin microphones, headphone jacks, an LED track number display, forward and backward fast track search capability, repeat capability, a wide-band loudspeaker, a DC input jack and a mail-in coupon for a free sing-along "Toddler Twosome" two-CD set. The player measures 9-1/2" x 9-5/8" x 4-1/8" and operates on either six C-size batteries or a 9V AC adapter. — Frank Meyer, manager of A Child’s Delight in Corte Madera, Calif., finds the BeBoP Kidz a top seller for his store. — Emily, “She Who Has Been There the Longest,” at Ambassador Toys in San Francisco, finds that “kids like the cheap echo microphones to make up their own stuff.” — Music for Little People, a Redway, Calif.-based award-winning producer of children’s music, led by Leib Ostrow, CEO and founder, recommends the BeBoP Sing-Along CD Player.
Catchy sing-along songs teach toddlers all about shapes as they explore the many surprise features and textures of this giant block of fun. It’s plush with six different geometric-shaped flaps that hide secret pockets, surprise activities and various zippers, buttons and snaps. Each block includes six upbeat tunes and a peek-a-boo mirror. They teach shapes, colors and dress-me skills — it can even help babies age 6 months and up to stand. — Breck Hewitt, co-owner of Dragon’s Toy Box in Seattle, finds that the “Neurosmith music blocks are always great.” — Jana Rogers, a Syracuse, N.Y., mom, said, “My daughter started using it around 6 months. She used it to help her start pulling up and feeling all the different sides. By 9 months she was standing (with its help) and playing. She is almost 2 now and still loves it.” — It was selected as one of the Top 10 Toys of the Year, as seen on The Today Show.
Sing Along Friends Little Princess Doll —Belle from Beauty and the Beast by PLAYMATES TOYS INC.
The Sing Along Little Princesses magically sing their own 12- to 20-second songs when their hands are pressed. Lyrics are based specifically on that Little Princess' personality or story theme and each comes with unique accessories. TRY ME packaging helps to move the product off of store shelves and into little one’s homes. — “I know it’s too mainstream for my store,” explained Margaret Tollins, owner of Tollins Toys in Duncan, Wyo., “but I love this doll, and the kids do, too.” — “This is our best seller. Little girls love it and all the other princess toys,” reported Becky Robertson, co-owner of The Pretty Place in Salt Lake City. — This is the highest ranking sing-along toy on Amazon.
Kids can sing along to 10 great learning songs that are based on the Letter Factory and Talking Factory videos, while playing with Letter Factory flash cards that help them to master key phonics skills. It includes 26 letter cards, a card case and a music CD. It teaches letter names, letter sounds and learning songs. — “Leapfrog is a consistent seller, innovative and trusted by parents,” mentioned Marcus Witt, owner of Live & Learn in Vancouver, B.C., “This product really catches the smallest learners. — “This is a great learning toy. We find it to be a wonderful seller, and an excellent educational tool,” declared Bobbie Douglas, owner of Utah’s Best in Salt Lake City. — M. Fields of Alexadria, Va., Kinah’s mom, said “The songs on this CD are great! My nearly 3-year-old jumps around to the music and is learning some of the songs because the tunes are so catchy.”
Bella Dancerella - Tap Your Toes Tap Your Bows — Clip-on Shoes by SPIN MASTER TOYS
Kids learn how to tap their toes and tap their bows with the all new Bella Dancerella tap dancin' clip-on set. This tap-along set includes a 30-minute instruction video and a pair of adjustable tap shoes to fit children shoe sizes 8 to 12. — “Kids who get the Bellas always get something else to sing with, so I’m putting it in the sing-along/dance-along category. All the Bellas sell great,” said Duncan Cooper, owner of Bright Lights in Salt Lake City. — “Not quite sing-along,” explained Betty Roig, manager and co-owner of Good Stuff Toys in Newark, N.J., “but it does sell well, is musical, and is interactive.” — Eva A. Webb, a mom from Brownsville Tenn., said, “My 4 year old loves Bella Dancerella and we thought that the tap dancing video would be a great idea for her to learn the basics. She loved the video and could follow it perfectly but the shoes kept coming off no matter what we did to them.”
Baby can learn A-B-Cs, 1-2-3's and parts of the body, plus sing along to 10 favorite songs and games. The dog bone collar lights up to the music. It teaches the alphabet, numbers, parts of the body and colors. It includes games for interactive fun. — “The whole Laugh & Learn line is great, but the Puppy is our best seller,” explained Diana Wells, owner of Well, Well, Wells in Portland, Ore. — Lynn Adams, a mom from Phoenix,: “My mother bought this for my almost 7-month-old daughter this weekend and she just loves it. She smiles and laughs constantly when she plays with it … I love this toy because of the variety of things it says/sings.” — — As of 8.24.10, this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 100 reviews on Target.com and was listed in the top 30 best-selling toys and games. PROS: Interactive and entertaining.
Shaped to resemble Cinderella's carriage, this fantasy “boom box” plays audio CDs, CD-R and CD-RW discs. It’s available in pink or blue and can be plugged into any television so that aspiring princesses can follow along with the words. It features two microphone jacks for sharing the fun with family and friends, and it includes A/V cables and a demo disc. — “It’s pretty cool; It looks like Cinderella’s carriage. It has two ‘magic wands’ that are the microphones, and little girls really like it,” said Rebecca Rodriguez, owner of Kidz Zone in Tucson, Ariz. — Dane Schuller, assistant manager of the Fresno, Calif., Toys “R” Us had this to say: “Of all the karaoke machines, I think this one sells the best because it’s so original.” — Joellen Stone, a mom from Baxley, Ga., reported: “Our little princess loves her karaoke machine. At just 3 years old, she can only sing along with the songs she already knows. But, she loves using the microphone and pretending that she is a star.”
Backyardigans Sing Along Music Maker by MATTEL INC.
Due out in July: The Backyard Boogie Boom Box features 10 Backyardigans songs from five different genres of music. Kids simply press one of the five characters on the front of the unit to hear songs and watch a psychedelic light show from the center of the unit. For interactive play, a microphone is attached that allows kids to hear their voice through the speakers as they sing along with their Backyardigan friends. — “We’re looking forward to the Backyardigans Sing Along when it comes out,” said Tommy Jacobs, owner of The Jolly Rodger Gift Emporium in Mountain Home, Idaho. “Kids around here are real fans of the show, so the toys should sell well.” — “Backyardigans is THE thing for the little ones, so I’m making sure to have all the toys that come in, or else,” laughed Didi Cohen, play princess (and owner) of Laugh All Day in Bismark, N.D. — Brown Johnson, executive creative director at Nickelodeon Preschool Television of Nickelodeon Jr., has been raving about the Backyardigans since its inception, and she should know: She was the driving force in bringing “Dora the Explorer” and all its merchandising to the world.