I can’t believe Christmas is less than two months away. The toy ads have started arriving in the mail, but basically every single one has the same exact selection of toys and in all honesty I’m not finding anything too interesting, educational, or entertaining in any of them. Alleigh and Kaelyn have been looking at the ads too and haven’t seemed very intrigued either. And that’s when I realized that we needed to look in a different direction since the national chain stores didn’t have what we were looking for perhaps some local neighborhood toy stores would!
That is what led me to the Your Neighborhood Toy Store website where you can find all sorts of great information about local toy stores that are members of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). It is a go to website for parents interested in learning more about the best children’s toys on the market and where to find them. With the Neighborhood Toy Store website parents can discover the woohoo factor of shopping – and playing – right in their own local neighborhood. Plus there is lots more valuable information including articles with expert advice on toys and play for children of all ages, toy buying guidelines, and a local toy store locator so you can find the store nearest you.
Plus there are so many benefits to shopping locally:
- Shopping locally fosters a sense of community and provides economic stability, community development, reduced environmental impact, diverse product selection, and better customer service.
- According to the 3/50 Project, for every $100 spent in local, independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community in the form of taxes, salaries, charitable contributions, and more… compared to only $43 when that same amount of money is spent at national chain stores.
- Independent toy stores tend to carry high-quality, boutique, and specialty products that you won’t find at the big box stores.
Speaking of those toys that you’re not likely to find in the national chain stores – Alleigh and Kaelyn received two fun toys to try out that you just may find in an independently owned toy store near you.
Roll & Play by ThinkFun: My girls absolutely love this game! It is the first game for toddlers (18+ months) and is designed for parent and child to play together. There are no winners or losers and there is no certain length of time the game has to take. You can play for 30 seconds or 30 minutes or however long you wish! In a nut shell players take turn rolling the big soft cube then match the color it landed on to the playing cards. The person that rolled the cube picks up the matching color card and everyone does what the card says. All of the cards are different, encourage creativity, active play, and gross motor skills all while building confidence. The cards store conveniently inside the cube so nothing will get lost – something all mom’s are sure to love! Plus Roll & Play is a winner of ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids 2012 Award in the Early Play (0-3 years) category. Alleigh, Kaelyn, and I have found ourselves in giggling fits while playing this game, hehe!
Tobbles Neo by Fat Brain Toy Company: Let’s just say these are not your typical building blocks. Tobbles Neo are six uniquely weighted oddly shaped “blocks” that children six months and up will have fun balancing, nesting, spinning, stacking, toppling, wobbling, and tilting! The great thing about Tobbles Neo is that even a very young child can stack them all because they do not require precise alignment which will help avoid frustration from little builders. Plus the pieces are light weight and all the edges are rounded making this toy incredibly safe for young kiddos. Tobbles Neo is also a winner of ASTRA’s Best Tos for Kids 2012 Award in the Early Play category.
November 10th would be a great day because it is the 3rd annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day coordinated by ASTRA! Find a participating store near you on the Your Neighborhood Toy Store website and head out for a day of fun which could include activities, craft projects, live performances, and special discounts. And really what could be more fun to a kiddo then spending a day in a toy store?