Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kids still like Legos

Plastic building blocks are the best seller locally

Express Staff Writer

Seven-year-old Gunner Boettger, a second-grader at Hemingway Elementary School in Ketchum, says he wants Legos for Christmas. Gunner is shown here at The Toy Store in Ketchum.

In an age when electronic toys, gadgets and video games seem to dominate children's Christmas wish lists nationally, kids in the Wood River Valley still like to use their hands to build things.

Legos are the top seller this year at The Toy Store outlets in Ketchum and Sun Valley.

"This is what everybody wants—Lego Star Wars," said Toy Shop owner Carol Knight, while pointing to a huge array of plastic building block sets featuring Star Wars, Ninjago, Heroica Castle and other fanciful themes.

Seven-year-old Gunner Boettger, a second-grader at Hemingway Elementary School in Ketchum, was browsing the Lego display. He confirmed that he wanted Legos for Christmas, but not necessarily the Star Wars set that Knight handed him for an Express photograph.

National retailers list a lot of electronic toys on the websites as their top toy picks for Christmas this year, but nearly all of them also list at least one Lego set among their top 10 or 20 sellers.

Also selling well this year locally, said Knight, are Buckyballs, space-age modeling clay, Squishables and Ugly Dolls.

Buckyballs are rare-earth magnets that can be formed into an infinite variety of shapes and designs. Kids like them for building things, while adults can use them for stress relievers.

Knight said Buckyballs are especially good for stocking stuffers.

Space-age modeling clay comes in a variety of colors and is similar to Play-Doh but is drier and not as sticky. It's also easier to clean from clothing and carpets.

Squishables are sort of a combination between a stuffed animal and a pillow. Round in shape, they're created in the forms of a variety of animals, including penguins, foxes, pandas, koalas, ravens, alligators, sharks and even narwhales.

Knight said sales are brisk with Squishables

"Girls, boys, teens, fashionable adults, all fall in love with them," she said.

Knight acknowledged that Ugly Dolls are indeed ugly, but noted that they're selling well anyway.

Ugly Dolls look like computer-generated images that have been manufactured into stuffed toys.

The Toy Store has lots of smaller odds and ends for stocking stuffers and other items that Knight said are selling well this year.

"Thomas the Tank Engineer is still really hot for little boys," she said.

"You can even buy a Guatemalan handmade indoor Frisbee, available only here," she added.

Information on toy sales was not available by press deadline from either King's department store in Hailey or Chicken Lipps in Ketchum—both of which have selections of toys.

Terry Smith:

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