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Kiwi Kids’ Toy Wish Lists for 2006

Press release
13 November 2006

All I Want for Xmas – Kiwi Kids’ Toy Wish Lists for 2006

It’s a case of old meets new this Christmas, according to Planet Fun, New Zealand’s largest toy company.

In a survey[1] to find the toy gift preferences of New Zealand children this Christmas, the company found electronic toy Tamagotchi the most coveted item, while traditional toys, like dolls, trains and teddy bears remain as popular as ever.

“Train sets from perennial favourite Thomas & Friends were voted by pre-school boys as the number one toy for Christmas; just as several generations of boys have chosen before,” said Taliah Oosterdijk, marketing manager of Planet Fun.

“The TOMY engines are battery powered and kids are excited about being able to see and hear their favourite engines chug around the track.”

For young girls, fairy dolls top wish lists, with the launch of the new Disney Fairies range. “Girls love fairies and many of them know about Tinker Bell. Eyes light up when girls see the interactive Pixie Hollow Home Tree play set and the range’s whimsical fairy dolls,” said Oosterdijk.

Also hot on the list for preschoolers is the Glo-e range of battery powered teddy bears which light up and changes colours. “Glo-e is a good example of a traditional toy being given some new technology and proving to be really popular, and an ideal gift for children who are conquering a fear of the dark.”

For older kids, the electronic virtual pet, Tamagotchi Version 4 is launching just in time for Christmas and like previous versions, is expected to continue to be one of the country’s best selling toys. Made popular in the Nineties, the egg shaped virtual pet Tamagotchi teaches children some of the characteristics required to be a responsible pet owner.

“Version 4 is more interactive than its predecessors, allowing children to play with their pet online, and even lets children influence their pet’s career path! If your child has a previous version, you can expect them to be pestering you for Version 4 because its new technology is better than ever before.”

Another technological toy for boys and girls, YOUniverse Teller Machine, has been relaunched this Christmas after being reconfigured to accept New Zealand’s new coins. YOUniverse is an electronic money box which works like a real ATM so kids can learn to keep track of their money by checking their deposits and withdrawals.

Oosterdijk says in girls’ toys this Christmas, Planet Fun expects Bratz dolls to remain the number one selling doll in New Zealand.

“We anticipate many parents will be asked by their daughters for the new Bratz Forever Diamondz doll; every doll within this range is sold with a genuine certified diamond.”

For boys, wrestling toys WWE has been a standout choice for males, including their Dads.

“We have struggled to keep up with the demand for this range - it goes to show the cult following these wrestlers have.”

Planet Fun expects the new Leapster educational toy, a multimedia learning system from the award-winning LeapFrog range, to be a hot toy this festive season.

“It’s no secret that children love to engage with gaming systems like Nintendo, PS2 and Xbox; kids have fun interacting with these products because it responds to what they do. We’re being told by Mums and Dads who believe these electronic toys can be anti social and mind numbing, that they are looking to Leapster because it combines the popular technology used in handheld gaming systems with educational content: bridging the gap between learning and playing,” said Oosterdijk.

“Given the thumbs up by leading educators and industry experts; the award winning product teaches children aged four to eight years about letters, phonics, rhyming, spelling, counting, addition, subtraction, art and music. Parents have told us their kids are having so much fun that they don’t even realise that they’re learning.”

But the fun is not just for the kids. If adults need a break from the kids this Christmas, the top selling board game Cranium could be the answer. Already a firm favourite for Kiwis having a BBQ or holidaying at the bach, Cranium is described as the game for your whole brain. The board game challenges groups of players to answer questions according to four different categories; Word Worm for the literate, Data Head for the information savvy, Star Performer for the theatrically inclined and Creative Cat for those boasting artist’s hands.
-ends-

CHRISTMAS 2006 HOT TOYS LIST

Pre school:

- TOMY Thomas & Friends: the perennial favourite range featuring Thomas the Tank Engine and his mates. The TOMY range includes plastic accessories, individual trains and sets.

- Bob the Builder: popular character Bob the Builder and friends feature in a range of toys including the best selling toy vehicles.

- Glo-e Bear: a soft, teddy bear which lights up and changes to seven colours. Perfect for comforting preschoolers – especially those having difficulty sleeping or who are afraid of the dark. RRP$49.99ea.

- Doodle Bear: a soft teddy bear and set of marker pens which can be used by children to draw on the bear. The bear is machine washable and quick-drying so can be drawn on again, and again. RRP$39.99ea.


Boys and girls

- Tamagotchi Version 4: launching late November. The previous version has been one of New Zealand’s biggest selling toys during 2006. The egg-shaped toy still simulates the life cycle of a real pet, letting kids experience the fun without the responsibility and the mess. Kids can now play online at Tamatown.com. RRP $29.99ea.

- LeapFrog Leapster: the award winning, portable learning system. Kids can play action packed games, create works of art, watch interactive videos and read electronic books through a range of interactive cartridges (sold separately). For kids 4 years and over. RRP $159.99ea and cartridges RRP $59.99ea.

- YOUniverse Teller Machine: an electronic money box which works like a real ATM so kids can learn to keep track of their money by checking their deposits and withdrawals. RRP$49.99ea.

- Cranium Cadoo: a fun board game for kids 7 years and over. Kids act, sculpt, draw, solve puzzles and discover talents they never knew they had. RRP $49.99ea.

- Cranium Hullabaloo: another from the Cranium family of games, Hullabaloo is the game of tunes, twists and topsy-turvy fun. Listen closely and think fast as you bounce, twist, spin, high-five, and dance to the friendly sounds of Hullabaloo. For ages 4 & up. RRP$49.99ea.


Boys:
- WWE: The toy range includes the action figures, stunt rings and even championship belts.

Girls:

- Bratz Forever Diamondz: each doll includes a genuine certified diamond, set in a pendant. RRP $69.99ea.

- Disney Fairies Pixie Hollow Home Tree Playset: An expandable, interactive, sound activated Playset which also includes an exclusive 3.5 inch Tinker Bell doll. RRP from $129.99ea.


For adults:

- Cranium: The number one selling board game at Whitcoulls for the last three years, Cranium challenges groups of players to answer questions according to four different categories; Word Worm for the literate, Data Head for the information savvy, Star Performer for the theatrically inclined and Creative Cat for those boasting artist’s hands. RRP $69.99ea.


ABOUT PLANET FUN
Since being established in 2001, Planet Fun Pty has quickly grown to be New Zealand’s largest juvenile consumer entertainment business. Planet Fun specialises in branded and licensed products across toy, nursery, confectionery, and homewares ranges. Their toy brands include: Bratz, LeapFrog, TOMY Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder, Disney Fairies, Cranium, Girl Tech, Marvel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pirates of the Caribbean, Pokemon, WWE, Fly Wheels, Cabbage Patch Kids, Glo-e Bear and Doodle Bear.

[1] What’s Hot in the Toy Box? Survey, Oct 2006

ENDS

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