We have just entered the season of giving & if you have children or give to them it is always fun to give them at least a few gifts that are toys. Did you know that creative play is key to learning? What I love is selecting toys that often aren’t found in the big box stores but, in our local neighborhood toy stores.This year is the 4th annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day, it is Saturday November 9th! To celebrate the fun of shopping for toys at local toy stores ASTRA non-profit has launched the first ever “I Heart My Neighborhood Toy Store Sweepstakes! (If you are wondering who ASTRA is it’s the non-profit American Specialty Toy Retailing Association.) Let me tell you little more about both.
There are benefits to shopping local. By supporting local business it helps create jobs & preserves neighborhoods. Small independents put a larger share of revenue back into our local economy in the form of taxes, salaries & more. The best part about shopping the independent toy stores is they tend to carry many of the high-quality, unique specialty products not typically found in the big box stores. I love finding quality toys that last years! Sammie still has hers from last year & they are her favorites!
Recently we were offered the opportunity to try out a few games & toys that are typically more indicative to a small toy store offering. I thought I would share a few things about them just to give you an idea of how awesome the toy selections can be by shopping locally owned small toy stores. Then information about sweepstakes at end of post.
I received products courtesy of ASTRA for this review; all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Unique educational games such as Timeline:
- Innovative trivia game designed to test children’s historical knowledge
- Object of the game to get rid cards by putting in chronological order
- SMRP $14.99
- Winner of ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids 2013 game category recommended age 8+up
Fun games such as Laser Maze by ThinkFun, Inc.
- A beam bending logic game that encourages kids to use science & brain power
- Object to direct a laser beam through a series of challenging mazes with use of 60 challenge cards & …
- SMRP $29.99
- Recommended ages 2-5
- Another Winner in the game category for 2013
In the Just for Fun category: Super Magnetic Tidal Wave Thinking Putty
- Behaves like putty but, when placed near a magnet the putty’s magnetic forces kick in
- Object is to do tricks & try experiments using both (comes complete with magnet & putty in tin)
- SMRP $14.99
- Recommended Ages 8+
This is just a sampling of what is offered. Many local small toy stores will host in store events such as activities, craft projects, live performances & sometimes offer special discounts to help kick off the holiday shopping season.
Sammie loved the trivia history game, with it’s unique facts & cool pictures & facts on the cards. She loves science & thought the putty was pretty cool. She was kind of mad at me for putting the magnet into the putty to take the photo showing what it can do but, you can pull it off. The magnet is really strong & putty has magnetic properties.The putty is rather sticky but, comes off easy. I pulled it off the magnet & it’s good as new for Sammie. (don’t tell her I had fun making shapes & pulling it with the magnet too, let that be our secret) Neither of these are meant for small kids. She has yet to play the laser game, but turned it on, looked it over & is looking forward to playing with her neice who is 5yr old. This will be great to occupy them at Thanksgiving. It looks super fun & batteries are included.
- To find a local store to support in your community visit the website: yourneighborhoodtoystore.org
- *Now through November 8th you can log onto yourneighbrhoodtoystore.org & enter to win the following:
- A Grand Prize vacation package, all inclusive Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico & the Dominican Republic courtesy of Thomas & Friends
- Featured prices including gift baskets or gift certificates from Kidoozie, early years, Calico Critters Playmobile (value $250.)
- A gift basket of assorted Best Toys for Kids winning products from ASTRA (value $250
Get Social & find out more:
Our nearest local small toy store is 30 minutes from us, but during the holidays we love visiting it to see all the unique offerings! Play with the latest puppets & grab age appropriate gifts for our family! I encourage you to visit your small local toy stores & support them over the holidays, have some fun & bring home some unique gifts!
Don’t forget you can see where your local small toy store is by visiting above links. Hope you have fun kicking off your holiday shopping!
Do you know where your small local toy store is?