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Board Games, Building Sets Are Top-Selling Toys In New Canaan

Julia Hardy, 17, left, and her sister Sarah, 15, play a game of Speedeebee at the New Canaan Toy Store. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason
Magformers, which lets people build items with magnet-infused pieces, are selling well at The Toy Chest in New Canaan. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason
Sarah Hardy, 15, presses the "No" button while at the New Canaan Toy Store. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Forget putting video games under the tree this year. People buying toys in New Canaan this Christmas are picking old-school favorites instead.

Although there is no must-have toy such as Tickle Me Elmo or Cabbage Patch Kids as in years past, card games, board games and hands-on building items are big sellers at local toy shops this year.

The demand for gifts this year is “all over the map,” said Chris Kilbane, owner of the New Canaan Toy Store on Park Street. While some children want items such as disco balls and arts and crafts, others will want a Lego building set to create a castle or something else pretty cool. They also want board and card games, he said, whether it’s Monopoly or a new card game called Speedeebee, which has players guess things quickly after rolling lettered dice. Even something as simple as a joke “NO” button, a parody of the Staples “Easy” button, is popular.

“It depends on the age of the child, whether they’re a boy or a girl. It’s more spread out,” he said. “Pretty much everything is selling.”

Kilbane attributes the popularity of board game to the power outages in town after Hurricane Sandy. Still, favorites such as Monopoly and Uno never go out of style, he said.

"The classics always sell. We sell a ton of Monopoly games,” he said. “It always does well.”

The Toy Chest on Main Street has seen a surge in sales of toys that encourage building, store employee Keri Stepleman said. Favorites include items such as Magformers and Manga-Tiles, toys that feature magnets to hold items together.

Parents “want something that will occupy (their kids) and that has educational value,” she said, adding that gift givers want to give a game that a family can play together.

Beanie Ballz, a larger version of the popular Beanie Babies, are also selling well, Stepleman said.

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